The survival of two Game of Thrones fan favorites, Tormund Giantsbane and Beric Dondarrion, might be confirmed. The season 7 finale of Game of Thrones wasn’t as action-packed as some of the other installments of the fantasy series. It did, however, deliver a big cliffhanger, by having The Wall destroyed by the Night King in its final moments. It was a huge moment to close out the penultimate season of the series, as it made clear the war between men and the White Walkers would begin in earnest.
The Wall coming down didn’t just represent a new dark era for Game of Thrones. It also left the fate of Beric and Tormund uncertain. The two were standing on The Wall moments before it fell. Now, new details about the finale have been uncovered. It appears that against all Game of Thrones precedent, Beric and Tormund will be alive and well in the final season.
HBO has submitted the script for the season 7 finale for an Emmy in Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. This means that the script is available online (with the rest of the nominees) to be read by anyone. The script isn’t explicit about Beric and Tormund surviving the season’s cliffhanger. It’s more implied that they escaped unharmed but it’s a rather heavy implication. The finale script reads nearly exactly as events played out in the show, with Night King suddenly appearing to destroy The Wall with his undead dragon. Yet the script also makes a point of explaining that Beric and Tormund gather their wildling allies to “run for their lives and disappear from view” during the attack. It’s not clearly stated that the pair lived, but even more importantly, it’s not clearly stated that they died.
It’s certainly possible that when Game of Thrones returns for season 8, sometime in 2019, it’ll be without Tormund and/or Beric. The show could reveal that the two warriors didn’t escape The Night King’s fiery undead wrath, and perished at The Wall. It’s just not very likely. Even if the show wasn’t obvious about Tormund and Beric’s fates in the filming, the script should be much clearer. It would inform the performances of the actors and/or let them know if they have a job in season 8. Instead the script is part ambiguous and part hopeful for Beric and Tormund, suggesting that they did survive.
Even though Game of Thrones has killed characters with reckless abandon in the past, it’s perfectly reasonable for Beric and Tormund to pull through. If the season 7 finale was the last time that Tormund and Beric were seen that would mean that they suffered, essentially, off-screen deaths. That’s not a fate fitting for either character, who have been a recurring presence for years on the series. Lastly, someone needs to tell the rest of Game of Thrones’ characters that The Wall is no more at the start of season 8. It makes narrative and logical sense for the joint forces of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen to be warned of The Wall’s destruction before The White Walkers descend upon them all. If anyone should tell Jon or Dany about The Wall’s end, Beric or Tormund seem like the best possible candidates. The chances of the two making it out of season 8 altogether are low, but they should at least appear one last time.