Ah, the Game of Thrones off-season, a time for endless rewatches and wild speculation about what could possibly be to come when the show finally returns to our eager screens.
The months between seasons often lead to outlandish and frankly ridiculous theories about the show - for years some people believed Varys was a mermaid because we never got to see his legs - but this new theory, cooked up by YouTuber Alt Shift X - has just enough research behind it that it could be believable.
The theory states that the eight and final season will see Tyrion Lannister lose his tongue - a development that could be devastating for us as viewer, given how entertaining his dialogue is, but hey, since when has Game of Thrones shied away from delivering piledrivers to its audience’s hearts?
So what’s behind the theory? Where has it all come from?
Well, first of all, it’s important to note that Game of Thrones is no stranger to the removal of tongues. We know Euron Greyjoy is a big fan of it - his ship Silence is named for the fact that its crew is made up of prisoners he’s captured before slicing out their tongues - while executioner Ser Ilyn Payne had his tongue removed by the Mad King, and Joffrey had a singer’s tongue removed back in the early seasons.
A number of characters have also threatened Tyrion with tongue removal before - and he’s even said himself that he’d be better off without it, the trouble it’s got him in.
But this isn’t enough evidence to suggest it could actually happen to Tyrion. What Alt Shift X suggests, is that the reason Tyrion will lose is tongue has to do with a story arc of the three children of Tywin Lannister, in which they all lose what is most important to them.
Think about it, Jaime, the great warrior, lost his sword hand. Cersei, the great beauty and doting mother, was dragged through the street and lost her children. Tyrion’s greatest weapon is his speech, so if there’s any legitimacy to this theory about the Lannisters, then Tyrion’s tongue is surely what he’d lose.
Let’s go along with the theory for a minute and ask: if it does happen, who’s most likely to do it? Well, there seem to be two key candidates, Cersei for her hatred of her brother, and Euron for his penchant for the act.
Euron must surely have some big role to play in the final season, while it would be disappointing if Tyrion and Cersei never came to a head again.
Alt Shift X has another theory which relates to the books, and a storyline which was removed from the show all together. In the books, there is another Targaryen prince who Varys tries to engineer onto the throne. However, Tyrion suspects that he isn’t Rhaegar’s son, but in fact a Blackfyre Targaryen bastard. The YouTuber argues that this accusation may end up with Tyrion losing his ability to speak.
While this prince certainly won’t be showing up in the show, if Tyrion is set to lose his tongue in the books, the show may find a different way to make it happen - as it has done with other plotlines which were removed.
Only another year and a half (probably) left to find out!