Bookmakers have lowered their odds on a deceased Game of Thrones character chance’s to rule Westeros.
Lord Petyr Balish is now the fifth favorite to take the Iron Throne, according to leading bookmakers. Viewers were led to believe Arya Starke slit Balish’s throat near the conclusion of season seven, but betting lines have only shifted in his favor during the long buildup to season eight.
Littlefinger odds sit at +800, trailing only Bran Stark, Jon Snow, Sansa Stark and Gendry, King Robert Baratheon's bastard son. Bran remains the heavy favorite at -125 with Jon and Sansa tied for second at +350.
It seemed Littlefinger’s quest for power came to an inglorious end last season, but a fan theory has spread across the internet that the former Lord of the Vail is actually alive.
New Theory Paves Way for Littlefinger
According to the Independent, some believe a scene in season seven where Baelish apparently hands a young woman a coin similar to the currency used by the Faceless Men proves he’s alive.
The theory purports the individual, or an accomplice, took Baelish’s place, allowing him to flee the Starks and continue his series-long plot to take the Iron Throne.
This notion was loudly rejected by Littlefinger actor Aiden Gillen. Speaking to UK tabloid Metro, Gillen said there’s no chance his character returns in the final season.
Still, this hasn’t swayed bookmakers. Jon Snow famously returned from the dead, fueling speculation that once again what is dead may in fact die again.
Neither death nor time has proven a final determinant to a character’s journey in the program.
Bran has topped oddsmakers border largely due to a fan theory that he will bend time to thwart the Night King – or may be the Night King Himself. He already bent the show’s timeline with his beloved giant companion Hodor in an iconic season six episode, leading to rampant speculation he’ll somehow twist it again to save Westeros from the White Walkers and their army of the undead.
Rejecting Littlefinger’s prospects also assumes the fan theory about the Faceless Man is wrong – and Gillen is purposely misleading fans to throw them from the truth.
It wouldn’t be the first time a Thrones actor “spoiled” a Season 8 plot point.
Did Maisie Williams Prank Actually Spoil Season 8?
The actress behind Arya Stark set the rumors mills on fire with one April Fools prank earlier this week.
On the Tonight Show, Maisie Williams “let slip” to host Jimmy Fallon that her character died in the second episode of the season. Covering her mouth in shock immediately after, Williams rushed off stage, followed by Fallon.
seconds later the pair revealed the death announcement was an April Fools’ Day prank. But that led further speculation it was actually the truth, meant as a reverse psychological move to throw of speculators, and actually Arya would die early in the seventh season.
The interview may have tantalized fans, but it didn’t do much for bookmakers. Arya remains at +1000 odds to rule the Seven Kingdoms, behind multiple favorites, including Daenerys Targaryen at +900 odds, and is tied with the Night King.
Prank or not, this only hyped the already rampant speculation in the final days before the April 14 U.S. premiere and the April 15th commencement in the United Kingdom.
Questions Abound Over Series Conclusion
Fan theories like the one with Littlefinger and the Faceless Men have only multiplied since the Night King marched his army across the damaged Wall to end season 7. The connection between the White Walkers’ leader and Bran has far and away drawn the most fan speculation – and interest of bookmakers.
Proponents of this theory believe Bran will travel in time to stop the Night King, but after multiple failed attempts, will get lost in a time loop and end up warging into the First Man who became the Night King, thereby becoming the villain he sought to stop. The popular support for his theory in part explains why Bran sits atop the odds table.
Odds for a more straightforward, traditional storytelling conclusion are also popular for a series that has seldom been straightforward or traditional.
Hero Jon Snow, who fulfilled a prior internet-fueled theory that he was secretly the son of Rhaegar Targaryen of Elia Stark, is the second favorite. It would appease fans who have cheered on one of the program’s few remaining noble characters through seven seasons, but wouldn’t fit with the paradigm set by a show that killed off its most well-known protagonist in its first season.
Daenerys, replete with multiple armies, two remaining dragons and a new “alliance” with Jon Snow, would seem a top contender, but her odds have remained behind the leaders, and even those of Tyrion Lannister. Seemingly in the best strategic position to take the throne, bookmakers nevertheless seem unimpressed with her chances.
Bookmakers have odds of ruling Westeros for several dozen of the hundreds of additional characters introduced in the previous seven seasons, ranging all the way up to +15000 for Free Folk leader Tormnund Gianstbane. The anticipation for the final season is in large part due to the wide-open possibilities for the finale – and end bookmakers increasingly believe may include the (apparently) deceased Lord Petyr Balish.