Friday, June 17, 2016

Where My Predictions Stand Going Into the Penultimate Episode of “Game of Thrones”

Season 6 of Game of Thrones promised to be the least predictable to date. Because the show had surpassed George R.R. Martin’s novels, readers like me would finally be surprised as events unfolded on screen. That is, until the show lurched back into material from A Feast For Crows. But still, heading into this season’s penultimate episode, how have my predictions fared?

Jon Snow

I had long predicted that Jon would come back to life, but so did most of the known world. I also predicted that Jon might become the new Ned Stark and win back Winterfell from evil Ramsay. That looks like it may happen next episode (titled “The Battle of the Bastards”), even though Sansa may have had to twist Jon’s arm to do it. We would all love Jon to kill Ramsay and retake the North. But this is Game of Thrones, so I have a feeling it may not end as well as we all hope. (For an amusing read on who should be the one to kill Ramsay click here.)


Many have wondered what the point was of Arya’s season-and-a-half hiatus in the House of Black and White, where she trained to be a faceless man only to quit two episodes ago. My theory was that her journey in the House of Black and White was designed to force Arya to make a choice: to either abandon her past and become faceless man or embrace her past as Arya Stark of Winterfell. That happened last episode when she chose to be Arya Stark, and I’m quite happy Needle played a role in her decision. Where she goes next may depend on whether she learns about Jon and Sansa in the North. Otherwise, it may be a visit to King’s Landing to scratch a few more names off her hit list.


My only observation about Dany this season was that her story seemed to be moving way too fast. Already she has been captured by the Dothraki; burned their leaders alive; summoned her giant dragon like it was no big thing; and appeared atop the pyramid in Meereen just as the city is being attacked by the Masters’ fleet. What we haven’t had is a single scene where Dany contemplates anything, whether it’s how she’ll control her uncontrollable dragons, how she should deal with Meereen, or when she might finally set off the claim the Iron Throne. This is a big break from prior seasons where we always tended to know what Dany was thinking. I suppose she needs to save Meereen by the end of this season so the story can move forward. But it still feels rushed. This may be why her story has become my least favorite this year.


I didn’t make any predictions about Varys going into the season, but I’ll make an observation now. Last season, the showrunners departed from the books by sending him to Meereen. In the novels, however, he stays in King’s Landing and is involved in a shocking scene at the end of A Dance With Dragons that alters the political landscape. Now that Varys is going home, I wonder if we’ll see that scene before the season ends.

The Hound vs. the Mountain

The return of the Hound reopened the possibility of a battle with his brother, the Mountain, who burned the Hound’s face so many years ago. Some even speculated the matchup may come as early as Cersei’s trial by combat, with the Hound fighting for the Faith and the Mountain for Cersei (The Ringer has been calling this The Cleganebowl). But after last week’s episode, that doesn’t look to be the case. Tommen, under the influence of either Margaery or the High Sparrow, abolished the right to trial by combat, putting Cersei in a bad place. It still seems like she has a plan to save her neck, but trial by combat in the Cleganebowl seems unlikely. 

Lady You-Know-Who

Before last Sunday, I felt fairly certain that the final two episodes would touch on a major plotline in A Feast For Crows. After all, the Brotherhood without Banners are back and Pod and Brienne have returned to the Riverlands, which means everything was set for the revelation of Lady You-Know-Who. Until last episode, that is, when we saw Beric Dondarrion, the Brotherhood’s leader whom Thoros of Myr (a red priest like Melisandre) had resurrected numerous times.

The problem is that by A Feast For Crows, Dondarrion is dead, having given up his life so Thoros could resurrect someone else in his place. So what does Dondarrion’s presence mean? Either he’s a signal to the book readers that Lady You-Know-Who will never appear on the show. Or we will still see her, but the writers have altered her origin story. My hope is it’s the latter, but I’m far less willing to put money it now. As for others weighing the odds, The Ringer thinks Dondarrion’s appearance means RIP Lady-You-Know-Who.

But those are just my thoughts. What are yours heading into the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones?

** Images courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes


Bill said...

I tried to post this before, but it didn't appear, so I'll try again.

I pretty much agree with your observations, Joe. I suspect the writers and producers are rushing to avoid actors and actresses either aging out or moving on; a problem R. R. Martin doesn't have.

One quibble I have is with Arya shown being stabbed in the abdomen. I doubt a wound such as depicted would be survivable before modern medicine.

Bill said...

Regarding "Battle of the bastards", I think Martin in his books could well have Ramsey kill Jon. The TV show I expect will not go that route, although they have killed a couple of characters that surprised me this year.

Joseph Finley said...

Bill - I won't spoil the episode in case you haven't seen it. But isn't there a saying in Westeross that "What is dead may never die"?

By the way, I too questioned whether Arya's wounds could be so easily healed (or even healed at all). Maybe the director left the Waif get a little out of hand with that knife!

Bill said...

Thanks, Joe. I'll probably watch that episode later this week.

From my readings, I know that as late as the ACW, deep abdominal wounds were considered non-survivable except in the rarest of cases.