Something big is going to go down in the Game of Thrones finale. That's just about the only given for a show which has traditionally saved some big surprises for the final two episodes of their seasons, creating chaos right before the show went on hiatus.
(WARNING: Game of Thrones spoilers will follow.)
But up through the first six episodes of the abridged Season 7, Game of Thrones has been almost shockingly conventional, with many of the main characters managing to survive poor decision after poor decision. Even some of the bigger moments, like one of Daenerys' dragons dying and being converted by the Night King in "Beyond the War," was a popular prediction among the Thrones fan base for years. Season 7 has been a spectacle unlike any we've seen before, but without the surprise twists we're used to.
That could change in the finale for Season 7, which HBO revealed would be called "The Dragon and the Wolf." There are obvious implications connected to those two names, though the path of the episode is still completely unknown at this point, at least until some hacker leaks it. For now, we have just the title, a brief trailer, and of course, all the Thrones knowledge we've accumulated up until this point in the series.
So how about a few theories about where things are headed? These ideas may combine in the finale, so while we have them separated for now, try to digest them as one big piece.
Jon Snow and Daenerys bring their alliance full force
The simplest explanation is often the right one. At the end of "Beyond the Wall," Jon finally relented and bent the knee to Daenerys, realizing that squabbling over titles was not as important as doing what is best for humanity. It was a big step, and the chaos north of the Wall also served to highlight how close the two characters have grown this season.
What this means moving forward is still up for debate. Will there be a romantic angle to their partnership? Gross as the incest is, the end of "Beyond the Wall" made it appear the duo are trending in that direction, with Daenerys hovering over his bedside and gazing longingly at the recovering warrior. A romance and eventual marriage would be significant symbolically, even if it doesn't mean all that much practically. Thrones characters don't have access to an obstetrician, but it has been strongly suggested Daenerys can't have children, which means the two would be unlikely to create their own line of successors should they ward off the White Walkers and eventually take the Iron Throne.
Even if they don't become romantic—remember, Daenerys said Jon was "too little" for her, which is a death blow for most men—aligning their forces in full is a significant power move. Between the Unsullied, the Dothraki, Daenerys' dragons, and all the forces and alliances Jon has assembled in the north, they have a squad. Absent a romance, that assembly could be enough to settle the score with all comers, and lead Westeros into a better, brighter future.
So maybe "The Dragon and the Wolf" is simply a hint at the two famous leaders finally joining up in totality. The alliance is not on shaky ground anymore, and it appears they'll do anything for one another. The episode could just be focused on what that means for Westeros, and just how imposing a figure they cut when they approach Cersei Lannister near King's Landing.
But, there's still that major loose end that could alter the chemistry between the two.
Jon discovers his Targaryen ancestry
This isn't necessarily mutually exclusive with the above theory, but should Jon discover he has Targaryen blood in the Season 7 finale, it could absolutely change the complexion of his relationship with Daenerys, and could even signal a reversal on the way we saw the episode end.
Given the information we learned in "Eastwatch," the implication is that Jon Snow may have a better claim to the Iron Throne than Daenerys does, and there's no telling how learning that will impact their relationship dynamic. Though Jon doesn't seem like he's particularly interested in leading, this new information about the core of his identity could shift how he feels. One never truly realizes the draw of power until they're staring it face-to-face, and Jon could feel a duty to his family to take up the Iron Throne himself if he learns about his royal blood.
While it would almost certainly squash a romance between Jon and Daenerys with the swiftness, it's also possible that it could drive a wedge between the two, if Jon now feels differently about bending the knee or accepting a secondary role. That feels unlikely, because Jon is already a reluctant leader away from the battlefield, but stranger things have happened on Thrones. Grappling with an identity crisis would be difficult at any time, let alone at the crux of the show's final battle.
How he discovers this is as intriguing as whether he discovers it at all. The big reveals about Jon's ancestry have been made far away from him, with one coming through a Bran vision and the other packed into a brief conversation between Sam Tarly and Gilly, glossed over as Sam talked over his love. Bran has effectively been hanging out by his lonesome for most of Season 7, and there has been no indication that Sam or Gilly understand exactly what they stumbled into.
Something has to happen here in one form or another, and we may even get treated to some sort of flashback between Jon's parents, Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, expanding on the romance we now know they had. Jon's ancestry could also lead to a game-changing outcome in the finale...
Jon is taking control of the dragons himself
This is the most out there theory, because the circumstances are the most fluid. We know of Jon's ancestry, and we saw in a previous episode that he was able to approach the dragons on his own and win their affection. There is precedent here, as well as a lot of smaller clues that hint at Jon eventually riding one of the two dragons remaining in Daenerys' custody.
The most obvious connection is through the name of one of the dragons, Rhaegal. The characters on the show don't know this yet, but the audience is aware that the namesake for the dragon is Daenerys' oldest, deceased brother, Rhaegar Targaryen, who also happens to be Jon's father. If we're looking for poetic justice, Jon riding the metaphorical legacy of his real father and defeating the forces of evil on all sides would be the "happy ending" some people are looking for.
But it could also get much darker than that. What if Jon is taking control of the dragons because Daenerys has been killed, and after the dragons lose their mother, they turn their allegiance to the other Targeryen in the midst of the battle? We know that Cersei Lannister is out for herself and herself alone, and a prophecy has long since foretold that someone younger and more beautiful would take "all you hold dear." Faced with the prospect of this coming to fruition—and having identified Daenerys as a threat for some time—Cersei trying to kill her at all costs is basically a given.
Aside from what this would mean for the dragons, the fallout could be immense if Cersei succeeds in taking out Daenerys. This would leave things remarkably unstable in the battle against the White Walkers, first and foremost, but it could also be a death blow to important relationships internally.
The only thing left in the world Cersei truly "holds dear" is her brother and lover, Jamie, and who knows how he would react if Cersei resorted to murder and violence in a time when humanity needs to stick together. Perhaps the infamous prophecy, evidenced by many of the other predictions that have come true before, is just a self-fulfilling one. Should Cersei ignore the pleas from her rivals and attempt to strike down Daenerys, maybe Jamie finally turns on his sister, causing her to lose everything she loves because of Daenerys, only in a more roundabout way.
And this is all without touching the conflict in Winterfell, how soon the White Walkers will mount an attack, and just how soon that new ice dragon is going to reign terror on humanity. There's so much left to be solved and so little time left, and I can't wait to see how it all wraps up.