This article contains spoilers for “Beyond the Wall.”
Viserion is dead (or possibly Rhaegal. Those dragons are hard to tell apart). Even worse, the newly zombified ice dragon has been added to the army of the dead and will almost certainly now be the Night King’s means of bringing down The Wall.
This changes The Mother of Dragons’ priorities considerably. Before losing one of her babies, Dany was just concerned enough about the Night King’s forces to initially only promise her support to Jon AFTER she’s sitting on the Iron Throne.
The cave paintings left by the Children of the Forest and/or The First Men persuaded her to open the door to a Plan B. If Jon can bring proof of the dangers that lie north of The Wall to Cersei and a truce can be agreed upon to combine forces against the White Walkers, the war for the Iron Throne could potentially be put on pause. Of course, in case there was any doubt, Tyrion assured his queen that any truce Cersei agrees to will be a ruse as the Lannister Queen will stab Daenerys in the back at the first available opportunity.
But that was before the Night King killed a dragon with an ice spear. That Cersei will violate any truce is a foregone conclusion. We know her. Dany, on the other hand, has a better reputation for playing fair when possible. So will she at least try to make an alliance work while watching for any hint of betrayal or will she merely play along as well with the intent to strike first?
A few episodes ago, it appeared as though Cersei might be defeated by season’s end, leaving much of Season 8 to the battle against the White Walkers. Now, it seems the King’s Landing intrigue will continue into the final season. Cersei may just make it to Season 8 after all, even if it’s obvious this late in the series that, unlike her twin brother, there will be no redemption for her and Cersei is destined to remain a villain.
That’s why she’ll still have to be disposed of before the Night King. In all likelihood, Cersei will try to exploit the White Walkers and their army of wights to her own advantage. She is indifferent to the plight of others and is a definite liability to any coalition against the army of the dead. This is even expressionistically hinted at in the final seconds of this season’s first teaser when Cersei exhales icy breath as we zoom out of the eye of the Night King:
But you can bet Game of Thrones isn’t going to deliver a vanilla season finale. So, should those who picked Cersei in the dead pool lose next week, that means some other game-changer is in store for us in the finale. That’s why I’m still maintaining what I wrote last week that Littlefinger mustn’t be counted out as a threat just yet.
Littlefinger’s always been a major wildcard, and if all his machinations–plus spending the entire seventh season mostly just quietly lurking in the shadows–only amount to nothing more than him being brought down by the Stark sisters this early like some minor villain, I’d be deeply disappointed.
So, if Cersei meets her end next week, Littlefinger will likely exploit the chaos to achieve a major power grab. And should she and Dany simply agree to a disingenuous truce one or both intends to violate next season, both queens may find themselves captives in King Petyr’s Black Cells.
Either way, barring any other truly unexpected plot twist next week, my money is still on Littlefinger supplying the audience with the finale’s biggest surprise and the one the audience will be talking about until Season 8.