The dust has yet to settle in and around Winterfell and there are literally thousands of bodies still scattered everywhere but it’s not too soon to start looking ahead to what comes next on Game of Thrones.
The Night King has been defeated, not nearly as many main characters as expected died, and now all eyes are turning south towards Cersei, Euron, and their army of mercenaries, all of whom are tan and rested and fully prepared to fight the show’s next big battle.
With only three episodes left, there is still plenty that can—and will—happen. Here are eight questions that need to be answered heading into this final stretch.
1. How Big of a Force Does the North Have Left?
Daenerys hit the shores of Westeros with the Dothraki, the Unsullied, some portion of the Iron Born, and three dragons. Unfortunately, her bench has thinned out significantly since then.
I’d say a generous estimate is that 98.4% of the Dothraki are gone, 72.3% of the Unsullied are dead, and I can confidently say she’s down a dragon. As for anyone left from the Iron Islands that are loyal to her, it would depend on how many Iron Born Yara is rolling with and how successful she is/was taking the Iron Islands back.
Either way, Daenerys’ cupboards aren’t nearly as stocked as they once were. She even lost her dude Jorah and may have lost Tyrion’s loyalty.
So let’s say Daenerys is now packing roughly 20% of the crew she entered the North with. What does that leave them with?
The Knights of the Vale are still represented, although who knows how many of them are left. There’s probably a handful of surviving members of the Night’s Watch still kicking around as well as a scattering of dudes from other northern houses. Brienne, Podrick, The Hound, Arya, Gendry, Jaime, Tormund, and (I suppose) a gang of Wildlings are also still in play.
Math has never been a strong point for me, but I can at least ballpark the fact that the North would be heading into a showdown with Cersei incredibly short-handed.
I hope those dragons are ready to put in work.
2. Numbers Aside, is the North Even Up for a Fight Now?
I know I wouldn’t be. They just got their asses handed to them and if not for Arya would likely all be dead. I would need at least a week or two to get back into the swing of things.
Meanwhile, down in Kings Landing, the Golden Company have been studying film, running drills, and trying to stay sharp. We see this in the playoffs—regardless of the sport—all the time.
One team has to fight for their lives to get through the playoffs, and by the time they reach the championships, they’re running on fumes. Then on the other side of the bracket, another team coasts through the first few rounds and enters the finals with a clean injury report and little wear and tear.
You then have to ask yourself: do you want to pick the side that is riding some momentum or the side that is rested? You then have to ask yourself why sports talk radio topics can be so applicable to so many situations. You then have to ask yourself if you should maybe listen to something else on the way to work.
I generally lean towards the team with momentum but this could be different.
3. Where Does the Final Battle Take Place?
The last thing the North is looking to do (besides fight another effin’ battle) is taking a road trip. But at the same time, Cersei isn’t an idiot. There’s no way she’s sending her people north to play an away game in a hostile environment. Playing another home game would be a huge advantage for the North. Definitely not happening.
Most likely the two sides will meet somewhere in the middle. Maybe the Riverland? A return to Harrenhal could be kind of cool.
In my opinion, the only thing I think is a given is that it’ll be a road game for both sides.
4. What is Bran’s Role Now?
Ever since Bran became the Three-Eyed Raven, he’s been focused on mainly two things: Jon’s parentage and the Night King. Both of those things are pretty much settled. So now what does a dude who spends his days zoning out in the woods, looking backwards and forwards and through the eyes of ravens do now?
I really think the answer could lie in where Bran “was” during the Battle of Winterfell. He dipped out pretty early on and initially was flying around as a raven but it looked like he flew off once he locked eyes with the Night King. Where did he go after that? Did he know how things were going to play out in Winterfell and decided to start studying game tape on the Golden Company? Or is he up to something bigger and weirder than that?
Or is that it for Bran? Has he served his purpose? Would you be cool with that?
We spent a lot of time with him as he embarked on his vision quest beyond the wall. Ideally, it was all for something, like with Arya’s jaunts over in Essos. I’m not sure what we’ve seen so far is totally worth it.
5. Will Bronn Kill Tyrion and/or Jaime?
When we last saw Bronn, he was signing up for duty to serve yet another Lannister, this time with Cersei, who had enlisted him to kill her brothers. This isn’t good. I know that I don’t want to root against Bronn, but if he’s out there gunning for Jaime and Tyrion, I’d be inclined to do so, no matter how much I want to go drinking with him.
Bronn is a man of his word though, and if the money is there (which it is this time) he’s likely to deliver.
I suppose if anything, it’s just a matter of when and not if.
6. Will Jon Reveal His True Identity To Everyone?
Oof. I just don’t know.
On the one hand, if he were to just keep the whole thing to himself, everything would be ten times easier. He could stay with Daenerys, let her pursue the Iron Throne, and when she does, be a good First Dude. He could command the army, hang out with Sam, and maybe take up a hobby or two. I don’t think Jon has any hobbies and now that the Dead have been defeated, he’s definitely going to need something to fill his days. I’m not sure if they have golf in Westeros, so maybe fishing.
However, if he chooses the other route—the one he’s more likely to choose because he’s Jon Snow and opting for the harder path is a total Jon Snow move—things are going to get a little dicey. The Targaryens were never ones to shy away from some incest but Daenerys is liable to be sketched out by Jon if he goes public with his true identity. Doing so jeopardizes her claim to the throne and that claim is all she cares about besides her dragons. A rift would likely grow between the two of them and nothing good would come from it.
Also, I don’t know if you knew this about the North but they do not take kindly to outsiders, which Jon kind of is. How would they take the news? How would the surviving Starks take the news? Sansa already has her guard up when it comes to the Dragon Queen as well as Jon’s relationship with her.
All Sansa cares about is the preservation of the North and the North’s desire to govern itself. If she sees the Daenerys/Jon alliance strengthen further, even if it’s in name only, how would she handle that?
Just keep it to yourself, Jon. Sam wouldn’t be cool with the decision but he’d get over it. And Bran? Bran has already left for a Phish tour. No need to worry about him.
7. Are We Still Team Daenerys?
This is a tough one and a question I’m not sure I’m even ready to really think about. For so long, rooting for Daenerys was a given. Of course we wanted her to succeed. She had earned it. She deserved it. Her dad was a lunatic but surely she was different.
I think so, but things have been weird with the Mother of Dragons this season. A lot of it goes back to that first conversation she had with Sam when she very nonchalantly admitted to roasting his dad and brother. She did not handle that well at all. It was a side of her that we had seen before but it felt differently with Sam on the other side of the conversation.
Over the course of the series, Sam has become somewhat of a voice of the audience, a voice of humanity and common sense. To position him on the other side of that conversation felt intentional, as if to show perhaps how far Daenerys will go to get what she wants and to have us ask ourselves if we’re cool with that.
I don’t know if I am cool with that.
8. What Does Arya Do for a Follow-Up?
Arya Stark just saved all of humanity. What is she going to do now?
No really, where do you go from that? Obviously there will be a book deal and a late night appearance or two, but after that, what’s to come of Arya?
I actually have an answer for this.
What does Arya do for a follow-up?
Whatever the hell she wants to do. She’s earned it.