Game of Thrones season 8 just dropped a huge hint that dead characters could join the White Walker's Army of the Dead. Therefore, just because some of our beloved characters may die at the Battle of Winterfell next week, it doesn't necessarily mean they won't reappear as Wights or White Walkers - and this could put a unique spin on Cersei's threat to her enemies in the Game of Thrones season 7 finale.
When the armistice between Cersei's contingent and Daenerys and Jon Snow's coalition initially failed in "The Dragon and the Wolf", the Lannister Queen told her enemies that after they wage their war with the Army of the Dead in the North, "We will deal with whatever's left." Based on comments both Tormund Giantsbane and Tyrion Lannister made about the White Walkers this week, "whatever's left" after the Battle of Winterfell could include some familiar faces reanimated as ice zombies continuing to march south towards King's Landing.
In this week's episode, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms", Winterfell received the last of its defenders when Jon Snow welcomed Tormund, Beric Dondarrion, and his former Night's Watch brother Dolorous Edd. Tormund informed the Warden of the North that they had come from the Last Hearth, which the White Walkers had overrun. When Jon asked about the castle's lords, the Umbers, Beric replied that they are "fighting for the Night King now." Therefore, the Army of the Dead is turning their enemies into Wights to continually bolster their ranks - and the heroes fighting for the living can expect the same fate if they die in the war.
Earlier in the episode, Tyrion and Jaime Lannister were reunited (after Jaime survived being tried by Daenerys for slayer her father, the Mad King Aerys) and commiserated about their evil sister who controls the Iron Throne, and who wants them both dead. Tyrion mused that dying at the hands of White Walkers would at least deny Cersei the pleasure of killing him before considered with a morbid smile, "Maybe after I'm dead, I'll march down to King's Landing and rip her apart."
Tyrion's gallows humor belied the possible fate for those who will die in the war - that they could rise again as the undead. This could also mean some familiar faces may appear to fight the army of the living at the Battle of Winterfell, and that could include Thoros of Myr, who was last seen being ripped apart by Wights when Jon Snow led a team North to capture an ice zombie in "Beyond the Wall". Thoros was also mentioned by Beric, the Hound, and Arya Stark in this episode, which could set up an appearance by the former priest of the Lord of Light turned into a Wight or White Walker.
Of course, people don't automatically rise up to become Wights after they are killed unless a White Walker immediately reanimates them. Otherwise, there's a period of decomposition necessary before the dead become the undead and there's usually ample time to burn the bodies to prevent them from turning. However, the Battle of Winterfell is bound to have several deaths and unless the army of the living wins decisively, the survivors won't have time to burn all of the corpses. So whoever's dead can possibly come back - and some fan favorites are very likely to die in the battle to become Wights or even White Walkers.
Perhaps the most famous example of a character being reanimated to join the Army of the Dead is Viserion, Daenerys' dragon who was killed and turned by the Night King in "Beyond the Wall". Indeed, no character is safe and next week's Battle of Winterfell could see some major fan favorite characters join the White Walkers, which would tragically tear relationships and romances apart. This is just one of the reasons that makes Game of Thrones season 8 so compelling.
Game of Thrones season 8 airs Sundays @ 9pm on HBO.