After more than a year hiatus, HBO’s Game of Thrones is finally returning to television this month with its seventh season. The series is now well past the point of adapting George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels (The Winds of Winter, Martin’s sixth of seven planned books, still has no release date) and has forged ahead into completely unknown territory as we move ever closer to its conclusion. Game of Thrones has never been shy about killing off characters before, so much so that the uncertainty of who will live and who will die has remained a consistent pull for viewers over the course of the show’s run.
Now, with Season 8 confirmed to be the final season and another large-scale war for the Iron Throne set to begin, the bodies will likely be piling up even faster than before. Of course, you can’t really tell a story without characters, so it’s not like every character is going to meet their end before this shorter-than-usual season is over, but there are definitely some who have a higher chance of being killed off than others. These are the 12 characters I think are most likely to die in Season 7, ranked in order of most to least likely to survive.
One of my favorite bits of news regarding Season 7 is that everyone’s favorite boat-rowing bastard Gendry will be finding his way to shore and back into the plot this season after three seasons of vacation. The circumstances of his reappearance are still unknown, but the show wouldn’t bother bringing Gendry back if he didn’t have an important role to play in upcoming events, and that role could fall into a few different categories. As we know, Gendry is a skilled blacksmith and with an increased need for Valyrian steel on the horizon thanks to the White Walker threat, perhaps it will fall on Gendry to make sure Westeros is well-stocked with Valyrian steel blades.
That being said, Gendry’s defining trait is his status as Robert Baratheon’s last remaining bastard son, which means that he still has a legitimate claim to the Iron Throne. How this will play into the ongoing war for the throne remains to be seen, but it could lead to conflict with Daenerys and even bring Gendry into contact again with Melisandre, who wanted to sacrifice him to the Lord of Light the last time they were together. I know I’m going to cheer when Gendry finally shows up on screen again, but I worry that my elation will quickly turn to dread once it becomes clear that Gendry isn’t long for this world. I really hope I’m wrong about him!
11. Tormund Giantsbane
Although the Wildlings number in the thousands, Tormund Giantsbane pretty much represents the group as a whole at this point, as he’s the only Wildling that the show has truly invested in building into a three-dimensional character. Straddling the line perfectly between savage brute and lovable bearded bro, Tormund is one of the most likable characters on Game of Thrones, as his fierce loyalty and penchant for supplying much-needed moments of levity (who can forget that look he gives Brienne?) make him a bright light in a harsh world.
Tormund has also proven to be one of the luckiest warriors in the series too, as he’s survived countless battles, including last season’s Battle of the Bastards, which I thought for sure would end with his demise. Unfortunately for Tormund, his status as a fan favorite puts an automatic target on his back and with even bigger wars still yet to come, Game of Thrones will likely lose its red bearded wild man before Season 7 wraps.
10. Beric Dondarrion
The Lightning Lord is making a dramatic return in Season 7, as evidenced by the most recent trailer, which features Beric Donadarrion brandishing a flaming sword while waiting to fight what I can only assume to be a group of White Walkers. Sure, Beric has proven himself to be a resilient survivor, given that he’s been successfully resurrected by his buddy Thoros of Myr multiple times now, but that good fortune has to run out sometime.
To be honest, I don’t think they would have brought Beric — who is an interesting, but still relatively minor character — back for Season 7 unless there are plans for him to make some sort of grand sacrifice and considering his fate is directly tied to that of another character, if Thoros isn’t around when Beric is inevitably killed again, he probably won’t be coming back this time.
9. Yara Greyjoy
I really do hope that Game of Thrones doesn’t kill off its most prominent lesbian character (who also happens to be one of its toughest female characters) but it’s hard to look at what’s been teased so far and not come to the conclusion that Yara Greyjoy is doomed. There have already been SPOILERS about Euron Greyjoy (more on him in a bit) capturing either Yara or Theon at some point during the season and considering we see what appears to be Theon crying out in anguish on a beach in the most recent trailer, it looks like Yara is the unfortunate Greyjoy sibling who gets to meet her psychotic uncle again. Euron did swear that he would kill both Yara and Theon, so if either one of them is captured by him, it’s safe to assume they’re not going to survive for very long.
Of course, there’s always the chance that Yara manages to escape or is never even captured in the first place, in which case I think she’ll end up surviving to the very end and become the Queen of the Iron Islands serving under Queen Dany. Unfortunately, Game of Thrones never gives us neat and tidy endings like that, so it’s much more likely that Yara will end up meeting the Drowned God than sitting on the same throne as her father.
8. Grey Worm
As the leader of the Unsullied and a personal bodyguard to Daenerys, Grey Worm is easily one of the Dragon Queen’s most loyal and important allies … and that’s why he’s not long for this world. Look, at this point it’s pretty clear that Daenerys is going to win the Iron Throne or at the very least survive to wage war with the White Walkers when they inevitably come knocking, but she’s not going to achieve victory without weathering some casualties along the way. In addition to Grey Worm’s prowess in combat, he’s also just a likable character and even has his own romantic subplot with Missandei, which looks to be getting very heated indeed in trailers for this season.
Of course, things could be turned around by having Missandei die and Grey Worm live on, but having the latter perish early on would strike a harder blow against Daenerys and potentially leave a good portion of her army without proper leadership. Whether against Euron Greyjoy’s forces at sea or Lannister knights on land, Grey Worm and the rest of the Unsullied will be facing their greatest challenges yet this season and Grey Worm is sure to be in the thick of it all and thus, directly in harm’s way. I wouldn’t count him out completely, as he could be left alive for another purpose later on but at this point, it just makes more narrative sense to kill him off.
7. Robin Arryn
Robin Arryn is one of those characters I forget even exists until the show decides to check in with him every once in a while. As the rightful heir to the Vale, Robin is technically one of the most important pieces in the Game of Thrones; however, being a piece is much different than being a player, and Robin most certainly has no clue to how to play the game. Robin is too obstinate and childish to recognize the maturity it takes to truly lead and assumes that everyone around him has his best interests at heart. This is why Littlefinger has been so successful up to this point controlling and manipulating Robin for his own gain, but he isn’t the only one looking to exert control over the Lord of the Eyrie.
Sansa could potentially step in and win Robin to her side, especially if she arranges a marriage with him, and there’s also Bronze Yohn Royce to consider, who we know is frustrated with Littlefinger’s hold over the Vale. Power struggles on Game of Thrones tend to end in bloodshed and there’s a very good chance that Robin’s luck will soon run out and he’ll find himself in the crossfire when the real players at the table make their moves.
6. Jorah Mormont
Jorah Mormont is a survivor in every sense of the word. From the moment Jorah fled Westeros after Ned Stark tried to have him executed for selling slaves — which took place before the series even began — the old knight has found a way to keep breathing. He fought through hell and back to get back to Daenerys Targaryen even after she banished him but on the way, he contracted greyscale, which is practically a death sentence. However, I don’t think it will be greyscale that does Jorah in, as Daenerys told him to return to her side once he’s found a cure for his disease.
No, if Jorah Mormont is going to go out at this stage, he’s going to go down fighting and protecting the one he loves, sacrificing his life at an opportune moment that will allow his queen to live on. It would be even more fitting if Jorah saves Dany from a betrayal (Daario Naharis, perhaps?) as it would prove to Dany all too late that there was no one she should have trusted more than the dishonored knight from Westeros who stuck by her to the very end.
5. Euron Greyjoy
Euron is set to be one of Season 7’s most prominent bad guys, as the sadistic pirate king has his sights set on not only his niece and nephew, but Daenerys as well. We already know that there’s going to be a giant ship battle waged between Euron’s forces and (most likely) Dany’s and given the former’s mastery of naval combat, I would wager that it will be Euron who proves victorious. In that sense, Euron is going to be a formidable threat early on, but I suspect that he’s basically a distraction character at this point and won’t be sticking around for the real war that is to come later in the season and into next. He’s going to make a big impact for a bit and really ruin some people’s days, but he will ultimately meet his end long before the series as a whole does.
4. The Mountain
It’s not easy to bring down a mountain. The Red Viper of Dorne (RIP, sweet prince) learned this the hard way in his ill-fated battle to the death with Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane, who went on to become a nigh-indestructible zombie tank named Ser Robert Strong who exists to do Cersei Lannister’s bidding. And for the early part of Season 7, the Mountain probably isn’t going anywhere, as Cersei has complete control over King’s Landing.
However, the Lannisters are pretty much surrounded on all sides by armies who want them dead and once they close in, the Mountain’s days are numbered. Whether it’s through Daenerys attacking King’s Landing with dragon fire or the long-awaited CLEGANEBOWL finally taking place, the Mountain will go down for good eventually … but he’s definitely going to take quite the body count with him before he does!
3. Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish
Littlefinger is such an unpredictable character that anticipating the time and circumstances of his demise is essentially a fool’s errand at this point. That being said, unless Lord Baelish is able to manipulate his way through the coming war — which, given his track record, is certainly possible — he’s made far too many enemies at this point to survive much longer. While Sansa remains his closest “ally” at this point, their allegiance is tenuous at best and Sansa has become a much stronger person since Littlefinger first took her under his wing.
Sansa has also shown that she has no sympathy for anyone who crosses her or her family, as evidenced by her brutal execution of Ramsay Bolton last season. While she doesn’t know the full truth yet, it’s safe to assume that Sansa will respond in kind with Littlefinger once she realizes how much devastation he himself has brought upon the Stark clan. Plus, Jon already looks like he wants to lop his head off and once Arya arrives at Winterfell, Littlefinger’s days will truly be numbered.
2. One of Dany’s Dragons
One complaint that comes up again and again among Game of Thrones fans seemingly unaware of how expensive CGI is is that the show doesn’t feature enough of Daenerys Targaryen’s fire-breathing dragons. While it’s unrealistic to think that Season 7 is going to be all dragons, all the time, the trailers have featured Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal much more prominently than in the past and given that Dany is set to finally wage war with her enemies in Westeros this season, we’ll probably be seeing more of the dragon trio than we ever have before.
The thing is, having three powerful dragons at her disposal almost makes things too easy for Dany, which is why I think we’ll see at least one of her dragons killed off over the course of the season. Having Dany lose one of the pillars of her power raises the stakes significantly, especially given how important dragon fire will be in bringing down the White Walkers. As the weaker, less important dragons, it will probably be either Rhaegal or Viserion who are killed, but the show could go for the gut punch by bringing down Drogon, the most powerful of the three and the one Dany is closest with. Either way, I will be very surprised if Season 7 ends without one of the dragons being brought down permanently.
1. Cersei Lannister
Over the course of the last six seasons, Cersei Lannister has proven herself to be a master of the game of thrones and played her best hand last season with her utterly jaw-dropping scheme that left a giant crater in King’s Landing filled with the remains of many of her enemies, including Queen Margaery and the High Sparrow. Cersei is now the Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, which means that she is now one of the most powerful people in Westeros. Unfortunately for Cersei, her backstabbing schemes have also made everyone who isn’t a Lannister her enemy at this point and the walls are closing in. With armies on all sides preparing to bear down on her and no shortage of people who will stop at nothing to murder her, it’s not a question of if Cersei will die, but when and how.
Will it be Daenerys executing her in the very spot where Cersei (and Joffrey) had Ned Stark beheaded all those years ago? Will it be Tyrion with a knife in the back, or Arya with a knife to the throat? Or could it even be Cersei’s brother/lover Jaime, finally growing a conscious and seeing his sister for the Mad Queen she really is? However it happens, Cersei’s death is sure to be one of Game of Thrones’ all-time greats and we’ll probably have to wait until the end of the season to get it, which means that we’re due for another season’s worth of fantastic acting from Lena Headey, which is never a bad thing.