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Will ‘Game of Thrones’ season 8 tie up these character loose ends?



Admittedly, when we think about Game of Thrones, we tend to think about the big players. 

In seven seasons, the drama has introduced hundreds of characters. No one would blame you for forgetting some of them even if they’re still alive and lurking somewhere.

HBO and the show’s creators have obviously kept a tight lid on who might show up in the final six episodes. But that doesn’t stop us from theorizing who might return one last time and just how it could impact the story.

1. Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman)

Daario might just rejoin Dany's ever increasing list of admirers again.

Daario might just rejoin Dany’s ever increasing list of admirers again.

Last seen: Season 6, “The Winds of Winter.” Daenerys asks Daario to lead the Second Sons and keep the peace in Meereen. After expressing reluctance and declaring his love for her, he agrees to stay. Is this the first ever Game of Thrones mutual breakup? I think so.

How he might return: Let’s assume Daario has successfully been doing what was expected of him: The Bay of Dragons is free of slavery, everything’s going great, etc., etc. Daario might just decide to travel to Westeros and fight for his chosen queen. What better way than by infiltrating The Golden Company?

We know Euron Greyjoy went to transport these mercenaries from Essos for Cersei in the Season 7 finale. Maybe Daario joins them and makes his way to the top of their chain so that when the time is right, he can land a crushing blow to Daenerys’ backstabbing Lannister enemy. His skills will also come in handy for the fight against the dead. 

2. Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies)

Has luck ever favored this poor fella'?

Has luck ever favored this poor fella’?

Last seen: Season 6, “No One.” Held captive after the dreadful Red Wedding in Season 3, Edmure returns briefly only to help the Lannisters and Freys regain control of Riverrun from his uncle Brynden Tully. Once this happens, he’s is thrown back in a cell. 

How he might return: Arya got rid of all the Freys and doesn’t mention her uncle Edmure even once. If he’s still rotting in a dungeon somewhere, either at the Twins or another Lannister holding, it would make him Cersei’s hostage. She can very well use Edmure as bait to try and persuade the Starks to rethink their alliances now that Jon has pledged himself to Daenerys. 

Edmure is the rightful heir to the Riverlands and therefore, a valuable ally if things work in his favor for once. The only way it can end well for him now is if he’s been freed and this just hasn’t come up because the Stark siblings were dealing with bigger problems (ahem, Littlefinger) or if someone, maybe Sansa, tries to negotiate for him. He is their oldest surviving relative, after all. 

3. Illyrio Mopatis (Roger Allam)

There would be no Mother of Dragons without him.

There would be no Mother of Dragons without him.

Last seen: Season 1, “The Wolf and The Lion.” Illyrio’s second and last appearance was his secret discussion with Varys in the tunnels of the Red Keep. They want to escalate the timeline of the Dothraki invasion on Westeros to support the Targaryen claim to the throne. 

How he might return: He hasn’t appeared on screen in years, but Illyrio helped shape Dany’s arc. He’s the reason she survived her exile, and has her Khalasar and her three two dragons. He’s been generous but we never truly understood why. In the books, Viserys promised to make him the Master of Coin, but the show only makes a minor passing reference to this in the series premiere.

It seems Illyrio has lurked in the background, fully committed to Dany’s claim, for years. In Season 5, Varys reveals to Tyrion how both of them planned for her ascension. So, where has Illyrio been while Dany went on to conquer multiple cities before setting sail? Why didn’t she bring him with her after everything he’s done? His contacts and wealth seem invaluable. Might he show up in the final season with more soldiers for Dany or will he arrive and expect the position he was promised? 

Illyrio has played a long game with Varys and I’d be curious to know what their plan was and who else was involved. I need him to show up with answers, damn it.

4. Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha)

A man will probably return for one last battle.

A man will probably return for one last battle.

Last seen: Season 6, “No One.” After killing the Waif, Arya returns to the House of Black and White and pointedly tells Jaqen who she is and where she is going: home. 

How he might return: Jaqen let Arya slip away from Braavos without the fuss we expected. Based on the masks she has gathered, she’s clearly using their killer technique. Maybe Jaqen returns to take revenge after all? Arya does seem to be extremely scared as she runs away from someone or something in the trailer

A more juicier theory is that Jaqen is actually Arya’s “dancing” instructor and fellow Braavosi Syrio Forel. It would explain the timing: Syrio apparently dies while fighting Meryn Trant in Season 1 as Arya escapes the gold cloaks. We don’t see this death on-screen, so who knows what really happened? Conveniently enough, Jaqen shows up right after when Arya is on her way to the Wall with Yoren and Gendry. If Jaqen and Syrio are the same person with different faces, it explains why a notable assassin like Jaqen was imprisoned when first introduced. 

If Jaqen does return — and, spoiler alert, Wlaschiha was spotted in Seville last year when the cast was shooting Season 8 — this would be a great explanation. Regardless, a skilled warrior who can literally change faces will be an important asset.

5. Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick)

Will Meera's reunion with Bran be as boring as their goodbye?

Will Meera’s reunion with Bran be as boring as their goodbye?

Last seen: Season 7, “Spoils of War.” Meera leaves Winterfell after a lackluster goodbye from Bran as a thanks for ensuring his safe return. She wants to join her family and be with them as the ice zombies approach.

How she might return: The thing is, Meera’s return can signify something much, much bigger. Her father Howland Reed was one of Ned’s closest friends and was with him at Tower of Joy. It’s been long suspected that besides Ned, he was possibly the only one with knowledge of Jon’s true parentage (before Bran and Sam, of course). 

Howland has never appeared on the show besides in flashbacks, but with Meera now home and aware of the looming threat, this might be when the Reeds (sorry, Jojen) choose to join the Starks at Winterfell for the battle. Besides, Meera is one of the few people who’s been North of the Wall and come back, y’know, in one piece, so she knows how to fight the pesky dead. 

6. Robin Arryn (Lino Facioli)

Ugh. Maybe he'll help? Who knows.

Ugh. Maybe he’ll help? Who knows.

Last seen: Season 6, “Book of the Stranger.” After falling prey to Littlefinger’s false show of love (and a pet falcon), Robin agrees to send the Knights of the Vale to aid Sansa and remove the Boltons from Winterfell.

How he might return: As a standalone character, Robin seems useless, but he is the Lord of the Vale. Now that Littlefinger is gone, Robin will look to Lord Yohn Royce for even more (correct) guidance. Royce has allied with Sansa, Robin’s cousin. Thanks to her brief stay at the Eyrie in Season 4, she’s aware of what it takes to control him. 

A long-standing theory is that Sansa will wed Robin to secure the bond between their houses. Even if that happens on the show, what will happen if he finds out that she knew Littlefinger killed his mother Lysa? With just six episodes and a lot of story to tell, Thrones seems unlikely to focus on Robin Arryn much, but here’s hoping the little weasel has matured in his time training with Royce if he does show up.

7. Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma)

She's feisty but even she can't survive starving alone in a dungeon.

She’s feisty but even she can’t survive starving alone in a dungeon.

Last seen: Season 7, “The Queen’s Justice.” Ellaria was captured along with her daughter Tyene, whom Cersei poisoned the same way Ellaria killed Myrcella. Oberyn’s former paramour is then left to rot in a cell.

How she might return: If she hasn’t already died or driven herself crazy alone in that dungeon, I’d say her chances of returning still aren’t very high. Dorne has lost all of its leaders and its value to the Seven Kingdoms, at least for now. Ellaria’s children are dead. The only way out for her is if someone other than Cersei wins the throne and frees her. 

8. Salladhor Saan (Lucien Msamati)

A true throwback.

A true throwback.

Last seen: Season 4, “The Laws of Gods and Men.” Pirate extraordinaire Salladhor is enjoying the warm baths and brothels of Braavos when Davos shows up, gives him a bag of gold, and asks him to lend his ships to transport them to Castle Black.

How he might return: Salladhor has been a good friend to Davos, rescuing him from the sea after the Battle of Blackwater in Season 2 and dropping him off to Dragonstone. But he didn’t sail with them to the Wall. Doesn’t he want his ships back? It’s important to note that Salladhor’s fleet will be useful if he returns, especially to Cersei (whom he wanted to sleep with in Season 2). Will he align himself with an old friend or an enemy?

9. Tycho Nestoris (Mark Gatiss)

Does anyone truly care about Tycho? Does Tycho care about Tycho?

Does anyone truly care about Tycho? Does Tycho care about Tycho?

Last seen: Season 7, “The Spoils of War.” The Iron Bank of Braavos employee visits King’s Landing to retrieve the money the crown owes them. He assures Cersei of the Iron Bank’s support, too — if she returns their gold in time. 

How he might return: Tycho was going to stick around for the gold Jaime was bringing from Highgarden before the loot train attack. That money is definitely gone. Will Tycho still stay or go back to Braavos empty-handed? Gatiss said in an interview that he hasn’t filmed for Season 8 and believes his character survives. 

It’s possible Tycho’s still around, sure, but let’s remember that the Golden Company killers are on their way to King’s Landing to help Cersei. How is she planning on paying them? I doubt the Iron Bank will further support her now. Will Tycho, even if he remains off-screen, be yet another hostage for her? 

10. Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan)

Oh, she'll be back alright. Probably with a vengeance.

Oh, she’ll be back alright. Probably with a vengeance.

Last seen: Season 7, “The Queen’s Justice.” Her uncle Euron captures and delivers her as a gift to Cersei. Since then, she’s been a prisoner for allying with Daenerys Targaryen. 

How she might return: Yara has been an important player in Thrones so it’s safe to bet on the fact that, despite missing from all promotional images and the trailer, she’ll return for the final season. Theon convinced some Iron Islanders to help him rescue her, just like she tried to rescue him when he was Ramsay’s captive. Yara lent her fleet to help Dany reach Westeros, which means she has more people willing to fight for her than she knows.

 If Yara does make it to Winterfell in time, she’s a competent fighter who will be of help. Alternatively, she can be a leader at Pyke and provide shelter to the non-soldiers because we’ve established that the wights can’t swim. 

11. Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey)

Protect him at all costs.

Protect him at all costs.

Last seen: Season 7, “Stormborn.” After reuniting with his old pal Arya (f.k.a. Arry!), he tells her the Boltons are defeated and Jon has regained control of Winterfell. This news is what motivates her to go back home instead of to King’s Landing to kill Cersei.

How he might return: Westeros’ best baker shall not, will not, better not perish. He tells Arya that just like her, he’s a survivor. Their methods might be vastly different, but he’s not wrong. Hot Pie has lived long enough and I hope that doesn’t change. If it does, let it happen off-screen, please and thank you. 

12. Ghost and Nymeria

We miss you, Ghost!

We miss you, Ghost!

Last seen: Ghost hasn’t shown up since Season 6’s “Oathbreaker.” Nymeria was seen in Season 7’s “Stormborn” for the first time in Season 1.

How they might return: Direwolves can be an excellent secret weapon against the dead. For the sake of my sanity and the survival of the living, I hope they join the final fight. 

12. Singing Lannister Soldier 1 (Ed Sheeran) 

What do we think really inspired the song "Castle on the Hill?"

What do we think really inspired the song “Castle on the Hill?”

Last seen: Season 7, “Stormborn.” He came, he sang, he bonded with Arya Stark.

How he might return: Tricked you! He’s definitely dead. RIP. 

Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres on April 14 on HBO.

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