Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Game of Thrones season 7, episode 6
As talk of nuclear armament fills our own world, it’s only fitting that the main villain in Game of Thrones just received his own weapon of mass destruction. Now that the Night King has his ice dragon, the prospect of taking Westeros has become far more manageable for the army of the dead.
Everything has changed. From here on out, Daenerys Targaryen will no longer be the only rider in the skies, the King in the North and his men will have to account for aerial attacks in his defensive preparation, and Gendry’s next task as a blacksmith will be building an arsenal of dragonglass Scorpion bolts. Then again, no one even knows that an undead dragon is about to be in their airspace.
Who (or what) can kill the ice dragon? When it passes The Wall, it will be the first of its kind in Westeros. When it comes to battling the firebreathers, our only point of knowledge is Daenerys’ dragons, who have proven themselves to be nearly impervious to all human weaponry. Qyburn and Cersei Lannister’s best bet was an oversized bow-and-arrow, and though it undoubtedly wounded Drogon, it did not kill him and he healed quickly. In short, the human armies don’t have much to fight the ice dragon other than Daenerys’ two surviving mounts.
Then there’s the Night King, whose Tom Brady spiral-arm took down Viserion from a quarter-mile. If Drogon hadn’t been carrying the MVPs of the plot, you can bet he also would’ve been died. With the Night King riding his zombie dragon, there appear to be only a few avenues to take them down.
Drogon and Rhaegal
Daenerys is the immediate victim of Viserion’s death, but it’s Drogon and Rhaegal who will pay the biggest price. Throughout their reptilian lives, they have worked as a team of three. It’s how they fight and it’s how they fly, but now that their ranks have been reduced, they’ll have to reconfigure.
“The Dragon Will Have Three Heads” theory is more imperiled than ever, considering the third rider is likely going to be a horned dead man. For all intents and purposes, the reprisal of the “Dance of Dragons” will feature a 2 on 1 showdown: Dany will continue riding Drogon, (we hope) Jon Snow will commandeer Rhaegal, and the Night King will have his undead mount.
To be sure, Drogon and Rhaegal should be able to put up a fight. On land, sea and air, all they’ve done is win. Though Dany (and by proxy, her dragons) will be horrified to witness Viserion’s return, they will seek to destroy him with extreme prejudice. Despite their best efforts, however, it’s unlikely that both Drogon and Rhaegal will survive. In the original “Dance of Dragons,” the Targaryen civil war, all of the firebreathing beasts died, and most of them perished by fighting each other.
Daenerys’ dragons may have the upper hand at the moment, but if and when one of her children gets killed, the remaining dragon won’t stand a chance against the reanimated Viserion.
While the three dragons duke it out in the skies, The King of the North and his men would be wise to start outfitting the Scorpion bolt with dragonglass projectiles. As we learned in season 7, the material previously known to be deadly against White Walkers also shatters wights as well.
Seeing as Viserion is essentially a wight dragon, dragonglass should be a major weakness for him. One well-placed Scorpion bolt should do to reanimated Viserion as the Night King did to him while he was still with the living. At the very least, it will wound the ice dragon and keep him from incinerating the Seven Kingdoms.
Though this approach should definitely be in the arsenal for Dany and Jon, its responsibilities should be entrusted primarily to Bronn, who proved himself an immaculate shot during the Loot Train Battle. Then again, the entirety of this theory rests on Qyburn and Cersei’s willingness to be team players and actually share their Scorpion bolt technology.
The newly designated Three-Eyed-Raven is a master warg. Though he learned his craft from Bryden Rivers at an accelerated clip (and is admittedly still processing his time-bending powers), Bran Stark has more raw power than anyone on Game of Thrones.
Though he is the most mysterious character on the show, he has also been the most sidelined. While he wargs into ravens now and again, he mostly spends his time oversharing private information with the residents of Winterfell. Though he may have the last laugh in the season finale, it’s pretty clear that Bran’s biggest moments are being saved for the last season. Theories abound about his true identity, whether he’s Brandon the Builder, the Lord of Light, or the Night King himself, and season 8 is in a prime position to provide the truth.
The most popular expectation for Bran is that he will actually warg into a dragon. When Brynden Rivers told him, “You will never walk again, but you will fly,” many fans took that as a hint that Bran will eventually soar on the back of a dragon. Though that’s more than likely an overtly-literal interpretation, it would be the culmination of Bran’s warging powers, and the ultimate way to subvert the Night King’s ownership of the ice dragon. Of course, this entire theory hinges on Bran’s ability to warg into a dead creature, a feat that has not been proven in A Song of Ice and Fire or Game of Thrones.
Still, the Three-Eyed Raven has yet to reach the peak of his powers, and by the time season 8 arrives, he will be strong as ever. By warging the ice dragon, he can attack Viserion from the inside, commandeer him, and turn him against the army of the dead. It’s a long shot, but considering the limited options available to the Seven Kingdoms, it will have to do.
Ready or not, the ice dragon cometh.
Game of Thrones returns with its season finale next Sunday on HBO @ 9PM EST.