In Depth

Game of Thrones death toll reaches 150,966

A new video claims to show the demise of every living being in the show - but have some deaths slipped under the radar?

Game of Thrones theories: The key characters and places in season 7

15 July

Season six of Game of Thrones cut down on the character count with a series of bloody assassinations, the Battle of the Bastards and the dramatic destruction of the Great Sept.

But fans will have their work cut out for them keeping up with the host of characters and locations set to take the stage in the next series. Here are five that are bound to play a bigger role:

House Tarly

The long-awaited reunion between Samwell Tarly and his father, Randyll, Lord of Horn Hill, was every bit as excruciating as we could have imagined. Randyll may be a great warrior, as Stannis Baratheon believed, but his parenting skills leave much to be desired. While Samwell, accompanied by Gilly and baby Sam, received a warm welcome from his mother, Melessa, and sister, Talla, Randyll was not impressed by his plans to train as a maester. He mocked his son's fighting and hunting skills, prompting Gilly to defend him and reveal her own Wildling origins, much to Randyll’s disgust. Samwell’s decision to leave his father's house, stealing his heirloom sword Heartsbane in the process, is bound to have consequences. 

House Mormont

Season six charted Jorah Mormont’s poignant attempts to get back into Daenerys Targaryen’s good books, but ended on an emotional note as he was sent off in search of a cure for the deadly greyscale disease he caught from the stone men of Valyria. We were also introduced to House Mormont’s feistiest member, the pint-sized, kick-ass Lyanna Mormont. The young Lady of Bear Island, who has a dislike of small talk, is head of her house, niece of Lord Commander Jeor Mormont of the Night's Watch and first cousin of Ser Jorah Mormont. Short on troops, but big on pluck, Lyanna is not to be underestimated. Should Jorah ever find a cure, rejoin Dany and make it back across the Narrow Sea to Westeros, a reunion between him and Lyanna would be something to look forward to.

Euron Greyjoy

Mad, bad and dangerous to know, King Euron Greyjoy, younger brother to and assassin of Balon, will be too busy for a while building his thousand ships to come after his rebellious niece and nephew. But while he prepares for this, he might decide it's time to start throwing his weight around. In George RR Martin's books, Euron launches pirating raids on the coasts of Westeros. If season seven takes up this plot point, he could start causing trouble for Cersei Lannister - or he might even seek to join forces with her.

House Reed

House Reed of Greywater Watch is pledged to the Starks and headed by Howland Reed. In season six, we witnessed the visions of Bran and the Three-Eyed-Raven at the Tower of Joy, where Howland Reed helped Ned Stark battle Aerys Targaryen's men to get to Ned’s sister, Lyanna. She had just given birth, which means Howland is probably the only living soul who really knows the fate of the baby and can verify Jon's parentage. We also saw Howland’s daughter, Meera Reed, save Bran from the White Walkers. Bran’s visions and Meera’s lustrous curls also raised the delicious fan theory that Meera might in fact be Jon’s sister – will season seven offer the big reveal? 

The Iron Bank

If season six saw the comeuppance of religious fanatics, will season seven see retribution against the bankers? Or will it be the revenge of the bankers themselves? The Iron Bank of Braavos is probably the most powerful financial institution in the Game of Thrones world, with clients on both sides of the Narrow Sea, and likes to advertise the fact that it "always gets its due". Season five saw it putting pressure on Cersei by calling in a tenth of the debts the Iron Throne owes. And while the Tyrells offered to help, the Queen Mother declined the offer, meaning the debt is still outstanding. Will the bank decide to support Daenerys Targaryen's claim to the throne instead, now the liberator of the slave cities is a very wealthy woman and more likely to pay back the debt.

The Citadel

At the end of season six, Samwell had arrived, family in tow, at the Citadel, the headquarters of the Order of Maesters who advise the Seven Kingdoms on matters scientific, medical and historical. Given that no women and children are allowed in its ivory towers, he'll have to stash Gilly and young Sam somewhere while he gets on with his learning. In the books, a brattish Leo Tyrell (one of the Tyrell cousins) is also studying at the Citadel, along with Alleras, nicknamed the Sphinx. Alleras is possibly a woman passing as a man to dodge the Citadel's discriminatory policies and some suggest she is Oberyn's daughter. So will Samwell's education be a Hogwarts-style affair of magical wizardry and boarding school antics – or, more likely, something much darker?

Melisandre

The Red Priestess and dedicated follower of the Lord of Light had some high and low points in season six. She realised she was following the wrong leader, but also revived Jon Snow from the dead. Then she made an inauspicious exit after Ser Davos discovered she had ordered Princess Shireen's burning at the stake. But given that Snow decided to spare her from hanging, she is clearly being saved for something. She's likely to keep a low profile for most of season seven, but many fans suspect she will make a late dramatic reappearance. After all, she once told Ayra that they would meet again and the show's writers tend to follow up on their promises.

Littlefinger

Petyr Baelish, known as Littlefinger, has gone to a lot of effort to sit on the Iron Throne. His ambition was only confirmed in the finale of season six, but he has been manipulating the powers that be in Westeros since the beginning of season one. He helped kill off the Hand of the King, Jon Arryn, and then exploited the murder to help spark the War of the Kings, later marrying Arryn's wife and shoving her through the Moon Door to her death.

Varys has said Littlefinger would "see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes" and, so far, the chaos in Westeros appears to have lifted Littlefinger's status. He is now Lord Protector of the Vale, with an army and a debt to collect from the Starks. His plan to sit on the Iron Throne with Sansa Stark as his queen has so far been thwarted by Sansa's refusal to trust him, but with so much invested in his ambitions it would not be beyond Baelish to find another pathway to the throne. That said, Margaery Tyrell's scheming to become queen was equally admirable and she disappeared in a puff of wildfire.

Five TV shows to watch now Game of Thrones is over

5 July

Season six of Game of Thrones has ended and fans now have to endure at least a year until the next instalment. So while we wait for the next chapter of Westerosi dynastic struggles and bloody conflicts, here are a selection of television shows and box-sets to fill the seven kingdoms-sized void in your viewing.

Vikings

Smaller in scale than Game of Thrones but satisfyingly action-packed, this historical drama follows the rise of mythical Viking Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), from village farmer to King of Denmark. The earthy, action-packed and beautifully-shot tale of medieval Scandinavia follows the fearless Ragnar’s violent exploits as he leads a series of successful raids on England. Available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Last Kingdom

This axe-filled Vikings versus Saxons drama is an adaptation of Bernard Cornwell's best-selling novels, The Saxon Stories. Set in 9th-century Britain, it follows the story of Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon), an orphaned Anglo-Saxon boy. Kidnapped and raised by Danish Vikings, he is forced to choose between loyalties to his homeland and to the invaders who brought him up. The first series was shown on the BBC and Netflix has commissioned a second series for 2017. Series one is available on the BBC store.

Outlander

If you’re after a dash more sex and romance with your epic drama, Outlander might be more your speed. It tells the story of Second World War nurse Claire (Caitriona Balfe), who is transported back to 18th-century Scotland, where she encounters dashing warrior Jamie (Sam Heughan) and becomes caught up in the Jacobite Uprising. Seasons one and two are available on Amazon Prime.

The Tudors

A racier version of some of the events that take place in Wolf Hall, The Tudors takes a more Game of Thrones-type approach to the bloody history of Henry VIII’s reign. This heightened and at times stretched take on British history features some memorable turns from Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the much-married monarch, Henry Cavill as Charles Brandon and Natalie Dormer (GoT's Margaery Tyrell) as Anne Boleyn. It’s available on Netflix and Amazon.

Rome

Before Game of Thrones, HBO tried its hand at a big-budget exotic epic with Rome. The series follows the rise and fall of Julius Caesar, Mark Antony and other political heavyweights of the ancient world, with a sprawling cast including Kevin McKidd and Ciaran Hinds (GoT’s Mance Rayder). You can watch the complete series on Amazon Prime.

Sons of Anarchy and House of Cards

For a more modern take on warring factions and dynastic struggles, you need go no further than these two gripping series. Sons of Anarchy takes a gritty, Hamlet-influenced look at the loyalties and power struggles inside an outlaw motorcycle club. Charlie Hunnam stars as Jackson "Jax" Teller, the vice president of the violent club who begins questioning his role and his own values.

There's no such self-doubt from Kevin Spacey's Frank Underwood in House of Cards. The show follows the devilishly charming Democrat as he carries out a ruthless and sometimes deadly plan to rise through the ranks of US politics with the aid of his wife, Claire (Robin Wright). There are plenty of Thrones similarities to be drawn: the obsession with power, the characters we love to hate, strong women and backstabbing at its worst. "House of Cards and Game of Thrones are the same basic show," says Huffington Post. "When you boil it down, each is a collection of morally ambiguous characters playing a political game of cards."

Sons of Anarchy is available on Amazon, and House of Cards on Netflix.

Game of Thrones: Brilliant and bonkers theories about season six's finale

24 June

Warning: spoilers ahead for season 6 if you haven't been keeping up

Following the epic Battle of the Bastards this week, which saw the apparent triumph of the Stark family over the dastardly Ramsay Bolton, anticipation is reaching fever pitch for the Game of Thrones season six finale.

As the series strays beyond George RR Martin's books into uncharted territory, we look at the best and strangest theories about how the latest series will end.

Jon is fireproof

One compelling idea circulating the internet is that Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark (Ned's sister) and Rhaegar Targaryen, who allegedly raped her – commonly known as the R+L=J theory. This would make Jon Daenerys's nephew and has prompted some to picture a dramatic ending where he is thrown into a bonfire only to emerge unsinged in Dany-style triumph. This theory ties into one that has been doing the rounds since last year and suggests Jon has a twin sister - Meera Reed.

Fake Arya goes to Westeros

The end of season six's episode eight saw Arya Stark announce that her time in Braavos with The Faceless Men was over after she defeated the pesky Waif. She says she wants to return to Westeros to rejoin her family - but what if the girl we saw was not really Arya but the Waif in disguise? Fans point out that we never see her actually kill the Waif, nor the Waif properly dead and burned, which in Game of Thrones could mean their character will be resurrected. In an alternative fan theory, Arya and the Waif will be revealed as the same person, in a Fight Club-like twist.

Sansa will marry Littlefinger and he'll become King

Fans have pointed out that the dastardly Ramsay may be dead, but he had told Sansa she would never be free of him and he will always be part of her. This, they suggest, could mean Sansa is pregnant with his child, which would be bad news for her and the Starks. The theory goes that she will try to conceal the truth by marrying Littlefinger and passing the baby off as his. If true, Baelish could become The King of the North. He might even use this hold over the Starks in a bid to become the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms

Jaime kills Cersei

Cersei is facing death by execution, but some speculate that in fact, it will be Jaime who finally puts out the lights for his sister. They point to the Maggy the Frog prophecy, mentioned in the series and books, which says that Cersei's three children will all die (two down, one to go) and that she herself will die after Tommen. We know that when the Mad King Aerys attempted to burn down King's Landing, Jaime betrayed the King's Guard and killed him. It has also been suggested that Cersei might try the old wildfire trick to end her misery and that in a case of history repeating itself, Jaime could sacrifice her for the good of King's Landing.

Bran built the wall

Young Bran can "warg" into other people and see the past and the future, the Hold the Door episode confirming he can also influence events back in time. So if he knows about the White Walker threat, maybe he would try to travel into the past and get a higher wall built to keep them out. Also, we know that Brandon Stark, aka Bran the Builder, built a wall 8,000 years ago, and founded the House of Stark. Some fans have pointed out that Old Nan remarked on how Bran's favourite stories were about the Builder. Will the finale of season six reveal that present-day Bran is in fact Bran the Builder, building protection for his future self?

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