I decided to do a quick thematic analysis, based on what has happened in Game of Thrones on Seasons 1-5 Episode 10s (is my inner social scientist showing?), in order to predict what could happen tomorrow for the Season 6 finale.
To be safe, treat this entire post as spoiler heavy, because it’s all about theories that include me having watched the episode preview and read the episode description.
In all of the episodes, the titles relate to one thing obviously but also point to other plot threads throughout. What could winds of winter hypothetically mean? Could winds apply to ship’s sails? This could point to either Arya taking a ship back to Westeros, Euron getting his ships built, or Yara and Theon aiding Denaerys.
What about winter? This is a definite longshot but Oathkeeper (Brienne’s sword) and Widow’s Wail (now Tommen’s sword) were made from Eddard’s sword called Ice, so one of these could factor in the episode. As much as I don’t want it to happen so quickly, Denaerys had a vision of a burnt Red Keep covered in snow back in the House of the Undying. If Season 7 is meant to be the last season and resolve the pending war with the White Walkers, a wildfire + snow episode in King’s Landing would bring us there for Season 7.
All of the 10th episode titles relate directly or indirectly to the broad story arc of Denaerys – Fire and Blood, Valar Morghulis (for the visions she saw), Mhysa, The Children, Mother’s Mercy – so we know Denaerys will have a direct connection to the Winds of Winter in the long run (which we all guess).
In episode 10s there are always multiple people escaping, usually due to the help of an unlikely ally. In episode 10s, Arya is almost always escaping (4/5 seasons) – therefore I think we will see her on her way to King’s Landing. I think we’d all love it if she got to King’s Landing and crossed a few more names off her list. We have Cersei, the Hound, and the Mountain left.
But who is currently imprisoned that matters? I think this could point to the Loras/Margaery story, which is directly connected to Loras and Cersei’s trials. We know for sure that Loras is undergoing his trial in Episode 10 based on the trailer. I could see Varys hooking up with Margaery to further her aims (ie: kill Tommen, free Loras, pretend she has an heir cooking in her oven).
Cersei could escape from a trial through means of wildfire. We all know she has access to it, has friends in low places in Qyburn, and I can never forget Denaerys’ aforementioned vision. If we were to hit this climax with Cersei going full chaotic evil, we have a chance of Loras escaping or an equal chance of Cersei killing everyone.
If we are going to see the head of a house fall, it is likely to happen in an Episode 10. Episode 10s saw the fall of Eddard Stark, Tywin Lannister, and Stannis Baratheon. We have also seen Myrcella Baratheon (Lannister) and Jon Snow die in Episode 10s. From my predictions of most to least likely to die:
For the Baratheons, the living heir is Tommen (theoretically) – a likely death if Cersei escapes trial through burning the city. The living bastard heir would be Gendry, still rowing away.
For the Tyrells, that would be Mace – a likely outcome if Cersei escapes trial through burning the city. This would make Loras the head of house. But I don’t think Mace dying would be enough to shock us.
For the Freys, that would be Walder Frey. And we all want this so bad.
For the Iron Islands, we have Euron as the current ruler and Yara contesting that rule – I think we will hold onto this strife until Season 7 as it would be hard to believe he had enough ships by now to make any headway.
For the Starks, the living male heir is Bran, female heir would be Sansa.
For the Lannisters, this would be Jaime.
I think we have to get some Tower of Joy action in this episode. Again, if Season 7 is the last season and we have a massive war with the White Walkers coming, we need to know if R + L = J. That could definitely impact Denaerys’ long-term plans and motivations.
Through the seasons in Episode 10s we’ve had baby dragons, babies in visions, Denaerys being called “mother,” Cersei revealing the truth of her babies’ father to Tywin, Jaime reveals the same truth to Myrcella. I think it’s high time for R + L = J. But be warned, I think if it happens we will have to pay the price somehow to balance it out.
In Season 4 we learned wights can’t get into the cave. But since, they’ve crossed the threshold due to the magic of marking Bran. I think in Season 6 we will have them crossing another magic threshold – the Wall. This means some of our faves up there will likely die. However it’s important to always keep in mind that the Children of the Forest can create areas that would save mankind from wights (assuming they don’t have the mark of the Night King like Bran does).
I think Melisandre could yet instill Davos’ faith in her, given her resurrection of Jon in front of his eyes. If she could show him a vision of Jon or even show him the old, wrinkly version of herself, that might be enough to stop him from killing her over Shereen.
We have also seen the belief in the impact of the White Walkers expand throughout the series. First, Melisandre had visions and was sacrificing Gendry. Now, everyone who has been at the Wall believes in the problem. Many of those people are now going to be at Winterfell in Episode 10. We may see the impact of the White Walkers at Winterfell.
Can we talk about Sansa?
If you’ve seen the trailer you know Littlefinger is likely to make his move. Do you really think Littlefinger – as the head of the freshest army – is the worst way she could go? She’s had Joffrey, Tyrion, and Ramsay as her options so far. I actually think Littlefinger has his appeal.