Welcome to the final edition of GoT Burning Questions of the Week for 2016. This is a longer post than usual so I’m dividing it into two (or more) parts.
Stay tuned for updated versions of some of this year’s posts. I will do a count-down series for next season too (though I don’t think it will be 30 days long).
If you’re seriously Thrones-ing, check out my GoT Pinterest boards. Thrones costume design, and another of GoT fun stuff from around the ‘net.
But back to the task at hand.
Burning Questions is where speculation, analysis and theorizing are the order of the day. This is not a review. Most of the questions relate to the previous episode, but questions for all seasons and episodes may arise. Share your answers or ask your own questions below in the comments. And obviously, beware of show, book, and theory
The Bachelor, Westeros Edition?
Part of Daenerys’ plan for conquering Westeros is making an alliance through marriage, and most people are shipping for a double dragon union between Dany and Jon Targaryen. I’m not so sure. Yes, the Targs go for familial unions, but Daenerys wants to leave the world better than she found it, which would mean no more in-bred potentially mad monarchs.
So. What other eligible Lords are around for Dany to hitch her dragon to? Jaime Lannister. Hear me out. I could see Jaime agreeing to this in order to depose Cersei in a bloodless coup, or to save her and the city from dragon fire.
What would Daenerys get out of it? Another army and a load of debt (the Lannisters blah blah and the Iron Bank still wants its money). Of course he would meet with an unfortunate accident thereafter.
No? Ok, who else? How about Littlefinger? Just what Dany needs, another reptile. Not a great house, but tons of fighting men, and a power-mad Lord. He’d be turning on Cersei and Sansa but for him that’s a slow day. Again, certain death for him, but he wouldn’t see it for the visions of dragon-riding he’d be having. Heh. Dracarys, Littlefinger.
Let’s keep looking…Oh, my God. Sweet Robin. It’s so ludicrous that I’d love to see it. Can you imagine that little sociopath with Daenerys? She would get another army, a castle that’s dragon-friendly and she would definitely toss him out the moon-door asap. Well, maybe not personally, but you know…an accident.
Who else…oh of course the charming sociopath Euron Greyjoy, he of the allegedly huuuuge — yeah, right. This is another popular match in the fandom, but it will never happen. First of all, she doesn’t need his ships anymore. Besides, how can he build any ships without lumber? There are no trees on the Iron Islands. Not enough to build a thousand ships, anyway. Second, he’s crazy. Third, he wants to kill Dany’s first Westerosi ally, Yara Grejoy, now Queen of the Iron Islands. Marrying Yara’s rival for the throne is not a good look. If Euron turns out to have a crucial instrument that he picked up in the Valyrian ruins in the book, Euron may have a chance. Maybe.
What will Sam Learn at the Citadel?
There’s no telling what Samwell will find in the ancient library, but his top priority is finding out any secrets relating to producing the two weapons known to kill WhiteWalkers: Valyrian Steel and dragonglass. And also where there might be more of them. His own Valyrian sword, Heartsbane, may be crucial in his investigations about the forging process.
Other things he might discover? Jon’s true parentage (assuming someone wrote the Citadel a report of this, and who could would have?), secrets about WhiteWalkers and spells or magic of the Children of the Forest. Also, the he might discover if a rumored…creature really exists under the crypts of Winterfell (more on this in another post). This is a book thing but you can check out this video for details. Enjoy.
There might also be information on if dragon’s eggs can be found in Westeros , and on Valyrian methods of how to bond and train dragons. During several hundred years of Targaryen rule, dragons flew over Westeros and King’s Landing for decades. There may well be petrified eggs under the Red Keep or on the Island of Dragonstone.
What’s West of Westeros?
This has been bugging me ever since I heard it because it came out of nowhere, and I want to believe that nothing in GoT is random. When Arya is with Lady Crane after being attacked by the Waif, Lady Crane invites her to join the Mummer’s troupe and travel with them to Pentos. As expected, Arya refuses but instead of just staying that she’s headed elsewhere, She shrugs and says:
Essos is east, Westeros is west, but what’s west of Westeros?
Huh? Of all the things to say, why say that? Lady Crane says that she doesn’t know what’s over there – “the edge of the world?” Arya says that she’d like to see for herself. It may be that Arya just wanted to misdirect Lady Crane but why say anything about Westeros at all? Just for reference, this is the “map of the known world” in Game of Thrones.
The Known World of Game of Thrones from A Wiki of Ice and Fire via Westeros.org West of Westeros is the Sunset Sea
There’s nothing west of Westeros except the Sunset Sea. As far as we know. However, if the Game of Thrones world is a sphere, then at some point the Sunset Sea would wash up on the shores of whatever lies east of the Grey Waste and Bonetown. Is that somehow relevant? I’m not sure it is, with only 13 episodes left in the show. There’s not a lot of time to introduce new elements. In the books, it’s possible there’s more to discover. But why bring it up at all? I have no idea. It could be an off-hand remark of Arya’s but that’s hard for me to believe.
Of course there’s a very interesting theory about what lies east of the Grey Waste from the Ideas of Ice and Fire Youtube channel and you can check out his video about it here.
Will There be Famine in King’s Landing?
How soon before the redoubtable Lady O cuts off grain and food shipments to Westeros? I’d say immediately. She probably stopped shipping grain before we see her at Dorne in the finale. Another of Cersei’s unintended consequences. And there’s yet another problem Cersei didn’t think of…
How Will Cersei Repay the Iron Bank?
In season 4, Tywin Lannister tells Cersei that the last gold mined from the Lannister mines was three years before. There is no more Lannister gold. Stunned, Cersei asks a logical question: “How do we pay for anything?” Tywin says that they owe the Iron Bank “a great deal of money.” Tywin brokered marriages for Tommen and Cersei with the very rich and very flush House Tyrell in order to pay back the debt.
In season 5, Lord Tyrell informs Cersei that the Iron Bank is re-calling part of the loan to the Crown, and that the Crown cannot meet the terms of repayment. Lord Tyrell offers to front the money, but Cersei needs to get him out of town and she sends him off to Braavos to negotiate better terms.
It’s unclear what terms, if any, Lord Tyrell was able to negotiate, because when he returned Cersei had armed the Faith Militant and his children were imprisoned. If there were any terms, they are certainly no longer in effect, because the Tyrell wealth is no longer supporting the crown.
So what now? If the Iron Bank pressures her for money and the Tyrells cut off the food, Queen Cersei will have a starving, rioting populace and no money with which to feed them. Where can she get money? Who are her allies? Would she even care if the population of King’s Landing starves? She hates them all. As long as she and the Red Keep can eat, she would probably be content to let them starve. But she can’t fight an invasion and hungry rioters at the same time.
In season 2 Tyrion goes over the books while serving as Hand of the King. He tells Bronn that the Crown owes his father millions and owes the Iron Bank tens of millions. “If we fail to pay these loans, the bank will fund our enemies,” said Tyrion.
Is it the Crown and the Lannisters that owe the Iron Bank, or were the Lannisters borrowing from the Iron Bank to fund the Crown? Or sloppy writing?
Will the Iron Bank have Cersei killed?
There’s a theory that they have put out a contract on the Lannisters with the House of Black and White, but the dead don’t pay their debts. Wouldn’t it be smarter to ask for some collateral (say some pricey real-estate) until the crown can re-pay them?
What’s Next for Qyburn?
Qyburn gives me the same slithery ick feeling that Littlefinger does, only worse. Thus far, he has been Cersei’s devoted right hand and spy, carrying out every atrocious act that the Mad Queen requests of him. I think he has a thing for Cersei, which makes him crazier than she is.
Now that Cersei believes she has vanquished all her enemies, Qyburn is her only ally, and Hand of the Queen. She would have given that role to Jaime if she hadn’t burned the Sept and killed everyone in it to get the throne. It’s Qyburn who performs her coronation, and the look he gives her just before he places the crown on her head, plainly shows that he has (twisted and creepy) feelings for her.
Will Qyburn accumulate more power? He orchestrated the conflagration that decimated the Sept of Baelor, he killed Maester Pycelle and Lancel Lannister (through his little birds) and he created the Mountain for her, and he was the only person to visit her in her cell when she was imprisoned by the Faith Militant. His loyalty is without question. He’s also a witness and he’s going to die. That would leave Cersei without a Hand or any allies (The Mountain is a weapon, not a friend). Would she care? She needs someone to do her dirty work, but I think her paranoia will grow and she’ll be questioning Qyburn’s loyalty sooner rather than later. How will she kill him? Will she send the Mountain to do it? That would be interesting, just to see if the monster would kill his creator.
Why does Jon Targaryen Look so Constipated?
Because the last time he was named the leader of something he got stabbed a bunch of times. You can’t blame him. He’s so worried about the White Walkers that he’s not paying attention to Sansa or potential threats against him. Sansa kind of supports him now, but there will be a disagreement, some situation that will cause her to seek to rule the North herself. I don’t think she will ally herself with Littlefinger. I don’t think that she can fully trust any man after what she’s been through.
Where’s Howland Reed?
The man who fought to the end with Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy (the best swordfight in the show next to Syrio Forel vs. the Kings Guard). The man who stabbed the great Arthur Dane though the back of the neck and saved Ned’s life.
He’s also the father of Meera Reed, the girl with Bran beyond the Wall.
Ser Howland may be the only living person that can verify Jon Snow’s true parentage. He has been conveniently missing for the entire show, until the Tower of Joy scene which is a flashback. So where is he now? Why didn’t he contact Jon after Ned’s death to tell him the truth about his parents? Will we see him this season when someone may need to contact him to verify Bran’s vision? And What’s Meera’s role? I’m sure the Reeds will help Jon cement his power in Westeros, but I’m not sure how.
What is Jon’s Targaryen Name?
I’ve watched the sequence four or five times and I have no friggin’ idea. It seems to me like Lyanna is saying Aerys or Aegon or a name with an Ae sound. Many fans think that she said Jaehaerys who was a great Targaryen King, but I don’t see Lyanna making a “J” sound. What do you think she’s saying?
Will there be Rhaegar Flashbacks?
The only information we have about Rhaegar is in the form of memories from those who were present at the Tourney at Harrenhaal, where he gave Lyanna the blue roses, and more personal memories of Ser Barristan Selmy, who served as King’s Guard to the Prince. When Joffrey becomes King and dismisses him, Ser Barristan goes to Essos to serve Daenerys in season 3. He shares his memories about Rhaegar with Daenerys, who is his little sister. They are both the children of Mad King Aerys (“Burn them all!”). He tells Dany that Rhaegar loved poetry and music, and often sang on the streets of King’s Landing as a busker to see how much money he could make. Now that we have the Tower of Joy confirmed, we should get the story of Rhaegar and Lyanna’s romance for context.
Dragons or Wildfire? How will the Red Keep Burn?
When Daenerys reaches Quarth in Season 3 she goes to the House of the Undying in search of her dragons. While there, she has a series of visions. In the first vision, Dany enters the darkened throne room in the Red Keep. The room is covered in snow and it’s snowing as she walks through the room. She looks up and the ceiling has been destroyed by a fire or explosion. The sky can be seen through the charred remains of the roof and snow falls through the roof into the darkened throne room. Seeing the Iron Throne, Dany approaches slowly, almost not believing her eyes. She’s in front of the thing she wants most in the world and her birthright: The Iron Throne. Just before she can touch it a child’s cry distracts her and pulls her away to the next part of the vision.
So how will the throne room burn? I get the impression that there was a blast. The roof looks like it was blasted. Although the room is covered in snow, what little we can see looks charred. I think that it is dragon fire because a Wildfire blast would have decimated the building. I can’t wait to see it.
Who will Raise More Dead: Red Priests or White Walkers?
The Red Priestesses seen in Mereen and Volantis. Center: Kinvara, High Priestess of the Lord of Light
Book readers have probably figured this out ages ago, but I just realized it recently. White Walkers aren’t the only ones that can raise the dead. We’ve seen at least two Red Priests raise the dead successfully. If they can all raise the dead, then the Red Priests will be a crucial element in the War for the Dawn.
Thoros of Myr raises Beric Dondarrion from the dead after he is killed by the hound in Season 3
Every dead person the priests raise is one less the White Walkers can raise. They may play a key role in preserving humanity. The problem, of course, is that unlike the White Walkers, Priests of R’hollor can’t raise huge amounts of dead at once. As far as we know. We’ve witnessed Thoros of Myr andMelisandre perform the ritual, and we know that it not possible to be sure of the outcome, but it does work and it
Melisandre beings the ritual to bring Jon back from the dead, Season 6
can work repeatedly on the same person (Beric Dondarrion). I think the Red Priests will raise people strategically at first and then learn how to do large-scale resurrections to fight the White Walkers.
See you in Season 7