By Megan McCluskey
April 10, 2019

Warning: This post contains potential spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8.

The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones is just days away and fans are eager to find out how the saga of ice and fire will ultimately come to a close.

As anyone who has used the Internet in the past eight years might expect, fan theories about what’s to come in Game of Thrones‘ final six episodes are flying. So to help you keep track of some of the more compelling conjectures, we’ve broken down a number of the most talked about theories and given them a plausibility score of 1-10, with 1 being extremely unlikely and 10 being nearly certain.

MORE: Your Ultimate Guide to Binge-Watching Every Game of Thrones Episode

In previous seasons, viewers could rely on information from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series to give them an idea about what was to come. But now that the show has completely surpassed the books in plot, anything is possible. However, based on Game of Thrones‘ track record, there are still some theories that seem much more plausible than others.

Here’s TIME’s take on 10 of the most popular Game of Thrones season 8 theories.

Theory: Jon will ride Daenerys’ dragon Rhaegal

YouTube

How plausible is it?

10

Breaking down the theory

After seasons of speculation, the show finally confirmed that Jon Snow is the legitimate son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, not the bastard of Ned Stark and a lowborn woman, as he was raised to believe. So with Daenerys’ two remaining dragons accompanying her to Winterfell in preparation for the war against the dead, it stands to reason that Jon will eventually embrace his Targaryen heritage and ride Rhaegal, the dragon named after his father. Not to mention that the Game of Thrones season 8 trailer features a shot of Jon and Dany visiting Drogon and Rhaegal in what appears to be a field outside Winterfell as well as one in which the two dragons soar through a similarly wintery landscape.

Theory: Cersei isn’t actually pregnant

Helen Sloan—HBO

How plausible is it?

5

Breaking down the theory

Setting aside the fact that the whole women faking pregnancies trope is played out, it seems much more likely that Cersei is indeed pregnant, but will either miscarry or die in childbirth. If you’re someone, like Cersei herself, who gives credence to the valonqar prophecy, then the chances of her successfully giving birth to another child seem low. Having Cersei die in childbirth could also be a way to fulfill the final prediction that Maggy the Frog delivers about Cersei’s fate in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series: “And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”

Since “valonqar” means “little brother” in High Valyrian, some fans believe that this line was purposefully cut from the show in order to avoid giving too much away about what was to come. In the books, Cersei long assumes that Maggy was talking about Tyrion, but as the second-born twin, Jaime is technically also her little brother. Since Jaime is the baby’s father, death by childbirth could technically be construed as his doing — especially considering that prophecies in Game of Thrones don’t usually play out literally.

Theory: Bran Stark is the Night King

HBO

How plausible is it?

4

Breaking down the theory

Thanks to his previous meddling in the past — R.I.P. Hodor — we already know that trying to rewrite history in the Game of Thrones universe doesn’t turn out too well. However, it’s still unclear if Bran himself understands this, despite the late Three-Eyed Raven’s warning that “the past is already written. The ink is dry.”

If Bran does continue to try to change the past, a detailed theory laid out by Reddit user turm0il26 posits that he will make a last-ditch effort to prevent the destruction of Westeros by warging into the man that the Children of the Forest chose to turn into the first White Walker. He will attempt to convince them not to go through with the procedure, but since time in the Thrones universe seems to operate in a closed loop — i.e., you cannot change the past through time travel, you can only fulfill it — he will be predestined to fail and his consciousness will end up trapped inside the body of the Night King. The fact that present-day Bran has technically not yet made this mistake would explain why both he and the Night King can exist at the same time.

This theory could also explain how the Night King always seems to be in the right place at the right time.

“Immortal as he is, he waits for himself to be born thousands of years later, knowing when and where he has to be to mark the young Bran, personally kill [the Three-Eyed Raven] for hiding the truth about what would happen with him, and eventually being able to destroy the Wall with a certain dragon,” turm0il26 explains. “The reason the Night king doesn’t end his misery by killing his younger self is that he has finally learnt the ink is dry and he would fail again. The reason he doesn’t kill Jon Snow, and instead observes him at Hardhome, will be covered in the end.”

On the other hand, the fact that the Night King is a show-only character — the books have yet to even mention any sort of White Walker leader — makes the idea of Bran’s fate (and the outcome of the show as a whole) being so directly entwined with his seem pretty off base.

Theory: Littlefinger is still alive

Helen Sloan—HBO

How plausible is it?

3

Breaking down the theory

Is there a chance that the person who Arya killed in the season 7 finale wasn’t actually Littlefinger? According to YouTube user Neo, the answer is yes.

In a 2017 video that went viral recently, Neo speculates that a cryptic sequence in the fifth episode of season 7 could be proof that Littlefinger paid one of the faceless assassins to take his place at Winterfell after realizing that Sansa was turning on him. The scene in question shows Arya spying on Littlefinger as he gives a coin to an unknown young woman who appears to whisper to him, “Your time’s up.”

If this theory turns out to be true, it would mean that every time we saw Littlefinger following this scene, it was actually that young woman wearing his face. While Littlefinger previously revealed that his great grandfather hailed from Braavos — where the faceless assassins are trained — it still seems unlikely that he will return to play a role in Game of Thrones‘ final six episodes considering how many other storylines still need to be wrapped up.

Theory: The Night King will raise the dead in the crypts of Winterfell

YouTube

How plausible is it?

7

Breaking down the theory

The Game of Thrones season 8 trailer opens with a terrified Arya sprinting away from an unknown enemy through what looks like a Winterfell corridor. The scene then cuts to what seems to be an earlier shot of her holding a dagger made of dragonglass, one of the two materials that can kill White Walkers and wights. “I know death, he’s got many faces,” she says. “I look forward to seeing this one.”

Arya has faced down a variety of foes in her day and seems to be nearly fearless at this point. So anything that frightens her to that extent — especially when she has a weapon capable of taking out even an undead attacker — is likely to be truly horrifying. If we assume that the chase scene takes place during the final showdown between the living and the dead, which seems likely, then the idea that Arya is being hunted by the reanimated bodies of her dead family members could make sense.

Plus, maybe there’s a reason the Winterfell crypts have appeared in the season 8 teasers.

Theory: Melisandre will return to Westeros with an army of R’hllor worshippers

HBO

How plausible is it?

9

Breaking down the theory

We know that Melisandre left Westeros in season 7 to sail to Volantis, the home of the largest Red Temple of R’hllor (another name for the Lord of Light) in the Game of Thrones universe. But judging by her conversation with Varys prior to her departure from Dragonstone, she seems to fully intend on making her way back to the Seven Kingdoms.

“I will return, dear Spider, one last time,” she told him. “I have to die in this strange country, just like you.”

Melisandre has long been a controversial character in the world of Game of Thrones. While she is guilty of atrocities like burning Shireen at the stake as a sacrifice to the Lord of Light, she has partially redeemed herself in some fans’ eyes by resurrecting Jon after he was murdered by his Night’s Watch brothers. It’s not always clear what her motivations are, but she generally seems to believe that she is acting in the name of the greater good.

With the final showdown between the living and the dead fast approaching, it seems likely that Melisandre is on her way to Volantis to recruit her fellow Red Priests and Priestesses to the people of Westeros’ cause, simultaneously turning the tide of war and bringing her redemption arc full circle.

And considering that Kinvara, the High Priestess of the Red Temple at Volantis, has already declared Daenerys to be the One Who Was Promised, it doesn’t seem like Mel will have too difficult of a time convincing her to rally her army to the Mother of Dragons’ side.

Theory: Arya will kill Melisandre

HBO

How plausible is it?

7

Breaking down the theory

When Melisandre showed up in the Riverlands in season 3, she immediately got on Arya’s bad side by buying Gendry from the Brotherhood Without Banners. But when Arya confronted her about her intentions, Mel appeared to be uncharacteristically shaken up.

“I see a darkness in you,” she told Arya. “And in that darkness, eyes starring back at me. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes you’ll shut forever. We will meet again.”

Some fans believe this scene hints that Melisandre has seen her own death at Arya’s hands, a theory that seems to be reinforced by the addition of Melisandre to Arya’s kill list as well as a cryptic season 7 revelation. When we last saw our Red Priestess at Dragonstone in “The Queen’s Justice,” she told Varys that she was planning to sail across the Narrow Sea to Volantis, one of the Free Cities of Essos. She then made an ominous declaration concerning both their fates.

“I will return, dear Spider, one last time,” she said, referring to Westeros. “I have to die in this strange country, just like you.”

Melisandre apparently already knows how she will meet her end. And considering she has yet to cross paths with Arya again since their less-than-amicable introduction, it seems like a fatal reunion could be in store.

Theory: Nymeria and her wolf pack will make a surprise reappearance

HBO

How plausible is it?

7

Breaking down the theory

For the first time since she chased Nymeria away to prevent the Lannisters from killing her, Arya was briefly reunited with her direwolf when Nymeria’s pack surrounded her on her way back to Winterfell in season 7. Arya initially tried to convince her long-lost friend to return home at her side, but soon realized that, like her, Nymeria was no longer domesticated.

Nymeria hasn’t been mentioned on the show since. But in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, there have been several clues that Nymeria and her pack will have a role to play in the story’s final outcome.

Or, as Martin told Mashable in a 2014 interview, “You don’t hang a giant wolf pack on the wall unless you intend to use it.”

Theory: Jaime will kill the Night King

HBO

How plausible is it?

5

Breaking down the theory

Jaime has come a long way since he pushed Bran out of a window for walking in on him and Cersei in the Game of Thrones‘ premiere. And now that he’s finally free of Cersei’s influence, his storyline has even more room for redemption.

Jaime has long been derided as a “kingslayer, oathbreaker, man without honor” for stabbing Aerys II “The Mad King” Targaryen in the back while serving in his Kingsguard during the Sack of King’s Landing. But according to Jaime, the betrayal was not what it seemed. As he told Brienne after Locke chopped off his hand in season 3, he only murdered the Mad King to prevent him from burning King’s Landing and everyone in it to the ground with caches of wildfire that he had hidden under the city.

The nickname “Kingslayer” has haunted him since that day. But if Jaime turns out to be one who kills the Night King, the context behind the nickname could be flipped on its head — in the best way possible.

Theory: Cleganebowl is a go

Macall B. Polay—HBO

How plausible is it?

10

Breaking down the theory

Fans have been waiting for a one-on-one showdown between Sandor “The Hound” Clegane and Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane since Game of Thrones began eight long years ago. The guaranteed-to-be-epic fight has long been desired by viewers who want to see the Hound get revenge on his brother for horrifically burning his face as a child — as well as all of the other atrocities the Mountain has committed since that fateful day.

The anticipation for Cleganebowl was only amplified by their brief, yet ominous, confrontation in the season 7 finale, making a deadly face-off seem more inevitable than ever. “You know who’s coming for you,” the Hound told his zombified brother at the Dragonpit summit. “You’ve always known.”

If Cleganebowl doesn’t go down in season 8, the Game of Thrones showrunners may just have a riot on their hands.

Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com.

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