New photos and behind-the-scenes filming details for Game of Thrones season 8 strongly suggest that Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen will venture north beyond the Wall - but for what purpose? The final season of the critically-acclaimed historical fantasy series will see the warring factions of the living given a choice between uniting to defeat the Night King and his advancing army of wights, or continuing their squabbles and power-grabs at the risk of getting everyone in Westeros killed.
Needless to say, the idea of Game of Thrones' characters - especially Cersei, the current Queen of Westeros - setting aside their differences for the greater good doesn't seem likely. Moreover, the first full-length teaser for the season was decidedly ominous, showing three of the surviving Stark children discovering their own memorial statues in the tombs of Winterfell. The best hope humanity seems to have is the union of Jon and Dany, both of whom have a claim to the Iron Throne and who - as of the end of season 7 - are now romantically involved.
The Night King now has an ice dragon on his side, and every battle with the living only swells the ranks of his wight army. It seems as though Jon and Dany are fighting a hopeless war, but could the key to defeating the Night King lie beyond the Wall, where he and the other undead creatures came from?
Evidence That Jon & Dany Are Beyond The Wall
The newly-released stills from Game of Thrones season 8 include an image of Jon and Daenerys in a harsh, wintry landscape, wearing heavy furs, with no other characters in the picture and no sign that they are in Winterfell. While it's true that much of Westeros is now experiencing snowy weather, there's a good chance that this is our first look at the two potential heirs to the Iron Throne on a mission beyond the wall.
However, the more powerful evidence that Jon and Daenerys end up beyond the Wall actually comes from reports of Game of Thrones season 8's filming. According to social media posts compiled by Watchers on the Wall, Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke both spent time filming in Iceland, the country used for filming scenes set north of the Wall in previous seasons (Winterfell scenes are shot in Northern Ireland and Scotland). While it might be assumed that Iceland was simply used to create a more extreme winter version of the lands surrounding Winterfell, what's particularly interesting is that Harington and Clarke were seemingly the only main cast members who took part in this stretch of filming. This strongly indicates that Jon and Dany venture on a mission beyond the Wall by themselves, most likely traveling on the back of one (or both) of Dany's dragons.
Why Are Jon & Dany Beyond The Wall?
The freezing, barren lands beyond the Wall have never been an especially welcoming place, and are likely even less so with winter advancing south. With that in mind, Jon and Daenerys must have a very good reason for traveling there, and saving Westeros from total annihilation seems like a pretty good reason. While it's possible that enough united armies might be able to beat back the Night King and his sea of the undead, it seems unlikely that he will be defeated with brute force - especially since, as mentioned above, every life lost among those who oppose him quickly becomes a new recruit for the White Walkers' army.
Many fan theories have turned to the legends of Westeros and other regions to speculate as to how the series will end, and one of the most intriguing legends is that of the Last Hero. Often speculatively linked to the prophecy of the Prince That Was Promised - the second coming of the mighty warrior Azor Ahai - the Last Hero is an ancient figure of Westerosi legend who successfully led a battle to defeat the White Walkers the last time that they rampaged across the land. In order to do this, the Last Hero first traveled far into the north to seek the assistance of the Children of the Forest - the strange, elfin creatures whom Bran spent time with in season 6. According to legend, the Last Hero was eventually able to defeat the White Walkers with a special blade made of dragonsteel - possibly given to him by the Children of the Forest.
The two known materials capable of slaying the White Walkers are Valyrian steel and Dragonglass, the latter of which Jon's army already has in abundance, thanks to his alliance with Daenerys. So, if Jon and Dany travel north of the Wall in search of a way to win the war, they are likely searching for information rather than a single weapon. With this journey, we may finally find out where the White Walkers came from, and how they can be defeated.