Sure there’s a big zombie battle coming soon to settle, you know, the fate of humankind. But there’s also the matter of the actual game of thrones. And there are plenty of places ready and willing to make it a little more interesting, as they say.
These are the top 12 contenders to rule the realm at the end of “Game of Thrones,” in order of probability, according to the gambling site OddsShark.
BRAN STARK (3-to-1 ODDS)
How is Bran the favorite? He can’t fight or even carry on a functional conversation — how could he possibly beat out everyone else for the throne? But couldn’t that also be an argument in his favor on a show that has consistently striven for surprise? Bran’s egoless omniscience could be just what the realm needs after years of toxically self-interested and vindictive leadership. All hail King Three-Eye, the first of his name.
JON SNOW (3.5-1)
Jon is the New England Patriots of this contest: The obvious favorite and most boring choice. But the Patriots have lost nearly as many Super Bowls as they’ve won.
DAENERYS TARGARYEN (5-1)
She has dragons and the strongest will to power, aside from perhaps the irredeemably doomed Cersei. But she’s also shown enough of her father’s crazy streak to make you wonder if she’ll self-destruct before she wins the big prize.
SANSA STARK (6-1)
Once one of the most feckless people in this story, Sansa might actually be the best equipped to rule the Seven Kingdoms at this point. But given how things went for her the last time she was in King’s Landing, would she want to go back? The case in favor: She’s shown a desire to lead, in her interactions with Jon at Winterfell, and she can be ice-cold when it’s called for, as with the executions of Ramsay and Littlefinger.
He rowed for like four years and has the guns to prove it. His Baratheon blood also gives him a decent claim on the throne. But are they really going to give it to a guy who’s had maybe 11 minutes of screen time?
THE NIGHT KING (10-1)
The popular choice among nihilists and environmentalists who have gone all-in on the White-Walkers-as-climate-change metaphor. But George R.R. Martin has said the ending will be “bittersweet,” not “weird and deflating.”
TYRION LANNISTER (10-1)
He’s come a long way from his drinking and knowing things days. But doesn’t the final act of his moral awakening seem destined to be a noble, gut-wrenching sacrifice?
JONERYS OFFSPRING TO BE NAMED LATER (14-1)
Season 7’s finale suggested Dany might get pregnant with her nephew Jon’s child, and with that bloodline, the tyke would be one of the most powerful people in this story. But based on the reigns of Joffrey and Tommen, the show seems to take a dim view of incest baby rulers.
A theory making the rounds online maintains that the man we saw Arya kill in the Season 7 finale was not actually Littlefinger, but a Faceless Man he hired to take his place. Stranger things have happened on this show, I guess. At any rate, the interest in this has apparently been strong enough to get him on the board.
ARYA STARK (14-1)
She’s a fighter not a ruler.
SAMWELL TARLY (14-1)
He’s a writer not a ruler.
CERSEI LANNISTER (25-1)
In her black heart of hearts, not even Cersei expects Cersei to survive the season.