Call them what you will: GRRM’s Suicide Squad. The Eastwatch Seven. The Westerosi Avengers. Fellowship of the Wight. They’re seven men with one mission: bring back a wight from beyond The Wall as proof that winter really is coming.
But though they be seven of Game of Thrones‘ most tenacious, most stalwart, most plot-armor shielded, right proper lads — mirri vali morghūlis — “some men must die.” Who among Jon Snow’s Magnificent Samurai Seven All-Stars will live and who will die? We examine the players and their chances:
No longer the subject of boat-rowing memes, Gendry proved in S7E5 “Eastwatch” he can swing a warhammer mightily enough to make his old man Bobby Baratheon beam with pride.
Surely showrunners DB & DB wouldn’t bring back Robert’s big bastard after his season-spanning boat-rowing purgatory just to have him killed the episode after, would they?
Gendry is also an adept blacksmith nowadays — a fine coincidence, considering Jon Snow’s sitting on a fresh stash of Dragonglass (thanks to his newfound rapport with Daenerys at Dragonstone) and will need someone with Gendry’s know-how to convert the stuff into weapons for the fight against the looming White Walker invasion.
Another interesting note: Gendry was apprentice blacksmith to Master Tobho Mott in King’s Landing, a rare practitioner with Valyrian steel — the only other substance besides Dragonglass known to harm White Walkers.
My verdict: Gendry makes it back on account of his integral blacksmithing knowledge. We hope. That, and we need more of the sweet, burgeoning Baratheon/Stark bromance between he and Jon Snow that conjures such fond memories of Bobby B. and Ned from Season 1.
Newly cured of his deadly Greyscale thanks to recalcitrant Citadel trainee Samwell Tarly, Ser Friendzone has found his way back into unrequited love interest Daenerys Tagaryen’s service for the umpteenth time. So what’s he doing to celebrate? Volunteering for a suicide mission beyond the wall with Jon Snow and the rest of the motley crew, of course. Someone send a raven to Sam: we think he missed a spot of greyscale near Jorah’s brain.
But seriously, if Jorah is killed next episode — will there have been any character to go through more shit with nothing to show for it (with the exception of Stannis Baratheon)? And the saddest part of it all — everything he’s done has been out of his unyielding love for Daenerys, who once more seems to have lovey-dovey eyes for somebody else — this time someone far more integral to the plot than a Khal Drogo or Daario Naharis: dragon-charming Jon Snow. Come to think of it, Jorah did volunteer himself for this mission awfully fast, didn’t he? You don’t think it could actually be just the cover he needs to get that pesky cockblocking King in the North out of the way… do you?
My verdict: This is a tough one to call. You figure Jorah has to have some further significance to the overarching Game of Thrones narrative or he would have died from any of the myriad life-threatening predicaments in which he’s already been. How satisfying it’d be to know that the entire greyscale storyline he just went through wasn’t meaningless as well — perhaps the greyscale in some way disrupts turning him into a White Walker through conventional means?
Then again, DB and DB aren’t exactly shy about killing knights in ignominious fashion (::cough::SerBarristan::cough::), are they?
“Death is the enemy. The first enemy and the last. The enemy always wins. And we still need to fight it,” says Beric in the preview for S7E6 “Beyond the Wall.”
Of all Jon Snow’s party members, Beric is the one most familiar with death. He’s died six times (that we know about) and been brought back just as many times by fellow Brotherhood without Banners colleague Thoros of Myr (via the Lord of Light). For what purpose? He doesn’t know. Could it be his “god’s” plan to die for a final time and come back as a wight in a final sacrifice to unite the kingdoms? Or does the fact that he’s technically undead through R’hllor’s magic screw with the White Walker’s ability to renanimate the dead?
My verdict: Beric Dondarrion is already dead in the books, which suggests he might not be much longer for the show either. It’d be a poetic death for the man who has died so many times with seemingly no purpose to have been destined for a death that might ultimately save the Seven Kingdoms in the end.
Thoros of Myr
Thoros is the one who keeps bringing Beric Dondarrion back from the dead. Much like Beric, Thoros doesn’t really know why he can do it, except for the vague presumption of “R’hllor made me do it.”
“Beyond the Wall” is an episode that should fascinate because it’s the first time we’ve seen an acolyte of the Lord of Light, with demonstrable powers at that, go head-to-head with the White Walkers. Will this translate into his increased chances of survival? Or will Thoros be relegated to running around from teammate to teammate in the midst of battle while they intermittently shout “heals pls”, unable to survive the brutal focused attack when the White Walkers realize they need to “murk the priest first”?
My verdict: Much like Beric, this is a tough one to call. Thoros’ healing and resurrective abilities make him arguably more important than Beric however, and I hope he makes it long enough for another encounter with Melisandre — if only because the night might be a little less dark and terror-laden in a scene with the two of them together so late in the game.
Sandor “The Hound” Clegane
“The Hound,” who interestingly enough, killed (temporarily, of course) fellow teammate Beric Dondarrion back in S3E5’s Trial by Fire, is yet another character chosen by the Lord of Light for a seeming “higher purpose” after he got dusted, and nearly killed by Brienne of Tarth in a brutal custody battle for Arya Stark back in S4E7.
A morally grey character with a penchant for killing, Sandor has already undergone a touching character transformation in the short time he’s been back. In S7E1, he buried the bodies of a father/daughter farmer combo that he’d robbed even after they’d been kind enough to take he and Arya Stark under their roof during Season 4 — which suggests honest penitence for his past actions.
Sandor’s affiliation with fire has also evolved. Having had half his face burned off at a young age by older brother Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane, Sandor grew up fearing, abhorring fire. But now, he’s one of few characters able to see visions from R’hllor in the fire, prognosticating the very same mountain that he and his cohorts are approaching in “Beyond the Wall” when asked by Thoros of Myrr. Does Sandor’s vision suggest the place of his final resting place? Or is it only the first in many visions to come?
My verdict: As much as I love him, I’d put Sandor alongside Beric Dondarrion and Thoros as the three most likely to die in “Beyond the Wall.” His vision seems to suggest he’s being brought there for a purpose and what greater purpose than to ensure Jon Snow’s success in their mission against the White Walkers?
If you don’t think Jon Snow’s making it out of “Beyond the Wall” alive, you know n-… damn right that you’re lying to yourself. There’s more for the unrecognized Targaryen prince to accomplish yet before the series is over and before that we’ll get to see him cut down a few more of the undead with trusty Valyrian-steel sword, Longclaw.
My verdict: Jon Snow is that dude. Of course he’s going to survive. Well, unless of course the showrunners pull a fast one and show us why the Starks truly chose “Winter is Coming” as their house saying after all.
What would a Jon Snow expedition be these days without Tormund and his glorious ginger beard in tow? Tormund has proven his worth as a capable warrior numerous times throughout the series and the fact that he’s the only developed character with a connection to the Free Folk suggest his prospects of making it back alive from this mission are pretty favorable.
My verdict: Tormund makes it back, along with a remarkable tale of heroics and bravery with which to make Brienne of Tarth blush; or if she’s not feeling it, there’s always Shella the she-bear.
Who will live and who will die in Game of Thrones S7E6, “Beyond the Wall”? Sound off in the comments below.