As the first season of Game of Thrones to officially move ahead of the books, we’ve seen some fairly big moments and reveals that no one has been able to spoil for us.
It’s these last few episodes though that will contain the truly big moments that will have all of us talking and speculating for the next year whilst we impatiently wait for season 7. So let’s recap where we’re up to and do our best to speculate what we’re in for in the finish.
The Big Showdown – The Starks vs The Boltons
Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s get ready to ruuummmmbbbbbble! Our presumed main event pits the resurrected (and now with the power of extra mopey-ness) Jon Snow and the oft-abused but now more confident than ever Sansa Stark (neither are actually technically Starks, as pointed out by the highly entertaining Lady Lyanna Mormont) against TV’s most hated villain, the vile and psychopathic Ramsay Bolton. We’ve been building up to this showdown all season long and we’re likely to get a good chunk of Episode 9 (titled ‘Battle of the Bastards’) to see how this battle plays out.
The Starks have on their side an odd assortment of allies – the wildings, Sir Davos, Melisandre, the fierce warriors of Bear Island, some other minor houses and we’ll assume that Petr Baylish and the Knights of the Vale will be propping them up at the last second. Ramsay has House Umber and Karstark on his side, but most importantly he has Rickon Stark as hostage.
The Starks have been beset with failures since the start of the show whilst the Boltons have been steadily gaining in power and even managed to hold off the last attempt to conquer Winterfell by Stannis Baratheon with relative ease. It’s hard to see the Starks suffering yet another setback and most fans are hoping that this is the start of things finally going well for them. And yet a straight-forward victory isn’t very Game of Thronesy is it? There’s bound to be some sort of twist here, perhaps victory for the Starks at a very bitter cost?
The Minor Showdown – The Freys and the Lannisters vs The Tullys and Brienne
This showdown has been quite hastily constructed and it’s a hard to guess what purpose it is serving. What we’re all looking forward to is the reunion between Brienne and Jaime. A lot has changed since these two last travelled together and it should be interesting to see how their dynamic plays out. Jaime’s transition from badass villain to unlikely hero may come to full fruition here.
There’s a good chance we won’t see any sort of battle at all – The Blackfish has made it clear he’s not going anywhere and is well supplied to wait his enemies out. It’s quite possible that greater forces out there (the Stark vs Bolton battle, the arrival of the White Walkers) will intervene before anything too dramatic happens. Let’s hope for a more interesting conclusion.
King’s Landing – The Faith and the Crown vs Cersei Lannister
If you listen to the Queen of Thorns, this fight is already over. The king and queen are under the High Sparrow’s influence and everyone had better get out of there before it’s too late. But Cersei is a formidable character and she will never accept that she has lost. How she manages to salvage this situation is anyone’s guess but we can be sure that the Mountain will be involved. We’ve also learnt that Margaery’s subservience is only an act so these two may become unlikely allies at some point.
It’s possible that Cersei’s trial will finally begin, which we can only expect to end in a trial by combat. Which means that we may get some more head crushing – unless the Hound can miraculously make his way to King’s Landing in a short period of time. As much as I enjoyed his reintroduction, it seemed fairly late in the season to be bringing back such a popular character. I’ll assume he’ll be chopping up some members of the Brotherhood without Banners but whatever important role he has to play in the things to come is unlikely to be discovered this season.
I have to say, it’s disappointing that the faith militant are still around and it seems that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I really will be thrilled if they can find a way to make them part of some bigger plot I’m down for any sort of interesting twist at this point. I’m not expecting Tommen to survive too much longer (as was prophesised to Cersei) so maybe they’ll all be going down together.
Braavos – Arya Stark vs The Waif
This battle has not started well at all for Arya. Being stabbed in the stomach and stumbling through the streets isn’t a great position to be in. It seems a bit odd that she didn’t see this coming. She did, after all, turn her back and escape from a death cult. Surely she’d want to be a bit more discreet then throwing bags of coins around and happily wandering the streets in broad daylight. I don’t think anyone expects her to actually die here and we are either in for a last minute rescue (a GOT favourite) or some sort of bizarre twist – perhaps this is the final test of the faceless men.
Essos – Daenerys and her followers vs The various delays of getting to Westeros
We’ve been waiting so so long for this to happen and maybe, just maybe, all the elements needed are finally in place. With all the Dothraki now at her side, Daenerys is probably going to make a dramatic return to Meereen. Tyrion has brought some calm to the city which has now made peace with its neighbours and has possibly been overrun with priestesses of the Lord of Light. Daenerys may decide she needs to shake things up again or perhaps (let’s hope) she’s had enough and is ready to finally begin her quest to return to Westeros and claim the Iron Throne.
Even though she’s likely to be bummed out that her ships have been burned by the Sons of the Harpy, the good news is that help is on its way! Theon and Yara have already made it to Volantis and are likely to arrive right at about the same time Danaerys makes that dramatic arrival in Meereen. Unlike Euron Greyjoy, neither Theon or Yara are likely to ask for marriage in return for the use of the Iron Fleet. All they want is what’s ‘rightfully theirs!’ (haven’t we heard that plenty of times on GOT?). So let’s all hope for a quick deal that has Daenerys on her way to Westeros by season’s end
Horn Hill – Sam and Gilly vs Everyone’s expectations
This storyline has been a bit of a long burn and I’m not even confident that we’ll see these two again before the season is over. Meeting the Tarlys was somewhat interesting but really, all it did was reinforce what Sam had already told us about them in previous episodes. The one interesting development was Sam obtaining his family’s ancestral Valyrian steel sword, ‘Heartsbane.’ This makes me wonder if Sam will indeed end up becoming a maester or if he will return to his White Walker-killing ways.
Dorne – Ellaria and the Sand Snakes vs Any sort of interesting plotline
This one isn’t even a contest. We’ve seen no follow up on the Sand Snakes’ takeover of Dorne in the first episode of the season which makes me wonder why it was ever included in the first place. Maybe the show creators want us to forget this storyline entirely. If Cersei ever does come back to power though, watch out! No one does revenge better than the Lannisters.
Beyond the Wall – Bran Stark vs The Night King
In the grand scheme of things, this may be the only battle that truly matters. Bran isn’t quite ready to take on the Night King and his army of White Walkers and is fortunate to now have Benjen Stark there to protect him whilst he attempts to finish his training. This could involve some more interesting journeys to the past. Will we finally found out Jon Snow’s true parentage? What other effects on the past will Bran have? We saw some flashes of the Mad King repeating ‘Burn them all’ during Bran’s last set of visions. Could Bran be the one that muddled his brain (just like he did to poor Hodor)?
The Night King isn’t going to wait around for Bran to be ready and knowing the final episode of the season will be called ‘The Winds of Winter,’ could this mean that White Walkers are about to reach the wall and that Winter will truly have arrived? I’m not sure how they’re going to get past the wall but if they do, get ready for some spectacular CGI scenes. Their arrival is going to change everything and this silly game of thrones that everyone’s been playing is going to get some serious perspective.