‘Game of Thrones’ Guide, Week 1: Every Question We Have Before “Stormborn”

Like a cheap, drunken night at a Braavosi brothel, Game of Thrones usually leaves us with far more questions than answers. Each week, we’re going to take a deeper look into every single Q HBO’s fantasy mega-hit needs to A. 

After a pretty quiet premiere, the questions this week are focused on the promo for “Stormborn,” which you can check out here. So next up: Fire meets ice, a pirate kisses a snake, and Littlefinger turns purple.

Is Arya about to Meet an Old Friend?

That certainly looks like Nymeria, one of the six direwolves given to the Stark children all the way back in Game of Thrones’ first episode. Only two are still alive—Grey Wind got turned into a Halloween mask at the Red Wedding, Lady was murdered to make Joffrey stop weeping, Summer died defending Bran beyond The Wall, and Ramsay Bolton turned Shaggydog into a tasteful area rug—and, until now, only Jon’s white wolf Ghost had a known location.

Arya sent Nymeria into the wilderness to avoid payback for biting Joffrey in Season 1, and the direwolf has presumably been wandering around the Riverlands ever since. This reunion would put Arya right on the road to King’s Landing, the same route she was taking when she last saw Nymeria. Presumably, Nymeria’s reappearance can be put down to the pitch of Ed Sheeran’s voice only being discernable to dogs.

Can a Targaryen be Trusted?

Historically speaking…no. The Targaryens—fueled by a deadly combination of dragon fire, hair bleach, and incest—invaded Westeros on the backs of flying, flame-breathing monsters just because it could. They then proceeded to marry within the family for centuries, producing increasingly insane babies, until we ended up with a literal Mad King who buried ten tons of explosives underneath King’s Landing in case any of the hired help ever looked at him funny. The house motto is “Fire and Blood.” That’s not even a saying. That’s just a list of things Targaryens like to bathe in. So, again, to answer your question in the general sense, Lord Yohn Royce, a Targaryen should probably not be trusted, depending on how much you like your flesh to be un-melted.

But, in this specific scenario, can Jon Snow trust Daenerys Targaryen? Harder to say. They are family, after all; despite the fact Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke are the same exact age, Dany is Jon’s aunt. Not only that, but he’s also half Stark, so Jon is busy right now in Winterfell ensuring every man, woman, and sassy internet Mormont child is devoted to the Stark name. There’s a lot of strange, inter-family shenanigans in this scenario, is what I’m saying, and the phrase “strange, inter-family shenanigans” just so happens to be what most Targaryens put in their dating profiles.

Of course, neither of them know this, because Lyanna Stark swore her brother to secrecy, and Ned Stark would literally leap off a cliff before betraying a secret. In Daenerys’ head, Jon’s “father” was a key figure in Robert’s Rebellion, which exiled the Targaryen family from Westeros for decades and landed Dany in a forced marriage to a sweaty, horse-riding Aquaman. There’s no love lost between the Starks and the Targaryens, and that’s before you realize they are literally the embodiment of ice and fire, respectively.

But while the Starks and the Targaryens definitely have beef, the Lannisters currently have a whole hatred hamburger with everyone not named Lannister. Daenerys’ right hand, Tyrion Lannister, would like nothing more to see his sister taken down, while Jon’s number two, Sansa Stark, spent several months in King’s Landing being mentally and physically tortured by the Lannisters. If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then at this point in Westeros the enemy of the Lannister family is pretty much every single House in Westeros not run by an insane pirate captain.

So, in short, no one should trust anyone, and everyone is probably going to die. Game of Thrones!

How Close is Daenerys’ Alliance from Straight Up Taking the Iron Throne?

Close, as in literally very close. Dragonstone, where Daenerys is currently holed up, is located on an island at the entrance to Blackwater Bay, which leads right up to the shores of King’s Landing, directly below the Red Keep (you may remember when Tyrion tried to blow the entire thing up in Season 2’s “Blackwater”). Not to mention the fact that in addition to her horde of Unsullied and Dothraki, Daenerys looks to be joined by Yara Greyjoy and her fleet of ships, Olenna Tyrell and her city-destroying sass, and Ellaria Sand and her Sand Snakes, who I’m told are very good with sticks and whips or whatever it is they do. Oh, and the dragons. Daenerys also has three 747-sized dragons, which is honestly all she probably needed to invade Westeros since roughly Season 3 but hey, I don’t make the rules — I just complain about them on Reddit.

“We should hit King’s Landing now,” Yara says, and she’s got a point. King’s Landing is currently being held together by duct tape, optimism, and Jaime Lannister’s eyebrows. A wildfire explosion destroyed the Sept of Baelor less than a month ago, the king jumped out a window after he realized he would never have sex again, and the woman currently sitting on the Iron Throne is certifiably insane. On the surface, it appears there is no better time than now for Daenerys to swoop in and, to borrow a phrase from her own batshit crazy father, “burn them all.”

But it’s worth noting that Cersei Lannister has such a death grip on the Iron Throne she’s leaving finger prints. That woman straight up nuked a church to avoid being held for trial. The death of her last remaining son was a minor inconvenience right up until the point she was able to pour herself more wine. As Sansa Stark so helpfully pointed out in the Season 7 premiere, “Everyone who’s ever crossed her she’s found a way to murder.”

It’s also worth noting that Dragonstone is famously impenetrable. The Targaryens, who value privacy as much as they value lighting people on fire, built the entire thing with mystical Valyrian methods and, rumor has it, stockpiled a whole mountain of dragonglass in the basement.

Is this Normal Dornish Sexy Time or Something More Sinister?

On one hand, Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand hooking up is downright inevitable; Dragonstone is a cold, drafty place, Yara is a randy sea captain, and people from Dorne spontaneously combust if they don’t make sexual advances toward every living human in the room within 15 seconds.

But those among us who have not erased “bad pussy” from our brains remember that the reason Myrcella Baratheon isn’t around anymore is because Ellaria planted a poisonous kiss on her lips. Now, it’s neither safe nor practical to have poison on your lips all the time, but this is Game of Thrones, after all. Every action, even the warmhearted or genuine, has the threat of death lurking over it.

Who Is Strangling Littlefinger?

At any given time, the main question of Game of Thrones could be “why isn’t anyone strangling Littlefinger?” Petyr Baelish is the most strangle-able character in a show chock-full of people who deserve to be strangled. In this case, the leather glove and flowing locks combo leads me to believe Jon himself has Littlefinger up against the wall. The reason? Honestly, take your pick. Littlefinger has a vastly uncomfortable obsession with Sansa. Littlefinger probably could have arrived a few minutes earlier to the Battle of the Bastards. Littlefinger can’t decide on an accent. All completely valid reasons.

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