In the series' penultimate episode, Daenerys Targaryen finally got everything she wanted, defeating Cersei and reclaiming the Iron Throne for her family. But after burning the citizens of King's Landing, there's no way she can stay on that throne for long. Who will kill Dany on the Game Of Thrones finale? Now that the Mother of Dragons has gone full Mad Queen, there will be any number of characters gunning to take her down. But even with her forces depleted, it won't be easy kill a woman with an army of loyal soldiers and a fearsome, unstoppable dragon.
It's a shame that Daenerys came so close to victory only to turn into the kind of tyrant she pledged her life to overthrowing. But after suffering a traumatizing string of losses and betrayals, it's no wonder that she found herself pushed closer and closer to the edge. When the people of Westeros failed to greet her with love — and the citizens of King's Landing failed to fight for themselves the way the slaves of Meereen did — they became her enemy. And we all know what Daenerys does with her enemies. (Hint: it always ends with the word "dracarys.")
If she can't rule through love, Dany's going to rule with fear; and if she's going to rule with fear, then she's going to find herself deposed as all tyrants have before her. Who will be the one to bring this tragic saga to a close by striking down the Breaker of Chains?
1. Jon Snow
The most obvious candidate for the sad duty is Dany's own ally/lover/nephew, Jon Snow, aka Aegon Targaryen. This is the song of ice and fire, after all — and if anyone has to put an end to the fire it should probably be the ice. Having the romance of these star-crossed lovers end with one of them needing to murder the other is very Shakespearean, and feels exactly like something George R.R. Martin would do.
In this scenario, Jon could fulfill his destiny to become the Prince That Was Promised by sacrificing his love to defeat the ultimate evil… only, in this case, his love and the great evil are one and the same. Of course, if this feels like exactly the kind of thing Martin would do, maybe that means it's exactly what Martin won't do.
2. Arya Stark
After the young assassin took out the Night King, some fans were convinced that Arya would also take out Cersei. That didn't end up happening, of course, as Arya abandoned her quest for vengeance on Cersei's doorstep. (The queen ended up dead anyway, literally buried with Jaime in the rubble of the Red Keep.) Arya seemingly chose her humanity over revenge… but how long will that choice last now that Arya has seen the devastation wrought on the innocent people of King's Landing by Daenerys? Will she be able to stop herself from adding one more name to her list?
It is interesting that Arya hasn't used her magic Faceless Man ability since using Walder Frey's face to kill his entire family in the Season 7 premiere. Surely there was to be one more great face swap twist coming before the series ends? Maybe Arya will use the face of someone Dany trusts to get close enough to kill the dragon queen — and that list is narrowed down to pretty much just Grey Worm at this point.
3. Sansa Stark
Sansa didn't get the chance to murder her captor/mentor Cersei like some fans might have hoped… but she might have the chance to off one last mad queen before the show is over. The Lady of Winterfell has been one of Daenerys' staunchest opponents since she landed in Westeros; and now that Sansa's worst fears about Dany have been proven correct, it would nice to see her use everything she's learned from people like Cersei and Littlefinger to bring her down. Sansa probably won't slide the knife in herself, but she could very well orchestrate the chain of events that lead to the dragon queen's downfall.
4. Bran Stark
Arya's not the only member of the Stark clan with magic powers; Bran can see anywhere and can warg into anything. He hasn't used that power very much this season — his biggest contribution to the war against the Night King was being used as bait, not as some powerful psychic opponent — so it would be nice to see him use his abilities for the powers of good one last time before the end. There have been theories over the years that Bran drove the Mad King mad by warging into his mind while visiting the past, à la Hodor. That theory hasn't panned out… but maybe he'll end up doing essentially the same thing to Daenerys, causing her death in some way.
5. Brienne of Tarth
Brienne has always prided herself on her honor and her commitment to protecting those who can't protect themselves. But if she went down to King's Landing and saw what Daenerys did to King's Landing, she may end up having to sacrifice the former for the latter. It would be fitting if Brienne used Oathkeeper — the blade given to her by Jaime, twin of his sword Widow's Wail, both forged from the Stark blade Ice — to slay a monarch. Jaime the Kingslayer and Brienne the Queenslayer, a match too perfect to last.
Why did the showrunners keep Bronn alive instead of having him die nobly in Season 7's loot train attack, burned to a crisp while trying to take down Drogon? They must have a plan for the grizzled sellsword… and Chekhov's crossbow still remains un-fired. Daenerys did promise to kill Tyrion if he ever failed her again; if she tries to kill the Imp in the finale, it would be ironic if the crossbow given to kill Tyrion ends up saving his life. Bronn wouldn't think twice about shooting a fancy dragon queen in order to ensure the survival of the man who promised him Highgarden.
The beginning of the end for Mad King Aerys' reign came when Robert Baratheon defeated Rhaegar Targaryen on the Trident, killing the heir apparent with his massive war hammer. It would be supremely fitting — and still somehow unexpected — if the reign of Aerys' daughter, Daenerys, was ended by Robert's son, Gendry, with his own war hammer. What would bring Gendry from Winterfell to King's Landing, and into conflict with the dragon queen, is a bit of a mystery. But would be a pleasingly symmetrical end to the saga.
Often the most shocking, satisfying end for a character is when their own creation turns on them for some reason and proves to be their undoing. This happened to Qyburn in the penultimate episode, when the Mountain dashed his brains against the walls of the Red Keep. Could Dany's sole remaining child prove to be the instrument of her own destruction? Fire cannot kill a dragon — but teeth can. One of the most memorable moments in the Dance of Dragons came when Princess Rhaenyra was executed by her rival for the throne, Aegon II, by having her fed to his dragon, Sunfyre.
It's unclear what would turn Drogon against his mother (being warged into by Bran, perhaps?), but there's no denying that watching the mother of dragon be devoured by her own dragon would be a tragic end befitting Martin's narrative.
For years, fans theorized about which character would get the honor of killing Cersei, and yet the answer turned out to be: no one. The Lannister queen was crushed to death by the crumbling Red Keep, not stabbed by Arya or strangled by Jaime. Fans are now theorizing about which character will be the one to kill Dany in the finale — and the answer might end up subverting expectations in a similar manner. If she decides she can't live with herself after the carnage she wrought on King's Landing, or if she finds her victory to be unbearably hollow with no one left by her side to enjoy it with, Daenerys may end up taking her own life.
Whoever ends up doing the deed, there's no question after the events of "The Bells" that Daenerys will be dead before the credits roll on the series finale. There's only one episode left to find out how Game Of Thrones ends…