Daenerys vs. Cersei: Who Will Win the Final 'Game of Thrones' Showdown?

After 71 episodes and eight years, Game of Thrones fans are finally set to see the battle they've been waiting for—Daenerys Targaryen will fight Cersei Lannister at King's Landing to see who will sit on the Iron Throne.

Only one question remains—who will come out victorious? At the start of the show's final season the odds seemed very much in Daenerys' favor. Her invading army not only comprised fierce Dothraki warriors, Unsullied infantry and the Northern forces led by Jon Snow, but two fully grown dragons able to raze cities to the ground.

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Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) faces off against Cersei (Lena Headey) in Game of Thrones' next episode. HBO

But the tables have dramatically turned in the last four episodes. Half of Daenerys' army was wiped out combating the Night King in the apocalyptic Battle of Ice and Fire at Winterfell. Her wounded and exhausted forces then marched south straight away, where an ambush by Euron Greyjoy's Iron Fleet led to her dragon Rhaegal being killed.

Her severely depleted forces must now storm King's Landing, a city fortress armed with Lannister soldiers, mercenaries from The Golden Company and ballistas along the city walls that can take down Daenerys' only remaining dragon.

And in a final masterstroke, Queen Cersei has invited people inside the city walls for protection. If Daenerys assaults King's Landing, she now runs the risk of slaughtering the very people she vowed to help upon conquering Westeros.

Newsweek spoke to Kristian Gustafson, military scholar and senior lecturer in intelligence studies at England's Brunel University, to ask which side might prevail. He says that based on history, Cersei holds a big advantage as she is defending a castle, not attacking it.

"It's only in the late Medieval period where armies have really started to figure out how to do siegecraft. And we haven't seen a lot of siegecraft in Game of Thrones yet," Gustafson noted.

"So one of the reasons why there are so many castles around Europe is because castles are remarkably good at force multiplying your defense. You have cases in medieval history of castles holding out at 40 to one, defenders versus assaulters. So Cersei may be wise to just sit back and defend," he added.

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Cersei holds the advantage defending King's Landing. HBO

Gustafson also noted that in protracted sieges throughout history, both sides would also suffer from sickness and disease.

"The people who are besieged have the problem of food rations, but also they are in crowded spaces. If one person gets sick, everyone gets sick. But they have shelter, and they do have food stores. Whereas the besiegers tend to be caught out in the cold and the wet, and [in the show] Winter is coming. And so the attrition on a besieging force can be very bad," he remarked.

With what appears equally matched forces, Gustafson says that a typical assault would favor the defending side. But if Daenerys could find a way to infiltrate King's Landing, she might be able to win.

"If [you opt to attack] by assault, you need an awful lot of force. You're looking at odds of three to one, but more likely five to one or greater than that, which Daenerys doesn't have. So realistically she's not going to take the castle by assault if this were a historical battle," Gustafson said.

"However in the medieval period one of the things that does happen most often are castles aren't taken by assault, they're taken by ruse or trickery. So the question is: is there anyone she has inside the city that can help open the gates and allow them into the city without having to assault it?

"One of the great sieges of the medieval period was Château Gaillard, which was considered an impregnable fortification. And it was taken by a guy shimmying up a drainpipe on the outside. Like the Death Star's exhaust port, there's always somewhere you can find to get in," he adds.

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Arya (Maisie Williams) is on her way down to King's Landing. Will she infiltrate the city during the siege? HBO

It appears that Daenerys doesn't stand much of a chance of defeating Cersei unless she finds a way to infiltrate the castle. But we did see master assassin Arya on her way down to King's Landing in the last episode on "unfinished business."

Could she sneak into the castle and kill Cersei, just like how she killed the Night King? We will have to wait and see.

Daenerys vs. Cersei: Who Will Win the Final 'Game of Thrones' Showdown? | Culture