Unlike pretty much every season before it, “The Dragon and the Wolf” is a season finale that is arguably better than the episode that preceded it, as it was much more dramatic than “Beyond the Wall” and made a lot more sense, even if it didn’t quite have as much crazy fantasy action scenes (though that final scene with the Night King was pretty incredible). We got a number of important character reunions, saw one of the show’s most detestable schemers finally meet his end and also had one of the biggest fan theories confirmed.
In other words, “The Dragon and the Wolf” was an eventful affair, but it still felt like it was a little too focused on setting up stories for next season rather than offering resolutions to pre-established ones. Still, this finale left us with quite a bit to ponder as we head into what looks to be the longest hiatus in Game of Thrones history, with the following 11 questions at the forefront of my own mind as I hunker down for the show’s return in late 2018 or even 2019.
11. Why Did Tyrion Seem So Upset By Daenerys And Jon’s Hookup?
While the prospect of Jon and Daenerys having sex wasn’t all that shocking in itself since we all knew it was coming — though that still doesn’t make it any less disturbing — the fascinating part about this scene wasn’t the steamy shots of Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke together in the nude, but rather the visual of Tyrion standing in the hall outside looking immensely troubled by what was happening on the other side of the door. Tyrion doesn’t know that Jon and Dany are actually related, so I’m pretty sure he wasn’t there protesting incest or anything. So why did he look so concerned and moreover, wouldn’t it have made much more sense if it had been Jorah standing in the hall instead?
I feel like there are a number of potential reasons for Tyrion’s reaction. It could have something to do with his lingering issues with how Jon chose not to lie to Cersei in King’s Landing or a concern that now that Daenerys is intimately close with Jon, she’ll be more likely to heed her lover’s council than the Hand of the Queen’s. He could also simply just be in love with Daenerys, which would be a lazy bit of writing but not all that surprising given how many men have fallen for her throughout the series. Whatever the case, Tyrion did not look happy about what took place and it may drive a wedge between him and Daenerys going forward.
10. Why Would Anyone Trust Cersei At This Point?
It may have taken an entire presentation from the likes of Jon, Daenerys, and that wight they infamously captured up north — as well as a closed door meeting with Tyrion — but Cersei Lannister ultimately agreed that the White Walkers are a threat that needs to be stopped and even pledged to send her armies north to help fight the good fight. Only she didn’t; not really anyway. Her admission to Jaime that she lied to everyone and would instead be building up her forces while everyone else fights the army of the dead was classic Cersei, which begs the question of how anyone, especially Tyrion, actually thought they could trust her.
This is the same woman that conspired to have her husband killed, helped put Ned Stark to death, and blew up an entire church full of her enemies; why would she suddenly be swayed by things like logic, reason, or appeals to her humanity? To be fair, Jon and Daenerys need all the help they can get if they’re to have any hope of stopping the White Walkers, so it makes sense that they would at least try to form an alliance with Cersei but even still, you’d think there would have been some debate as to whether or not they could trust her after everything she’s done.
9. Did Arya Know That Sansa Was Going To Betray Littlefinger?
The death of Littlefinger was easily one of the finale’s most satisfying moments — it’s always nice to see a villain get his comeuppance — but I’m still at a loss for how the whole thing came together. From what I could tell, the interactions between Sansa and Arya in the previous episode were genuine, in that Sansa really did think that her sister might kill her. That’s why it felt like a pretty big leap to see them working together here to take down Littlefinger, as satisfying as it may have been.
Was there a scene off-screen where they discussed what they were going to do to Littlefinger? And even though Sansa admits to being a “slow learner,” she’s been aware of nearly all of the crimes she accuses Littlefinger of for some time now, so why was she still trusting him for so long? Did Bran say something that changed her mind? And as good as that final scene between Sansa and Arya was, are we really supposed to just ignore the fact that Arya was talking about cutting off Sansa’s face just one episode prior? I’ll admit to enjoying how this conflict was resolved and found it very satisfying, but I still don’t really understand how we got to it.
8. How Did Bran Not Know About Rhaegar and Lyanna’s Marriage?
Thanks to the timely arrival of Samwell Tarly and the discovering that
he Gilly made, Bran is able to piece together that not only is Jon the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, but that the couple wed in secret, thus making Jon, aka Aegon Targaryen, the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne. While this was both an effective and important reveal, it defied believably a bit to have Bran not know this crucial bit of information. Yes, I know that his seer abilities only allow him to see the past and present in fragments, but you would think that stumbling upon a key detail like Jon being half Targaryen, half Stark — something, it must be emphasized, Bran learned at the end of last season — would make him focus his thoughts on discovering the whole truth of the matter.
Also, while I’m on the subject, Bran tells Sam that Jon “has to know” even before Sam tells him what he knows about the situation and as we know, Jon has still been in contact with Winterfell while he’s been away. Why couldn’t Bran have simply sent Jon a message telling him the truth (other than being afraid of the letter falling into the wrong hands, which I don’t really buy). Right now, it seems like Bran’s abilities only work when it’s convenient for the story, and I hope they can put to better use in the final season.
7. Can Daenerys Have Children After All?
We’ve known since the first season that Daenerys cannot conceive a child and she’s made note of this fact several times this season, including to Jon in the finale. Game of Thrones has been pretty heavy-handed with its storytelling this season, to the point where if something is brought up repeatedly, you can pretty much guarantee that a future plot point will deal with it, so does the fact that Daenerys repeatedly draws attention to her infertility actually signal that she could conceive a child after all?
Jon himself even suggests that Dany’s infertility could all be a load of crap made up by a witch, saying that Mirri Maz Duur, the woman who cursed Daenerys, “may not be a reliable source of information.” Does this signal that a Daenerys pregnancy is in the cards, with Jon Snow (I’m sorry, Aegon Targaryen) as the father? It would certainly be fitting for a fellow Targaryen to be the one to father Dany’s child, since the Targaryens notoriously relied on inbreeding to keep the bloodline pure. As uncomfortable as it may to be think about, at least Daenerys would no longer have to worry about who her successor would be if Jon fathered her child.
6. Does Theon Actually Stand A Chance Of Rescuing Yara?
Theon finally grows a pair (figuratively speaking, of course) in the finale and decides to mount a rescue mission to save Yara from their uncle Euron … by harnessing his power of being able to be kicked in the crotch repeatedly and not feel pain. Okay, so the fight between Theon and the unnamed Iron Fleet commander was a bit silly, but at least it won Theon the respect of his men back. Next season will see Theon confront Euron but with such a small fleet and little hope of defeating Euron in combat, does Theon actually stand a chance of successfully rescuing his sister? I feel like there will have to be more to this story than just Theon sailing across the Narrow Sea with a few ships and challenging Euron to a duel or something, as the latter not only has a much larger navy but will also likely have secured an alliance with the Golden Company by this point. I’d like to say that Theon will be successful, but the odds are really stacked against him right now.
Also, as much as I enjoyed that scene between Theon and Jon, I feel like Jon could have been a little more sympathetic to the fact that Theon’s sister is in the clutches of some simplistic pirate. Instead, he just mutters “then why are you talking to me?” and walks off. It just didn’t feel like the way Jon would react, that’s all.
5. Are Tormund And Beric Still Alive?
The finale’s final scene is so focused on the Night King destroying the Wall with his brand new wight dragon, it’s easy to forget that Tormund and Beric Dondarion are stationed on the Wall when the attack begins. We see them scrambling to get away from the attack but they get lost in the shuffle and it’s never really made clear what happens to them. Considering both characters survived the suicide mission north of the Wall, I’m going to assume that they survived this attack, as it would be unlike Game of Thrones to kill them off-screen. Still, they seem as good as dead when you consider that even if they survived the attack, they now have the entire White Walker army to deal with.
4. What Will Jaime Do Now That He’s Free of Cersei?
It was a long time coming but Jaime finally decided to cut ties with his sister and her increasingly sadistic plans and set out on his own. We see him leaving King’s Landing on horseback alone, but it’s unclear where he’s headed or what his plans are. I think the safe bet is that he will head north to Winterfell to assist with the war effort, which is sure to lead to some dramatic reunions with the Stark siblings (although I’m confident that Three-eyed Bran will be pretty chill about the whole Jaime-pushing-him-out-a-window thing).
The real question though is whether he’s still pledged to Cersei or if he’ll support Daenerys instead. While it seems like Jaime would be more apt to pick Daenerys right now, I could also see him not declaring for any king or queen, and just staying focused on protecting the world of living (and his unborn child) from the White Walkers. Jaime’s redemption arc is set to come full circle in the final season and it should be a fascinating watch.
3. How Will Jon React To Finding Out He’s The Heir To The Iron Throne?
We now have official confirmation that Jon has a better claim to the Iron Throne than even Daenerys, aka the queen he just pledged himself to. In other words, things are about to get super awkward once both characters find out the truth and while the big question on everyone’s mind is whether or not this pair will want to continue sleeping together once they find out they’re related, the other question worth asking is how Jon will react once he finds out he is the heir to the Iron Throne? It’s a complicated situation to say the least.
To be honest, I don’t think Jon would try and contest Dany’s claim to the throne, as he’s admitted in the past that he has no real interest in being a king. One option would be to share the throne with Daenerys as king and queen, but obviously that’s problematic with Jon being Dany’s nephew. I have an easier time seeing Daenerys being the one who will have a huge problem with Jon’s true identity but whether or not this causes a rift in their relationship remains to be seen.
2. Can Jon Just Ride Rhaegal Already?
Am I the only one that feels like Rhaegal is the forgotten dragon? Drogon has always been Dany’s favorite and now Viserion is being put to great use by the Night King (who, it must be noted, looks like a total boss riding a dragon), but Rhaegal is just kind of … there. Heck, I can’t even remember the last time we saw a close-up of him! It seems inevitable at this point that Jon will ride him and I hope that happens sooner rather than later because Rhaegal deserves to do something awesome like his brothers. I just hope that once Jon finds out he’s a Targaryen, he immediately asks Dany to hand over Rhaegal because what’s the point of finding out your whole life has been a lie if you don’t get a dragon out of it?
1. How Far South Will The White Walkers Get?
The Night King and his army have officially made it south of the Wall, which means that all of Westeros is now in immediate peril. While it’s difficult to predict how the upcoming war is going to play out, it’s a safe bet that one of the first stops for the White Walkers on their march south will be Winterfell, which will serve as a home base of sorts for the coalition of the living. Still, you have to assume that the White Walkers will reach further south than Winterfell; how else will any of the southern kingdoms truly feel the impact of this threat? And if the Night King heads south of Winterfell, does this mean that Winterfell falls? I really have no idea how this war is going to play out but I could definitely see a situation where the dead march on King’s Landing, if only because it would really shake up Cersei’s whole “sit back and wait” strategy.