There are big Game of Thrones episodes, and then there’s The Battle of the Bastards. As Jon Snow and Sansa took on Ramsay’s forces and came away triumphant, there was a moment of pure rejoicing for the series’ viewers, only slightly tempered by the deaths throughout the episode.
Still, as the dust settles and a new order reigns throughout the North, there are still a few details niggling at us. Starting with…
1. Why did Tyrion start randomly talking about Wildfire?
Ah, foreshadowing. When it’s done right it can create a brilliant sense of rising dread. When it’s done wrong it can come across as a big wink pointedly reminding us of a plotline writers worry we might have forgotten about.
In this case, Tyrion’s slightly off-topic discussion with Daenerys about wildfire (which even she thought was pretty irrelevant to their current predicament of being under siege) seems to be fanning the flames of this season’s hottest fan theory – that Cersei is about to find the Mad King’s cache of Wildfire bombs and blow King’s Landing sky-high rather than face the High Sparrow at trial.
We saw it hinted at in last week’s episode and strongly emphasised in Bran’s vision, and now it seems pretty likely – unless of course the showrunners are smarter than we give them credit for and the whole thing is a big misdirect. Time will tell.
2. Are Yara and Daenerys the new Tormund and Brienne?
Was it just us, or was the scene where Daenerys and Yara Greyjoy meet rife with sexual tension, especially as they struck their bargain to work together to seize the Seven Kingdoms?
Frankly, we could very much get behind this pairing, whether it’s purely political or not.
When Ramsay told the youngest Stark that he could go back to his brother if he could only outrun a few arrows, we had our fingers crossed that he MIGHT just prevail.
However, Rickon immediately destroyed all our hopes when he ignored Lesson 1 of “Running away from archers” school – DON’T RUN IN A STRAIGHT LINE.
I mean, couldn’t he have thrown a few feints and zigzags in there? Hidden behind one of those burning crosses? Maybe even tried a dodge or two?
We could have been saved a lot of this episode’s heartache if he’d spent a bit longer watching Dodgeball.
— Victoria Aveyard?? (@VictoriaAveyard) June 20, 2016
4. Why didn’t Rickon have any lines?
Speaking of Rickon, we have to say it was a bit curious that the programme makers got back young actor Art Parkinson after three seasons’ absence only to have him say absolutely nothing for the two episodes he appeared in.
Had his voice broken weirdly? Had he developed a strange accent? Considering his importance to the final battle, you’d think he’d at least have dropped a word or two.
RIP Rickon Stark. He died doing what he loved: advancing the plot for more important characters. #GameofThrones
— Andy Corren (@andycorren) June 20, 2016
5. Where did Littlefinger and that massive army come from?
If you were wondering how Baelish knew that Jon needed help, you need to cast your mind back a few episodes to when he originally offered Sansa aid from the Knights of the Vale.
At the time she turned him down, but in episode 8 she changed her mind and sent him a letter asking him to get there as quickly as possible.
6. Why did Sansa keep it a secret?
We’re not 100 per cent sure on this, apart from “to create dramatic tension in a TV programme”.
When she originally turned down Baelish’s offer and kept it from Jon we assumed it was to hide the bad decision from her brother, but after she asked for their help it seems odd to keep it under her hat. Maybe she wasn’t sure they’d actually turn up, or was annoyed at Jon for not asking her about his battle strategy?
Or perhaps Sansa was even more devious than we thought. If Ramsay had known about their 10,000 extra men, would he have been so foolhardy as to meet them in the field? Unlikely – so a strategy of having the Vale come in late and utterly destroy the Bolton forces was a masterstroke. If intended, it was a brilliant (if ruthless) move from Lady Stark.
7. What was Davos doing with that burned toy stag?
If you’d forgotten, that stag was a gift Davos gave to Stannis’ daughter Shireen a while back, and now that he’s found it burned on a pyre near to his old King’s former camp we’re betting that he has a few questions for Melisandre about why she thought it was OK to barbecue a little girl in the hope of better weather…
8. Why didn’t Ramsay just shoot Jon in the legs?
In the same vein as Rickon’s failure to dodge comes Ramsay’s terrible archery choices at the end of the battle, where he continually tries to shoot Jon with arrows only for the former Lord Commander to catch them all on his shield and beat Ramsay to the ground.
Which begs the question – why not catch Jon in the legs, where he wasn’t shielding at all? We’re betting Ramsay was mulling over that mistake shortly before he became so much pedigree chum.
9. Who is the new Lord of Winterfell?
This is an interesting quirk – while Jon and Sansa won back their family castle, it’s unclear where exactly this leads the North. Technically Bran is the current Stark heir after the death of Robb back in season 3, but he’s a little bit busy being a Jedi north of the Wall at the moment which meant the onus would probably be on Rickon to carry the Stark line on.
After Rickon’s death, then, who is in charge? Is it talented military commander-yet-illegitimate-son Jon, or Sansa, whose gender may bar her from some other houses’ respect? Will either of them be the new Warden of the North, or be declared King or Queen of the North instead?
Hopefully we won’t see some kind of power struggle between them, but we’re putting our bets on Sansa at the moment – with Yara and Dany also on the rise, we could be seeing a new alliance of queens in the future.
10. Is Dany now going to come to Westeros?
She has the Dothraki on side and just enough ships to make the crossing, and seems to have finally secured Meereen to her rule – so can she NOW stop faffing around and actually head over to Westeros and take over?
We can only take so many speeches about taking what is yours before we get annoyed that you’re not actually taking it, Dany.
11. And most importantly –why can’t Melisandre bring back Wun-Wun?
Forget Rickon – this week’s most tragic death came when Ramsay killed the last giant Wun-Wun, perhaps the greatest asset in Jon Snow’s army.
Let’s be honest – if Mels isn’t begging the Lord of Light to bring Wun-Wun back twice as hard as she did with Jon, she’s not worth her keep. He was the Chosen Wun-Wun, and we’ll miss him dearly.
Game of Thrones season 6 concludes on Sky Atlantic next Monday at 2am and 9pm