Game of Thronesfans, your watch has nearly ended.
We’re moving into the final episode of the (possibly?) penultimate season. For a show that already has set a precedent for keeping fans on edge, we can only expect this finale to keep our jaws clenched.
Now that’s confirmed to be 69 minutesthe longest episode in Throneshistory we can expect the show to lay the surprises on thick.
Keep in mind, we’re trying to wrap this thing up soon. The shows main players aren’t even in the same place. Daenerys is still across the sea with Tyrion. Jon Snow and Sansa Stark only just reclaimed their home in the north. Bran is still wandering around far north of the Wall. The Iron Throne is now being held by religious fanatics. And, lest we forget, there’s a giant army of the undead coming.
The finale’s episode title “The Winds of Winter” is more than just author George R.R. Martin’s title for the sixth book in the series. It implies that incoming darkness and death from the north, and that there’s still more death in store for the remaining characters.
So, what heads will roll this week? We have some speculation, thanks to photos released by HBO, book backstory and a dash of wishful thinking.
1. Something bad happening to Walder Frey
Two weeks ago, we saw Edmure Tully do what Walder Frey couldn’t: retake Riverrun from the Blackfish and his men. While Edmure was Frey’s prisoner of war fairly, we saw Jaime Lannister frustrated with his treatment along with everything else about the Freys.
Now with Edmure back in his rightful home, it’s likely that Jaime won’t return the castle to the Freys despite it being gifted to them after their Red Wedding treachery. Edmure offered Jaime his best path back to Cersei, and Jaime is likely to appreciate that.
Not to mention the show has a way with dealing purely evil characters like Ramsey and Joffrey. Walder may have served his purpose for now, so what will happen during this scene of he and Jaime meeting? Hopefully nothing good.
2. Cersei’s nuclear option
If Cersei Lannister has proved one thing about her character, it’s that, when backed against a wall, she’ll always pick a dangerous option that will do the most immediate damage to her enemy consequences be dammed. We saw that when she had the High Sparrow installed, when she had The Mountain re-animated to a freakish monster, and we’re about to see it again.
Cersei faces the threat of a trial for her crimes against the Seven, and it’s one she cannot fight her way out of. Unless she picks the final option: caches of wildfire hidden below the city. Tyrion utilized the flaming, green, Napalm-like solution to win the Battle of the Blackwater in Season 2, and Maester Qyburn seems to have brought Cersei news that still more exists in the city.
Some background: the wildfire was hidden around the city by the Aerys Targaryen, the Mad King, who planned to use it as a last-ditch effort to stop the invading Lannister army. He’d rather burn the whole city down than lose his throne, and it seems Cersei would rather go out in a literal blaze than lose any of her power.
3. Daenerys’ arrival in Westeros
Much has been said about Daenerys needs ships to bring her to Westeros, since a big body of water separates her army from the Iron Throne. The show creators are doing a lot to speed up her timeline; it seems that Yara and Theon only took an episode to arrive from the Iron Islands. It may be wishful thinking, but isn’t it time we got Dany out of Mereen’s troubles and into the fight?
4. Bran sees a vision of what happened in the Tower of Joy
We were tantalized with the battle outside the Tower of Joy in Bran’s visions a few episodes ago. This is where Ned Stark found his sister Lyanna, guarded by members of Aerys’ Kingsguard. In the battle Bran witnessed, we could hear a baby crying in the tower.
The most popular Game of Thrones theory says seeing what is inside the Tower of Joy will solve the series’ biggest mystery: Jon Snow’s parentage. Many people believe he is the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen, King Aerys’ son and an heir to the Iron Throne. This “R+L=J” theory may finally get solved for viewers, though it could be longer still before Jon knows the truth about his past. (Not sure how he would learn, since everyone who knows that secret is dead.)
5. Lady Stoneheart lives
File this one under pure “wishful thinking.” Fans of the A Song of Ice and Firebook series have long lamented the show’s lack of Lady Stoneheart. This shadowy figure is Catelyn Stark, resurrected by Red Priest Thoros of Myr’s magic (similar to what revived Jon Snow). She’s in much worse shape, with her vocal chords severed when her voice was cut, and her body left to float in the river outside of the Twins after she was brutally killed.
Lady Stoneheart becomes the leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners in the books, who roam Westeros doling out justice. But her failure to appear in the show so far has angered fans (though plenty of other characters have also been cut for the sake of clarity). The only clue to her possible inclusion now is the fact Thoros, Beric Dondarrion and the rest of the Brotherhood appeared in the last two episodes (the ones speaking with the Hound). Could she be back? We’ll have to wait until Sunday night to find out.
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