'Game of Thrones': What does the white horse mean for Arya and Daenerys?
SPOILER ALERT! After eight seasons, “Game of Thrones” finally had its last war. USA TODAY
Spoiler alert! The following contains details from “Game of Thrones” Season 8 Episode 5, “The Bells.”
There may only be one episode of “Game of Thrones” left, but that won’t stop fans of the HBO fantasy series from coming up with one last theory about how it all will end.
Fans of “Thrones,” and the “Song of Ice and Fire” books it’s based on, have long relished in dissecting scenes and dialogue, looking for clues about the endgame. Sometimes they’ve been very right (Jon is indeed Rhaegar and Lyanna’s son) and sometimes they’ve been very wrong (no, Bran was not the Night King).
After Sunday’s penultimate episode, it didn’t seem like there was much left to predict (there wasn’t much left of King’s Landing, either), but the final scene has raised the eyebrows of anyone who is up on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Arya was in King’s Landing this episode to take revenge on Cersei, but after Dany starts destroying the city, the Hound convinces Arya to forget about vengeance and save herself instead, and she runs. After inexplicably surviving debris falling on her and fiery attacks from Drogon, Arya is left on the ash-filled streets of King’s Landing among the dead bodies of people she tried to save, and she sees a white horse, who has also survived and found her. She rides the horse out of the city, seemingly with the intent to avenge those who died there.
On a show like “Thrones,” a horse is not just a horse. The steed might be an allusion to the Book of Revelations in the Bible: “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on it was Death.” The ending of the episode seems to imply that Arya is now Death, and she’s coming for Dany.
As we handily were reminded earlier this season, Arya has a long history with death. In Season 1 she got her mantra from Syrio Forel: “What do we say to the god of death? Not today.” Arya almost died a few times after fleeing King’s Landing at the end of Season 1, and killed freely even before she became an assassin. In Episode 3 of this season, she killed the embodiment of death, the Night King. Trying to escape King’s Landing, she is confronted by pointless, graphic and devastating death. She couldn’t say “not today.” She only could desperately try to survive. And now she’s appears to be bringing death to the woman who caused all that pain.
The theory that Arya will kill Dany in next week’s finale is further supported by Melisandre’s prophecy about Arya from Season 3. Melisandre saw a future where Arya killed people with brown eyes, blue eyes and green eyes, and Arya has already killed the first two: Walder Frey, the architect of the Red Wedding, had brown eyes; The Night King had blue eyes. And Dany has green eyes.
As likely as this theory seems, the episode also set up the possibility that Jon, who was as horrified by his lover/aunt’s actions in the battle as anyone else, will kill Dany to save the Seven Kingdoms from her tyrannical rule. Or, perhaps in one more celebration of nihilism, Dany will survive to terrorize Westeros for years. Or something even more senseless and out of character will happen, just like it did in “The Bells.”
The thing about “Thrones” at this late hour is that it’s barreling ahead toward a pre-determined ending and throwing out plot, character and logic to try to get there quickly. So as much that beautiful pale horse seemed like a symbol of impending death, it could also just be one more far too convenient plot device left hanging around the episode.
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