Our 16 Biggest Questions About This Week’s Game of Thrones

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Photo: HBO

Tormund almost died! Jorah almost died! Jon almost died again! One of the dragons died! Thoros died! Uncle Benjen died! Take a deep breath, everyone, because that wasn’t even the season finale. Game of Thrones still has a lot more death and dragons and undead dragon to come, but in the meantime, here are 16 questions to ponder after Sunday night’s episode, “Beyond the Wall.”

Why did Jon think this was a remotely reasonable plan?
Take the King in the North, add some of the best fighters on the continent (plus a bunch of porters who are included to give us drama-free deaths), and send them into a massive wilderness that is teeming with the Night King’s army of the dead. All to kidnap one wight and send it to King’s Landing so Cersei will “see reason” and join the fight against the White Walkers? Guys, I may not be a general or military strategist or anything, but this does not seem like a good plan. Also, this is not the first time a woman has had to save Jon’s ass because he charged into battle unprepared. Battle of the Bastards, anyone?

Is Tormund a creeper or is he kinda charming?
“You’re with Brienne of fucking Tarth?” asks the Hound, who had his own encounter with Brienne way back in season four. (Remember their epic fistfight near the Vale that ended in his near-death tumble?) Fans have been cheering for a Tormund-Brienne relationship for a while now, but he goes a bit ’round the bend here. He went from making eyes at Brienne to telling other dudes, “I want to make babies with her … great big monsters.” No, Tormund. Keep it to yourself.

Did Thoros get bit by a dead bear, cauterize his chest wound with a flaming sword, and then stand up like it was no big thing?
He died later on, ostensibly from those zombear wounds, but that was really and truly badass.

How did Gendry know the way back to Eastwatch?
All that rowing must have taught him some navigation skills, because he makes his way across a vast, unfamiliar tundra in record time.

You’re telling me that a lake north of the Wall isn’t frozen over during the coldest winter in recent memory?
Even in summer, the territory that’s north of the Wall is freezing. (When Jon ranged up there in earlier seasons, it wasn’t exactly meadows of wildflowers.) Sure, the Night King’s undead horde of wights must collectively weigh several tons, but still! As Sansa mentions later in the episode, this is the coldest winter anyone has seen in their lifetime. That lake should have been frozen solid. It never should have cracked.

Was the Hound snuggling with Jon Snow?

Sure looks like it.

When Jon said, “Daenerys is our only chance,” and Thoros replied, “No, there is another,” did anyone else think of Princess Leia?
I’m sensing a crossover opportunity.

Did you also scream, “DEAR GOD, NOT TORMUUUUUUUND!?”
Obviously, yes. You did. You are only human after all. You also cried out in terror when Jorah dangled from Drogon’s back and yelled, “Oh, hell no,” when Jon slipped below the ice. Or was that just me?

Did Daenerys have a special fur bodice ready to go, just in case?
First, let’s take a minute to pay that outfit some respect. That was some Balmain-inspired, couture furrier-created, wickedly fitted sable and ermine right there. I will spend the entire winter angry that I have to pull on a sleeping bag with arms whenever it gets cold and Daenerys got to wear that. Was it a little weird that she had that outfit lying in her closet? Sure, but it was also MAGNIFICENT.

Does a wight dragon breathe fire or ice?
Obviously, we don’t know the answer yet, but fire is the dragon’s most potent weapon and it’s hard to believe Undead Viserion would be left with no murder-breathing skills whatsoever. If he breathes ice instead of fire, that would set him up for an interesting duel with his brothers.

Is this the most British episode ever?
It’s an old trope that anytime you want to make a people sound ancient, just give ’em British accents. Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, doesn’t matter — and, of course, the cast of Game of Thrones follows that same route as well. But this episode brought the British to a new level, especially via the Hound. “Your lips are moving and you’re complaining,” he snarls at Gendry, who is still none too pleased about being sold to a priestess for purposes of seductive bloodsucking. “That’s whinging. [Beric has been] killed six times you don’t hear him complaining about it.” And then to Tormund, “It’s gingers I hate.” Whinging! Gingers! Add some snogging and we’re basically in Harry Potter and the Foolish Northern Quest.

Who will Dany choose as her successor?
We’re getting into serious speculation territory here, but there is a very good reason why Tyrion keeps bringing up Daenerys’s line of succession. Dany has known ever since she miscarried her and Drogo’s baby that she will never bear children from her womb. The dragons have, in effect, taken on the role of children in her life. But Drogon can’t take the Iron Throne if she dies, and Tyrion is right to question her on the topic. We’ve got the 25th Amendment, but most of Westeros relies on male heirs like any medieval kingdom. As Tyrion explains, Daenerys is free to choose a successor in a different way (like, say … picking Tyrion himself?) but it’s interesting that two of the methods he mentions — the Kingsmoot and the Night’s Watch elections — are democratic. If Daenerys really wants to “break the wheel,” could democracy be in Westeros’s future?

What is going on between Sansa and Arya?
After Arya discovered Sansa’s note, it was only a matter of time until she acted on it. The two may be sisters, but they hardly know one another anymore and their last memories together certainly aren’t pleasant: Arya despised Sansa’s worship of Joffrey, and Sansa found her little sister unladylike and repellent.

Upon reuniting in Winterfell, they claimed they would each share the story of what has happened in the intervening years, but it’s clear that Arya knows nothing of Sansa’s beatings, rape, and torture at the hands of Joffrey and Ramsay, and Sansa can’t understand why her sister would flee Westeros to train as a knight. Nonetheless, there’s something about their fight that feels weird. Would Arya really have threatened her sister with a knife over a note so clearly written under duress? Or is she laying a trap for Littlefinger that he won’t be able to escape? Now that Brienne has been sent away, there’s nobody in the castle to guard Arya and Sansa from Littlefinger — but there’s also nobody to stop them murdering him, either.

Is the Hound headed toward Cleganebowl?
At the very end of the episode, the Hound climbs into a rowboat with the group’s undead kidnapee. He’s most likely headed off to King’s Landing to show the White Walker to Cersei and try to convince her to join the fight against the Night King. Why him? Well, he served the Lannisters for many years as Joffrey’s personal bodyguard. Even though he abandoned the family a few seasons ago, they might at least listen to him.

But a trip to King’s Landing might also mean a direct confrontation with his brother, the Mountain. These two have never been close, owing to the fact that the Mountain shoved Sandor’s face into the fire as a child and left him with that brutal scarring and a serious fire phobia. What’ll happen if they wind up in the same room for the first time in years? The Mountain, as we know, is some sort of undead Muppet who can crush skulls like melons. And according to some GOT theories, the Hound may just be Azor Ahai, a.k.a. the Prince Who Was Promised. If these two do end up battling, might Sandor finally overcome his fear of fire and finish off his brother the same way his brother tried to kill him as a child? That would leave Cersei without her most stalwart protector, thus more vulnerable to personal harm. From, say, that “Valonqar” everyone keeps talking about …

What is Cersei planning?
Like a toddler who has been quiet in the other room for longer than a few minutes, Cersei has surely been up to no good in our absence. As Tyrion explains, his sister is almost certainly laying a trap for Daenerys. What will it be? We’re betting on something that is laced with honey but embedded with poison.

Are Dany and Jon Snow going to hook up?
We’ve been asking all season. Hell, fans have been speculating since the very beginning of the series. Jon and Daenerys are obviously the top contenders for the Iron Throne, and a union between them is really tempting to consider. In the aftermath of his near-death experience and her rescue by dragons, the sexual tension downright crackled as Jon lay shirtless on that boat, looking like Michelangelo just carved him from a piece of stone. And these two aren’t just exchanging smouldering glances anymore: Jon calls her “Dany” and “my queen,” and then she joins her hand with his. Could a serious relationship be on the horizon? After all, Daenerys left Daario Naharis in Meereen specifically so she’d be able to form a political alliance through marriage.

If and when Jon finally learns of his Targaryen lineage, even that may not be enough to stop their throbbing love. Targaryens are infamous for marrying their relatives, and with their powers combined, they’d form one pretty powerful family. Which brings us back to the question of Dany’s successor: According to Mirri Maz Duur’s prophecy, Daenerys won’t bear a living child until “the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, when the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves.” Perhaps the showrunners will work some asinine uterine magic to fix that, but for now, Dany can’t give birth. Perhaps it’s time to consider that democracy Tyrion so beguilingly mentioned?

Our 16 Biggest Questions About This Week’s Game of Thrones