Essays · TV

Unanswered, Unexplained, and Unfinished: A Game of Thrones FAQ

All the questions we’d like Game of Thrones season 6 to answer, even though we know it probably won’t.
By  · Published on April 21st, 2016

With Game of Thrones season 6 only a few days away, it’s time to examine some of the show’s big questions. Not in my usual crazy spoiler theory way, but in a way that can benefit everyone who watches the show, whether you’ve read George R.R. Martin’s books or not.

Over the course of five seasons, the show has left a number of dangling narrative threads. We can hope that many of them will be answered in the upcoming season, but we don’t know. That said, I believe many of these questions won’t just answered, they will be important to season six’s narrative.

1. Is Jon Snow going to stay dead?

Ever since the season five finale, people have been asking the wrong question. It’s not “Is Jon Snow Dead?” He’s definitely dead. The greater question is whether or not he’s going to stay that way. The show has shown us a few ways in which Jon might survive his ordeal. We’ve seen Stark children warging (or throwing their consciousness) into animals and other humans. We’ve also seen the Lord of Light resurrect his chosen warrior, Beric Dondarrion (in season three). We know that Melisandre is at Castle Black, so the latter seems most likely. But we’ll see. What we know is that many — book reader and show watcher alike — believe that he’ll be back before too long.

2. How did Sansa and Theon survive that fall?

We’ve seen them running through the woods and standing on two legs in the season six trailers. So how the hell did Sansa and Theon survive a fall from the walls of Winterfell? The same fall that just turned Ramsay’s sidepiece Myranda into one of Gallagher’s watermelons. Maybe they fell into a big snow bank that cushioned their fall. Since the show is unlikely to address this, let’s just assume that it was a big snow bank.

3. What happened to The Brotherhood without Banners?

Season six is heading back toward the Riverlands, with our old buddy Walder Frey showing up in the trailer. Does that mean we’ll get a check-in with Thoros of Myr, Beric Dondarrian and Anguy the Archer? The last time we saw them, they were taking out Lannisters in the scorched middle section of Westeros. It’s been a while since we’ve seen them. I wonder what they’ve been up to.

4. Does anyone live at Harrenhal?

The last time we were at Harrenhal — the massive, melted Riverlands stronghold in which Tywin Lannister and Arya became buddies — Jaime and Brienne were riding away from Bolton soldiers after an encounter with a bear. Harrenhal has always been a coveted placement for upcoming lords. Joffrey made Janos Slynt Lord of Harrenhal before he was sent to The Wall by Tyrion. Then it was a wartime stronghold for Tywin, then later Robb Stark, who handed it off to Roose Bolton. Technically it is under the purview of Lord Bealish, but I doubt Littlefinger has been there in a while. He’s been busy dropping Sansa off at Winterfell and making deals in King’s Landing. So who lives in, and ultimately rules Harrenhal? Maybe we’ll go back this season.

5. Who is Jon Snow’s damn mother?

Break out all your mathematical acronyms, we’re probably going to find this out at some point in season six. Unless Snow is really dead and gone, then it doesn’t matter. Our more intrepid friends around the realm already have their R+L=J t-shirts ready.

6. Where did Rickon and Osha end up?

We haven’t seen the youngest Stark child and his Wildling guardian Osha in a long time. And besides Bran, who is North of The Wall at The Three-Eyed Raven’s School for Gifted Youngsters, who even knows that Rickon is alive? This is important. In season three, during his psychological torture, Theon Greyjoy tells Ramsay Bolton that the Stark boys are alive. There’s no doubt that now that Ramsay has lost Sansa (we hope for good), he might go looking around The North for the littlest Stark. Let’s just hope that whatever house Rickon and Osha ended up with — the Karstarks, Umbers, Manderlys, etc. — are more “The North Remembers” people than Bolton people.

7. Is Gendry still rowing?

The eternal question. Where is Gendry now? We all miss this guy:

8. Is Wun-Wun the giant the last of his kind?

Or will he eventually meet a lady giant? And if the latter, what do lady giants look like?

9. What’s the deadline for the Iron Bank to foreclose on the debt owed by the crown? More importantly, what happens to Stannis’ debt?

George R.R. Martin has criticized other fantasy stories in the past for not addressing the economics of major wars. In his books, he spends a lot of time on the many debts of Westeros and the power of the Iron Bank of Braavos to unseat rulers. Will the show ever get to what happens when debts aren’t paid? Does someone inherit Stannis’ debt? And what kind of currency to White Walkers use? I’d assume it’s some kind of dead horse part barter system.

10. What happened to The Blackfish after he left the Red Wedding to take a leak?

The better question is whether the Blackfish ever tried to come back inside during The Red Wedding. He’s not the kind to run away from a fight, especially when his entire family is being murdered.

11. If Talisa Stark was a noble lady of Volantis, do you think anyone is ever going to come to Westeros to avenge her death?

During their courtship, a little was made about Robb Stark’s bride and her potentially noble birth in Volantis. In the books, Volantis is ruled by three elected Triarchs who ride around the free city on elephants. One of the Triarchs is named Malaquo Maegyr, which is the surname Talisa gives to a curious Catelyn Stark. Let’s assume that Talisa is related to this Triarch and thus, a member of Volantis’ ruling class. Do you think that the royals of Volantis might want deliver some revenge for the killing of their native daughter (and her unborn child)? Perhaps they might hire a Faceless Man (or Girl) to travel to Westeros and seek out Lord Walder Frey. That could be fun.

12. Did Varys put Tyrion in the same box that he used when he received the man upon which he got revenge for making him a eunuch?

During their escape from King’s Landing to Pentos, we know that Varys insists Tyrion stay inside a wooden box for safety. We also know that Varys received a present early in season three in what appears to be the same box. The present was the sorcerer who made Varys a eunuch a long time ago. My question: did Varys re-use that box for Tyrion? That could not have smelled good. Also, what did he do to the sorcerer?

13. Where are all the wax technicians in Westeros?

I don’t want this to get gross, but let’s just say that I’ve seen enough Westerosi nudity to know that there have to be some spas somewhere offering bikini waxes. Considering the archaic shears we saw them use at Winterfell to cut Jon Snow’s hair in the very first episode, I can only imagine what sort of torture device is used on all these poor prostitutes.

14. Who is in charge of the Sons of the Harpy?

I’ve always been convinced — as both a book reader and show watcher — that Hizdahr (Dany’s late husband in Meereen) was the leader of the Sons of the Harpy movement. He seemed to have the most to gain from their success and was in a position to take over should anything bad happen to Daenerys. But he was offed by the same Sons in episode nine of season five. Not the sort of things an uprising would do to their leader. Maybe it doesn’t matter who is behind the Sons, but if it does, who is it? Handsome sidepiece Daario Naharis? Some Meereenese Master we haven’t met yet? Who else has reason to want Dany to leave Meereen? With Dany off riding dragons and treating with Dothraki, I fear for Tyrion and Missandei.

15. What’s the average marching pace of an army of ice zombies?

For The Night’s King and his forces, this isn’t exactly Sherman’s March to the Sea. Since meeting the White Walkers at the end of season two, we’ve seen their army all over the lands North of The Wall. As you’ll see in the map below, I’ve charted all the places where actual White Walkers (not just undead Wights) have been spotted. (1) The Fist of the First Men, where Lord Commander Mormont and his party were ambushed and Sam hid behind a rock; (2) Craster’s Keep, where a White Walker picked up one of Craster’s baby boys and walked off into the cold night; (3) Not far from The Wall, where Sam slayed his first White Walker and sealed his fate of getting to make out with Gilly; (4) The Lands of Always Winter, where the Night’s King showed up to icify that baby; and (5) Hardhome, where the entire army of the cold and undead showed up to massacre Wildlings. If their ultimate goal is to go south of The Wall and invade the Realms of Men, they sure are taking their sweet time.

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)