Last weekend, Game of Thrones Season 6 came to an end with a sweeping, epic, double-stuffed finale (now with extra death!). It’s hard to pick a “best moment” from the incredible episode; Cersei donning black leather and blowing things up while she sips wine like a total boss? Darth Sansa sitting next to Jon Snow as the biggest, baddesst little girl in Westeros puts him on the throne of the North? Lady Olenna dishing out shade like nobody else can in Dorne? Seeing Daenerys and Tyrion side-by-side and about to let slip the dogs of war?
In all that awesome madness, however, there was one scene in particular that had fan theorists jumping out of their seats – Bran finally finished his Tower of Joy flashback. Revealing, once and for all, that the wonderful Ned Stark never cheated on his wife, that Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, and that the King in the North is also a legitimate heir to the Iron Throne and most like Azor Ahai, all at the same time.
It was a perfect moment, and it wasn’t the only fan theory that this incredible season confirmed… or denied. Almost every week another theory was dismissed, confirmed, or given a sly wink – which can be hard to keep up with. So here’s where we stand on some of the biggest fan theories in Westeros at the end of the 6th Season.
The Return of Jon Snow
The Theory: At the end of Season 5, Jon Snow had been brutally murdered by the men of the Night’s Watch. Furious at him for letting the Wildlings over the wall, a faction rose up against the Lord Commander and lured him into the courtyard, where he was stabbed over and over. Even though the show is known for killing off main characters, fans still refused to believe that he was really dead, and several hypothesis were considered for how he would survive. The three main opinions seemed to be that Jon was really dead, that he would , or that .
He’s Alive!: Jon Snow was brought back to life right at the start of the season, although the show let us believe that the he’s-really-dead camp were right for quite some time. Still, Melisandre got there in the nick of time and raised Jon from the dead. What few theorists saw coming, however, was Jon using his death as a loophole to get out of his oath to the Night’s Watch – it ended at his death, and now he’s free to become King in the North!
The Hound As The Gravedigger
The theory: The last time we saw Sandor Clegane, he was pleading for death on a hillside, as Arya walked away and left him to die in pain. Although many thought he was dead, others speculated that – a book character who is a novice on the Quiet Isle, with a striking similarity to the Hound. Even in the book, we don’t know if the Gravedigger is the Hound, and he is currently a minor character, but it’s a favorite theory for many.
Confirmed AND Denied: The Hound has indeed returned, and popped up with a religious group. However, the Gravedigger character didn’t make an appearance. Instead, Clegane was helping to build a sept, not digging graves on an island, and had no meeting with Brienne. It’s still probable that the Gravedigger is the Hound in the books, but on screen, the Gravedigger is unlikely to make an appearance now.
The theory: Every season since Catelyn Stark was murdered at the Red Wedding, fans of the books have been waiting for her to reappear on screen as Lady Stoneheart. Returned from the dead, Lady Stoneheart is a vicious version of Catelyn, out for revenge and killing anyone she feels is even vaguely connected to the Red Wedding and Robb’s death. With this season returning to the Tullys, Riverrun and the Blackfish,
Still in Play (But Unlikely): Another season has passed without even a hint of Catelyn Stark’s return. It’s still possible that she’ll pop up still, but it’s becoming increasingly unlikely. There are only two seasons left, and we’ve still got kingdoms to win and white walkers to defeat. It looks like Lady Stoneheart will simply be left out of the show entirely.
Hold The Door
The theory: There were multiple theories surrounding everyone’s favorite half-giant, and why he could only say “Hodor”. gone mad after spending too much time in another body – potentially a horse, with the word Hodor a variation on the word “horse”. Some of the wilder theories included connections to dragons – that Hodor had seen the , and the event was so frightening that he was shocked into only saying one word. Or, if you really want to get into it, some fans even believed that Hodor would be revealed to be a dragon-tamer, and that
Theory (and hearts) broken: Hodor isn’t a dragon tamer after all, just a normal kid with giant’s blood who got completely screwed over by Bran on one of his time-travel jaunts. We’d already seen Bran warg into Hodor in order to get him to fight and to quiet down when afraid. Turns out that this created a connection between their minds, so that when Bran went back in time, past Hodor spotted him, and started convulsing. Present Hodor, who was desperately trying to save Bran and Meera, was left holding the door against an army of white walkers – and dying in the attempt. This death, through Bran’s mind and into past Hodor, damaged him so much that all he could say was a distortion of the command he died fulfilling… to hold the door. And we all wept.
The theories: After a long absence, Bran was back this season, and there are plenty of theories surrounding him. Once time-travelling was established in the show, it opened up all kinds of possibilities. First up, we have the theory that Bran would become the Three-eyed raven in more than name. This theory posits that the , and that it’s all a big time-travelly circle. Other theories suggest that . That last theory believes that Bran isn’t just named after Bran the Builder, but that he IS Bran the builder, flitting through time and causing all kinds of chaos. , by time-travelling into history and whispering into the King’s ear until he drove him insane.
Wait and See: Bran has now called himself the Three Eyed Raven, but that doesn’t mean that he is the same Three Eyed Raven as the one who died this season. In fact, that would cause all kinds of time paradox strangeness. Not least of which, if they are the same Bran, then old Raven would have known that the Walkers would come at that point, and that Summer and Hodor and Leaf were all about to die – and wouldn’t he have, y’know, warned people!? We’re not buying it. Bran as the Builder is also less than likely, because although Bran can travel in time and see things, even affecting people or making them think they’ve seen something (like Ned at the Tower of Joy), he doesn’t actually appear in the other times. For him to go back entirely, as a real human, and do all the things Bran the Builder did, it would take a huge leap in his powers.
The last time-travel theory is a little more likely. Bran could well have gone back to visit the Mad King, and driven him mad with thoughts of fire in an attempt to get him to stockpile Wildfire to use against the White Walkers. After all, we know that he’s screwed things up with his time-travels before, and Hodor paid the price for it.
The theory: Fans have wondered about Benjen Stark since Season One, when the Ranger from the Night’s Watch first invited Jon to come to the Wall, before disappearing beyond it. Many a book character who helped Bran and Meera travel to the cave of the Three Eyed Raven. When that theory was dismissed as their journey was completed without him, fans still thought that he would return this year as a half-dead Benjen-Beyond-The-Wall. Another theory suggested that . This theory suggests that Benjen wasn’t lost beyond the wall, but had traveled to Essos and disguised himself before pledging service to Daenerys.
Coldhands Wins: Benjen finally made his reappearance this season, and not as a Tyroshi sellsword with a blue beard. As Bran and Meera fled from the Others, all seemed lost, until a cloaked and hooded man on a horse burst from the trees and saved them. He transported them to the Wall, before revealing that he is Benjen Stark. Benjen was attacked and left for dead by the White Walkers, but was saved by the Children of the Forest. They used dragonglass to save him, but it turned him into something like the white walkers, so he cannot cross the wall. Instead, he shall stay North, and attempt to take down as many of the others as he can.
Fight Club Arya
The theories: There were a couple of theories around Arya and her assassin training this season, so we’ll roll ’em all into one. The most prevalent theory focused on Arya and the Waif, with many wondering if Arya and the Waif were actually the same person. According to , Arya had a Fight Club-style scenario going on, with her representing Arya Stark, and the Waif representing the No-One that she was training to be. All of the battles with the Waif were in her head. Another theory that popped up toward the end of the series was that when Arya was stabbed by the Waif, . No-one wanted to see Arya die, ok?
Dismissed (Mostly): Well, Arya was definitely stabbed, so there goes the Jaqen H’ghar theory. The Fight Club theory is also generally accepted to have been false, as Arya and the Waif had their final throw down, and Arya brought the Waif’s face back to the House of Black and White (because she’s all badass assassin now). Some still cling to the idea that they were the same person, and that Arya’s killing of the Waif was her personality asserting itself over a fate as a Faceless Man. However, it’s far more likely that this was a metaphorical win for Arya over A Girl With No Name, rather than a literal one.
The theory: There were two big throw-downs that fans were looking forward to this season: the Battle of the Bastards, and . The Battle of the Bastards got an entire episode (and one of the best episodes of the show so far), and for a while there, it looked like Cleganebowl was on the cards as well. This theory, based on the resurrection of both Clegane brothers, would see the Hound fighting the Mountain in a trial by combat. Cersei would be represented by the Mountain, while the Hound would be the representative of the Faith.
Dismissed: As epic as it would be to see these two powerhouses go head to head, it was not to be. The Hound’s time with the Faith was short lived, and he’s returned to being a murder-y loner. Trial by combat has been outlawed by Tommen, as a plot to have Cersei convicted of her crimes, and the Mountain’s big finish this season was as a royal babysitter. Or as a torturer for the Septa, whichever you prefer.
Cersei Burns Kings Landing To The Ground
The Theory: Cersei is getting backed into a corner, and she’s not one to go quietly. There were lots of hints throughout the show that ; she has repeatedly talked about how she would kill for her children, and how she would “burn cities to ash” to protect her children (and herself). We also learned from Tyrion that the mad King had caches of wildfire under the city, a rumor that Cersei had Qyburn look into. It was all building up to the possibility that Cersei was about to light a match…
Boom! Confirmed: Cersei wasn’t joking about turning cities to ash… and decided to take out all of her enemies in one fell swoop. Using Qyburn’s (formerly Varys’s) little birds, she set candles to burn down and light the wildfire under the Sept of Balor – exploding, and killing the Faith, the people who had gathered to watch her sentenced, and the Queen – her rival for Tommen’s affections.
Tommen Is Doomed
The theory: We know that Cersei has been haunted by a prophecy for most of her life, and Tommen’s death was part of it. Told to Cersei by a fortune teller when she was young, the prophecy claimed that she would wed a king (check), and that she would have three children (Joffrey, Myrcella, Tommen). Sadly, however, the prophecy also predicted that all three of her children would die before her, and with Joffrey and Myrcella both dead, Tommen was next in line. .
Confirmed: Poor Tommen, we hardly knew ye. A weak young man surrounded by incredibly powerful women, Tommen’s short stint on the Iron Throne is over. After Cersei blew up the Sept, Tommen wasn’t willing to keep on living with his wife dead, murdered by a mother who also declared war on his faith. Tommen goes out the window, and Maggy’s prophecy is fulfilled…
Cersei Is Doomed Too
The theory: Maggy’s prophecy covered more than the death of Cersei’s children – it predicts Cersei’s death, too. “when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” The valonqar has been the subject of much discussion, with the word coming from the High Valyrian for “little brother”. Some think that this refers to Tyrion, younger in age and physically very small, which would explain some of Cersei’s unbridled hatred for him and her attempts to have him convicted of murdering her son. Others, however, think that it will be Jaime who kills her, in a rage for her actions causing the death of their children.
Sure To Happen: It hasn’t happened yet, but there is little doubt that Cersei will meet her doom at the hands of one of her brothers in the final two seasons. The rest of Maggy’s prophecy has all been fulfilled, so there is no reason to think that this final prediction won’t be. .
The theory: Since Sansa escaped Ramsey Bolton at the end of last season, fans have been speculating that he’s not done with her quite yet. A couple of lines in particular had fans thinking that she might be pregnant – her reference to feeling what he did in her body, and then his last speech, claiming that he was inside of her now. (Which, let’s face it, is intensely creepy no matter what.)
Probably Not: Although this hasn’t been officially dismissed, it’s very unlikely. Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa, that she thinks that these lines are more figurative than literal. It’s also been pointed out by many fans that unless Sansa is hiding it very well, she doesn’t look pregnant – and that enough time has passed in the show that she would definitely be showing by now. It’s not impossible that Sansa is incubating a Bolton, but it’s not likely, either.
The King in the North (The Northern Conspiracy)
The theory: has been around for some time, and centers on the idea that Robb Stark legitimized Jon Snow before his death. In ‘A Storm of Swords’, Robb talks about making Jon Snow his heir, should he die in battle – a decision which Catelyn is obviously less-than-thrilled about. The theory suggests that before his death, Robb Stark drew up papers that would have named Jon Snow the heir to the Northern Throne, and that the bannermen and houses of the North are planning to back him as the new King in the North.
King in the North!: The finale ended with Jon Snow being hailed as the King in the North, but Robb’s wishes didn’t come into it. Robb may have legitimized him as heir, but that didn’t come up. Nor were all the houses secretly behind Jon Snow – as we saw this season, many of them threw in their luck with the Boltons. However, Jon and Sansa managed to obliterate the Boltons and take back Winterfell, and (thanks to Lady Lyanna) the Northern Houses have now pledged to support Jon as King on his own merit.
Jon Has A Twin
The theory: Jon’s parentage may now be confirmed, but there are still questions about his family – including a theory that suggests that . This theory is based on the idea that Lyanna died in childbirth bearing twins, and that each of the men who survived her rescue (Ned Stark and Howland Reed) took one of the babies to raise as their own. Based largely on physical appearances and the Tower of Joy story, this theory would make Meera a Stark/Targaryen as well as Jon, giving her a claim to the Iron Throne.
An Off-Screen Baby Girl?: This season, we finally saw Jon Snow’s birth, and it looked like there was only one baby in the room. There was definitely only one handed to Ned Stark, which would suggest that the Meera/Jon twin theory isn’t true. While there is a possibility that baby Meera was off-screen at the time, and that she will be revealed at a later date, this would seem to be an unnecessary plot twist just as things are wrapping up. We’re not ruling it out completely, but we’re not looking for it in the final two seasons, either.
The Third Head of the Dragon
The theory: Another theory based on a prophecy (Game of Thrones is big on prophecies), there is lots of speculation surrounding the three heads of the dragon. Spawned from a vision of Rhaegar, this has led to many theories around who the three heads of the dragon would be – Daenerys is assumed to be one of the heads, as the last remaining true Targaryen, but who are the other two? Now that Jon Snow has been revealed to be half-Targaryen (and the ice to Daenerys’s fire), we can assume that he is the second – but who is the third?
A popular theory suggests that T , and that he is the , who raped Joanna Lannister. This would make him another half-Targaryen with a claim to the Iron Throne.
Still Unknown: We got a hint that this could be the case this season, with Tyrion’s incredible scene with the dragons under the pyramid. His obsession with dragons may be the reason that he was able to “tame” them enough to release them, but others believe that this was proof that Tyrion is destined to be the third dragon rider.
One of the most incredible things about Game of Thrones is the sheer volume of detail that goes into the history and prophecy surrounding the story. With a history stretching back thousands of years, and characters that connect and parallel each other in myriad ways, it’s no wonder that there are so many theories surrounding the show. Add in elements of magic, time travel and fantasy that make anything possible, and quite literally anything could happen.
With only two seasons left, we can’t wait to find out where some of the remaining theories go – who will kill Cersei? Will she die at all? Who will finally sit atop the Iron Throne? Will Jon battle Daenerys, or ? And what will happen with the White Walkers? Will Summer ever come?
We’ll have to wait and see, but these theories should give you something to think about in the year between now and Season 7.
Writer, cosplayer and all around nerd. @RoseMooreWrites