Game of Thrones' penultimate episode, "The Bells," saw many major characters killed off during Daenerys Targaryen's assault on King's Landing - leaving only a handful of major players alive for the series finale. Upon hearing the bells signalling the Lannister army's surrender, Daenerys' inherited madness kicked in and she began burning the people of King's Landing en masse - including the surrendered soldiers, innocent civilians, and children. This sets in motion further conflict for the series finale, as Jon Snow and Dany's other allies have to decide whether they want to remain loyal to the Mad Queen.
Among the casualties of "The Bells" were Sandor and Gregor Clegane, who went out in a fiery blaze after the much-hyped "Cleganebowl", and Jaime and Cersei Lannister, who seemingly perished in the falling rubble of the Red Keep (though there's an outside chance that they're not really dead). Daenerys executed her Master of Whispers, Varys, after learning of his plans to betray her. Cersei's allies didn't fare well, with Qyburn's head smashed open by the Mountain, Harry Strickland and the Golden Company exiting almost as quickly as they arrived, and Euron Greyjoy dying in a duel with Jaime.
With so many characters being killed off this season, you could be forgiven for losing track of who's still alive heading into the final episode of Game of Thrones. Here are the major players who are still in the game, and who are expected to be part of the finale:
- Jon Snow - The true heir to the Iron Throne, though he doesn't want to be King.
- Daenerys Targaryen - Now the Mad Queen of Westeros, having claimed King's Landing with fire and blood.
- Arya Stark - Last seen purposefully riding out of King's Landing on a pale horse.
- Sansa Stark - Still in Winterfell, with her worst fears about Daenerys confirmed.
- Bran Stark - No longer really Bran, but the Three-Eyed Raven.
- Tyrion Lannister - Facing possible retribution for freeing Jaime.
- Grey Worm - Still loyal to Daenerys, having led the attack on King's Landing.
- Davos Seaworth - In King's Landing and more loyal to Jon than Daenerys.
- Gendry Baratheon - The recently appointed Lord of Storm's End, and a potential heir to the Iron Throne.
- Brienne of Tarth - Still in Winterfell, and heartbroken by Jaime's decision to leave.
- Podrick Payne - Presumably still by Brienne's side in Winterfell.
- Bronn - Awaiting his reward of Highgarden in exchange for not killing the Lannister brothers.
There are some characters who are still alive but seem unlikely to return before the end of the show: Edmure Tully, who was last seen in season 6 as a prisoner of the Lannisters; Daario Naharis, who was left in charge of Meereen; Tormund Giantsbane, who headed North with Ghost after the Great Battle of Winterfell; Meera Reed, who went home to Greywater Watch; Hot Pie, who is hopefully still making hot pies; and Arya's mentor, Jaqen H'ghar, who is presumably still in Braavos.
There are others who might make an appearance, but who we may also have seen the last of: Samwell Tarly, Gilly, and Little Sam, who said a heartfelt farewell to Jon at Winterfell; Robin Arryn, the current Lord of the Vale; and Yara Greyjoy, who hasn't been seen since she left to take back the Iron Islands (though we've learned that she did so successfully). Maester Wolkan and Yohn Royce will likely return in scenes at Winterfell, especially since Wolkan's role is to inform Sansa of messages (and there's some big news from King's Landing).
Now, of course, the question is who will make it to the end credits of the final episode of the series. Daenerys has already proven to be a ruthless conqueror, so we can expect the bloodshed to continue - making it all the more likely that another character will kill Daenerys in order to put an end to her madness.
The Game of Thrones series finale will air on HBO at 9pm, on Sunday 19th May.