Many people were shocked when the White Walker threat was wrapped up in a nice little bow by the end of episode 3. What was the buildup over so many seasons only for it to end so abruptly? Who is person on the iron throne our heroes are meant to face?
This post only contains potential spoilers for the ending of Game of Thrones if my theories prove correct. Read at your own risk. I will be exploring content from all of the published ASOIAF books and the most recent GOT episode (Season 8, Episode 4).
Before I go any further I want to state that I love nearly all of GRRM’s characters (except for Joffrey, Ramsay, Book!Shae and Olly. I know GRRM didn’t create the last one, but seriously f*** Olly.) There’s no anti-*insert Dany/Sansa/Arya/Jon/Jaime/Bran/Tyrion, etc* character here. Everything I am predicting will happen is based on what I have personally gathered from reading the books and watching the show.
*Ahem* Now that that’s been cleared, join me in putting on you tinfoil hats to explore what I predict will be the Game of Thrones endgame, in both the books and the show.
Why the final battle with Cersei feels wrong
Many people were shocked when the White Walker threat was wrapped up in a nice little bow by the end of episode 3. What was the buildup over so many seasons only for it to end so abruptly? Who is person on the iron throne our heroes are meant to face?
SPOILERS: It’s not meant to be Cersei.
Now that episode 4 has wrapped up, we only have two episodes left before we find out GRRM’s endgame to his epic fantasy series. In his blog GRRM addresses the issue that the show is so different from the books:
“How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have? Three, in the novel. One, in the movie. None, in real life: she was a fictional character, she never existed. The show is the show, the books are the books; two different tellings of the same story.
There have been differences between the novels and the television show since the first episode of season one. And for just as long, I have been talking about the butterfly effect. Small changes lead to larger changes lead to huge changes. HBO is more than forty hours into the impossible and demanding task of adapting my lengthy (extremely) and complex (exceedingly) novels, with their layers of plots and subplots, their twists and contradictions and unreliable narrators, viewpoint shifts and ambiguities, and a cast of characters in the hundreds.”George RR Martin (GRRM)
Who is fake!Aegon/f!Aegon
So let’s talk about this butterfly effect. One of the characters I was super bummed didn’t make it into the show was fake!Aegon. In a nutshell, f!Aegon is Rhaegor’s firstborn son with Elia Martell. It is indicated that the Mountain killed Aegon during Robert’s Rebellion though Varys claims he saved the child and had him raised under the protection of Jon Connington (of the former Kingsguard).
I loved his storyline (if only due to the fact his story derives historically from the Princes in the Tower) and his potential to rock the boat for our favourite characters.
I’m going to go so far as to argue omitting him has caused this season of Game of Thrones to not make as much narrative sense.
Varys has always supported f!Aegon
One thing from episode 4 that rings true to the books is Varys’ conversation with Tyrion. Both show!Varys and book!Varys’ number one priority has always been the realm and it’s people.
The reason he backs f!Aegon so thoroughly in the books is explained when he murders Kevan Lannister:
“Aegon?” For a moment he [Kevan] did not understand. Then he remembered. A babe swaddled in a crimson cloak, the cloth stained with his blood and brains. “Dead. He’s dead.”
“No.” The eunuch’s voice seemed deeper. “He is here. Aegon has been shaped for rule since before he could walk. He has been trained in arms, as befits a knight to be, but that was not the end of his education. He reads and writes, he speaks several tongues, he has studied history and law and poetry.
A septa has instructed him in the mysteries of the Faith since he was old enough to understand them. He has lived with fisherfolk, worked with his hands, swum in rivers and mended nets and learned to wash his own clothes at need.
He can fish and cook and bind up a wound, he knows what it is like to be hungry, to be hunted, to be afraid. Tommen has been taught that kingship is his right. Aegon knows that kingship is his duty, that a king must put his people first, and live and rule for them.”
I’m also going to point out how Varys’ statement fits Arya’s situation perfectly later on.
Is f!Aegon actually fake?
I’m not 100% sure on this one but I think doesn’t need to be confirmed either way. There is heavy evidence that he is an actually a Blackfyre imposter and not a Targaryen. I personally feel like it could go either way and overall it doesn’t matter whether he is or isn’t. For simplicities sake I will refer to him as fake.
Both Jon and Cersei have had f!Aegon merged into their show arcs
This is why we have Show!Varys siding with Jon, when in the books he will be 100% team f!Aegon. This is also why Jon’s been named Aegon in the show, because let’s be honest: why would Rhaegar name both his sons Aegon? That’s just stupid. (I believe Jons real Targaryen name will either be Jaehaerys or Aemon).
F!Aegon will have the Golden Company under his command, which is where the other part of his storyline is merged with Cersei. I also believe f!Aegon will be on the throne at this point in time.
Jonsa isn’t happening folks (but something similar will)
Sorry guys. I know based on the show (this points to Sophie and Kit’s epic acting skills as well as book canon divergences) that it looks like they are hinting a possible Jon and Sansa relationship. But as we know, we need to take parts of the show with a grain of salt.
It’s only when we compare it with book content to see what matches up. Trajectory speaking book wise, Sansa and Jon are no where near meeting up in their story arcs. Instead it’s going to be Arya and Jon meeting up first (but I’ll get to that later).
Show!Sansa’s story has been merged with fake!Arya’s plot
And this is another error the show has made. Not only did it lessen Jon and Arya’s close sibling bond in the show, but it’s made a complete mess of Book!Sansa’s story (which is a MASSIVE shame. I absolutely love Book!Sansa, although I feel Show!Sansa’s is ironically starting to get back on track a smidge).
I believe Sansa with LittleFinger’s training (sans that Show!Ramsey rape thank God) she will turn out to be just as cunning and strategically aware. Yes, she will be a master manipulator. I believe she’s going to be a huge asset to f!Aegon.
Sansa will be a Queen in the books
Hear me out before you blast me. Sansa will marry f!Aegon. Martin is setting them up to cross paths in the books. In a Game of Thrones, Ned mentions he will be the father of Queens twice (and yes I believe Arya will be a Queen too, but I’ll get to that soon.)
“That brought a bitter twist to Ned’s mouth. “Brandon. Yes. Brandon would know what to do. He always did. It was all meant for Brandon. You, Winterfell, everything. He was born to be a King’s Hand and a father to queens. I never asked for this cup to pass to me.”Ned (Eddard Stark), A Game of Thrones
I believe f!Aegon will die along with Varys (and poor Sansa will be a widow again if she doesn’t die alongside them). This is in line with GRRMs original 1991 leaked outline which I will talk about later in the article. f!Aegon has replaced Joffery. Most importantly, it explains the stupidity of the shows current Dany vs Sansa plot.
Why can’t we all just get along? The real reason this season is pitting all our favourite girls against each other
I personally hate how Show!Sansa and Show!Dany are pitted against each other for such weak, petty reasons. It sucks Not only does it do these two brilliant characters a disservice, it also lessens their book arcs.
But wouldn’t it make so much more sense for Sansa to be against Dany if she is threatening f!Aegon – her husbands – reign?
This is where Sansa’s smarts will be set to good f***ing use.
Jon would hesitate going against his supposed brother, most lords won’t back Dany because f!Aegon’s rule will be stable-ish
Jon wouldn’t want to wage war against someone who is potentially family (as well as married to his sister/cousin Sansa) – especially if f!Aegon is as I predict a fair and just ruler. This would also make it harder for Dany to gain support from the remaining lords in Westeros, especially if most of army dies after the Long Night and dragons are killed/stolen.
I believe Jon and the North will fully back Dany’s claim if f!Aegon threatens the North/is an unjust ruler/dies.
Tyrion will betray Daenerys
Yes, I believe Tyrion is going to be our tragic villain. He will we sympathise with him and understand his motivations for why he betrays our heroes. This post is a great resource with some of the quotes that indicate Tyrion’s eventual descent.
I think the most important quote we can take from the books (that also supports why without f!Aegon this season is all over the place) that indicates this betrayal is Quaithe’s prophecy to Daenaerys:
“No. Hear me, Daenerys Targaryen. The glass candles are burning. Soon comes the pale mare and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun’s son and the mummer’s dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal.”Quaithe
This is who I predict the following to be:
- Kraken – Either Euron and Victarion
- Dark Flame – Moqorro
- Lion – Tyrion Lannister
- Griffin – Jon Connington
- Sun’s Son – Quentyn Martell
- Mummers dragon – Griff/f!Aegon
- Perfumed Seneschal – Varys
I believe the lion Quaithe talks about is Tyrion because of the way Quaithe words her sentence “soon comes the ….” . Tyrion in the books (and show) is travelling towards Dany.
Dany a Mad Queen? Unlikely.
Will Tyrion betray Dany because she becomes a mad queen? Nope. I don’t think she’s being set up to go mad in the books (although I can’t back this 100%, there’s still a small part of me that’s not sure).
Is she a grey character? Sure is, in fact a lot of our heroes are (I personally believe she’s not as grey as Jon, Arya or Tyrion – though that may change in the future books.)
I believe Tyrion will betray her for Jaime who is arguably (besides Jon Snow) his only true friend. Whether he betrays Dany to go on Team Jon or Team Aegon/Cersei in the show remains to be seen.
Daenerys as the saviour of Westeros
That’s right guys, the real hero of ASOIAF is our homegirl. This is pure speculation on my part, mostly because of Jons overall endgame. There’s a reason he needs to know that he’s Rhaeger and Lyanna’s son and that’s because he will need it to end up on the throne as King. From this current episode I am guessing that there won’t be a marriage between Dany/Jon with them co ruling as I originally thought.
I truly believe that Dany’s endgame ties in with Tyrions betrayal. Because she ends up trusting Tyrion (which Quaithe warns her against) – his betrayal will have (unintentionally) massive consequences for Dany. I personally believe that Dany will have to choose between the throne or saving her people.
We have seen time and time again Danys compassion for the small folk, she is the breaker of chains after all. However this compassion seems to war with her sense of entitlement as a ruler. In the end I believe her compassion will end up being the victor (we’ve already seen this by her fighting in The Long Night rather than attacking Cersei/f!Aegon). Maybe in the fight against Euron (after he hypothetically uses the Dragon Horn he found in Valyria to control one of her dragons?)
Tyrion will be inconsolable for his part (however unintentional) in Dany’s endgame. He will regret his actions and labelled as a villain in Westerosi history. Daenerys Stormborn however will be a hero and the stuff of legend.
Do I think Jonerys will happen in the books? I’m pretty positive
There’s a quite bit of evidence that Jon and Daenerys will end up being involved with each other in the books. But the real question is will the relationship last till the end of the books? I’m not a gambling kind of girl but after this last episode I’m pretty sure it won’t. I believe Jon will support Dany’s bid for the throne, but they won’t be the overall endgame pair.
Let’s be honest, Drogo was Dany’s OTP
I confess, I originally thought Jon would be her endgame and it would wrap up the story with the two last Targaryens sitting neatly on the throne. But this is ASOIAF and things don’t go the way you’d expect.
What Jon has shown in this episode is that he doesn’t truly love or understand Dany. She’s more alone now than she was before she met her nephew.
” A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing.”Maester Aemon
I thought Jon would help her to not feel alone anymore, instead he’s made it worse. He has his family, his pack – The Starks – and has chosen them, not Dany. On top of this, her claim to the throne is threatened by Jon existing.
Okay, leading to my point that Drogo was the love of Dany’s life: In the TV show Drogo rapes Dany which God knows why. In the books however, it’s a completely different story. He doesn’t rape her, she gives her consent wholeheartedly.
Hands down Drogo was the best relationship Dany has had. He supported her wholeheartedly in all of her actions. Not only that but he was willing to wage war in Westeros for her, to cross the narrow sea (something the Dothraki have never done).
What’s always fascinated me about Dany’s story is the red door she believes leads “home.” I believe Drogo is her house with the red door:
When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,” she said sadly. “When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When my womb quickens again, and I bear a living child. Then you will return, my sun-and-stars, and not before.”Daenerys Targaryen, A Game of Thrones.
She is beyond important in her role against the White Walkers and the Battle for the Dawn, she couldn’t die before this moment. Her role was to lead the Dothraki and Unsullied to fight the undead, to be the saviour of mankind. I believe Dany will return to Drogo when she dies and that is the definition of bittersweet for her story arc.
Jon being King will be more left field in the books
In the show, Jon being King is all but outright indicated at this point along with his massive dragon screaming plot armour (i’m sorry Dany fans, I was hoping for her to end up on the throne as well).
In the books however he will be a last resort. After Aegon, after Dany, that’s when Jon’s legitimacy comes into play. Only only because he won’t want the throne, but also who would believe a supposed bastard born without sufficient evidence?
Bran and Howland Reed (another character never to make the light of day in the show besides a very brief flashback) will tell Jon about his real parents and with Brans help they will uncover some documentation of his parents marriage (and perhaps Rhaegar’s harp?) to prove his legitimacy.
Much Ado about Bran
Also, like everyone, I have no f***ing idea about Bran. The show is no help at all – I mean seriously, he zoned out to play Skyrim during the The Long Night. His endgame is anyone’s guess.
EDIT 9TH MAY 2019: Okay so after having a conversation with u/lilchamp it got me thinking more about Bran’s endgame.
Bran has always been the hardest to figure out (especially because IMO his story arc hasn’t developed in ASOIAF nearly as far as the other main characters.) Because of this my predictions for Bran have the least textual evidence. I will be using the show *shudder* to back up my theory instead, along with GRRM’s original outline.
Grab your Sherlock tinfoil hats guys as we try to use the powers of deduction to predict his endgame.
What we know: Bran has been manipulating events for the “Greater Good”
Like I mentioned to u/lilchamp – that we haven’t seen the Jon/Sansa/Arya statue scene in the crypts from the initial trailers yet. I’m guessing this scene will contribute more Bran’s overall story and we will *hopefully* see more in the last two episodes.
This got me thinking about Bran’s storyline since Hodor died. What do we know Bran can do as the Three Eyed Raven?
- He has warging abilities (which is also a Stark thing as Arya and Jon can warg into their wolves in the books)
- By extension we know he can go back in time and manipulate the past (such as the HODOR “Hold the Door” incident)
More importantly, what has Bran contributed to the TV series so far?
- He gave Arya the dagger used to kill the Night King (I’m not going to debate if Arya is Azor Ahai as it’s irrelevant to my point)
- He manipulated Theon by giving him the courage to attack the Night King in order to buy more time for Arya (who he knew would kill the Night King)
- He seems bloody invested in making sure Jon knows his true parentage. He essentially forces Sam to tell Jon – but for what purpose? It didn’t help during The Long Night. As I’ve mentioned before Jon’s endgame goes beyond the White Walker threat and so does Brans. Their stories are intertwined.
- In Ep 4 he essentially forces Jons hand in telling Sansa and Arya his true identity, leading to Sansa causing more conflict.
He wants Jon on that throne. Not Dany, not f!Aegon, but Jon. Why? I have no idea. But this his is paramount to how the rest of the story will play out.
Bran is not Bran anymore
This is self explanatory. Bran has constantly reminded us that he is no longer Bran. Despite this I (and I’m sure a lot of you have as well) still associate him with the little boy that fell out of the window. Bran is our Red Herring guys.
What we are dealing with now is an omnipotent being whose motivations are unclear. And our favourite characters are automatically trusting him due to their love for Bran.
Is he manipulating events for own agenda under the pretence of saving humanity? Quite possibly. The problem is, we don’t know what that agenda is. Is it for the good of the realm? or is it for a more sinister purpose?
This new Bran reminds me of another ASOIAF character
While I was contemplating Bran’s storyline my mind kept on going back to an interview GRRM had where he discussed another ASOIAF character, Petyr Baelish (AKA: Littlefinger). No, I do not think Bran is Littlefinger. In this interview GRRM points out the difference between show!Littlefinger and Book! Littlefinger:
“Book Littlefinger and television show Littlefinger are very different characters. They’re probably the character that’s most different from the book to the television show… “There was a line in a recent episode of the show where, he’s not even present, but two people are talking about him and someone says ‘Well, no one trusts Littlefinger’ and ‘Littlefinger has no friends.’ And that’s true of television show Littlefinger, but it’s certainly not true of book Littlefinger. Book Littlefinger, everybody trusts him. Everybody trusts him because he seems powerless, and he’s very friendly, and he’s very helpful… he’s everybody’s friend.”George RR MArtin (GRRM)
I think this statement also applies to Three Eyed Raven Bran. Everyone trusts him, he’s crippled and seems powerless, he’s an asset against the white walkers. He’s everybody’s friend.
Bran in the original outline
Combining all of this with GRRM’s original outline left me shook. Let’s take the original outline:
When his father Eddard Stark is executed, Bran will see the shape of doom descending on all of them, but nothing he can say will stop his brother Robb from calling the banners in rebellion…When Winterfell burns, Catelyn Stark will be forced to flee north with her son Bran and her daughter Arya. Wounded by Lannister riders, they will seek refuge at the Wall, but the men of the Night’s Watch give up their families when they take the black, and Jon and Benjen will not be able to help, to Jon’s anguish. It will lead to a bitter estrangement between Jon and Bran.
After much consideration and debate I truly believe GRRM’s original outline holds the core of the series conflict – the Broad Strokes are essentially the same. Bran and Jon were always meant to rival one another.
Looking at all of this in a more conspicuous light and questioning all his actions so far has lead me to one conclusion: If Jon is meant to be the hero of the story, and Brans arc intertwines with his so closely, then Bran is the true villain.
The Three Eyed Raven will be the FINAL enemy.
Not f!Aegon, not our sympathetic villain Tyrion. Puns aside, he’s been staring us in the face the whole time.
Here are some interesting reddit theories on Brans possible true nature. Any of these could be possible and are interesting reads:
Now let’s completely change the subject:
Will Gendrya happen in the books? Absolutely.
There’s foreshadowing like hell for this to happen, especially on Gendry’s part. Will they last? Like Jon and Dany before them, I doubt it. Long story short in the books (similar to the TV show) Arya begs Gendry to stay with her and he refuses.
The main difference is that in the TV show he is sold the the Red Woman (also one of my favourite characters, she is such a misunderstood character) and essentially has no choice in the matter. Book!Gendry however stays with the Brotherhood by choice (we know it’s so he could become a Knight and belong to a family of his own where he would be an equal – if he left with Arya he would always be beneath her due to her highborn status. He does regret it afterwards). Arya runs away from the Brotherhood when Gendry rejects being part of her pack and gets captured by the Hound.
Since then Gendry enters her thoughts only once or twice during her adventures in Bravos so far, and either bitterly (where she remembers he used to be part of her pack) or fleetingly with indifference.
Will they meet up again? Definitely. Will there be romance? More than likely. But at the end of the day, like the current episode 4, she won’t consider him part of her pack.
Was I surprised that Arya turned down Gendry’s marriage proposal? Not in the slightest (was I disappointed? hell yes). Gendry is not part of her pack in the books. Not only that, Arya has also repeated time and time again whenever her name and the word Lady have been used in the same sentence “That’s not me.”
But how can I believe Arya will be a Queen if she doesn’t even want to be a lady? Simple. It goes back to Arya’s pack mentality. Arya’s main theme across her arc has been about family. As Ned tells her in A Game of Thrones: “The lone wolf dies but the pack survives.”
For example, would Arya become Queen in the North if her family needed her to? I would argue yes. Would she be happy about it? No way in hell. As Arya states in season 7 to Sansa: “The world doesn’t just let girls decide what they’re going to be.” I believe this will apply to Arya by the end of the show and books.
I also have a random question dear readers that I would like you to sit on: Who does Gendry remind Arya of the most?
“NO!” Arya and Gendry both said, at the exact same instant. Hot Pie quailed a little. Arya gave Gendry a sideways look. He said it with me, like Jon used to do, back in Winterfell. She missed Jon Snow the most of all her brothers.Arya Stark
Isn’t it weird she’s had/will have a relationship with someone that reminds her of Jon?
What everyone isn’t taking away from this current episode (S8, Ep4)
Yes there has been a lot wrong with season 8 (although I’m enjoying this far more than season 7 – which in my opinion had the worst storyline as it PITTED our favourite Stark girls against each other and makes Sansa want to kill Arya) there have been bits that make narrative sense when combined with the books.
Earlier I mentioned Varys’ quote about protecting the realm and Tyrion’s wavering loyalty to Daenerys, now I’m going to focus on Arya.
Go on everyone, rewatch this episode and focus solely on Arya’s actions. First she denied Gendry, someone she cares for and stayed true to her character. Most importantly during the war room scene she was the only one who read the entire room to come to her own conclusions.
MOREOVER SHE IS ONLY ONE WHO ACKNOWLEDGED THAT JON DID THE RIGHT THING BY BENDING THE KNEE TO DANY IN ORDER FOR HER SUPPORT AGAINST THE WHITE WALKERS. Then she acknowledged that Sansa was right about letting their men rest, etc, before marching to Kings Landing.
Her ‘us against the world’ family pack mentality is also telling (funny she hasn’t included Gendry in this pack of hers isn’t it?). She trusts only her family, her pack, and I personally felt these two scenes were the truest to Book!Arya that the show has been in a long time. She’s also vehement that Jon is a Stark, which I believe won’t change when she finds out the truth – he’s still part of her pack.
I believe Arya gallivanting off with the Hound (and going against her whole Book and Show storyline about family) is because she plays a pivotal part in Kings Landing (and no, I don’t think she’ll kill Cersei, that’s going to be either Jaimes or Tyrions pot of tea.)
The true endgame pairing
That’s right folks, I’ll say it now. This series will end with King Jon and Queen Arya. Before you all close this page in disgust let me point out one thing: I’m not saying this will be a romantic relationship (at least in the show it won’t, the books are a whole different kettle of gray fish. I predict the book relationship is going to be incredibly unhealthy af.)
Let me explain the reasons why I’ve come to this conclusion.
1. Foreshadowing of Jon and Arya in the Books
George RR Martin has Jon and Arya constantly refer to each other in their point of view chapters. It’s to the point of ridiculousness (and at times bloody inappropriate – I’m calling Book!Jon out for comparing Ygritte’s body to Arya’s in particular). When asked about this GRRM commented:
Granny: Are you trying to say something to the reader by drilling into us how much Arya and Jon love each other?
George_RR_Martin: “Say something to the reader?” No, I’m just reporting how the characters feel. Of course, everything in the book says something to the reader.George RR Martin (GRRM)
I won’t call out every time they’ve thought of each other (Spoiler: It’s a lot) but I will summarise it as neatly as possible.
- CONSTANTLY reminds us that Jon and Arya miss each other the most out of everyone
He would give anything to be with her now, to muss up her hair once more and watch her make a face, to hear her finish a sentence with him.Jon Snow
She would have given anything if Jon had been here to call her “little sister” and muss her hair.Arya Stark
- Makes Jon question if Arya was ever his sister before knowing about his true parentage
“It had been so long since he had last seen Arya. What would she look like now? Would he even know her?”Jon Snow
“Jon had never met anyone so stubborn, except maybe for his little sister Arya. Is she still my sister? he wondered. Was she ever?”Jon Snow
- Has Jon compares the girls he finds attractive (such as Ygritte) to ARYA on multiple occasions. Arya also compares Gendry to Jon.
Ygritte trotted beside Jon as he slowed his garron to a walk… She reminded him a little of his sister Arya, though Arya was younger and probably skinnier. It was hard to tell how plump or thin Ygritte might be, with all the furs and skins she wore.Jon Snow
- Makes Jon forgo his Nights Watch Oath (something he did not do for Ned or even Robb) and die to protect Arya (this is where the show stuffed up with Sansa taking over fake!Arya’s storyline). Ramsays letter has him seething (understandably) with Jon muttering “I want my bride back” multiple times.
- has Jon think Arya’s home is with HIM. Not at Winterfell, but with Jon.
Bring her home, Mance. I saved your son from Melisandre, and now I am about to save four thousand of your free folk. You owe me this one little girl.Jon Snow
- Has Jon call Arya his HEART
“I have no sister.” The words were knives. What do you know of my heart, priestess? What do you know of my sister?Jon Snow
I could go on and on about this but it has already been done to death in the links below. I definitely suggest you read these posts as they go into their relationship in the books in a much greater depth: Part One, Part Two, Part Three
Not only this, but Arya and Jons arcs are beginning to merge into one another. By the end of ADWD Jon has been murderd by his Black Brothers and Arya is halfway through her Faceless Man training. GRRM hints at their reunion in one of Arya’s chapters:
“…he sang about some stupid lady throwing herself off some stupid tower because her stupid prince was dead. The lady should go kill the ones who killed her prince.”Arya Stark
Just like Jon broke his Nights Watch vows for her, Arya will break her Faceless Man vows for Jon. After all, Arya’s arc is about family, her pack, and by extension, getting revenge for her family. As Jon mentions to her in A Game of Thrones “Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle” – their stories were definitely meant to intertwine.
Right now this relationship is platonic in the books. But with a resurrected Jon whose last thoughts were of “Ghost” and Arya “Stick them with the pointy end” it’s a whole different ball game. Unlike the show, revived characters such as Lady Stonehart don’t come back the same as what they were when alive. Lady Stonehart is obsessed with revenge against the Freys, and would potentially butcher allies such Brienne because her association with Jaime Lannister automatically makes Brienne a traitor in her eyes.
I predict a Jon who’s last thought was Arya will come back obsessed, just like Lady Stonehart. Also, an Arya who has retained her identity only due to Needle and Nymeria (and the Old Gods) would be different as well. She will essentially be a child soldier with massive PTSD, who only fully trusts her family.
Something that always seemed off to me was the wording GRRM used in Arya and Jons early chapters when they were interacting with one another (i.e.: words such as “supple as sin”). For more information read this gifting of needle post.
He would father no sons who might someday contest with Catelyn’s own grandchildren for Winterfell.Catelyn Stark (Nee Tully), A Game of Thrones
This early quote also gave me a laugh. Wouldn’t it be ironically funny if Jon’s sons were Catelyn’s grandchildren? This doesn’t point to a Jon/Arya endgame but I just wanted to add it in for laughs.
2. Why we should prepare for a Queen Arya endgame
Like I mentioned earlier, Varys’ ADWD speech about what makes f!Aegon a good ruler ironically matches Arya’s journey and what she learns along the way. There is a reason Arya is gaining so many skills and knowledge of the world. GRRM is setting Arya up to help Jon navigate Westerosi politics and help create a stable future for the realm. Would Arya leave Jon to the sharks? Nope, he’s a part of her pack.
Jon and Arya arguably have the most important relationship in ASOIAF. GRRM would not make them think of each other so much if their relationship won’t have any impact on the story.
That brought a bitter twist to Ned’s mouth. “Brandon. Yes. Brandon would know what to do. He always did. It was all meant for Brandon. You, Winterfell, everything. He was born to be a King’s Hand and a father to queens. I never asked for this cup to pass to me.”Ned (Eddard) Stark, A Game of Thrones
You,” Ned said, kissing her lightly on the brow, “will marry a king and rule his castle, and your sons will be knights and princes and lords and, yes, perhaps even a High Septon.” –Ned (Eddard) Stark, A Game of Thrones
These quotes are pretty much explain themselves. Why would Ned keep on referring that he is the father of queens? Only Sansa is engaged to Joffery at this stage, so it should only been queen. You would think this is a typo until the second quote where he tells Arya that she will marry a king.
The girl smiled in a way that reminded Jon so much of his little sister that it almost broke his heart. “Let him be scared of me.” The snowflakes were melting on her cheeks, but her hair was wrapped in a swirl of lace that Satin had found somewhere, and the snow had begun to collect there, giving her a frosty crown. Her cheeks were flushed and red, and her eyes sparkled.Jon Snow, A Dance With Dragons
Here are some extra Queen Arya links:
3. The infamous 1991 original outline and other interviews
In a nutshell this leaked outline revealed some eye opening things that GRRM wanted to do with his original series. Granted a few of these things did not come to pass (Sansa having Joffery’s baby comes to mind, though imo F!Aegon has replaced Joffery, EDIT: 9TH MAY 2019 I also believe Bran and Jons rivalry will remain the same. It will be the final showdown at the end of the books) but the basic broad strokes have remained the same. One part is Jon Snow’s parentage:
“Their passion will continue to torment Jon and Arya throughout the trilogy, until the secret of Jon’s true parentage is revealed in the last book.”George RR Martin’s (GRRM) Original A Song of Ice and Fire Outline
Funny how GRRM made Jon and Arya fall in love while thinking they were siblings so we could compare (and judge) them to our other incest couple Jaime and Cersei. This is deliberate so the reader will question how they are any better than those nasty Lannisters. This is pivotal in the books as Jon and Arya’s characters get much more grey (i.e.: Jon sacrifices Gilly’s baby for the greater good, etc). We as readers are meant to realise that they are no different, and that my friends is horrifying.
Not only that, GRRM goes a step further and gives Jon different parents (ironically having Jon come from a family line where brothers fall in love with sisters who look identical to them) so they could live (for the most part) happily ever after. Marriages between cousins are commonplace in Westeros. For example, Tywin Lannister and his wife Joanna Lannister were first cousins.
But Arya is too young to get married
Yeah no. Arya will be 12 by the time ASOIAF ends. In the books Dany marries Drogo when she is 13, Sansa marries Tyrion when she is 12-13 years old. This is a common age for girls to get married in Westeros.
GRRM is keeping the same original ending
Additionally, wouldn’t you be pissed if someone leaked information that would potentially ruin part of the ending of the series you worked so hard on? I sure as hell would be.
On that note, GRRM has insisted that he would be keeping the same ending as 1991 (around the time he wrote the infamous Arya-Jon-Tyrion outline). Here’s the quote:
“As I write these last two books I’ll be moving towards the endings that I’ve known since 1991 but many of the fine details may be moved around and changed.”
“Some major characters — yes, I always had plans, what Tyrion’s arc was gonna be through this, what Arya’s arc was gonna be through this, what Jon Snow’s arc is gonna be. I knew what the principal deaths were gonna be, and when they were coming.”George RR Martin (GRRM)
When talking about the original five year gap he had planned in the books, GRRM mentioned that the gap worked well for some characters and not so well for others. Most importantly, I think the character this worked for the most was Arya.
“If a twelve-year old has to conquer the world, then so be it.”George RR Martin (GRRM)
Who’s going to be 12 when the series roughly ends? ARYA.
GRRM abandoned this five year gap, but we need to ask ourselves the question: Why did Arya need to be aged up in the first place? I can only think of one reason, a romance subplot that will end up with her being queen.
GRRM is making us question what makes the Starks any better than the Lannisters.
We’ve all been blind this whole time and grossed out by Lannister-cest to even think about this possible route. We idolise the Starks and want them to win far too much, which they will. But at what cost?
It will be bittersweet for us because after everything all of these wonderful characters have gone through, all the sacrifices that have been made, we are back at square one.
Sweet because the Starks are on the throne and their family is safe, bitter because the Starks – due to the trauma they have experienced – have become completely different people, and all our survivors are much more morally grey in the process.
“Jon Snow and Arya are two of the most important characters in the story and they love each other very deeply.”David Benioff, Game of Thrones: Inside the Episode. Season 8: Episode 01.
And that’s it folks!
Whew! Thank you for coming to my TED talk. Also thank you to everyone I have linked external articles explaining things more in depth. If you managed to read through all of this congratulations! Once again these are just my personal theories that I believe will happen in the books (and by extension explain why the show is so all over the place the last couple of seasons).
*All GIFs are from GIPHY and are the property of HBO.