Our 13 Biggest Questions About This Week’s Game of Thrones

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Photo: Helen Sloan/Courtesy of HBO

In a Game of Thrones episode full of plotting and pus, we were treated to our first real sea battle, a glimpse into Missandei and Grey Worm’s sex lives, the end of the Sand Snakes, and further proof that the women of Westeros have to work twice as hard as the men for half the payoff. Here, the 13 biggest questions we’re asking after Sunday’s episode, “Stormborn.”

Does Varys really believe in Daenerys?
In a rousing, heartwarming speech, Varys stood up for democracy — er, at least for a constitutional monarchy? — as he laid bare his reasoning for supporting Daenerys and for flitting about from monarch to monarch until he landed with her crew. Varys, as we know, was abused in some of the worst possible ways as a child: poisoned so he couldn’t move or speak, and then having his penis and testicles chopped off by a sorcerer and tossed in a fire that was used like a Ouija board. After the Khaleesi questioned his loyalty, he attested that he knows “that people have no better chance than” her and that those people are where his true loyalties lie. But Varys, like Littlefinger, hasn’t survived this long by hopping on his soapbox and calling for free and fair elections. Could he be some sort of quadruple agent, serving a different master and purposely leading Daenerys astray? If so, who might that be?

If nothing else, Varys’s hatred of magic will certainly lead to a clash with Melisandre, who just loves burning up human body parts in service of a fiery god. If Melisandre gains Dany’s ear, that could prove troublesome for Varys. Although I’m a firm believer in Newman’s aphorism that “when you control the mail, you control information,” it’s hard to see GOT giving this much time to a triumphant speech by the Master of Whispers just to make the Breaker of Chains happy.

Why wasn’t Melisandre wet when she arrived on Dragonstone?
After all, she showed up in the midst of a storm so epic, it echoed the infamous night Daenerys was born. But I guess if that magical necklace can provide an instant breast lift, it can certainly keep a witch dry, too.

Who is Azor Ahai, the Prince Who Was Promised?
We’ve got more theories about this than there are eyeliner pencils in Euron Greyjoy’s boat bunk. For a quick primer, the version of the prophecy in George R. R. Martin’s books says, “When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt.” It claims this person will “wake dragons out of stone,” and that he or she has been kissed by fire, will murder a loved one, and will wield Lightbringer, a sword in the darkness. Last week’s season premiere suggested a potential candidate in the Hound, whose ability to read the flames, intimacy with a flaming-sword-wielding priest, and possible duel with his brother the Mountain rocketed him to the top of the list. Daenerys has always been a strong contender, since she murdered her brother and is, you know, the Unburnt. Same goes for Jon Snow, who inadvertently took his mother’s life in childbirth and has risen from the dead.

In Sunday’s episode, Missandei lent some credibility to the theory that it could be Daenerys after all. She points out that a translation error has kept everyone from recognizing that the term could mean “prince” or “princess.” Linguistics! Still, it seems unlikely that GOT would reveal one of its most important mysteries this early in the season. After all this buildup, would it be more a letdown than a triumph if Azor Ahai was someone as obvious as Daenerys Stormborn?

Will Daenerys and Jon be allies?
Oh, that’s only the biggest question of all Westerosi time! For now, here’s a guess: They’ll start off as salty almost-enemies, then friends-out-of-desperation, then enemies again, and finally, one will sacrifice his or her life for the other. But that’s only based on years of closely reading the novels, so what do I know?

Can a crossbow really kill a dragon?
When Qyburn led Cersei down to the skull-strewn dragon crypt of the Red Keep, didn’t your heart race with anticipation? This was the man who convinced a gang of tiny street urchins to stab Grand Maester Pycelle to death; who created the Mountain, a head-crushing cross between Gonzo and Frankenstein’s monster; who lit the Sept of Baelor up like your crazy neighbor’s house at Christmas. And his dragon-killer was … a huge crossbow? Snooze. Even if you think Qyburn’s little demo looked impressive, this crossbow on ‘roids would need to land a direct hit on a dragon that is flying directly at it — while, you know, IT’S BREATHING FIRE AT THE SAME TIME. Guess they can’t all be winners.

Why didn’t we see Grey Worm’s penis?
The women of Game of Thrones are objectified more frequently than the men? Missandei stripped down to reveal her bare breasts, while we got only a distant butt shot of Grey Worm when they finally consummated their adorable relationship? You don’t say! Impossible! And yet here we are, with another (oral) sex scene and not a penis in sight. These people can CGI direwolves, dragons, White Walkers, and Melisandre’s geriatric boobs, so don’t tell me that removing some balls was outside the realm of possibility.

Is Archmaester Marwyn writing Game of Thrones?
Meanwhile, at the worst internship ever, the Archmaester has been loading Sam down with books so the maester-in-training can handle the only job more tedious than writing an academic paper: fact-checking one. What exactly is his topic? “A Chronicle of the Wars Following the Death of King Robert the First.” But as Sam suggests, a name with a little more flair just might bring his work a more favorable reception. Hmm, I bet we can think of one.

Who is the most powerful person in Westeros?
Duh — Samwell Tarly with a library card. Need to find a giant cache of dragonglass? Check. Looking for a way to cure greyscale? No problem. Is there anything Sam can’t do?

Why does it matter if Jorah is cured?
I don’t have the slightest answer for this one, but it’s worth pondering. The show has spent an awful lot of time following the travails of this lonely, lovestruck knight who’s been given an honorable pause in his service to the Khaleesi army on the condition that he cure himself of an ancient disease known to turn men into maniacal stone creatures. I like Jorah and all, but who cares? Did we need to sit through an extended surgery scene that forever ruined chicken pot pie? We did … if Jorah is being set up for something major. With Daario Naharis left behind to hold down the fort in Essos, it’s possible the Mother of Dragons could still fall for Jorah. But even that seems a bit anticlimactic. Have any theories? Let us hear them.

How will Sansa screw up as Warden of the North?
This is a question of “when” and “how,” not “if.” Now, I believe in Sansa; more than any other woman on this show, she’s got a level head and good instincts — plus, she doesn’t like to torture people just for giggles. More than anything else, I desperately don’t want it to be a woman who screws things up for the Northern army. But that sly look from Littlefinger furthered a storyline that’s been brewing for three seasons now: Littlefinger wants Sansa, and Sansa wants to put her newfound power to good use. He’s either set to turn her against Jon, or betray her on a colossal scale. Either way, things won’t play out well for the North.

Why did Nymeria run from Arya?
Only two of the original six direwolves are left. Sansa’s Lady was slaughtered at Cersei’s behest in season one. Robb’s Grey Wind was put down with a crossbow at the Red Wedding. Shaggydog’s head was carried into Winterfell on a hook when the Karstarks kidnapped Rickon. And Summer fell to the Army of the Undead while Hodor held the door. Jon Snow’s Ghost has already played a crucial role in several of his victories, but Nymeria has been missing since Arya set her loose in season one. Now that she’s returned — as the head of a wolf pack, no less — it has to mean something, right?

In the novels, Nymeria has been doing the gods’ (or the Lord of Light’s, or whomever you may choose to worship) bidding, roaming the Riverlands with her giant wolf pack and bringing down bad guys. With that in mind, perhaps she’ll play a crucial role for Arya. Maybe they’ll even reunite to take down Cersei!

But while direwolves are legendarily loyal to their masters, Nymeria didn’t abandon her pack and take up with Arya on sight. This means she either views their bond as broken (maybe because, you know, Arya is a psycho), or she took Arya’s rejection to heart. Either way, it’s a safe bet that she’ll show up again soon. After all, Nymeria is named after a princess who brought her people to Westeros from Essos to find a better way of life. Sound like anyone we know?

Is “a foreign invasion is underway” the lamest line ever delivered during foreplay?
Why, yes, it is. Ellaria Sand should know better.

Why can’t Yara Greyjoy get any respect?
As I predicted last week, Ellaria was the obvious choice for Euron’s “gift” to Cersei. She’s more or less expendable, and her Sand Snakes have had it coming since moment one. (Who brings a whip to a sword fight?) But when you toss together Yara and Ellaria, followed by the world’s most egregious case of coitus interruptus that ends with them both being taken captive by Euron — all while Theon floats away like a coward — you’ve gone too far. Why, Game of Thrones? Why, why, why?

Our 13 Biggest Game of Thrones Questions About ‘Stormborn’