What Will 'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Be About? These 5 Actors' Contracts May Offer Clues

If your love for HBO's Game of Thrones is insatiable — as it should be — then you're mourning the fact that Season 6 comes to an end on June 26. With rumors that there are only two (abbreviated!) seasons left, it's worth wondering what Season 8 of Game of Thrones will be about. Yes, I understand there is still a Season 7 to come first, but if Season 8 ends up containing the series finale (I'm getting emotional just thinking about it), then it's worth discussing what will be going down in the potential final episodes of Game of Thrones.

Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss told Variety that they are considering only doing 13 more episodes of the epic series — completely surpassing George R.R. Martin's book releases. While a typical Game of Thrones season has 10 episodes, Benioff and Weiss spoke of doing only seven episodes for Season 7 and six episodes for Season 8. If you are anything like me, you need to take a deep breath upon learning this news since it means there is a very high likelihood that there will only be 13 more hours of the greatest show on television left. So, let's distract that feeling of panic in the pit of my stomach by focusing on what could happen in those potential six episodes of Season 8.

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I won't even pretend to think I could accurately anticipate what exactly will be happening in Season 8 since the twists and turns of Game of Thrones are some of the reasons the show is so damn good. However, Benioff and Weiss have been excelling at bringing the expansive world of Westeros and beyond into more cohesive story lines in Season 6. Characters from different parts of the world are uniting (like Daenerys and the Greyjoys), White Walkers are coming, missing characters have returned (like the Hound and Uncle Benjen), and the Stark family is gaining some of the momentum they lost in pretty much every season before this. (Just ignore the fact that Rickon was killed by Ramsay — you probably forgot he was alive during some part of Game of Thrones anyway.)

The point is, there's no denying that Benioff and Weiss have used Season 6 to set up Game of Thrones for a conclusion. So by the time Season 8 arrives, I'd expect the main power players — Tyrion Lannister, Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Jon Snow, and Daenerys Targaryen — to be making significant moves. And the most recent report about the salaries for these Game of Thrones cast members from The Hollywood Reporter supports this theory.

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According to The Hollywood Reporter's unnamed sources, actors Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, and Lena Headey will receive $500,000 per episode in Season 7 and in Season 8 if it officially happens (which by the grace of the Lord of Light, it will). HBO declined to comment on its cast members' contracts to THR, but the website reported that these pay raises for Seasons 7 and 8 don't necessarily guarantee that the actors' characters will survive to appear in both seasons. Yet, if I had to name the major players of Game of Thrones, those five actors come immediately to mind. (I'd probably toss Isaac Hempstead Wright's Bran Stark in there for good measure too.) So I'm going to use these contracts to help fuel my theory that Season 8 will be a showdown between the Lannisters, Starks, and Targaryens for who will rule Westeros.

Considering that I, along with plenty of others, am convinced that Jon Snow is actually part Stark (not from Ned, but from Lyanna Stark) and part Targaryen, Jon has one of the strongest bloodlines out there. He actually would have the most legitimate claim to the throne (yes, more so than his Aunt Daenerys) since if the R+L=J theory is correct, he's the son of Rhaegar Targaryen, who was first in line to the Iron Throne when his father the Mad King Aerys Targaryen ruled. While there's still the tiniest glimmer of hope that Game of Thrones will confirm this theory before Season 6 ends, I'm doubtful it will happen in the Season 6 finale and think it could be revealed in Season 7 with a power struggle based on paternity happening in Season 8.

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And if you're a Tyrion Targaryen theorist as well (I'm still not completely convinced), his sticking around until Season 8 would also be vital. Plus, everyone wants Tyrion to survive until the end no matter who his real dad may be. He's been palling around with Daenerys in Seasons 5 and 6, so if the two discover they are siblings, they should hopefully keep their alliance intact to bring down those other siblings of Tyrion's — Cersei and Jaime.

While I think Cersei or Jaime Lannister are the most likely candidates out of the five major characters to die either before or during Season 8, they somehow are still the closest to ruling Westeros without any legitimate bloodlines to the throne. Tommen is technically a Baratheon, but he's really a Lannister and when you consider that Robert Baratheon just snatched the throne from the Mad King anyway (with help from Jaime), it's pretty amazing how powerful those damn Lannisters are.

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Of course, the scramble for the throne is never simple, but how could Game of Thrones end without crowing a winner of the game? In the Season 6 finale, Tyrion discusses Daenerys being in the "great game" and I see no other direction that Season 8 could go in than to have a ruler of Westeros named, which Jon, Tyrion, Daenerys, Cersei, and Jaime should all be heavily involved in. (Particularly Jon and Daenerys if you go by the book series name of A Song of Ice and Fire.)

But perhaps, I am being too distracted by the battles of mere mortals and Season 8 will be all about the rising of the White Walkers. No matter what happens in Season 8, I just know that I don't want the Night King to end up being the ultimate winner. After all, Daenerys doesn't have dragons for nothing.

Images: Helen Sloan/HBO; Giphy (5)