Game of Thrones is a flat circle. Or at least that's how it feels sometimes. Daenerys Targaryen -- Queen of Meereen, breaker of chains, first of her name, Mother of Dragons, etc. -- is still with the Dothraki, Meereen is still the worst, Samwell Tarly still can't get it, and the Starks still can't go two episodes without having something terrible happen to one of them.
Thank the Gods for Jon Snow. (And that is something I never thought I'd say.)
I don't know when I became emotionally invested in Jon Snow's story line, but it was probably when his naked body fell into Davos Seaworth's awaiting arms. Or it was when he took off his fabulous Lord Commander shawl and relieved himself of his watch at the end of Season 6, Episode 3 ("Oathbreaker"). Jon Snow is officially a free agent -- and there's something alluring about the prospect of him going rogue. Will he head to Winterfell? Will he try to unite the North against the White Walkers? Does he even give a fuck about the impending doom that's headed his way? Who can really say, and for the first time in what feels like forever, I am enraptured by the Bastard Son of Winterfell. (What is happening???)
Anyway, another week, another set of questions to answer. While I can't promise you that I have all the answers, dear readers, I do have incredible foresight when it comes to the burgeoning Rickonaissance in Westeros. So let's get to it.
Where is Jon Snow headed?HBO
Who really knows -- and isn't that exciting? Jon found a way out of Castle Black on a technicality. Since he did in fact die, his watch ended. In the episode's closing moments, he handed my man Dolorous Edd his Lord Commander coat and got the hell out of Dodge. As for where he's headed, I'd have to imagine he's headed south. After all, he knows what's north of the wall, and he probably doesn't want to deal with that right now. He's got a lot on his mind. He just killed a kid -- even though Olly totally deserved it -- and he's feeling all confused and broody about his brief encounter with death. If there really is nothing but darkness on the Other Side, then he's got a life to start living. But first, he probably needs to bone Melisandre. (As if the Red Priestess and his self-appointed no. 2, Davos, are going to let him wander off by himself.)
Are the Umbers pulling a fast one on Ramsay Bolton?HBO
This is a toss-up. On one hand, I'd like to live in a world where Ramsay could be duped so easily and Shaggydog is alive with his head still intact. But Ramsay is a loose cannon, and everyone in the North knows that he's a total psycho, so walking into Winterfell seems like a terrible idea, with or without gifts. Here's what we do know: House Umber was incredibly loyal to the Starks. It's really the only reason Osha took Rickon there in the first place. But with Jon Umber gone, his son may not have the same sentiment toward the Starks. With the Wildlings and the White Walkers knocking down their door, the Umbers would be wise to strike an alliance -- unless, of course, they've already united with the other houses in the North to enact this risky plan against Ramsay. Then again, why would they put Rickon Stark, heir of Winterfell, in danger if they were trying to trick Ramsay? Whatever happens, we're still worried for little Rickon and all of his appendages.
Why did Ned Stark stretch the truth?HBO
Bran seemed confused by his father's previous accounts of what happened at the Tower of Joy and what actually went down. In A Song of Ice and Fire, Ned Stark makes it clear that he would not have defeated Ser Arthur Dayne if not for Howland Reed, but he never let it slip what actually happened: that Reed literally stabbed the great Targaryen knight in the back. Stabbing your opponent in the back is not the most honorable move, and yet Ned lived with the lie for decades, which proved that even the late Lord of Winterfell was willing to bend his moral code. But why? Obviously, Ned would have done anything to get to his sister Lyanna in the tower -- even if it meant stabbing Dayne in the back -- but why not tell the truth when asked? After all the loss House Stark endured during Robert’s Rebellion, it makes sense that the newly minted Lord of Winterfell would want to establish himself as a man of honor and power. Either that, or Ned Stark is not as honorable as we’ve been led to believe.
Did young Ned hear Bran during the vision?HBO
In the books, Bran's first vision is that of his father outside of Winterfell. When Bran cries out to his father, Ned looks confused, as if he heard something. Young Ned in Bran's Tower of Joy vision did something similar. However, in the books, it's written off as nothing more than a whisper in the wind. It looks like that was probably the case here, but there’s no telling what Bran will be capable of once he completes his training. After all, in A Dance With Dragons, it's later implied that Bran does impart a message to Reek through the weirwood trees at Winterfell, which could prove that our little Bran is more powerful than the Three-Eyed Raven realized.
What is the Three-Eyed Raven trying to tell Bran?HBO
After years of speculation, the Three-Eyed Raven confirmed that he doesn’t want Bran to end up like him — a.k.a. fused to a weirwood tree for the rest of his life. Since Bran’s training began in A Dance With Dragons, it’s been theorized that Bran would eventually become the Three-Eyed Raven, but the man himself shut that theory down when he told Bran that he eventually wants Bran to leave the forest -- but only after he’s shown him "everything." With the Three-Eyed Raven curating Bran’s visions, there’s no telling what he might see next. So far, he seems pretty set on showing him his family’s deep, dark history, but I have to wonder if the Three-Eyed Raven will widen his scope. After all, Dany has several interesting visions of her own in the books that have yet to come into fruition on the show, and it would be pretty awesome to see more Targaryens come to life. Not to mention, we have yet to see where Rhaegar’s fascination with Lyanna all began -- at the tourney at Harrenhal. (I just really, really want to see Rhaegar Targaryen.)
How are Tyrion and Varys going to go to war with all of Slaver’s Bay?HBO
Over in Meereen, things are pretty dire. Not only was it revealed that Valantis, Yunkai, and Astapor were funding the Sons of the Harpy, it was also strongly hinted that the only language these guys speak is violence … which means war in Essos! With a burgeoning war in Essos with the entirety of Slaver’s Bay, what the hell are Tyrion and Varys going to do? Dany is still M.I.A., and besides, she’s kind of the problem. Dany thought that by freeing the Unsullied and storming into Meereen to put the kibosh on slavery that she was helping people. And she was -- to a certain extent.
As Daenerys went on liberating Astapor and then Meereen, she grew more confident in her role as liberator and Western enlightener of the East, but the way she went about it, without regard for culture and customs, was naive and misguided. Dany's disregard for Meereen's culture is what got her into this mess, and now she's going to have to deal with it if she ever wants to step foot in King's Landing.
Has Arya graduated from No One School?
At the end of the episode, after passing the test and pledging to be No One, Arya’s sight was given back to her. But does this mean she’s graduated to becoming a full-fledged Many-Faced assassin? Probably not. I wouldn't be surprised if Arya is given one final test to assess her loyalty to the Many-Faced God.
Will King Tommen succumb to the High Sparrow?Helen Sloan/HBO
Tommen is the most malleable person in the Seven Kingdoms, which does not bode well for his future. The High Sparrow has locked up Tommen's wife in a dingy cell and forced his mother to publicly own up to her sins on her Walk of Atonement -- and yet King Tommen hasn't done anything to the religious sept leader. Despite his promise to his mother to do better, poor naive King Tommen still can't stand up to anyone with some semblance of authority.
When Tommen and his Kingsguard demanded that Cersei be allowed inside Myrcella's crypt, the High Sparrow somehow talked his way out of it. He cited Cersei's unfinished atonement and need for a formal trial before the Gods as his reasoning for denying the boy-king's demands, and instead of forcing his way inside, Tommen just GAVE UP when the High Sparrow invited him to sit on a bench and talk about his mother. The Sparrow admitted that "although there is a great deal of falsehood in Cersei," he believes she loves her son -- and somehow, that deterred Tommen for finishing what he started. I just don't get it. What kind of game are you playing here, Sparrow? And why did you fall so easily for it, Tommen? DO BETTER. Or Ser Gregor will murder you.