Game of Thrones is back, and I’ve been mulling over my expectations for this season. For the first time in GOT history, the TV show is continuing beyond the books…meaning that the books spoil very little of what is about to come. As a writer, I find it a fun exercise to predict the outcome of a story before it happens, as it’s a study in foreshadowing. And I’m a sucker for fan theories.
As a disclaimer, I have not read the books, so forgive me if my predictions are a bit out of line with what happens in them. Truthfully, the show has deviated so far at this point that it may be moot anyway. Additionally, there are some minor spoilers related to behind the scenes photos, trailers, and such. Most of these “spoilers” are still speculative, but if you want to be completely surprised, you should skip this.
- Cleganebowl! GET HYPE – One of my favorite fan theories is Cleganebowl, which posits that The Hound is still alive and he’s going to throw down with his brother, The Mountain. And actually, it’s not unrealistic. Cersei is about to face trial, and if she asks for trial by combat, loyal FrankenMountain is there to fight for her. That means the Faith will need a champion – and some theories assume The Hound is already in their midst. Of course, we’d all want The Hound to win – and would give Cersei a pretty awful fate if her champion lost. Although I would love to see Cersei make it all the way to the end only for the entire kingdom to be ashes beneath her, it would be pretty compelling (and almost inevitable) for her arc to end with execution. As her father said, Cersei is not as smart as she thinks she is.
- A Battle For Winterfell: Mel saw a vision of Jon Snow “fighting for Winterfell” and Sansa needs to reclaim her homeland. In order for the Starks to have any real presence in the final struggle for the Iron Throne, they need to reunite and take back their territory. If Littlefinger loaned his knights of the Vale to the fight, Jon recruited some of his Freefolk or Night’s Watch, and perhaps Theon reunited with his fellow Greyjoys, they could build an army big enough to reclaim the North.
- Jon Snow lives: Obviously. How is another matter. I don’t subscribe to the theory that he will become a wolf or a White Walker. I think it will simply be some red magic revival.
- Lannisters try for revenge. Success undetermined: Trailers show Jamie paying a threatening visit to the High Septum. We already know Cersei is stewing for revenge, and will hopefully take out the Shame Nun before it’s all over. But I wouldn’t be shocked if their plans fail and ultimately lead to their demise.
- Dany sails for Westeros: This has to happen this season, right? Right?!
- Jorah loses an arm – Come on, Jorah. Just cut that grayscale arm off while you still can. You could be Azor Ahai, for R’hllor’s sake.
- Arya ditches the Faceless Men and returns to Westeros: Based on last night’s preview, it seems that Sansa will start looking for her sister. And what’s a battle for Winterfell without Arya around? After season five, I feel like Arya is pretty much done with the cult of being “no one.” And because her sense of self is so integral to her character, I can’t see her ever becoming Faceless. Arya’s time in the House of Black and White has served well to develop her character, similar to Dany’s time in Meereen, but it can’t be the endgame.
- Greyjoys to the rescue: The Greyjoy clan showed up a few times in the trailers. Whether they ally themselves with the Starks to reclaim Winterfell, or they loan their fleet to Dany because her Meereen boats have burned -or heck, why not both – remains to be seen.
- Daario is a sneaky traitor: I saw this theory on Reddit and I love it. The idea of Daario being behind the Sons of the Harpy – perhaps even being a Faceless Man or something even more bizarre – would be an awesome turn. And it would conveniently eliminate one of Dany’s many love interests, and teach Dany a valuable lesson about trust.
- Dorne plans rebellion: I hope Dorne won’t outright invade anyone until next season. There is already so much happening in season six and I feel like we can put the Dorne stuff to bed for a spell. Perhaps they’ll show up again to ally with another anti-Lannister faction later on.
- R+L = J confirmed: If we don’t learn about Jon’s real parentage this season, I feel like we never will. And since there were reports of a “flashback sequence” involving Ned Stark this season, I imagine we will officially learn that Jon is a Targaryen.
- Return of Bran: Bran has superpowers? And knows elves now? Perhaps he will be the channel through which we see flashbacks and other important backstory info.
This is the most wonderfully evil thing to predict on Game of Thrones, isn’t it? What beloved main character who we assume to be immortal will bite it in a sudden blaze of glory? My predictions are:
- Tommen – Our sweet boy-king is doomed by prophecy, and even Cersei knows it. Plus, it’s inevitable that Tommen must be ousted from the Iron Throne if we want to see someone like Jon Snow or Dany take it by the end. Since the creators say there are maybe 13 episodes of story remaining after this season, Tommen’s time is up.
- Margaery and Loras – From a plot standpoint, do you really think House Tyrell can stick around until the end? In fact, I predict Marge, Loras, and Tommen all going out at the same time in some Robespierre-style execution or a sacking of the Red Keep by commoners. It’s been awhile since we had a shocker like the Red Wedding. And narratively, none of these characters have much more to offer the story, although I do love Natalie Dormer.
- Jamie and/or Cersei – As far as major characters who’ve been with the show since Season 1, I think these two are most likely to bite it. Mostly because Cersei needs to lose everything to be truly humbled and to recognize that her hunt for power is a folly. While I’d love to see Jamie and Brienne reunite, I feel like their last scene together did have a note of finality to it, and watching Brienne hear of Jamie’s death through the grapevine would be typical GOT tragic.
- Ramsey – Most people want to see Sansa and/or Theon stick the knife in Ramsey, but I don’t think it will go down that way. Most deliciously, I think Roose Bolton is going to do it indirectly. Roose is not fond of Ramsey, and he constantly waves around the carrot of “my wife is prolly having a son, you know.” I predict that Roose’s new son will be born and Ramsey will immediately be sent on a mission in which Ramsey is sure to die (maybe even the Battle of Winterfell?) That, to me, is more wonderfully acidic for such an awful character. Getting killed in an act of revenge would be satisfying for Sansa’s storyline, but wouldn’t it be more poetic for Ramsey to realize that he’s such an unlikable monster that his own father sends him to die?
- Roose Bolton – This is where Sansa gets her revenge. Roose was partially responsible for the death of Sansa’s mother and brother. I think her killing Roose Bolton for that is a lot deeper than her killing Ramsey for being a rapey snot.
- Melisandre – Stannis’s rebellion is over. Melisandre’s only remaining purpose in the show is to bring back Jon, and after last night’s shocking ending, I think Mel is getting…tired. Will she perhaps exchange her life to the Lord of Light for Jon’s?
- Walder Frey – This is my wild card pick. Arya’s hit list has dwindled to three names: Cersei, the Mountain, and Frey. Since Cersei and the Mountain are may meet their doom through other means, Walder Frey seems like the next logical person for Arya to oust – especially if she makes it back to Westeros. Of course, we may never see the Freys again and Arya’s list could go incomplete. It is, after all, Game of Thrones.
While we’re at it, let’s throw in The Mountain because of Cleganebowl, Daario because he’s probably a traitor, and maybe even Theon once he reclaims his Ironborn honor and redeems himself. But then again, I’ve been calling for Theon to die for three seasons now.
Even with foreshadowing, there are still so many pieces moving that one can never predict. Will we see the unceremonious offing of Varys? Will we find out if Tyrion is a Targaryen too? Will Brienne die to save Sansa? Will it ever be confirmed who Azor Ahai is? Where the heck is Gendry? Will we ever get an explanation for why the seasons are so messed up?
Some things we may never know, or may not be revealed until the end. But I do think it will be interesting to look back in ten weeks and see if ANY of these predictions were on par!
What do you think will happen this season? Did any of my fan theories intrigue you?