What a steamy, throat-slashing, buttock-baring romp the final episode of Game of Thrones season seven proved to be. Jon Snow and Daenerys cemented their political alliance in traditional Targaryen fashion – “boatcest” is now trending on Twitter – while Lord Baelish was outfoxed by the tag-team of Sansa and Arya (who actually don’t hate one another after all).
Now that the eighth and final season is finally here, we have many more icky love scenes and character deaths to look forward to over the next few weeks. We can also expect answers to the many questions the finale left dangling – a bit like Tormund up on the Wall.
Here are the the 10 teasers we hope to (eventually) have answered.
1. Are Jon and Daenerys allies or potential enemies?
Kissing cousins – OK, aunt and nephew – Jon and Daenerys are in the honeymoon period of their alliance. But nothing kills young love faster than the revelation that one of the couple is a secret royal heir whose claim to the throne outranks that of their significant other. Sulky silences will be the least of it, you suspect, when it emerges that, far from natural bedfellows, Jon and Daenerys are vying to be the ultimate power in Westeros. Even if they wed, there’s only room for one pert behind on the Iron Throne.
2. Will Tormund and Beric survive them all?
Tormund devotees flooded the internet with freeze-frames of the chaotic scene in which he and Lord of Light chosen one Beric Dondarrion appear to plunge to their death. As we now know, they survived (with Eddison Tollett and others), managing to take their troop through Last Hearth. Again, narrowly escaping death by fellow escapees and a wight-ed Ned Umber. The duo have a sense of eager immortality, against all odds.
On the other hand,Beric has already died and returned a multitude of occasions and Tormund’s romance with Brienne has never quite transcended the realm of fan fiction, so there’s still scope for character development. This one is very much up in the air – much as Tormund and Beric probably are right now.
3. Has Jaime turned his back on Cersei for good?
Dungeons of Dragons players will recognise Jaime as a textbook example of a "lawful evil" character. He’s wicked – but guided by an indomitable sense of honour. When Cersei let slip she was planning to betray the Lannisters’s new allies he wasn’t having it and has dashed north to join the war against the Night King.
Is Jaime now a mortal enemy of the Queen – and if so, will he made pay for his betrayal? Potentially by Euron Greyjoy and the new mercenary army (albeit elephant-free, much to her dismay).
4. What next for Sansa and Arya?
The Winterfell sisters appeared on the brink of ripping each other's throats out but this was revealed to be a cunning feint on the part of the writers, with Littlefinger the one ultimately left bleeding out in the great hall of Winterfell. Has that put to bed Sansa and Arya’s mutual antagonism – or will the show further stoke their rivalry in season eight? Moreover, having just executed its leader, what is the status of Sansa’s relationship with The Vale?
5. Will someone finally join the dots and realise the whole thing is Tyrion’s fault?
Until season seven, Tyrion was convincingly painted as a master strategist. In season seven, however, he essentially orchestrated the downfall of mankind (while finding time to eavesdrop on Jon and Daenerys’s boatcest). It was, after all, Tyrion’s rubbish plan to send Jon Snow and his band of brothers north to capture a wight that gave the Night King use of a weaponised zombie dragon – allowing the White Walkers to bulldoze their way into the Seven Kingdoms.
Had Tyrion kept his mouth shut at that Dragonstone think-in several episodes back, the Wall would still be standing, with Tormund and Beric peacefully atop it. Perhaps the Queen’s Hand should be confined to latrine-cleaning for the foreseeable future.
6. Is the safety catch off regarding character deaths?
The suspicion is that the late Lord Baelish was a grudging sacrifice, offered up to fans eager for a big name to join the head-on-a-spike club of Ned Stark, Robb and Catelyn, Stannis. etc. But in the final season surely the show-runners will have to stop teasing and start killing off beloved characters in earnest? George RR Martin has promised the saga will have a bittersweet ending – so it seems unlikely Cersei, Jaime, Tyrion, Theon, Sansa et al will be allowed clop into the sunset. Will season eight usher in an extinction event for the Westeros A-list?
7. Will the North accept Queen Daenerys?
Having just got used to Jon Snow as ruler, are the residents of the Seven Kingdom’s chilliest territory seriously open to a restored Targaryen as monarch? No fan of Jon’s impetuousness Sansa, in particular, is likely to have strong thoughts about bending the knee to Queen Daenerys. Could we be in a for a three-way Stark face-off: Jon v Sansa v Arya?
8. Will Game of Thrones find a way to make us care about the Night King?
As major villain rather than supernatural shading, the Night King has turned out to be a bit of a snooze. He has one facial expression, which we are calling “apocalyptically peeved”, and all the personality of a tricky patch of black ice.
Even with an impressive dragon, Game of Thrones is going to have to find a way of making us engage emotionally with its ultimate bad guy. Thus far, the greater the screen time for the walkers, the less invested we are in fate of the Seven Kingdoms.
9. Who is the Azor Ahai? (Also, what is the Azor Ahai?)
First it was supposed to be Stannis. Then Jon Snow. But this season Melisandre suggested Daenerys could be the holy saviour who was promised – with the possibility that Jon and Daenerys might both embody the legendary figure also floated (fans, meanwhile, have promulgated the Hound, reborn in flames when thrust into a brazier as a child, as a candidate). Game of Thrones has just six episodes to untangle this theological teaser.
10: Will the show have time to squeeze on all the deaths it has portended?
A chinwag between Varys and the Red Woman early in season seven intimated both would die in Westeros – while in the finale Sandor seemed to hint that his brother, Gregor/The Mountain, could likewise look forward to a grisly doom (“This isn't how it ends for you, brother,” he said as they faced off).
At this rate it’s going to be hard to pay attention to the plot, with all the bodies piling up. More happily, there is a consensus that the Mountain v The Hound – aka “Celaganebowl” – may finally be on the cards.
Do you have a Game of Thrones fan theory to answer the 10 big questions listed above? Or perhaps you have your own pressing questions that you want the final series to answer. Let us know by commenting below.