1) Daenerys Targaryen
The book that HBO series "Game of Thrones" is based on is called "A Song of Ice and Fire," and Daenerys is clearly the fire in that equation.
Not only does the last Targaryen have plot armor, an armada, several armies, gallant knights, and three massive fire-breathing mythical beasts protecting her, she's also got an impressive list of titles. Mother of Dragons, the Stormborn, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, and Queen of Meereen.
We're pretty sure she's going to expand that list of titles before her time is up.
Daenerys benefits from plot armor, but most of all, we know she makes it to the end of the story -- or at least as far as any character is guaranteed to go -- thanks to a vision she had back in the second season, when she braved the Warlocks of Qarth's House of the Undying. In that vision, Daenerys finally makes it to the throne room in King's Landing. The Red Keep is a ruin around her, and snow -- or is it ash? -- is falling through the keep's cracked roof.
While it's impossible to know at this point if that scene will be among the series' last, it's much more of a guarantee of survival than any other character can claim.
2) Jon Snow
The second half of the "Ice and Fire" equation.
The half-Stark, half-Targaryen bastard was crowned King in the North at the end of the show's sixth season, and we know how poorly that turned out for his brother, Robb Stark. But Jon has lived through an all-out assault by the White Walkers at Hardhome, an attack on The Wall by Mance Rayder's massive wildling army, a rain of Ygritte's arrows that turned him into a pincushion, and even a mutiny by his own Nights Watch brothers.
Jon also survived the spectacular "Battle of the Bastards" on the plains of Winterfell, an episode that took pains to show how survival in war hinges on luck as much as skill.
We're betting this Valyrian-sword-wielding hero will be among the last characters standing as "Game of Thrones" goes out with the bittersweet ending novelist George R.R. Martin has promised fans. Until then, his plot armor remains solid.
3) Tyrion Lannister
No other character deserves the label "survivor" as much as Tyrion. His father, the ruthless Tywin Lannister, nearly had Tyrion killed as a newborn baby -- not only was Tywin seething that his wife died while giving birth to Tyrion, but his new son was a dwarf. As the series has reminded viewers again and again, that's not an easy or safe thing to be in the brutal world of Westeros.
And yet Tyrion survived a kidnapping and capital trial at the hands of Catelyn Stark; he sweet-talked his way out of execution at the hands of the Vale's hill tribes; sheer luck saw him through a battle against Robb Stark's auxiliary army; and sharp wits, exceptional leadership skills and a loyal squire helped him survive the Battle of the Blackwater.
As if that wasn't enough for one man, Tyrion survived a death sentence handed down by his own father, a kidnapping at the hands of a rogue knight, and even threatened castration by a smuggler who thought a dwarf's penis would fetch a high price from a "cock merchant." Now he's the most trusted advisor of Daenerys Targaryen, a position that should guarantee his safety for at least the short term.
4) Brandon Stark
Few fans would argue that Bran's storyline has been the most interesting in the series, and the show went an entire season without revisiting Bran's narrative arc.
But the last surviving male Stark seems destined for a pivotal role in the existential battle with the White Walkers, and his transformation into the Three-Eyed Raven has given him power the show has only hinted at. His storyline might be among the most obtuse, and it's difficul to predict his trajectory, but he seems one of the safest bets for survival.
5) Samwell Tarly
Another polarizing character, Sam anchors another less-eventful narrative arc and point of view in the series. Initially, it seemed like he was just Jon Snow's sidekick at the Nights Watch, but his role has become much more important as the seasons progressed.
Now, Samwell finds himself at Oldtown's Citadel, where men become maesters. The sixth season's finale showed us an overwhelmed, awe-struck Sam setting eyes on the Citadel's million-volume library for the first time, and it looks like the Nights Watch steward will be the one to uncover the secrets of the White Walkers and how to defeat them.
Sam should be safe at the Citadel, with one caveat -- his brutish father is going to want the priceless Valyrian steel sword Sam stole from the Tarly family's castle. The safe bet, however, is that Sam survives Randyll Tarly's wrath.
6) Lyanna Mormont
There are two possible fates for Lyanna Mormont: she'll survive until the very end, or she'll be written off, never to be heard from again like Greatjon Umber after Game of Thrones' first season.
It's difficul to imagine a show like "Game of Thrones" will kill young Lyanna, even though young girls aren't proven safe in Westeros either, as Shireen Baratheon could attest if she weren't burned at the stake last season. But Lyanna Mormont won the hearts of fans in season six by being wise beyond her years and epitomizing the grit of Westeros' northerners.
7) Lord Varys
Another improbable survivor, which explains his strong kinship with Tyrion Lannister. That, and their shared sense of humor and biting sarcasm.
A former slave, Varys clawed his way to power, and survived the reigns of the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen, King Robert Baratheon, and King Joffrey Baratheon. Now he serves Queen Daenerys.
As Varys explainied to Tyrion in the show's second season: "The storms come and go, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling."
8) Sansa Stark
She survived years of abuse at the hands of the sadistic King Joffrey, she was almost thrown through the Eyrie's Moon Door, and she endured brutal physical and psychological torture meted out by Lord Ramsay Bolton. Sansa is a survivor.
Right now, it looks like Sansa has come to the fork in the road: Stay at her brother Jon's side and survive, or give in to Lord Petyr Baelish's manipulations, and likely end up dead. Years ago, Sansa would've been fooled by Baelish, but not this time. Odds are she doesn't repeat her mistakes.
9) Jaime Lannister
The near-extinct Lannister clan seems to be living on borrowed time, and the list of casualties is long: Tywin, Joffrey, Myrcella, Tommen, Kevan, Lancel and Alton, among others.
Plenty of fans wouldn't put Jaime in this list for the above reason, and because his destiny seems hitched to that of his sister, the Mad Queen Cersei.
But Jaime Lannister has an aura about him, something intangible that suggests he'll be among those leading humanity's last stand against the White Walkers. He's a character of flaws and redemption, and his ultimate redemption could be tied to the survival of the human race. We know "Game of Thrones" relentlessly kills off characters even if they're fan favorites, but it doesn't feel like Jaime's story is over.
Gendry was last seen in the fourth season, rowing away from Dragonstone in a tiny boat after he was freed from the castle's dungeon by Ser Davos Seaworth. "Thrones" fans love to joke that Gendry's still on that boat, rowing his way to the Shadowlands beyond Asshai or somewhere else halfway around the world.
Despite his long absence, it doesn't seem like we've heard the last of Gendry. With the deaths of Stannis, Shireen and Selyse Baratheon, Gendry is the last living person with Baratheon blood. He's also the late King Robert Baratheon's only surviving offspring.
Gendry's character feels like a Chekhov's gun that hasn't fired yet, the centerpiece of a narrative arc that hasn't yet borne fruit. The series seems primed for his return, perhaps linking up with Arya Stark, whose name is not on this list. We'll have to wait and see.