The long wait has begun. After a sluggish sixth season that felt even more like a drag after Hodor’s honourable death (#holdthedoor #neverforget), creators David Benioff and DB Weiss steadily plodded on tying up some loose ends, swatting aside fan theories left, right and centre, till they reached episode nine.
As is the way of the show, the last two episodes of the show is where all the Big Stuff happens. The ‘Battle of the Bastards’ or ‘Bastard Bowl’ was worth waiting for — glorious battle scenes that racked up the body count like lottery numbers, Jon Snow pushing himself from under soldier keema and coming up for air, Wun Wun ripping up the Bolton army with his bare hands, the battle lost and then, the Knights of the Vale (courtesy Sansa and Littlefinger) swooping in to save the day.
The finale was no less brilliant, what with Cersei Lannister sipping her wine while she watched the Sept (and all her enemies inside) blow into smithereens and Benioff and Weiss finally confirming R+L=J (Jon Snow is Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark’s son), and his aunt Daenerys Stormborn heading to Westeros with her dragons, the Dothraki and Unsullied army, as well as ships from Houses Greyjoy, Martell and Tyrell.
WATCH VIDEO: Game Of Thrones Season 6: The Best & The Worst
This is it, folks, the stage is set for the events that will come to pass in seasons seven and eight. Winter is here — now what?
1. The books as well as the show, have demonstrated time and time again, how things can go wrong when men make the terrible error of dismissing women in multiple ways, in the bedroom, council room, as well as the battlefield. Season 6 was great for the usual female suspects — Dany, Arya Stark and Cersei — but it also brought Yara Greyjoy out of the Iron Islands, and introduced the pint-sized badass that is Lyanna Mormont. The women are tasting real power now so it’ll be interesting to see the dynamic between characters who want to lead, and those who are happy to follow.
2. Season six belonged to Sansa Stark for having the most defined character arc from episode one till 10. From being Ramsay Bolton’s plaything to a contender for Queen in the North, Sansa has come such a long way that there will never be reason to ignore her again. Especially if Littlefinger is successful.
3. That last lingering look between Petyr Baelish or Littlefinger and Sansa at Winterfell might not bode well for Jon Snow (who truly knows nothing), and who doesn’t want anymore secrets between him and his sister. But Littlefinger is a master player of people. Even though his romantic advances were rebuffed by Sansa, he did put that little germ regarding Sansa’s right to the North into her pretty head. If doubt takes hold in Sansa’s mind, could a family feud be far behind? Maybe not, as long as Sansa remembers that only a fool would trust Littlefinger.
4. They didn’t dwell much on Sam Tarly and Gilly’s arrival in Oldtown, but thank goodness they showed us that absolutely spectacular shot of the library where Sam will train as Maester. Why is the library important? Well, if there’s a clue as to how to defeat the White Walkers and the Night King, it must surely be there! And though Gilly and little Sam weren’t allowed into the library, we don’t think the gates to knowledge will remain shut to them for long — not if Sam has some sense. But you can’t blame him for leaving them outside to step into what has got to be the most enchanting place in all of Westeros, a place that you wish existed in real life.
5. Seasons seven and eight are likely to dwell on two impending battles — one between Cersei and Dany, the other between the army of the living and the army of the dead.
6. It’s likely ladies will come first but does Cersei really stand a chance? These women will fight fire with fire (if Cersei has any wildfire left from her Sept kebab fest to combat Dany’s dragons) and it’ll be interesting to see who is left standing and who is left alone. Jaime Lannister’s look of terror and heartbreak when he sees Cersei on the Iron Throne at King’s Landing in the last episode could just mean that he might have a change of heart about their happily-ever-after, even if it kills him.
7. The northerners will have to prepare against the Night King’s deadly army of well…the dead. Lyanna Mormont, pint-sized and totally badass, might have rallied all the northern houses together to declare Jon Snow the King in the North but what now? Will they ride south or move sideways?
8. What will happen to Bran Stark and Meera Reed? Will the Stark boys meet, and if they do, how will Bran, as the Third Eye Raven, disclose Jon’s true parentage, and thus, his destiny, to him? Could he be Azhor Ahai or is it Dany? Or somebody else entirely?
So many questions, so many months before we get to know anything at all!