Following seven gripping years of drama, double-crossing and dragons, Game of Thrones finished production in July 2018. And as anxious viewers eagerly await the release of the HBO show’s eighth and final season in 2019, speculation about how the series will end has hit fever pitch. Now, one of its biggest stars has come forward with a potential spoiler – and fans are freaking out.
In 2011 HBO premiered a little fantasy show set in the far-off land of Westeros. Based on George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Game of Thrones pushed the envelope when it came to sex and violence. But above all else, it proved to be utterly enthralling entertainment. And viewers – well over ten million a week, to be exact – couldn’t help but tune in.
Focusing on several factions who are struggling for control of their kingdoms, Game of Thrones’ story shifts dramatically from season to season. As characters battle for their place on the Iron Throne, their fortunes often twist in shocking ways. To wit, audiences never even know which characters will make it out of each episode alive.
Currently, there are three main characters fighting for control of the throne: Daenerys Targaryen, the last legitimate heir of Westeros’ deposed king; Jon Snow, the true blood heir to the throne; and current monarch Cersei Lannister who assumed power following the deaths of her sons Joffrey and Tommen. But that hasn’t stopped fans making some wild guesses as to who will eventually gain the kingdom.
For example, some theorize that blacksmith Gendry – the illegitimate son of former king Robert Baratheon – has a strong chance. Others, meanwhile, think that Snow’s half-sister Sansa Stark has played the game long enough to come out on top. And don’t get us started on the ghastly Night King whose invading armies entered the kingdoms at season seven’s end.
And then there’s Arya Stark – the series’ most resilient survivor and possibly the most deserving of the Iron Throne. Since witnessing her father Ned’s execution in season one, Arya has experienced hardship after hardship. But thanks to training from the Faceless Men, this warrior has emerged from her struggles stronger than ever.
As of late, though, the Winterfell native has been far more concerned with crossing names off her “list of vengeance” than with assuming any throne. But there are those who think Arya is aiming her ambitions a little too low. Indeed, actress Maisie Williams admitted during a 2014 red carpet appearance that her character “deserves to sit on the Iron Throne because she is the only one fighting for the right reasons.”
While fan theories keep piling up, however, the fate of Westeros has in fact already been decided. In July 2018 filming wrapped on the very final episode of Game of Thrones. And with the eighth and last season not being broadcast until 2019, there are only a handful of people who now know how the series will actually end.
With the production officially over, cast members made their own special tributes to the show that had turned them into stars. For example, Emilia Clarke – who played the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys – had her fire-breathing children tattooed on her wrist in September 2018. “Made sure this mamma ain’t NEVER forgetting her babies,” she wrote on Instagram.
Meanwhile, Sophie Turner – who played Arya’s sister Sansa – displayed a tattoo of the Stark house sigil along with the words “the pack survives.” Despite taking the phrase from a line spoken by her character, though, Turner still instantly stoked fan theory fires. And she seemed to revel in the discussions that she’d instigated.
“Game of Thrones is all about theories,” the actress admitted to Digital Spy in July 2018. “So the more we can conjure up, the better it is.” Nevertheless, the star firmly denied that her tattoo was a spoiler: “That would be terrible, if I got the ending tattooed on my body, just before the last season came out,” she protested. “That would be so stupid.”
Turner wasn’t the only Stark sibling who allegedly managed to give the game away, however. In fact, Williams herself became the center of a whirlwind of fan speculation after she posted her own farewell message to the series. But unlike that of her in-show sister, Williams’ potential spoiler has yet to be confirmed or denied.
Underneath an image of sneakers covered in blood, Williams bid adieu via Instagram to the city, character and show that made her famous. “Goodbye Belfast. Goodbye Arya. Goodbye Game of Thrones,” she wrote on the social media platform. “What a joy I’ve had. Here’s to the adventures to come.”
Alongside her post, the star included playful hashtags that alluded to her state at the end of the series. Indeed, Williams admitted “#immasleepforthenextfouryears” before jokingly recanting with “#justkiddingidontsleep.” However, there was just one tag in particular that her followers picked up on – “#lastwomanstanding.”
Due to the inhabitants of Westeros’ notoriously short life spans, Williams’ followers were quick to interpret this phrase as relating to Arya’s eventual fate. Some took it as a warning of the assassin’s impending death. However, many more took the opposite conclusion: that Williams’ character would be the only female lead to live to see the finale.
With so many powerful females fighting for control of the Seven Kingdoms, it seems more than likely that some will kick the bucket in the final season. But Williams’ hashtag implied that Arya will be the sole woman left alive by the end of the show. And her co-star Lena Heady – who played Westeros’ ruling monarch Lannister – took the suggestion even further.
Known for her own playful attitude to spoilers, Headey loves leaving cryptic plot clues on Instagram. Indeed, a 2014 photo of the actress holding her hands over cast-mate Pedro Pascal’s eyes hinted at his character Oberyn Martell’s gruesome fate in the show months later. This time, though, Headey took a more direct approach by simply writing the word “QUEEN” on Williams’ post.
Naturally, both Williams’ and Headey’s comments left the stars’ social media followers in a frenzy. That the pair might dare to reveal such a crucial spoiler made some people angry, such as user brittany_dyanne who wrote, “I’m legit going to be so p***** if this ruins the next/LAST season!!” But most fans just appeared to be overwhelmed by the post, with haifaa.jahari’s cry of “Omgomgomgomgomg” summing up the prevailing mood.
While we’ll have to wait until next year to find out her character’s true fate, Williams thankfully won’t be away from the public eye for that long. Indeed, U.K. fans will have the chance to see the actress onstage in I and You, which runs in London until November 2018.