The season finale of Game of Thrones season 5 left us with more than a few questions. Some of which may have answers we are afraid to hear, but most fans are unwilling to wait an entire year to get a glimpse of what awaits.
Is Jon Snow really dead?
This question is maddeningly difficult to answer. To the frustration of book readers and show watchers alike, we have no printed material to lean on for insight regarding Jon’s future. His last chapter in A Dance with Dragons left us with him being attacked, just like this last episode.
Naturally, this has led to massive amounts of speculation on what exactly could happen next for the latest (or late) Lord Commander. Three options have emerged: either Jon is truly dead; Jon somehow survived the attack; or, Jon is indeed dead but will return to life in the same manner as Beric Dondarrion (of the Brotherhood without Banners) did. Dondarion was raised by the Red Priest, Thoros of Myr. And quite conveniently, a Red Priest is within reach at Castle Black.
If the last option is true, some have asked whether semi-imortal status would give Jon Snow a special leg-up in the fight against the undead.
What should we expect for Dany and the Dothraki?
Similarly to Jon Snow, Dany’s story leaves off at this very point in the books. Her interaction with the Dothraki is left with a tone of painful ambiguity. She did indeed enjoy an elevated status amongst the Dothraki as the Khaleesi to Khal Drogo, but they are by no means a sentimental people. In fact, her attachment to Drogo’s legacy is likely to do more harm than good, seeing as the current Khal will look at her and only be reminded of a rival.
But the Dothraki admire strength to a fault. Especially when that strength takes the form of a mounted warrior. Daenerys may not have a horse, but she does have a dragon. They may find this awe-inspiring yet unconventional queen to be a perfect fit for their ideal. Dany need only challenge the current Khal to a mounted fight, and she may well find herself a Khaleesi again. Potentially, she could have a hoard of Dothraki and an army of Unsullied ready to invade Westeros by next season.
What should we expect for Meereen?
With Dany gone, leadership seemed quite uncertain. But Dany’s confidantes agreed upon a plan put forward by Daario: Tyrion, Grey Worm, and Missandei stay behind to manage the city, while Jorah and himself ride out to find their Queen. The final shot of Tyrion on the steps to the Throne looking down to Grey Worm and Missandei gave a strong indicator of who will be leading the impromptu regime in Meereen.
What lies in store will likely be similar to King’s Landing in season 2; with Tyrion tactfully governing a city that would otherwise succumb to the chaos it is experiencing. With Grey Worm, Missandei, and and a newly reappeared Varys at his side, Tyrion is well-equipped for the job.
After the Battle of Winterfell, what’s left for the North?
After a desertion of half the Baratheon army, the suicide of his wife, and the abandonment of his mistress, Stannis and his regime were all but doomed. Ironically, the arial shot of the battle looked just like a scene from last season, where Stannis and his mounted army easily overwhelmed the Wildling army north of the Wall. This time however, it was Stannis’s men who looked like a disheveled mob, and the Boltons’ like the orderly rows of cavalry, sweeping up the resistance effortlessly. As promised, Ramsay did indeed give a feast to the crows.
After Brienne delivered the final deathblow (as promised), the North once again gave way to the Boltons. Whether Stannis is indeed dead in the books has yet to be seen.
What about Sansa and Theon?
Sansa has finally escaped Winterfell, alongside her reluctant and traumatized companion Theon Greyjoy. The latter’s commitment to her was sealed when he killed Ramsay’s lover Myranda; it was the perfect action to exhibit his newfound courage and willingness to defy the Boltons, even if it means risking a terrible fate.
They did leave Winterfell, but only after jumping from the top of the castle walls. Whether they are uninjured is hard to say but where they will go is even more difficult to answer. Their only potential allies in the area are Brienne and Pod. Assuming they could meet up, the group would have to flee the North as soon as possible.
What does Cersei’s atonement mean for her position? And what about Margery, and the Lannister/Tyrell Alliance?
The alliance between the Lannisters and the Tyrells has not been an easy one. The latter House openly supported the rebel King Renly Baratheon (by marrying him to Margery) before reaffirming their loyalty to the Iron Throne, and the Lannisters have not forgotten.
But Cersei strained the already uncomfortable match between the Houses by vying with Margery. Her paranoia led to a backfired scheme and put both Queens in prison. But not on equal charges, and consequently, they will not be judged equally. Margery’s atonement is likely to be much less extreme than Cersei’s considering her crime is only lying under oath, not adultery.
If the show is to follow the books with this plot, Cersei will face a trial by combat, where the newest member of the Kingsguard, Robert Strong, will serve as her champion. And Margery will face a more traditional courtroom trial. In all probability, both Queens should be found not guilty, but their reputations have suffered.
The young Tyrell has made a concious effort to make herself loved by the smallfolk, Cersei on the other hand, has not. This was clearly shown tonight during her walk of atonement. Who the people see as the true Queen of Westeros may prove decisive in which House will dominate King’s Landing.
Will Arya continue training as a Faceless Man? Why can’t she see?
Brienne wasn’t the only person to make good on an oath of revenge this week. Meryn Trant’s death was by no means unpredictable, but she spoke a few words that perfectly illustrated her view on giving up her past identity. Before ending his life, Arya made sure the last words Trant heard were, “I am Arya Stark. You’re no one, you’re nothing.” This interesting reversal of the Faceless Man philosophy was not well received back at the House of Black and White.
In the books, Arya does indeed lose her sight as part of her training. Though this was a dramatic point to leave her story in the show, she will simply be continuing to learn the abilities of the assassins and eventually regain her vision.
The most interesting point to speculate upon is whether Arya will ever be able to fully transition and give up her former self. Many believe that she will receive a complete training as a Faceless Man, but rather than give up her name and her agenda she will either abandon the order entirely, or postpone that final switch until her list is finished. The Stark girl’s thirst for revenge will undoubtedly get in the way again.
Is Myrcella dead? And what does that mean for Trystane, and the relationship between their Houses?
After Jaime reveals himself to Myrcella as her father, and she admits to having known for quite some time, they share a touching moment before Myrcella’s poisoning suddenly makes itself apparent. Elaria Sand may have had an antidote, but it’s doubtful that Myrcella will get one in time. However, it is worth asking whether the poison was actually fatal. In the books, Myrcella was attacked and escaped with her life but was left disfigured, the show may be trying to develop her story in a similar way, but with poison rather than a sword.
Either way, Tyrstane is set to take Oberyn’s former seat at the Small Council. The death of his uncle and the potential death but definite harm of Cersei’s daughter may cause for a good deal of conflict between him and the Queen. Furthermore, the Tyrells and Martells have a rivalry that stretches back over generations. Trystane is unlikely to receive a warm welcome in a Small Council chamber filled with members of these two Houses.