Winter is finally here and Season 6 of Game of Thrones has ended – it’s been an intense series now that the showrunners are finally beyond the books and fans are already calling it the best one yet.
From Hodor holding the door to the final revelations of Winds of Winter, this has been the most bonkers seasons yet, with reveals and answers coming at the viewer thick and fast, like a hail of Bolton arrows at a Stark army.
To celebrate the final episode we’ve decided to look at the episode in a bit more detail so it should go without saying that there’ll be spoilers aplenty throughout as we speculate where the series is going next.
Let’s start with the big reveal, the question that everyone’s wondered since Season One: “Who’s Jon Snow’s mother?”
The answer came courtesy of Bran who used the Weird Wood Web to go back to the Tower of Joy.
Unlike last time though, Bran doesn’t have that cock-tease Three-eyed Raven with him to stop the young Greenseer from following his dearly departed dad into the tower.
Once inside, we found a dying Lyanna Stark covered in blood and surrounded by maids. With her dying breath she made Ned promise to protect her son, Jon, from Robert Baratheon, whispering something to Ned before dying.
Although we don’t know who the dad is officially, the only candidate is Rhaegar Targaryen who kidnapped Lyanna and sparked Robert’s Rebellion, as she definitely wasn’t pregnant when he pinched her from the Riverlands, so ‘R+L=J’ is pretty much confirmed.
We can also guess that the reason Ned took the fall for being Jon’s dad is to fool Robert into thinking the boy wasn’t a threat to his reign, especially as Robert had a bad habit of bashing Targaryen babies’ brains out.
There’s potentially a bigger revelation here though. Remember the ‘Prince that was promised’ – the legendary figure that Melisandre thinks is going to save the world from the Night’s King?
Well, some book fans think that the promise Ned made qualifies Jon as the mythical prince. Their claim is made even stronger as we discovered Jon was born ‘under a fallen star’ – namely, the sword of Ilyn Payne.
That’s the poor bloke who Ned shanked in the back in episode two – which is made from a meteor, i.e. fallen star, in the book – and Ned took his sword into the Tower of Joy.
This means that not only is Jon the world’s best hope against the coming army of the undead, he’s also the true heir to the Iron Throne. Could he potentially find a new enemy in Daenerys who’s also got her eyes set on the throne?
Or they could get married. Targaryen’s aren’t exactly squeamish about incest if they can keep the throne.
Speaking of the Iron Throne, Cercei’s now got her arse parked in the world’s most uncomfortable looking chair after brutally incinerating all her rivals when she detonated the wildfire the Mad King had hidden under the Great Sept of Baelor.
Poor King Tommen, realising his mother’s gone completely off the deep end, does the only logical thing and throws himself from the Red Keep, giving Jamie and Cersei the coveted dead kids hat trick.
This effectively dooms Cersei who’s prophesied to die after losing all three of her kids when ‘the valonqar’ – which means little brother – strangles her.
Cersei thinks this means Tyrion will kill her and he is on his way back to Westeros with a ‘younger and more beautiful’ queen, just like the prophecy says – but some fans have another theory.
They think that Jaime Lannister, who didn’t look too pleased at her coronation, may kill her. It’s clear in the books now that he’s fallen out of love with her and many think that the death of Tommen may push Jaime too far.
Not to mention that when she burned the Sept down she also killed off her uncle – the current head of house Lannister – and also wiped out House Tyrell, effectively dooming the continued reign of the Lannisters, as the only ally they’ve got left now is house Frey.
Unfortunately for them, House Frey also just lost its head with Arya wreaking a downright brutal revenge on the late Walder Frey for his part in the Red Wedding – forcing him to eat his own sons and then slitting his throat.
Where will Arya go next? She could head to King’s Landing and bump off Cersei but that’d defy the prophecy, so it’s more likely she’ll head back north to Winterfell, potentially bumping into the exiled Melisandre.
Or, since we’re idly speculating, the youngest Stark girl could bump into her old friend The Hound, he’s on her list and was last seen in The Riverlands with The Brotherhood without Banners, so a reunion could be on the cards.
Needless to say, wherever Arya’s going, she’s sure to be sticking her enemies with the pointy end.
Arya’s assassination has also left the realm extremely weak, with most of the Seven Kingdoms seceding or swearing loyalty to Daenerys as she finally makes her way across the ocean.
The Mother of Dragons herself is in an extremely strong position to take the Throne now as well, with a fleet made up of Dothraki, sellswords, House Martell, Tyrell, plus the Ironborn all sailing towards Westeros.
Not to mention the three colossal dragons, which are basically the fantasy equivalent of nukes, giving the ousted Targaryen the best chance of winning back her kingdom.
Curiously absent from this episode were the White Walkers, who remained beyond The Wall, but we finally know why they’ve not immediately scoured the land. Benjen Stark confirmed that the dead can’t actually go past the wall thanks to magic used in its construction.
While this sounds like a good thing, it probably means that the Night’s King and his rotten pals are planning on demolishing The Wall permanently, which isn’t going to be great for The North or the Night’s Watch.
All in all, this was a fantastic season of Thrones and we can’t wait to see where the showrunners take us next especially with the reduced number of episodes meaning that the spectacles only going to get bigger and better!
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.