The season six finale of Game of Thrones wiped a lot of players off the board, thanks to wildfire. It also made the trajectory of the series pretty clear: Daenerys is headed to Westeros, likely to fight the Lannisters, while Jon Snow will eventually take on the White Walkers in the North. They will probably join forces, hence George R.R. Martin's title, A Song of Ice and Fire.
But there are still two seasons and plenty of impediments left. Sansa and Jaime are both exhibiting doubts about their family; there are other claimants to the throne besides Dany; and Arya still has plenty of people left on her kill list.
Reportedly, there will only be two more seasons left of Game of Thrones, and they could be only seven episodes each. That's not a lot of time to wrap up all the loose ends. Here are the top 10 questions that the next season of Game of Thrones needs to answer next season.
Where is Daenerys headed?
Ultimately, Daenerys is definitely headed towards King's Landing—ehem, Queen's Landing—but it seems too easy for her to fight Cersei immediately. It was unclear whether the Tyrell and the Martell forces have actually joined Dany's army yet, so she may be making a pitstop. Here's hoping we get to watch Dany and Olenna size one another up.
There's also a chance that Euron could get in Dany's way. More on that in a bit.
Who is Jon Snow's dad?
It was finally confirmed that Lyanna Stark (the sister of Ned Stark) is Jon Snow's mother. But the show remained noticeably silent on his father's identity.
Fans have long speculated that it's Rhaegar Targaryen, Daenerys' brother, who either kidnapped or eloped with Lyanna Stark. The theory is that Lyanna asked Ned to claim Jon as a bastard so that Robert Baratheon wouldn't kill the baby, heir to the throne. It's the most logical theory, but there's always a chance that Jon's father is someone else entirely.
What will Jon Snow do when he finds out about his parents?
Assuming Rhaegar is Jon's dad, it's only a matter of time until he finds out. Will Bran, who discovered Jon's parentage in a vision, be the one to break the news to the new King of the North?
And what are the implications of Jon discovering that information? Most immediately, it means that he really shouldn't be ruling the North. If Bran makes it to Winterfell, he has a claim to that throne, and if not Bran then Sansa should rule.
Longer term, it means that Jon could have a legitimate claim for the Iron Throne—perhaps an even more legitimate than Dany. But Jon has said that he has no interest in traveling South. Will the truth about his father and the fact that Cersei has ascended to the throne change his mind? Will it make him more or less likely to ally himself with his aunt, Dany?
Will Jaime become a Queenslayer?
Jaime earned the name Kingslayer when he murdered the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen, after the ruler threatened to use wildfire to kill hundreds in his kingdom. Now, Cersei has done exactly that. What's more, her actions led her son with Jaime to commit suicide.
In the last two episodes of season six, Jaime took stock of his legacy. He would like to believe that he is a noble knight, like Brienne, and yet his loyalty to Cersei has driven him to do terrible things. Walder Frey, an objectively repugnant and weak man, put things in perspective when he said that he and Jaime were the same. The Kingslayer didn't like that comparison. He then returns to King's Landing to find his child dead and his sister unhinged. Perhaps it's time he took up his sword again.
Will Dany and Tyrion run afoul of religious leaders?
This is a different situation: These priestesses believe that Dany is the One Who Was Promised, a sort of messiah figure, whereas Cersei had no such standing. Still, Varys' warning rings true given how destructive religion has been in the past. (Will Dany be asked to burn a child alive?)
There's also the issue of Melissandre, who has now declared Jon to be One Who Was Promised. She's been wrong before—Stannis didn't pan out. But if two Red Priestesses are backing two different messiahs, there could be conflict.
What does Sansa want?
Sansa saved Winterfell but handed over control to Jon. She got her revenge by feeding Ramsay to his own dogs. She rejected Littlefinger's offer of marriage and a seat next to him on the Iron Throne (however unrealistic that may have been). So what does Sansa want now?
She could stay at Winterfell and help Jon broker political alliances as they prepare to fight the White Walkers. That would also mean keeping an eye on Littlefinger who may want to turn Sansa and Jon against one another. The fact that Sansa said she could not trust Littlefinger suggests that she plans to stay one step ahead of him.
Then again, there was also tension between her and Jon: Growing up, she followed her mother's example in treating the "bastard" poorly and in the Battle of the Bastards became frustrated with him for not asking her advice. The eye contact between Littlefinger and Sansa during Jon's coronation as King of the North could suggest that she is harboring some resentment against Jon. If Littlefinger exploits her jealousy, we could see him and Sansa marry and make a move against Jon for rule of the North.
Who will Arya kill next?
Arya has not forgotten her kill list, and now she has the ability to change faces. Here's who is still alive on her list:
- Ilyn Payne — beheaded her father
- Cersei Lannister — responsible for the murder of her father, mother and brother
- The Hound — killed the butcher's boy Mycah
- The Mountain — tortured and killed people at Harrenhal
- Melisandre — took away Gendry
- Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr — sold Gendry to Melisandre
If Arya is headed toward Winterfell, she just missed Melisandre, but she could still catch her somewhere in the North. Remember, Melisandre prophesied that she and Arya would meet again.
The Hound, Beric and Thoros of Myr are all around the Riverlands, and Cersei, Ilyn and the Mountain are all in King's Landing. The most dramatic move would be to save Cersei for last.
What will Euron Greyjoy do now?
We're not done with Euron yet: He had too dramatic an introduction to be tossed aside. Plus, with Ramsay dead there's a psychopath slot open on the show.
Dany has implicitly rejected Euron's, uh, large anatomy, so what will he do with his 1,000 ships now? Will he try to fight Dany (and Yara and Theon) at sea? Remember, the men of the Iron Islands are basically pirates, and Dany's army is largely made up of land-bound khalasar, so Euron could be a serious threat. If he decides to fight Dany instead of ally with her, Euron might even take his offer of marriage to a different, single queen: Cersei.
Will Gendry challenge Cersei's right to the Iron Throne?
Where the heck is Gendry? It has been three long seasons since we saw the bastard son of King Robert rowing away from Dragonstone. Gendry has perhaps the most legitimate claim to the throne: He is the only Baratheon (real or fake) left. And he certainly has a more legitimate claim than Cersei. Could he show up in King's Landing and convince the Cersei haters (and there are plenty of them) to rally behind him?
We have no idea where Gendry is going, but we know that he cannot trust anyone, save perhaps Arya, his friend, and Davos, who freed him from Stannis' prison. Perhaps he will find his way to one of them.
Will the Wall fall?
Don't forget about the White Walkers! It's only a matter of time until they figure out how to get around the barrier that separates them from the men.
Benjen Stark explained that the Wall is protected by spells that prevent the undead from crossing. Still, it seems likely that the White Walkers will figure out some way to get around. If Bran crosses the wall, will the mark left on his arm by the Night's King somehow allow the White Walkers to cross over too? Sam also found a horn and some dragonglass wrapped in a black cloak way back in season 2. What happened to that horn and could it come into play somehow?
If the Wall falls, will Jon Snow be ready to take on the undead? Sam is digging up all the information he can about how to defeat them, plus he stole his father's Valyrian steel sword, one of the few weapons that can kill a White Walker. So far we know that dragonsteel (Valyrian steel) and dragonglass can kill White Walkers. Sounds like Dany's actual dragons might be useful.