‘Game of Thrones’ Guide, Week 5: Every Question We Have Before Episode 6
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 Gilly dropped the biggest bombshell in this show’s history to the attention of exactly zero people during “Eastwatch,” we look forward to the inevitable living dead massacre North of the Wall in Episode 6. So, next up: deaths, resurrections, ice dragons, and a possible bowl of Clegane.
Was This a Terrible Plan?
Reader, to call this a terrible plan would insinuate there was ever a plan in the first place. After assembling some sort of Westerosi Suicide Squad*, Jon’s idea begins with trudging out into the hellish Arctic wilderness to face hundreds upon thousands of ice zombies with roughly 12 Wildlings, and end in King’s Landing with a wight displayed in chains like King Kong. The middle portion of that procedure—the part where everyone escapes without dying horrifically—is mostly just Jon squinting into the middle distance and pretending he’s not hella sexually attracted to his aunt.
Funny enough, this is 100 percent in-character for Jon Snow, who has always run on passion more than brains. Think back to before the Battle of the Bastards; every person in the entire north was like, “now Jon, don’t fall for Ramsay’s tricks,” and then Ramsay played a trick, and then Jon straight up charged an army by himself. Jon, heroic though he may be, is usually pulled from his own doom by smarter, cooler heads, like Jeor Mormont, Sam Tarly, or his own sister, Sansa. Unfortunately, his “council” out by the Fist of the First Men consists of A) an alcoholic wizard, B) an eye-patch wearing zombie, C) the war hammer-wielding son of Westeros’ fattest king, D) a brutally violent burn victim, E) the world’s saddest Greyscale survivor, and F) a Wildling with the words “Bree-en of Terth” tattooed somewhere on his body.
[*For the record: Jon = Deadshot, Jorah = Killer Croc, Gendry = Harley Quinn, Beric = Diablo, Tormund = Slipknot, Thoros = Enchantress. This is not up for debate.]
Who Is Going to Die?
Although season seven is shorter than average, this chapter still falls in the infamous penultimate Game of Thrones slot, usually reserved for the most shocking deaths (the Red Wedding) or explosive battles (“Blackwater,” “Battle of the Bastards,” “Watchers on the Wall”). It’s fair to say that it couldn’t possibly get more “explosive” than “The Spoils of War,” but it’s also fair to say that not only is The Loot Train Attack the lamest name since “Dickon Tarly,” but not a single character of consequence died during Drogon’s fiery air raid. So, the question here is less if any of the core seven players are going to die, but who?
Immediately, let’s rule out Gendry and Jorah. While it would be equal parts hilarious and frustrating for David Benioff and Dan Weiss to kill two characters just one episode after their triumphant returns, Game of Thrones just isn’t that type of show anymore, and hasn’t been, really, for several seasons. There’s too much money riding on fan-favorites these days; if there wasn’t, Bronn would be an ash-heap. For that same reason let’s also rule out Tormund, who will simply not bite the bullet while there is still sweet, sweet sexual tension to mine between him and Brienne.
I’m also going to rule out The Hound on a deeply personal technicality. We’ll get to that in a little.
We’re left with Jon, Beric Dondarrion, and Thoros of Myr. Beric and Jon are interesting cases because, you know, they’ve both already been dead; in Beric’s case, several times. But I do believe the Lightning Lord—who features prominently in the Episode 6 preview—is a goner. This spells disaster for Thoros as well; for Beric’s death to remain permanent, his Red Priest buddy has to fall alongside him.
As for Jon, well, tighten your leather jerkins because we’re leaving HBO and heading into the land of book speculation, which we all know is dark and filled with errors (Mostly spelling. Random House rushed those last two books to print so damn fast). In George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, Beric Dondarrion’s seventh and final death, the one that stuck, was a sacrifice to resurrect Catelyn Stark into the revenge-fueled witchy woman known as Lady Stoneheart. Game of Thrones’ showrunners have been adamant that they’ve cut Lady Stoneheart from their adaptation, but that doesn’t mean they can’t play a little cut and paste with Martin’s source material. If Jon were to die for a second time—and, again, he probably deserves it for rushing his perfectly manicured head into certain death all willy nilly—it’s not out of the question that Thoros and Beric could bring him back.
What Part Does Daenerys Play in Jon’s plan?
Since scoring her first major victory over House Lannister, the Mother of Dragons has certainly warmed up to Jon Snow. By that, I mean she gave him the look we all give attractive people when they are nice to our pets. In fairness, she has no idea that Jon is secretly her legitimate nephew and therefore has a firmer claim to the Iron Throne, so for now she is far more open to his ideas about White Walkers and face-to-face meetings with the Lannisters.
But how open is she to getting involved personally? Previews make it clear that Jon and Co. end up hopelessly surrounded by the dead, with none other than The Night King making an appearance. Pretty much the only logical way out of that particular predicament—besides maybe that red comet from Season 2 arriving to kill everyone— is the sudden appearance of one to three dragons from over The Wall.
But Dany deciding to swoop in for the rescue has the possibility of backfiring on an epic scale. Rumors abound—mostly thanks to a single short story Martin wrote in 1980, but welcome to the internet—about the emergence of an ice dragon in Season 7, be it from under the Wall or beneath Winterfell. But there’s a third option: History has shown that the Night King can bring anything his pointy-ass head desires back from the dead, from Wildling children to giants. Should one of Dany’s dragons die in the struggle beyond the Wall, it practically becomes the Night King’s newest toy. It’s unlikely that Drogon goes down, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Viserion becomes the most baller blue-eyed white dragon since Yu-Gi-Oh went off the air in 2004.
What’s the Deal between Arya and Sansa Back at Winterfell?
Jon’s decision to head to Eastwatch not only caused issues with his own personal safety, but it’s causing problems back home at the Stark household. The increasingly droopy Northern lords are bristling at Sansa’s lack of action, and dagger-happy Arya is already passive-aggressively butting heads with her older sister. Now, thanks to some vintage shady dealings from Littlefinger, the littlest Stark is under the impression that Sansa is in the Lannister’s pocket.
Of course, thanks to her skills in face-swapping, we now have to contend with the chance that Arya is not Arya, or that anyone else actually is Arya in disguise. It’s a whole thing. What’s important here is that Arya doesn’t like what she sees going down in her hometown, and the past several years have taught Arya that the way to deal with something you don’t like is to stab it in the face.
What would help is if Bran—who can literally see and know everything that ever was—would take a break from mind-controlling ravens to shit on Lord Yohn Royce’s head to tell his sisters what is really going on.
Is It Maybe, Possibly, Finally Time to Get Hype about Clegane v. Clegane?
It is my sworn duty, as your faithful Game of Thrones hype-ologist, to alert you to any possibility, no matter how slim, of a possible “CleganeBowl.” For those unfamiliar with the theory, many believe that before this story is over, the Clegane brothers—Sandor “The Hound” and Gregor “The Mountain”—will meet in one-on-one combat. The most popular idea used to be that Sandor would fight on the side of the High Sparrow in Cersei Lannister’s trial by combat, but then Cersei opted for the Walk of Shame and that theory was squashed quicker than Oberyn Martell’s head.
But now, with Sandor reunited with Jon and the endgame lying in King’s Landing, the path to the CleganeBowl has never been clearer. Am I saying that The Hound dies in this episode, gets resurrected as a wight, is then brought before Cersei, which eventually leads to a zombified Hound clashing with a zombified Mountain? No, I’m not saying that.
But I’m not not saying that.