deep dives

6 Questions Game of Thrones Has Yet to Answer

Season four of Game of Thrones, as satisfying as it might have been, still left a few stones unturned and a few questions unanswered. For instance, why is security so lax in the quarters of the King and the King’s Hand, given how many Kings and Hands have died recently? (Does no one guard Tommen and Tywin in the middle of the night?) And of course, there are matters in the books that were addressed, if not entirely answered, that the show chose to leave unresolved this season. Some of those may be picked up again in season five, and some might be left for dead. These are but a few of the ones we’re wondering about now. Spoilers for the books and the show follow.

1. Where is Rickon?
Last we saw the little lord, he was heading with Osha and Shaggydog to go stay at the Last Hearth, close to the Gift — since it was the seat of Greatjon Umber, one of the Stark bannermen. (Even if he’s not there himself, they hope to find some sort of hospitality.) In the books, Rickon is reported to have gone to the island of Skagos, the rumored home of unicorns and cannibals, but we have no confirmation of that. Since the show has a tendency to reveal things that are only rumored in the books (such as various characters’ homosexuality/bisexuality or Theon’s castration), a scene showing Rickon’s adventures would sort this out for season five. Before long, someone needs to look for the youngest Stark, who would be a useful pawn to hold the North.

2. What happened to Edmure Tully and the Blackfish?
Not everyone was slaughtered at the Red Wedding — Edmure Tully became a prisoner of the Freys, and the Blackfish, Catelyn’s uncle Brynden Tully, escaped. This gives the Stark kids two more relatives that they’ve forgotten about — seriously, did they never have any family reunions? How do they not know their own bloodlines, when the Tully house words were “Family, duty, honor”? And if the show follows the books in this regard, there is one more relative on the way — Edmure got his Frey bride pregnant, presumably on their Red Wedding night. Congratulations?

3. What about Tysha?
Long ago, in happier days, Tyrion told Bronn and Shae a heartbreaking tale about his first wife, Tysha. They were wed for a fortnight when Jaime told him “the truth,” that she was a whore hired to de-virginize Tyrion — and as punishment, Tywin had her gang-raped by his guard. (And in the books, by Tyrion, too.) Then, years later, as Jaime helps Tyrion escape the Black Cells, he finally tells Tyrion the other truth, that she wasn’t a whore after all; Tywin just made him say so at the time. Furious, Tyrion then lies to Jaime and claims he did kill Joffrey, and heads up to the Tower of the Hand to find Tywin. This information about his lost love is what drives a wedge between Tyrion and Jaime, and is motive for the murder of Tywin. (Although admittedly, he had many motives.) It’s also something that weighs on Tyrion’s mind as much as killing his own father does, and he hopes to be reunited with Tysha someday. However, on the show, Tyrion never gets this cleared up before he skips town.

4. Who tried to kill Bran (the second time around)?
We may know the truth of some of Littlefinger’s lies — at least those regarding the murder of the late Hand of the King Jon Arryn — but there’s one that hasn’t been resolved on the show: the lie about the dagger. After an assassin tried to kill Bran with a Valyrian steel dagger, Catelyn Stark took the dagger to King’s Landing to try to identify its owner — and Littlefinger claimed it was his, but that he had lost it to Tyrion Lannister. (This of course leads to her arresting Tyrion, which leads to Jaime attacking Ned, and just about everyone attacking everyone else — war!) We know that Tyrion was falsely accused (“What kind of an idiot arms an assassin with his own blade?” he asked), but who was attempting to murder the comatose Bran in the first place? Now that most of the people involved are dead or removed from each other, the show might not address it. But here’s how folks figured it out in the books, for anyone left wondering — and again, spoilers ahead.

When Joffey is presented with a new Valyrian steel sword forged from Ice at his wedding breakfast, he reveals his familiarity with that type of metal: “I remember,” and then, “I told you, I am no stranger to Valyrian steel.” (On the show, this is changed to, “So they say.”) Joffrey tells his uncle that he owes him a new present, and Tyrion suggests, “Perhaps a knife, sire. To match your sword. A dagger of the same fine Valyrian steel … with a dragonbone hilt, say?” and Joffrey gets uncomfortable. Later, Tyrion ruminates, “Jaime would never send another man to do his killing, and Cersei was too cunning to use a knife that could be traced back to her, but Joff … ” And he remembers that Joffrey was jesting with the Hound about killing wolves. “Send a dog to kill a wolf,” he said. Tyrion surmises that even Joffrey was not so foolish as to send the Hound, or to use his own knife. However, given that he’s pretty much immediately locked up after the Purple Wedding, he drops the matter.

Jaime, however, keeps wondering about it, and asks Cersei if she had any hand in it. “Oh, don’t be absurd. Yes, I hoped the boy would die. So did you. Even Robert thought that would have been for the best. ‘We kill our horses when they break a leg, and our dogs when they go blind, but we are too weak to give the same mercy to crippled children.’” And then they figure out that Joffrey overheard the comment, and either thought he was pleasing his father or being merciful. (Fat chance on the mercy.) Although the show didn’t have Robert utter these words, similar sentiments were expressed by Joff’s real parents while at Winterfell. But now that Joffrey’s no longer around to utter incriminating statements, and Jaime and Tyrion wasted their Black Cells chats on cousins who squash beetles, this attempted murder will likely go unsolved.

5. What happened to Balon Greyjoy?
Balon Greyjoy declared himself one of the kings in the War of the Five Kings, and that was enough to make Melisandre and Stannis put one of three leeches in the fire for him — engorged thanks to Gendry’s blood donation: “The usurper Robb Stark, the usurper Balon Greyjoy, the usurper Joffrey Baratheon.” Not that it matters now, but considering Stannis knew the truth about Joffrey’s conception, shouldn’t he be calling him Joffrey Lannister? Anyhow, two of those three kings are dead, but what of the third? Theon and Yara might be dead to each other, but how’s dear old dad doing? Staying away from poorly constructed bridges during storms, are you?

6. Why can’t we have more Ser Pounce?
If Tommen is king, can’t he have all the kitty time he wants? What about Boots and Lady Whiskers, then?

6 Questions Game of Thrones Has Yet to Answer