If I asked you to name the most consequential character in the entire Game of Thrones universe, who would you say? The superficial fans among you might say John or Danny… that’s far too obvious.
If you’re a little more into the wonderful world of Westeros, you might suggest someone like Sansa or ‘The Queen of Thorns’ Olenna Tyrell.
But, if you asked me, I’d say… Gilly. That’s right, the strange girl we first met all the way back in season 2 when she was rescued from a violent, incestuous relationship with her abusive father Craster.
Over the seasons, she’s formed a close bond with Sam and has given birth to a child. “The thing about Gilly that’s so interesting…is that after all that Craster’s done to her, she’s still got hope that life might get better,” Sam (John Bradley) said about her.
And, very crucially, it was Gilly who dropped one of the biggest bombshells in Game of Thrones history.
In season 7, episode 5, when reading from an old book with Sam, she says: “Says here [the high septon] annulled a marriage from Prince ‘Ragger’ [Rhaegar], and married him in secret, to another woman, in Dorne.”
We can be basically 100% sure that this woman is Lyanna Stark (Dorne is the location of the Tower of Joy, where Lyanna gave birth to Jon), and that this means Jon has the most legitimate claim to the throne of anyone in Westeros – more than even Daenerys, by virtue of his being a man.
And now Hannah Murray, who plays Gilly in the show, has warned that we shouldn’t expect a happy ending when the final season airs.
“It’s not like a fairytale happy ending by any means at all and I think it’s a really wonderful final season,” she told fan site Watchers on the Wall. “I’m really excited for people to get to see it.”
“I knew to expect the unexpected,” she added. “There were certain things where I was like, ‘Well it can’t be that but I don’t know what it is going to be.’”
And discussing her character on the show, Murray said: “Her beginnings are so harrowing and so awful and we’ve watched her get given things and we’ve watched her grow and we’ve watched her gain in strength.”
Find out exactly what happens to Gilly and the rest of the cast when the final season airs in 2019.
(Images: Helen Sloan / HBO)