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May 17, 2019

Who lives? Who dies? And other betting odds for 'Game of Thrones' series finale

No matter your thoughts on how the final season of "Game of Thrones" has played out, odds are that you're going to be sad to see it end — and maybe a little angry at the way in which it arrived at that ending. But we've arrived nevertheless. And by 10:30 p.m on Sunday night, it will all be over. 

It's been a wild ride for the better part of a decade, and these characters and stories have managed to seep into our everyday lives in ways we never could've seen coming. Hell, I even convinced my parents to start watching "Thrones" before the start of Season 7 and they don't watch anything. In fact, I still get made fun of for trying to convince them to watch "Lord of the Rings" — they both were asleep before Frodo even left the Shire. Now, not only did they watch it all the way through before last season, but they rewatched it again before the current season, and I get weekly calls from my dad, who usually calls me to bitch about Philly sports, to talk about what the hell happened in the most recent episode. 

That will all be over on Sunday night, after what is expected to be a wild sprint to the finish with several key characters meeting their maker in the process. Who, and how, still remains to be seen, but everyone has their own theories, including bookmakers.

As they say in Braavos, all shows must die. But before this one does, let's take a look at some odds for what the last chapter of "Game of Thrones" has in store for us, courtesy of

First Stark to perish in Episode 8

Arya -200
Sansa 3/2
Bran 6/1

These odds are a bit of a bummer, so let's get them out of the way right up front. It's hard to believe that Arya, one of the most badass people in the show — the person who killed the damn Night King — is the most likely of the three remaining Starks to die.  One just learned how to use a sword two episodes ago and the other can't walk and has a tendency to just nod off from time to time. 

So, like any good bettor, I'm going to listen to what the numbers are telling me, and they're telling me that Arya is going to do something extremely dangerous and potentially stupid, like trying to kill the newly-minted Mad Queen, Daenerys Targaryen. Sansa seems pretty safe up in Winterfell with Bran, but if Dany really wanted to wipe out her competition, she could hop a quick flight on Air Drogon and raze whatever's left. 

How many Starks will perish in final episode?

Over/Under: 1.5 Starks

Since we've established that Jon Snow isn't technically a Stark, at least for our purposes, taking the under here seems like a pretty safe bet. Or maybe I'm just being hopeful, something this show warned its audience against time and time again.

Still, I'm hoping that none of the three Starks die in the series finale, but the way things are going, it's really hard seeing a path in which all three make it out alive. Will multiple Starks die? I sure hope not.

Method in which Daenerys Targaryen perishes 

Sword or Dagger -600
Daenerys Targaryen Survives 3/1
Axe 8/1
Hanging 10/1
Takes Own Life 10/1
Arrow 16/1
Physical Force 20/1
Poison 22/1
Fire 66/1

It's fairly safe to eliminate two of these right off the bat. First, Dany is not committing suicide. She didn't come this far, break this many chains and kill this many people just to off herself the minute the Iron Throne, the only thing she's ever wanted, is finally hers. 

The other is fire. Fire literally can't kill her. It's like, her main thing. 

All week, I've assumed that Arya would be the one to end Dany, perhaps by stealing someone's face — after all, we haven't seen Arya use her Faceless Man training since killing Walder Frey, and it would be a real shame if we spent all that time watching her blindly fight the Waif without getting one last payoff. The fact that Arya's odds to die are so high is a bit concerning, which makes me think she either doesn't complete her mission. That, or it's a suicide mission that is ultimately successful, and both Arya and Dany perish.

If Dany is going to die, the safe money is still on a sword or a dagger, the weapon of choice for the majority of Westeros. However, that doesn't narrow down the "who" in this scenario. And that's the far more interesting question here...

Will Jon Snow survive by end of Season 8? 

YES -800
NO +500

Remember that scene from Episode 2, before the Battle of Winterfell, when Tyrion is trying to lift everyone's spirits by going around the room and naming all the battles each of them has survived? Well, let's do that for Jon, shall we?

The Battle at Castle Black? Check. Hardhome? Not only survived, but killed a White Walker. Battle of the Bastards? Made it out alive, albeit barely (h/t Sansa). Battle of Winterfell? Yup (shoutout to Arya). The siege of King's Landing? Still standing.

Did I miss any? Perhaps that's why Jon has some of the best odds to survive the series finale...

Method in which Jon Snow perishes 

Jon Snow Survives -600
Sword or Dagger 3/1
Fire 5/1
Axe 6/1
Hanging 6/1
Physical Force 16/1
Arrow 20/1
Takes Own Life 20/1
Poison 25/1

I really like the idea of Jon saying, "F*ck it," and returning North to live with Tormund and, more importantly, Ghost. But I also don't see a scenario in which he does that while Daenerys is going all Mad Queen throughout the realm, especially when it could mean the end of Sansa and the rest of the Starks, who Dany now likely believes, as a Mad Queen would, are plotting against her. 

Therefore, it's hard to imagine a scenario in which both Jon and Dany survive, even though the odds are fairly good for each to make it out of the final episode. If I had to pick one to survive, however, it would be Jon, who, after the events of the penultimate episode, is clearly the hero of this story. 

But, if I had to pick a way for him to go, it would be fire. There would be some symbolism there given his Targaryen blood — plus, if he dies, it's safe to assume it would be at the hands of his queen. And while swords, as we mentioned, are the most common weapon, we've already seen Jon die that way. And that was only after he was ambushed by his own men.

Jon's one of the best fighters alive — he's killed several White Walkers and has survived the deadliest battles in recent Westerosi history — so he's not going down in one-on-one combat, and I just don't see another betrayal like the one he suffered at Castle Black. 

Unless that betrayal comes from Dany, in which case... 

Will Tyrion Lannister perish in final episode?

YES +300
NO -500

Believe it or not, but Tyrion's lack of battle experience has been one of the things that has kept him alive this long. Why? Because it's kept him away from the most intense action and out of the reach of his enemies. It also helped that he spent several seasons — seasons when he was the most wanted man on his continent — hiding out with Dany across the Narrow Sea.

Now, "The Last War" has been fought, and his greatest enemy might be the same person in which he's staked his entire future. The writing has been on the wall for some time now. And given the way Dany has now decided to rule, by force rather than diplomacy, it seems as though Tyrion has served his purpose and could be quite expendable to the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. 

Tyrion has been one of the best characters in television history, so it would be heartbreaking to see him die, but it's not like we'd be losing out any — there are no more episodes after this week, so all the character's are "dying" in a sense. 

Either way, I'm still holding out hope for a somewhat happy ending for him — I know, I know, here we go again. Even a happy ending for Tyrion at this point is still a bittersweet one, but here's one way I could see it playing out. Sansa rules the North, Tyrion rules King's Landing and the surrounding areas, and everyone pretty much has their own self-sustaining government. It also seems thematically appropriate that Dany would have to die in order to truly "break the wheel," especially now that she's looking more and more like just another tyrannical monarch. 

Last character to speak in final episode 

Samwell Tarly 1/1
Jon Snow 2/1
Tyrion Lannister 2/1
Bran Stark 5/1
Sansa Stark 10/1
Daenerys Targaryen 12/1
Arya Stark 14/1
Bronn 20/1

OK, I really need to know what Bronn is doing being listed here. I would love nothing more than for Bronn to give a NSFW recap at the end and tell us the moral of the story. 

However, this whole thing has been lining up to have an epilogue scene like the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, when it turns out that this whole story is being recorded for all of history by a pudgy guy named Sam. "Thrones" has already hinted at that back in Season 7 when Sam has a conversation with Archmaester Marwyn about his current project, a book called, A Chronicle of the Wars of Following the Death of King Robert I.

Sam sheepishly suggests something slightly "more poetic" for the title.

Like, perhaps, A Song of Ice and Fire?

So, yeah, it really seems like this is lining up for Sam to have the final lines of the series, and the odds suggest as much. However, he pretty much had his farewell scene in Episode 4, so maybe it's a flash-forward scene to Sam reading the book to his two sons, Jon and Sam? Talk about poetic... 

Named characters a dragon will kill in final episode 

Over/Under .5 Characters

If a named character gets killed, odds are it's going to be the Mad Queen dispensing some "justice." And we all know how she likes to do that. Take the over.

Will Grey Worm perish in the final episode?

YES +200
NO -300

Man, I was so all-in on Grey Worm's revenge tour, right up until he threw that spear at the surrendering Lannister soldier. That being said, you have to assume that in order for Dany to die, Grey Worm will also have to die. Could Arya try to steal his face in order to get close to the Mad Queen? Will it ultimately cost her her own life? 

Will the four remaining Starks be shown together?

YES -180
NO +140

Wow, nice to see they've decided to count Jon among the Starks again. 

Logistically, I just think this will be hard, unless Jon and Arya head right back to Winterfell. Since I don't see that happening until one (or both) confronts Dany, it's hard to imagine they all make it back there together, at least alive. I wonder if it counts if it's three living Starks and a dead one? 

Will there be nudity in the final episode?

YES +260
NO -420

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