One of its greatest accomplishments to date, last week’s episode of “Game of Thrones,” the spectacular “Hardhome,” marked a significant turning point in the series’ narrative. Power in Westeros will eventually come down to who has access to the tools needed to fight the White Walkers, and we now have a clearer picture of which ones characters may need most in the war to come. After reading my analysis, make your predictions for next week’s season finale and you could win our prize of a $100 Amazon gift certificate. It’s fun and easy, so start now by scrolling down and predicting who will die next.
While its Daenerys’ line to say, it’s the White Walkers and their army of the dead that seek to “break the wheel” of power in Westeros. Moving from the narrowly focused grasps at power of, for example, Cersei, the Boltons or Stannis to one of much greater scope, we now see that the true battle of the series is that between the Night’s King and everyone else.
Here are the four tools I think will be most important going forward into next week’s sure-to-be-epic finale:
Along with dragonglass, we now have confirmation that Valyrian steel can be used to kill the White Walkers. For non-readers who may not know the full story, Valyrian steel is rare in Westeros and only a handful of people have access to or are in actual possession of it. Jon Snow, we know, has Longclaw, the blade of House Mormont given to him by Jorah’s father. Ice, Ned Stark’s sword was also Valyrian steel, and after it was used to behead its owner, Tywin Lannister melted it down and forged two new swords from it: Widow’s Wail, given to Joffrey and probably now in the possession of Tommen, and Oathkeeper, give to Jaime Lannister, but now in the possession of Brienne of Tarth. The question is whether the warriors skilled enough to use them will live long enough to put them to the test.
We can faithfully assume that because dragonglass and Valyrian steel are weapons against the White Walkers, that dragons themselves must be, too. Though her power over them is tenuous at best, Daenerys has the only three in existence. Surely she can’t tame and be in control of all three, so we should be on the lookout for two others that may become the queen’s dragonriders.
Melisandre‘s presence in the future war has always seemed obvious — her fight against the darkness is a thinly veiled metaphor for the battle against the Night’s King. Her use of fire magic, while untested against the White Walkers, has proven successful in the past (remember when she hastened the deaths of Robb Stark and Joffrey Baratheon with leeches?) and happens to come from Asshai, an ancient city not wholly dissimilar to Valyria.
One of the less obvious, but potentially most significant changes from the books, is the show’s emphasis on greyscale. As of now, Jorah Mormont and the late Shireen Baratheon are the only known carriers of the disease, but there are more (“stone men”) hiding out in, of all places, Valyria. While this may just be a coincidence, is it possible that greyscale, too, has magical properties? My guess is that it may be used as a shield or armor against the power of the White Walkers, and if so the stock of those inflicted with it would rise exponentially.
You can now predict next week’s season finale at Gold Derby, so be sure to visit our predictions center and make/update your forecasts before voting closes Sunday at 5 p.m. PT. The eligible user with the highest prediction accuracy and most points will win a $100 Amazon gift certificate.
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To vote for who you think will die on “Game of Thrones,” drag your choices over from the left to the right and rank them in order, one through five. We’ve separated all 36 characters into three groups of 12 — MAIN, RECURRING, MINOR — so you have multiple chances each week to guess who’ll die next.
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