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Warning: major potential spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones Season 8. Seriously, if you want to go into Season 8 totally blind, feel free to check out some of our 100% guaranteed spoiler-free articles. Otherwise, carry on!
Only one season of Game of Thrones is left before the saga wraps up, and kind of a lot needs to happen before the very end. Season 8 will be comprised of six episodes and have to tackle the Great War, the issue of who sits the Iron Throne, and which characters will die. We won't get any new episodes until 2019, and it'll undoubtedly be a while before we get any specific plot details, but we now have reason to believe that one iconic Game of Thrones location will be destroyed in Season 8: Winterfell.
Let's be honest: Winterfell has never been in a very good position to survive the events of the series. Despite the fact that the ancestral home of House Stark has endured hundreds of years of weather (including harsh Northern winters), being sacked by Theon Greyjoy, and then being controlled by House Bolton, Winterfell simply is in a bad position to make it to the very end. Winterfell is too far North to ever be taken and held by armies from the South; Winterfell may be ripe for the destroying for a dead army marching down from beyond the Wall. The odds have never been especially good for Winterfell.
Given recent events on the set of Game of Thrones, it's safe to say that the evidence is mounting up that the ancestral home of House Stark won't be home to any living humans for the rest of the series. The Winterfell set was reportedly set ablaze, and the fire was big enough to be filmed from a distance by many folks in the area. Belfast Live reports that a fire spokesman confirmed being called to the scene of the fire but no action was necessary to put out the flames, which indicates that the fire was deliberate for the sake of filming, and there may have been as many as 500 extras present in a battle sequence. Basically, Winterfell may be toast in Season 8.
Of course, we can't guarantee what will happen at this point, but there are some big reasons why Winterfell would be torched in the final season of Game of Thrones. The most obvious is that the Season 7 finale ended with the fall of the Wall thanks to the Night King on the back of the reanimated Viserion. The finale wasn't entirely clear on whether Viserion can still breathe any kind of fire. That said, a wight dragon could potentially have what it takes to torch Winterfell. At the very least, somebody in Winterfell could be so shocked at the sight of an undead dragon that they knock over a lantern.
Another potential reason for Winterfell to go up in flames is that one of the other two dragons happened to breathe in the wrong direction. Dany still has Drogon and Rhaegal at her disposal, and it's not like any giant CGI dragons would be visible during filming. Her dragons were capable of burning most of the Lannister army to a crisp; they could certainly destroy Winterfell. If this does happen, Dany might make herself some enemies among the Starks. Jon may have fallen for her, but Winterfell was his home. Sansa is the Lady of Winterfell, and Arya is super into revenge even within the hallowed halls of her childhood home. Just ask Littlefinger! Dany needs the support of the North; torching Winterfell by accident would be an unfortunate turn of events.
Alternately, perhaps Dany and/or others decide to use Winterfell as a trap. It stands to reason that the Night King would want to take out the Stark stronghold in the North, and he has a bone to pick with Bran. If any of the living decide that taking out the Night King is more important than protecting Winterfell, it's possible that they could attempt to lure the Night King and his army of the dead into Winterfell and then unleash Drogon and Rhaegal on the entire place. Such a drastic move might take the Night King by surprise, and it could be worth the risk. The humans don't exactly have a lot of advantages beyond Dany's dragons in the Great War, and the Night King already proved that he's capable of killing and reanimating a dragon.
Then again, who knows? Maybe the White Walkers simply overrun Winterfell and accidentally set the place on fire. It would certainly be a classically tragic Game of Thrones twist for Jon and Co. to be defeated by the White Walkers in battle and then have to watch Winterfell burn to the ground. Wildfire could be in the mix as well. The fall of the Winterfell stronghold would be a blow to the good guys as a whole in the North and undoubtedly take the wind out of the sails of any surviving Starks. We'll have to wait and see.