Who will rule the Seven Kings? Roberto Luongo has some thoughts.
With the eighth and final season of HBO's Game of Thrones set to premiere on Sunday, the fate of those vying for the Iron Throne will soon be decided. Yes, after nearly a decade of dominating water-cool talk, the Emmy-winning fantasy drama that brought us into Westeros, a chaotic world of feuding families, epic battles, zombies, dragons and dire wolves is finally coming to an end.
A global blockbuster, the show, which airs in 186 countries and territories around the world, has become a cultural phenomenon during its time on air. From a generation of babies named "Jon" and "Khaleesi" to a mountain of merchandise, the series will certainly leave a lasting impression.
According to Nielsen, last season's finale attracted 12.1 million viewers. Once streaming data was included, that number ballooned to an incredible 16.5 million, making it the most-watched episode in series history. And in the year-plus hiatus that's followed since then, fans have had plenty of time to theorize about who will occupy the Iron Throne when it's all said and done.
Among those fans are Luongo and fellow Florida Panther Frank Vatrano.
When you hit the road for 41 games each season, there's certainly no shortage of time to fire up the tablet and binge a few episodes. Like the rest of us, even a future Hall of Famer like Luongo admits that he can't get enough of the show, even if the majority of his teammates don't watch.
But during Monday's locker clean out at BB&T Center, the team's two biggest Game of Thrones fans, Luongo and Vatrano, were asked to share their thoughts on how the show's landscape will look following the final six-episode of the series - warning: plenty of spoilers are lurking below!
Although he's earned a reputation around the NHL for his lighthearted work on Twitter, Luongo's prediction for the show's finale is far, far more grim. That being said, it's likely the embracement of those bleak expectations that has helped make the show popular -- no character is ever safe.
"I think mostly everybody's going to die," Luongo said bluntly.
Well, not everybody.
Like Cersei Lannister once said, "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die." And although Luongo foresees a lot of bloodshed in the future, he has also picked a pair of winners in Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow, who are in a complicated relationship, to say the least.
"Not sure if anybody else, but those two live," Luongo said.
As for Vatrano, he's been mulling over a few theories about a wildcard contender of the crown.
"Jon Snow or Daenerys, one of them has to go," Vatrano said. "I want Jon Snow to take over the throne, but I also heard a theory that Gendry (the illegitimate son of former king Robert Baratheon, who perished in the show's shocking first season) is going to be taking the throne. I don't know what's going to happen, but hopefully Jon Snow takes over the Throne."
When asked to pick an ultimate winner, Luongo agrees with Vatrano.
"I think the Iron Throne is probably going to go to Jon Snow," he said.