Sunday’s episode alone dealt multiple crushing blows to fans, some of whom have been waiting years for confirmation of moments that will apparently never happen. After confirming some major fan theories (Benjen Stark lives! The Hound lives!), Game of Thrones is shutting others down left and right.
So which theories are D.O.A. and which are still in play? Check out our theory guide below. But be warned, book spoilers abound!
Lady Stoneheart: For the past two weeks, Game of Thrones appeared to be laying the groundwork for the mother of all reveals: that Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) has been revived as the vengeful Lady Stoneheart.
In the books, Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) sacrifices himself to resurrect Catelyn, who then takes over the Brotherhood Without Banners and leads them in a vengeance campaign against anyone remotely tied to the Lannisters, Freys and Boltons. So when Beric popped up in Sunday’s episode — and hung Lem Lemoncloak for killing the Hound’s (Rory McCann) friends — it was a severe blow to the hopes that the Brotherhood had undergone a leadership change since we saw them last.
Edmure (Tobias Menzies) also mentioned that the Red Wedding was years ago. Meaning, even if Beric encountered Catelyn’s body next week, she would be in such a state of decay that a revival likely wouldn’t be possible.
However, that doesn’t mean the show won’t introduce some elements of the Lady Stoneheart storyline. When Lady Stoneheart runs into Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) in the books, she gives her a choice: kill Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) or be hanged. In order to save Pod, Brienne seemingly agrees and is next seen luring Jaime alone.
It’s possible that the next time Brienne and Jaime meet, they will have to fight to the death since they are on opposite sides of this war. This would be far less interesting than Brienne being forced to kill Jaime under orders from a spiteful zombie, but the show seems to be skipping elaborate theories and opting for the simplest solutions this year.
Verdict: Extremely unlikely that Lady Stoneheart will appear. Extremely likely that Brienne and Jaime will be pitted against each other.
Arya or Jaqen’s Master Plan: After deciding to leave the House of Black and White, Arya’s (Maisie Williams) behavior was so out of character that no one could accept there wasn’t some larger game afoot. Many fans believed that Jaqen (Tom Wlaschiha) was actually disguised as Arya to test the Waif (Faye Marsay), thus explaining how Arya could seemingly survive multiple stab wounds to the gut and why she was acting so strangely.
But as Sunday’s episode revealed, a girl was merely acting like an idiot. A girl was then somehow able to parkour, kill the Waif and be in no life-threatening danger from the same kind of wounds that killed Jon Snow, Robb Stark and Talisa.
It turns out Jaqen had no plan and neither did Arya. She acted a fool, got stabbed and is relatively fine. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s what happened.
Cleganebowl: RIP Cleganebowl. As many fans were crushed to hear in Sunday’s episode, Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) outlawed trial-by-combat. That means there’s no way that the back-from-the-dead Mountain and the back-from-the-(presumed)-dead Hound will have an opportunity to face off in Cersei’s (Lena Headey) trial.
The idea behind this theory was that Cersei would appoint the Mountain to act as her champion and the Hound, who briefly found a second life building a Sept with Brother Ray, would act as the Faith’s champion. But now, the Hound appears to be heading North with the Brotherhood and not south to King’s Landing.
That being said, Sandor and Gregor Clegane’s long-standing feud has to be paid off eventually. We’re betting the brothers will fight one day, just not in official Cleganebowl capacity.
Tommen is doomed: The prophecy Cersei received in Season 5 warned that her three children would all die before her. Tommen is currently the last one standing after his sister Myrcella was killed by the Sand Snakes and Olenna and Littlefinger took care of Joffrey. And now that Tommen has converted, he’s only escalating the war between his mother and the High Septon – a war in which he’ll likely become a casualty.
Verdict: Extremely likely.
Cersei is doomed: What the show left out of Cersei’s prophecy is that after her children die, the “valonqar” (that’s little brother in High Valyrian) will strangle her to death. If Cersei is somehow responsible for Tommen’s death, this could prove to be the catalyst for Jaime to turn against his sister and kill her with his golden hand.
Verdict: Likely, but probably won’t happen this season.
Mad Queen Daenerys: This season, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) has moved further away from being a champion for the disenfranchised and closer to a blood-thirsty tyrant. If she continues down this path, Dany would be following a very similar arc to her father, the Mad King Aerys. And with Varys (Conleth Hill) likely heading to Dorne to secure an alliance with Ellaria (Indira Varma) and the Sand Snakes, Dany’s new friends wouldn’t exactly be a calming, altruistic influence on her. Instead, they’d probably stoke her Mad Queen flames.
However, more likely than Daenerys becoming an actual villain is that she’ll continue acting crazy until someone calls her out and she’s forced to re-assess the person she’s become.
Euron is behind the Sons of the Harpy: The fact that Euron (Pilou Asbaek) plans to use 1,000 ships as leverage for securing an alliance with Daenerys right after her fleet of 1,000 ships is burned by the Sons of the Harpy is too big of a coincidence to ignore. Euron’s also spent years traveling the world, so it’s possible that during his journey he organized the clandestine organization (likely with the help of the slavers) and left them orders for while he returned to the Iron Islands to claim his crown.
But based on recent history, complicated theories such as this one are never the answer. All signs point to the slavers funding the Sons of the Harpy themselves, even though they would have little motivation for burning Dany’s fleet.