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When it comes to most shows, you’d do pretty well to flat-out ignore the vast majority of fan theories that are proffered. In the case of Game of Thrones, though, fan theories have real weight. Ever since some eagle-eyed fan claimed it was just logical that Jon Snow was the offspring of a Targaryen and a Stark (and therefore the rightful King of Westeros) all the way back in 1997, Game of Thrones fan theories have continued to roll out with pinpoint accuracy. As the series enters its inevitably bloody final season, let’s take a look at some of the most compelling fan theories that have come about during the show’s run.

1. R+L=J Ruined the Series Biggest Twist Before the Show Even Aired

The most famous fan theory (maybe ever), R+L=J was forwarded in 1997. It stated that unlike the official story which cast John Snow as Ned Stark’s bastard, John Snow was actually Ned Stark’s nephew, the offspring of former king Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned’s sister, Lyanna Stark. That explanation not only explains a ton of lingering threads in the universe, it also makes the meaning of the book’s title perfectly clear. The series — A Song Of Ice and Fire — refers specifically to John Snow, the offspring of Ice (the Starks) and Fire (the Targaryens).


2. Somebody Around Here Is Azor Ahai …

People who have stuck solely to the TV series probably have no clue who or what an Azor Ahai is. HBO watchers will instead recognize Azor Ahai’s title, “The Prince That Was Promised.” Essentially, the book’s histories hold that this ancient hero and noted White Walker slayer Azor Ahai will come back to life at a time of great need to wield a flaming sword and stand against the Others. Right now, the two most likely candidates for Azor Ahai reborn are Daenerys Targaryan and John Snow. In myth, Azor Ahai is closely linked with dragons (he’s able to raise them from the stone). To date, we’ve seen John Snow rock a flaming sword and we’ve seen Dany bring some dragons to life, so it’s still anyone’s game.


3. … And It’s Totally the Onion Knight

One of the most off-kilter theories floating around about the true identity of Azor Ahai is that perennial right-hand man, Davos Seaworth, is in fact Azor Ahai reborn. The sheer fact that he’s such a long shot makes this theory pretty intriguing (and it doesn’t hurt that the Onion Knight is a total sweetheart). In Season 2, he picked up a flaming sword like it was no big deal. At the end of Season 2, he’s metaphorically reborn after everybody thinks he’s dead following the Battle of Blackwater. And he’s there at John’s resurrection. Remember that it’s not Melisandre left alone in the room with John before his resurrection, it’s Davos. The Onion Knight is the one pleading for John’s return, and it’s the Onion Knight who’s most responsible for raising the dead Targaryan dragon from the stone.


4. Euron Greyjoy Will Be Able to Control a Dragon

The Greyjoy siblings’ uncle, Euron, has upended a whole lot of stuff in his relatively short stint on the show, but some fans think he may have more in store. At one point, the nefarious sea captain told Cersei that he had a present for her. Though it’s likely that Euron’s gift was taking Dorn out of the battle (at least for the time being), some fans think that he might have been referring to a legendary horn called Dragonbinder, which is in Euron’s possession in the books. If it doesn’t melt you from the indside out (long story), Dragonbinder can reportedly turn a dragon into the user’s pet. Some believe that Euron or Cersei will use Dragonbinder to successfully sway a dragon to their side. This is an admittedly slim possibility considering that Dragonbinder hasn’t yet been mentioned in the show.


5. Jaime or Tyrion Will Kill Cersei

Now that Cersei has officially gone off her rocker and kicked out the only person who ever actually like her (let alone loved her), some fans believe that her brother and lover Jaime Lannister will take it upon himself to rid the world of his maniacal sister. The other theory holds that Tyrion will finally get the opportunity to do the deed by choking the lights out of his long-deranged big sister.


6. Bran Is the Night King

At this point in the series, fans know that Bran, the youngest surviving Stark, has a unique role to play in whatever the heck is going to happen in the final season. As the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran can see the past and the present from every perspective. We also know that Bran can project his mind into the bodies of people in different timelines (remember, that’s how he turned Hodor into Hodor, after all). So, the theory goes that Bran will send his mind back through time to the moment when the Children of the Forest created the Night King. At that point, Bran will inhabit the body of that poor fellow becoming trapped when the Children of the Forest perform their nasty, little ritual.

Night King

7. No, Bran Isn’t the Night King, But He Is Still Wicked Important

You may not know this, but Brandon Stark is named after the First King in the North, the founder of House Stark, and one of the most famous of the First Men. Also known as Bran the Builder, the original Bran built Winterfell, Storm’s End, and the freaking Wall itself. He also managed to hold the North against foreign invaders. The theory goes that Bran will use his telepathic abilities to transport his mind back thousands of years to become Bran the Builder. At that point, he’ll set about taking all the steps needed to prevent the eventual rise of the Night King, i.e. building the Wall, starting the House that will give rise to the Prince That Was Promised, and basically just kickstarting the whole pile of dominoes that will eventually lead to the series finale.


8. The Dragon Riders

In the history of Westeros, the last Targaryan dragon rider, Aegon Targaryan, was supported by his two sister-wives, who also had their own dragons. So, because their were three dragon riders in the past, fans theorize that there must be three in the future. We already have one. Daenerys has ridden into battle on a dragon’s back tons of times. Number two is almost definitely John, because he’s a Targaryan and he’s super important. Dragon rider number three is still a mystery, however. Most fans point to Tyrion Lannister as the third dragon rider. Contrary to popular belief, dragons can be ridden by non-Targaryans. Add to that the fact that Tyrion has already gotten up close and personal with Dany’s dragons, as well. Fingers crossed on that front.


9. But, Hey, What About the Third Dragon?

So, by now you’re asking yourself how the good guys are going to get three dragons on their team. Fans of Game of Thrones know that one of Daenerys’ dragons has already been converted to the Night King’s side — the ice dragon was the method that the white walkers used to get through the Wall, after all. That leaves Team People one dragon shy of a prophecy. There are currently two theories that explain how this third dragon will enter the fray. Theory One: John can control the ice dragon. They’re both dead things revived, right? And John is most definitely a dragon rider, so why shouldn’t it work? Theory Two: There’s a dragon lying dormant in another section of the wall. However it will get revived, some fans believe it’ll come to John’s aid in a time of need. Either way, most GoT fans expect that John will get access to some kind of super dragon at some point before the end of the series.

Ice Dragon

10. In the Eye of the Giant

This increasingly plausible fan theory posits that the entire series is actually happening — wait for it — in the eyeball of a giant named Macumber. The theory is rooted in a statement Robb Stark made when he was alive in which he says his nursemaid once explained that the sky was blue because Westeros is in the eye of a giant. Proponents of the theory claim that the season 7 trailer — which ends on a single shot a giant, blue eye — is all but saying this theory is true. Honestly, let’s hope that it isn’t, because this theory is kind of lame and totally unrelated to the ongoing plot. Who cares if Westeros is in the eye of a giant — and didn’t Men in Black already use that concept?


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