Do you have a strong hunch that Daenerys Targaryen will finally reach King's Landing in the next four episodes? Feeling confident that Arya Stark is the one who gets to kill Cersei Lannister? Or is the Queen on the Iron Throne going to make House Lannister great again and hold sway over the Seven Kingdoms? And, more importantly, will you bet your bottom dollar on this Queen of Hearts?
Countless others do. Adults- grown-ups with jobs, children, real life responsabilities, and a knack for gambling- do battle against each other and the odds and wager on what's to come next in the show.
Not at all a small feat when you consider that HBO's biggest jackpot production yet has more twists and turns than the trickiest escape room on the map.
In The Seven Kingdoms, All Bets Are Off. Not So In Front Of the Screen
On the surface, it would appear punters are making bets in a burning house. Aren't the Lannisters destined to ashes and oblivion while the revenge of the North, by means of the remaining children of the House Stark, will bite hard into the gates of Westeros?
Could be so, but in a fantasy world that forever sweetens the already savoury plot with broken odds and newborn probabilities, no bet is futile.
The always pending future of George R.R.Martin's story has provided brilliant, fruitful ground for incipient betting markets and veteran bookies to score high on the favorite pastime of Game of Thrones' excitable fans- trying to predict the unpredictable.
Death, the Only Safe Bet
Who will finally sprawl victorious (although, by the looks of it, not very comfortable) on the Iron Throne? And, to up the gore, who will next meet his untimely demise, considering HBO's mega show creators never wavered in killing off some of its favourites?
It seems that people are more comfortable putting their greens on the next Game of Thrones dead body, since gruesome death remains the only safe bet at the end of every season.
In a nod to the Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire creator, screenwriters David Benioff and D. B. Weiss juggle a triumvirate of themes- Sex, Death and Betrayal- that foreover draw the contending houses into a whirpool of intrigue.
In making the rounds of the internet, the online bookies have almost unanimously chosen the challengers to the Iron Throne with the highest visibility as the most likely to ungraciously get the axe.
After all, the best odds can be intuited straight from the mouth of the wordsmith, George R.R. Martin, who did not falter in his god-like judgement: “All men must die”. So who are the unfortunate victims of his divine will?
- Cersei Lannister, the recently-crowned Queen of Westeros and a ruthless, embittered wretch.
- Daenerys Targaryen, the Khalisi with the Dragon tattoo
- Jon Snow, the recently-resurrected and elect King of the North
- Tyrion Lannister, the voice of reason in the series and, we can only hope, the die-hard gamer if there ever was one.
Some bookies have it in for the characters playing second fiddle to the central cast.
- Peter Baelish's odds stand in death's path.
- Ellaria Sand, paramour of Prince Oberyn Martell and cruel revenger, follows fast in the footsteps of the condemned.
- Euron Greyjoy, the latest character to hate in the new Game of Thrones season, is most likely to die at Cersei's hands if the usurper King of the Iron Islands is fool enough to marry her.
No character wears a plot armour thick enough to fend the sharp pen stabbings of its writers, and the obvious penchant for killing can only benefit the bookies and enforce the House Edge.
Delayed Gratification Sitting On the Bookies' Throne
After all, the multilayered and outright fascinating drama managed to survive the plagues of prohibitive production costs and the usual plot leaks on account of a mostly disregarded literary artifice: delayed gratification.
Game of Thrones predictions and hair-rising speculations stand upon a millon-dollar gamble on an innate part of human condition: an inclination to wager.
The Psychology of Betting: How Politics, Real or Fictional, Became a Huge Gamble
Ever since ante-deluvian ages, the world was up for a bet. Gods of Greek ancestry were gambling on which thrones to share (Zeus got to rule the skies, Poseidon the seas, and Hades the underworld) and the biblical God would cast his dice every time he felt like delving responsibility on the odds.
In the 20th century, the bookies were finally allowed to share legal status with the imperial casinos of Nevada and the national lotteries popping up across the world.
Presidential elections became some of the most bettable races (just think Obama's second bid for the White House or Theresa May's scramble for power).
In this respect, the world is just a canvas for the bookies' imagination. There are odds at stake for almost every imaginable eventuality out there- predictions of great finesse and subtle sabotage- with Paddy Power Betfair offering odds on Trump having cosmetic surgery on his penis or his highly publicized “small hands”.
In the bet on the final outcome to Game of Thrones, where HBO takes good care not to leak any valuable data to the audience, the most satisfying draw for the fans is to clue in on the teasers and trailers to make their predictions.
It's a hobby like many others, although one persecuted by moralistic tales of gambling addiction, bankruptcy, and the slippery slopes present in any over-indulgence of man.
At least, fantasy worlds have to deal less with the grey areas of reality. In the game of playing the Game of Thrones gamble, you either win or you lose.
The Seven Kingdoms Have Come to USA
Middle ground can only be leaned on in middle earth. So where do your loyalties lie, asked Decluttr.com in a Google Search sweep from all the 50 states of the American kingdom?
In a landslide win, the House of the Starks has conquered the hearts of most Americans, with 24 states – including California, Wisconsin, Nevada, Utah and Washington- declaring themselves allies to the good guys.
But, in a dramatic turn of fate, House Lannister earned the respect (by fear, no doubt) of 10 U.S. states, among which Minnesota, Missouri, and Florida prefer to walk under the golden lion sigil while two rather old-fashioned states- Maine and Ohio- are still rooting for the extinct House Baratheon.
If Google searches are anything to go by, Americans have invested themselves body, soul, and bank accounts into Game of Thrones' season 7 fierce scramble for the Iron Throne. Maybe the exercise of solving a political conundrum in a make-believe world could be put to good use in demystifying the real-life machinations of House Trump.