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This ‘Game of Thrones’ character will win unless dying ‘stupidly,’ Citadel professor says

The Iron Throne and costumes on display during the launch of The Game of Thrones Touring Exhibition at the Titanic Exhibition centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The Iron Throne and costumes on display during the launch of The Game of Thrones Touring Exhibition at the Titanic Exhibition centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland. AP

Anticipation is high for Sunday night’s season premiere of “Game of Thrones.”

This is the final season of HBO’s wildly popular TV program, and viewers from around the world will be watching to see which character will be sitting on the titular throne.

“For seven seasons you’ve watched characters lie, bleed, and sacrifice for the Iron Throne,” the official show’s website said after the trailer for the final season was released.

Fans are having a hard time remaining patient for the show’s return and ultimate conclusion, McClatchy reported.

There is so much interest in which beloved, loathed or dreaded character will rule that even military experts are weighing in on which family — if any — in the fantasy show will prevail.

One in South Carolina has a hunch, as long as this character “doesn’t die stupidly,” Michael Livingston said, according to Vice.

Livingston is an associate professor of English at The Citadel, the military college of South Carolina, according to his biography on the university’s website. The military historian, who has degrees in history and medieval studies in addition to English, made a case for a specific character in the Vice article that was also published by The Citadel.

He evaluated some of the main characters — Cersei Lannister, Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow and the Night King — and leaned on his knowledge of military history to try and figure out which would be on the winning side.

Livingston drew parallels between events that actually took place and the source material for “Game of Thrones,” books written by George R.R. Martin.

“At the core, George R.R. Martin began by imitating the War of the Roses, a series of English civil wars that lasted from 1455 to 1487,” Livingston said in the article.

The Citadel professor was able to make connections between historical figures and events and characters on the show who have had similar experiences. As power passed from one monarch to another in reality, Livingston sees matches being made in the show.

The ultimate showdown appears to be between Richard III and Henry VII, who eventually prevailed. Livingston said Richard III “was famously known for being deformed in both body and spirit” and sees his match in the show in the zombie-like Night King.

Who is “Game of Thrones’” Henry VII?

According to Livingston, it’s actually two characters — Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow.

“Both have a blood connection, so they have a legitimate claim,” Livingston said, adding both were exiled and returned as Henry VII did, according to the article.

And a romantic connection made between those characters could further unite them in the Henry VII parallel, as they could get married, Livingston said.

But only one of them will be the outright ruler on the show, so which is it?

While making a strong case for Daenerys, Livingston said, “she’s earned it, but this is George R.R. Martin,” according to the article.

“I see Daenerys going down with the ship to defeat GOT’s Richard III, leaving Jon alone if he doesn’t die stupidly,” Livingston said in the article.

But he also makes his case for the character he would like to see rule at the end of the show.

“Tyrion coming out on top is how I want to see this work out,” Livingston said.

Viewers will have to keep watching to see if Livingston’s historical expertise proves accurate, but there is one caveat. While the show is based on Martin’s books, it eclipsed the source material years ago and has been making plot decisions independent of the author.

That could be good news for fans of Cersei or even the Night King — if you’re out there.

Other predictions have been wide-ranging. A writer for Forbes predicted that none of the characters will sit on the Iron Throne at the end of the show. He predicted “that the Iron Throne will no longer be the seat of power in Westeros, and that somehow Dany (or her followers if she doesn’t make it) will bring real social change to the Seven Kingdoms.”

A writer for the Hollywood Reporter predicted that Daenerys would rule at the end, but it would not be so good for Jon Snow, Cersei and the Night King, who will all be dead.

Esquire weighed in on a number of theories, including an unexpected one where Daenerys would rule, but as the undead Night Queen.

Dorn-Long Films documents a "Game of Thrones" wedding photo shoot by Charlotte-based photographer Katie Lee at Smithmore Castle in Spruce Pine, N.C.



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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.

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