For the love of the Seven, won't somebody think about "The Children"?
Actually, in just a few hours, millions of viewers will be thinking about "The Children," the season four finale of "Game of Thrones." Depending on how the episode shakes out, the finale has the potential to not just change the game of "Thrones" forever, but to solidify season four's fate as the greatest season to date.
But there's still so much business to attend to. Is Tyrion Lannister on an unavoidable collision course with the chopping block? Can Daenerys keep her hold on Slaver's Bay? What will Jon Snow do when he meets Mance Rayder beyond the Wall? Now that there's no hope in the Eyrie, what's the next move for Arya and the Hound?
That's just a taste of what's still in the air going into tonight's "Thrones." Here are some of our predictions for what you can expect from the fallout.
1. A Lot Will Happen
Historically, "Game of Thrones" saves the biggest shocks of the season for the penultimate episode of any given season. The actual finales tend to wrap up the action and cool things down for the subsequent season. But with so much up in the air tonight — Tyrion's fate, the Wall's fate — expect the season four finale to be jam-packed with plot development and bigger twists than we've seen in any "Thrones" finale thus far. In fact…
2. It Could Be An Emmy-Winning Episode
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the masterminds behind "Thrones," submitted tonight's episode to the Emmy Awards for writing awards considerations — and no other episodes. This is the one. Of all the brilliant episodes that came and went in season four, "The Children" is the one that Benioff and Weiss feel is Emmy-worthy. That's a very exciting prospect.
3. People Will Die
We're going out on a limb on this one, but we just have a hunch that someone in Westeros — maybe even multiple someones — will die tonight.
4. Okay, Seriously, Someone Important Will Die
Not just some random extra. Not just a sworn brother of the Night's Watch, not just another one of Mance Rayder's many wildlings. No, a full-fledged cast member — someone (or someones) with a longtime, speaking part role — will lose their life before "The Children" ends. Count on it.
5. There Will Be At Least One Massive Shock
And not necessarily related to a major character losing his or her life. There's one particularly prominent twist at the end of "A Storm of Swords," the third novel in the "Ice and Fire" series, that book-reading fans of "Thrones" are eagerly waiting to see play out (here's a hint in the form of two letters: L and S). No guarantee that we'll see it play out, but if it does, heads will explode, Red Viper style.
6. There Will Be At Least One Big Change From The Books
Rumor has it that the "Game of Thrones" finale will zig where the books zagged in one particular storyline. It certainly wouldn't be the first time; the entire House of the Undying sequence in season two was very different from what was featured in "A Clash of Kings," and even last week's episode included two deaths — Grenn and Pyp — that are not from the books. If rumors pan out, tonight's episode will feature a similar swerve; show-watchers only will miss it (though they'll mourn it), but book-readers will be left feeling bewildered.
7. The Wait For More Will Suck
We won't see another new episode of "Thrones" for almost a full year. That won't be pleasant. With "The Children" set to rock the world of Westeros, the fandom will be salivating for more "Thrones" as quickly as possible. On the bright side, it gives you plenty of time for a drawn-out rewatch — one episode per week for the next 40 weeks. That should get you pretty close to the return of season five.
What do you expect to see in the "Game of Thrones" season finale?