It’s hard to believe that we’re at the end of another Game of Thrones season and although it’s never easy having to wait almost a full year between seasons, at least the sixth season ended in spectacular fashion with its finale, “The Winds of Winter.” Game of Thrones finales have been a mixed bag so far, as they’re often overly concerned with setting up plots for the next season and also have the misfortune of following episode nine, which are typically the most action-packed, thrilling parts of every season. “The Winds of Winter” bucks this trend by delivering a number of shocking moments, with about half a dozen major characters getting killed off in the process. That being said, “The Winds of Winter” is still a finale and it spends a significant amount of time on set-up for season seven. Here are the 10 most pressing questions we have heading into the next year of Game of Thrones.
10. Do The Citizens of King’s Landing Know That Cersei Blew Up The Sept?
Cersei performed one of the most spectuacular power plays in Game of Thrones history, blowing up all of her enemies (in King’s Landing anyway) in one fell swoop. Although her actions cost her the life of her only remaining son Tommen, Cersei probably isn’t too upset considering she’s now the defacto Queen of the Seven Kingdoms once again. Although Cersei’s coronation was stunning in its dread-inducing effectiveness, it felt odd to see Cersei reclaim the throne so easily. She’s not exactly popular with the people of King’s Landing and isn’t it obvious that she was the one behind the destruction of the Sept of Baelor? Questionable exectuion aside, at least Cersei probably won’t be sitting on the throne for long given how many enemies are headed her way.
9. How Will Jaime React To Cersei Being Queen Again?
Jaime is definitely in a strange position right now as we head into season seven next year. He just spent a considerable amount of time cleaning up the Freys’ mess in the Riverlands in a bit to win Cersei’s approval and get back to her, but judging by the look he gives his sister as she’s crowned queen, he’s not very happy with what he’s come home to. Although Jaime is most assuredly still on Cersei’s side right now, how long will that last? After all, she basically just committed the same act that he killed a king for, so will Jaime even be able to forgive Cersei for incinerating hundreds of people and driving their only remaining son to commit suicide? It’s not insignificant that his younger brother is on his way back to Westeros to wage war on their sister and a time may come when Jaime will have to choose between his honor and his love for his sister.
8. How Did Varys Get On That Ship?
We didn’t have to wait long to see where Varys’s secret mission would take him, as the crafty eunuch ended up in Dorne to gain the support of both Ellaria Sand and the Tyrells, whose only remaining member is a particularly vengeful Lady Olenna (RIP Mace, Margaery, and Loras). As great as it was to see Varys on the warpath, it was a bit strange to see him pop up in the final scene on Daenerys’s ship, which is seemingly still somewhere in the Narrow Sea. While this Reddit thread claims that Varys’s movements make sense, I’m not so convinced.
Daenerys’s fleet would have needed to make it to Dorne already in order to pick Varys up, which seems like a bit of a stretch considering she was still in Meereen just a few scenes prior. The show could have easily just not had Varys in that shot and things would have made much more sense as a result. Still, the fact that Varys is on that ship might give a possible clue as to where Daenerys is headed first …
7. Is Dany Heading To King’s Landing First?
While the final shot of the finale is confounding, it does at least confirm that Daenerys’s fleet is somewhere off the coast of Dorne. The way I see it, Dany has two options for destinations: she can either sail around to the west coast to take back the Iron Islands for Yara and Theon, or sail north to attack King’s Landing. Game of Thrones has really sped up the pace of this storyline in particular this season, so it’s possible that Dany could be raining “fire and blood” down on Cersei pretty early on next season, but it seems more likely that securing the Iron Islands will take precedent. While it will be disappointing to have to wait longer for King’s Landing to fall, taking her fleet to the Iron Islands has the potential to be a thrilling spectacle if a certain mad pirate king is still hanging around …
6. How Much of a Threat Will Euron Be?
It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that we’ll be seeing a massive naval battle between Dany and Euron’s fleets in the near future, but it remains to be seen how much of an impact this will have on Dany’s larger plans for Westeros. It’s possible that Euron will be a one and done obstacle for the Mother of Dragons, with her fleet wiping him out in a single episode, signalling that, yes indeed, you don’t mess with Daenerys Targaryen. However, even though Euron is more of a poorly-developed nuisance than anything at this point, it feels like he would be better served if he was used as a power check for Dany, someone whom she eventually defeats, but not without some significant losses on her end (like the loss of one of her dragons, for instance). In other words, Dany could very well end up regretting the promise she made to Yara about give her the Iron Islands.
5. Where / How Did Arya Get That Face?
In an episode jam-packed with “Holy S–t!” moments, Arya’s Titus Andronicus style murder of Walder Frey and his sons may have been the most viscerally satisfying of all. Although Arya’s sudden appearance at the Twins felt very assassin-like (and was in keeping with this show’s habit of characters travelling vast distances almost instantaneously), it did leave some lingering questions. Chief among them: where did Arya get that face? Unless she brought a care package of faces from the House of Black and White, Arya would have had to cut that face off herself.
Arya is definitely ruthless but as she has shown again and again, she only kills people who deserve it. Did Arya kill an innocent girl for her face or could the girl have already been a corpse that Arya “borrowed” from? We’ll probably never find out, as this isn’t a very important detail, but I hope that Arya isn’t in the habit of killing innocent people now just to exact some vengeance.
4. Where Will Melisandre Go?
Well, it looks like I was wrong about Davos losing his cool and killing Melisandre in a fit of rage. Instead, the Red Woman is exiled from the north by Jon Snow on punishment of death, which means she is probably headed south. As Melisandre mentions, she still has a part to play in the war ahead, so we certainly haven’t seen the last of her, but where is she going to go and who will she run into? We know that Arya is likely travelling home to Winterfell that she’s finished cutting up the Freys, unless she’s looking for a little more vengeance against Cersei and the Mountain in King’s Landing. However, it’s important to remember that Melisandre is a name on Arya’s list, so the two could be crossing paths very soon.
3. Will Sansa Side With Littlefinger Or Jon?
Even with Ramsay out of the picture, the situation in the north continues to look perilous and not just because an army of White Walkers is about to descend on everyone. In a surprising twist, the northern lords declare Jon Snow to be the “White Wolf,” the new King in the North, thanks in large part to another rousing speech from little Lady Mormont (the writers are having so much fun with her, aren’t they?). While it’s great to see a Stark controlling the north again, Jon’s ascendance comes at the expense of Sansa, who is still the rightful heir to Winterfell next to Bran; even more so now that we know that Jon isn’t Ned’s son.
There is a lot to unpack in that knowing glance that Sansa shares with Littlefinger, and while it’s hard to see Sansa turning on her own brother (err…cousin), she probably won’t want to just sit idly by while Jon gets all the glory. Littlefinger will likely continue to turn Sansa against Jon next season and it will be exciting to see how the situation in the north plays out, especially with Jon’s aunt Daenerys about to enter the picture in a big way.
2. What Did Lyanna Whsiper To Ned?
It’s hard not to ask this question, considering the show deliberately withheld information during the long-awaited reveal of Jon Snow’s true parentage, but it’s also likely that we already know the answer. Bran revisits the Tower of Joy flashback from earlier in the season and finally learns what his father discovered in that tower. As fans have long predicted, Lyanna Stark is indeed Jon Snow’s mother, but while asking Ned to protect her son, Lyanna whispers something inaudible to her brother.
It most likely has something to do with Rhaegar being the father, but it’s also important to remember that we don’t actually have firm confirmation of this. Whatever Lyanna whispered is probably significant, but considering it’s hard to think of it being about anything other than Rhaegar, it’s probably not that big a deal that we didn’t hear what she said.
1. Should We Just Stop Expecting Lady Stoneheart To Show Up?
One of the biggest surprises of the finale had nothing to do with plot, but rather, an absence. It was assumed by many that the Hound and the Brotherhood Without Banners would figure into the finale in some way, but they were missing in action again this week, meaning we’ll have to wait until next season for their return. However, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that we’ll ever see Lady Stoneheart AKA the reanimated Catelyn Stark.
While it’s certainly still possible that we’ll see her next season, this finale felt like the platform Game of Thrones should have used if they were going to reveal her, as there were several references made to Catelyn throughout the season. If Lady Stoneheart turns up next season, it may feel like a case of too little, too late, but then again, if it’s handled in the right way, it’s unlikely that anyone will be too disappointed by having to wait much longer than expected for her.