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: Best theories about Bran's season six visions

3 June

In Game of Thrones season six, viewers have been treated to glimpses of the past for the first time, through the visions of Bran Stark - and, in the most recent episode, there was a series of multiple visions shown at lightning speed.

Thankfully, one YouTuber has slowed down the scenes to offer an insight into what might happen next in the show.

They show King Aerys II Targaryen shouting: "Burn them all", as well as fleeting shots revealing Bran's mother, father and brother being murdered.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"95762","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]These are some of the most popular fan theories about what might come next:

Cersei will use wildfire against the High Sparrow

The reappearance of the green and deadly wildfire has led some to believe it might be used again as a weapon. Cersei Lannister has previously threatened to burn the Lannister house to the ground if her father tried to control her son, Tommen, and she threatened to burn the cities of Dorne to the ground if they harmed her daughter, Myrcella. It was also Cersei who commissioned the pots of wildfire for the battle with Stannis in season two. She has now been backed into a corner by the High Sparrow, who has brainwashed her only living child. Will the green fires blaze again in King's Landing?

Bran sent King Aerys mad

After Game of Thrones revealed how Bran's time travelling devastated the mind of Wylis/Hodor, fans have been wondering who else Bran might influence in the past. One theory is Bran sent the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen mad. His repetition of "Burn them all" in the days before his death is similar to Hodor's condition. Could cries of "Burn them all" – referring to the White Walkers at the Wall in the future – have somehow confused Aerys's mind in the past?

Bran is Bran the Builder

One theory doing the rounds even before last week's episode is that Bran is actually Bran the Builder, the legend of old who built the Wall. The theory's supporters think Bran might gain control of his powers and take a physical form in the past, recognise the White Walker threat and perhaps build the wall higher so they can't enter Westeros.

Game of Thrones: What are these seven characters plotting? 

2 June

For once, the violence count was low on Game of Thrones, with only the destruction of a few wights in this week's show. However, several characters appeared to be scheming for the episodes ahead. So, what exactly are they up to?

Margaery Tyrell

Just as the Lannisters and Tyrells had finally backed the High Sparrow into a corner, to save Queen Margaery from the Walk of Atonement, it emerged that the Queen had been working on a plan of her own. In a shock move, the High Sparrow announced she had persuaded King Tommen to make a "holy alliance" between the Crown and the Faith. While the move upset her family and King Tommen's, it looks doubtful that Margaery has really been brainwashed. So what is she planning?

Benjen Stark

Missing since season one, Ned Stark's brother Benjen returned this week to save his nephew, Bran, and Meera from the wights. He has been north of the Wall for years and was stabbed with a sword of ice, although the Children of the Forest managed to stop the White Walker magic from taking hold. He also knew the late Three-Eyed Raven, who has passed on the mantle to Bran. Benjen has assured his nephew he will be ready by the time the White Walkers reach the Wall, but how will Bran's knowledge of the past save Westeros?

Arya Stark

After training in the art of assassination, the youngest Stark daughter was tasked by the Faceless Men with killing Lady Crane, an actor with a group of travelling entertainers. However, Arya couldn't bring herself to finish the job and backed down at the last minute. She will now be kicked out of the House of Black and White and her chances of survival are slim. Can Arya fight off the Faceless Men and what will be her next move?

Jaime Lannister

Jaime Lannister is in Riverrun in the trailer for next week's episode, The Broken Man. King Tommen has ordered him to retake it from the Tullys, but will he come up with another plan? Meanwhile, it emerged that Walder Frey, who lost Riverrun to Brynden "Blackfish" Tully, has been keeping Edmure Tully a prisoner since the Red Wedding in season three. Will Frey try to broker a deal?

Samwell Tarly

Viewers were finally introduced to Samwell Tarly's family, including his cruel father, Randyll, who was disgusted to learn Gilly was a wildling. Samwell listened quietly to his father's tirade but later in the night, decided they should leave, along with Heartsbane, the ancestral Valyrian sword of House Tarly. "That's your father's sword. Won't he come for it?" asks Gilly. "He can bloody well try," says Samwell. Could he possibly defeat his own father and where will he take Gilly now?

Yara Greyjoy

Theon and Yara Greyjoy have fled the Iron Islands after their murderous uncle Euron won the Kingsmoot. But a trailer for next week's episode shows Yara is not prepared to leave quietly, telling her brother: "We're going to take back the Iron Islands and then we will get revenge." Meanwhile, Euron is on a mission to seduce Daenerys Targaryen, but actress Emilia Clarke doesn't think he stands a chance with the Mother of Dragons. "Saltwater doesn't look good in that wig," she told Time magazine. "Also, the handlebar moustache is not really on the top of my list."

Sansa Stark

Sansa and Jon Snow are off to rally the North into a war against the Boltons. However, Sansa has been keeping secrets from her half-brother - she has sent Brienne of Tarth to Riverrun to ask for help from her mother's family (where, presumably, Brienne will reunite with Jaime Lannister), but failed to tell Jon she had met with Littlefinger and received key information to aid her battle tactics. "I did what I had to do to survive. I will always be a Stark," she is heard saying in the trailer for next week's instalment. Why she is defending herself or what she has planned is still unclear.

 

Game of Thrones season six: Hodor explains all

25 May

Warning: this article contains spoilers for season six, episode five

Episode five of Game of Thrones, The Door, was one of the most emotional and haunting of the series so far, leaving fans teary-eyed after it revealed the heart-breaking backstory of Hodor.

Fans finally discovered why Kristian Nairn's character could say nothing but his name – but it made for grim viewing.

It showed Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) time-travelling into the past, to when Hodor was a young boy called Wylis. However, in the series' present, the White Walkers had arrived to attack him. Meera (Ellie Kendrick) desperately tried to bring Bran back to the present and safety, telling him to "warg" into Hodor and take over his mind. But because of this, her screams to the present-day Hodor to "hold the door" against their foe while she and Bran escape echoed back down the years to young Wylis, who collapsed into a seizure repeating the phrase. His cries of "Hold the door" eventually become "hodor", hence his name. Hodor, meanwhile, is left to the mercy of the Walkers.

While the friendly giant appeared to have sacrificed himself for Bran, Nairn suggests it might not be completely over for Hodor yet.

"The interesting thing is it is kind of left open," he says. "You don't actually see him [die]. It's implied. So who knows? He may come back as a White Walker, maybe he got away."

Interpreting the scene for Vulture magazine, the actor compared it to crossed lines on a telephone call. "It created some kind of vortex and it sort of erased poor Wylis and left him like an echo chamber. It wiped his brain," he says.

Some fans have wondered whether Hodor would have recognised Bran after the seizure episode, but Nairn thinks this unlikely.

"I don't think when he saw Bran in his real, everyday life, his reaction was, 'Oh, that's that little b*****d from the courtyard. I'm gonna steer away from him.' I don't think he remembers.

"But he does feel a bond with Bran, because obviously Bran's been in his brain before," he added. "They were always sort of fated to be together."

It wasn't only Hodor's fate that was revealed in this week's episode. Here's what we learned about other key characters: 

The Children of the Forest created the Walkers

In another vision of the past, Bran witnessed the not-so-innocent Children of the Forest stab a soldier with a dragonglass dagger, creating the Night's King. The Children say they were involved in a war against the First Men at the time and created the White Walkers in a misguided effort to keep the Men at bay and save their forest realm. Unfortunately, the Walkers turned on their creators.

Sansa and Littlefinger are no longer friends

Sansa (Sophie Turner) travelled to Mole's Town to confront Littlefinger about marrying her to Ramsay. "Did you know about Ramsay?" she says. "If you didn't know, you're an idiot. If you did know, you're my enemy." After begging Sansa for forgiveness, Littlefinger offered her the Vale army to retake Winterfell, but Sansa was not in a forgiving mood. She rejected him and ordered him to leave.  

Jon is massing the troops

At Castle Black, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) had Melisandre and the Wildlings on side and was planning to unite the north against the Boltons. However, Sansa lied to Jon about how she found out that the Tullys might also offer their support and asked Brienne to travel to the Riverlands to recruit Brynden Tully, suggesting she has something up her sleeve.

There's a new Red Priestess in town

Across the Narrow Sea, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) decided to enlist Red Priestess Kinvara (Ania Bukstein) in Meereen. Kinvara believes that Daenerys is Azor Ahai – the chosen one - but given that Melisandre thought Stannis was also Azor Ahai, we'll have to wait and see. The attentive viewer will have also noticed that Kinvara wears a similar necklace to the one Melisandre wears - possibly to hold back the years - so she may be another wizened crone in magical disguise.

Promises and betrayals on the Iron Islands

Euron Greyjoy became King of the islands, much to the annoyance of his niece and nephew, Yara and Theon. Euron talks big but seems a bit crazy. Nevertheless, he promised his people glory and riches, with the claim that he would woo Dany with a fleet and together they'd rule the world. Unconvinced, Yara and Theon escaped with a good part of the fleet while Euron was being crowned in a strange drowning ceremony.

Arya is no theatre fan

Arya may have left Westeros behind to become a faceless assassin in Braavos, but is she having second thoughts? She was sent on a mission to kill an actress appearing in a comedy about King Robert's death and the beheading of her own father, Eddard Stark. Poor Arya was forced to watch Ned lose his head again and see him portrayed as a moron. Arya's hesitation may hint that she will soon abandon the assassins and re-join the Starks.

Game of Thrones season six: Who will die at the hands of Arya?

18 May

Arya Stark, played by Maisie Williams, has had a relatively slow start in Game of Thrones season six, with her assassin training spread over the early episodes. But could she be the one to kill off some of the major characters later in the series?

Williams and Sophie Turner, who plays her on-screen sister Sansa Stark, have previously hinted at what fans can expect in series six through a game of "two truths and a lie".

The actresses each gave Yahoo three statements about the series, one of which is not true.

Turner claimed that Ramsay Bolton dies; that Lady Stoneheart returns; and that Arya checks three people off her kill list.

The return of Lady Stoneheart, a resurrected zombie embodiment of Catelyn Stark, has long been predicted by fans after she featured in George RR Martin's books. However, there have been few indicators that she will return in the television series and the storyline now seems to have passed.

Huw Fullerton of the Radio Times thinks that the first and third statements are therefore true.

Meanwhile, Williams claims that Arya goes to Westeros, back over the sea; Arya is in the trailer more times than people have realised, because they don't know it's her; and Arya doesn't cross any more names off her list.

"We're calling it – that last line is the lie, while the other reference to her list from Turner was a truth," says Fullerton.

Included on Arya's list of revenge is Cersei Lannister, Walder Frey, Melisandre and The Mountain, all of whom are in Westeros. The others are Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr and Ilyn Payne.

"Combined with Turner's suggestions, these new revelations make it seem very likely that one of these characters might become a victim of the newly deadly Arya, and frankly we can't wait to see when it happens," says Fullerton.

Game of Thrones season six: Will Jon and Daenerys unite?

16 May

The latest episode of Game of Thrones has warmed fans' hearts and fired up critics, with a touching Stark reunion and Daenerys Targaryen's dramatic blazing exit from a tight situation.

The episode, titled Book of the Stranger, was called "uplifting" by some critics and "cathartic" by others, but it certainly lived up to the book series title A Song of Fire and Ice. In the frozen North there was a heart-melting Stark reunion, as Sansa (Sophie Turner) rode into the courtyard of Castle Black, and the face of Jon Snow (Kit Harington) lit up to see his half-sister again, after years apart.

It was quite possibly the most uplifting episode we've seen in the show in years, says Erik Kain in Forbes. While fans were happy to see Jon resurrected, the look on his face when he saw Sansa after so long apart "was a moment of true joy", says Kain.

The Starks have been reunited, and not a moment too soon, says Kain. Jon has all but given up his will to fight, but Sansa was all steel and determination, wanting to free the North from the Boltons, take back what is theirs and come home – "and, dammit all, I agree with her", says Kain.

Indeed, says Ed Power in the Daily Telegraph: "Viewers will have been blind-sided by a moment of actual human warmth as Sansa and Jon reunited" and it was "moving to witness the story-lines of two key protagonists intersect without any follow-up torture or killing".

But in this "stunning and cathartic" episode, which saw the stakes across Westeros "ratcheted up spectacularly", it was Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) who really got our attention, adds Power.

Dany, who had been imprisoned by the Dothraki, escaped by setting her prison hut ablaze and emerging from it unscathed. The episode ended with the Dothraki kneeling before the Mother of Dragons.

"As Dothraki-cowing parlour tricks go, it's a good one," says Jeremy Egner in the New York Times. We've seen her do it before of course, when she emerged from her husband's funeral pyre in season one. "Something tells me things are going to go better for her this time," he says.

It seems a good leader should be "wise, brave, strong and, in the Seven Kingdoms at least, flame retardant", says Christopher Hooton in The Independent. Hooton points out, however, that George RR Martin has previously said it was a "common misconception" that the Targaryens are immune to fire, and described Dany's season one survival as "unique, magical, wondrous, a miracle" that "probably" wouldn't happen.

This repeat performance really serves to cement her claim to the Iron Throne, notes Hooton. Now we have a man who has beaten death (Jon) and a woman who has beaten fire (Daenerys) – "will we see them team up to fight ice in next year's (potentially final) season?" he asks.

Game of Thrones season six: The most tantalising questions

15 May

Another nail-biting episode of Game of Thrones has brought with it another set of questions about what could possibly happen next.

In episode three, Oathbreaker, Jon Snow executed his murderers and appeared to have abandoned the Night's Watch, while the youngest of the runaway Stark brothers, Rickon, was handed over to the sadistic Ramsay Bolton.

With another four days to wait, here are just some of the questions fans have been left asking:

What will Ramsay do with Rickon?

Little Rickon has been betrayed by the House of Umber, which he had hoped would protect him. Instead, they have given him over to Bolton, now the self-declared Lord of Winterfell, who stabbed his father to death and fed his stepmother and baby brother to the dogs. As the Washington Post says, "this is very bad news". Assuming it is not all part of an Umber plot to bring down House Bolton, Rickon's only hope is that Ramsay will want him in one piece to negotiate even greater power.

What will Bran see next?

In Oathbreaker, the mythology of Ned Stark as an honourable man of the North was punctured in one of Bran Stark's flashbacks. Bran watched as a younger version of his father fought the skilled swordsman Ser Arthur Dayne outside the Tower of Joy in Dorne. While Bran and the rest of Westeros had been led to believe Ned had won the fight fairly, the vision showed that one of Ned's men had actually stabbed Ser Arthur in the back. Will Bran's next visions debunk other Westeros myths, or will he return to the Tower of Joy to find out more about his own family secrets? 

What will become of Queen Margaery?

A trailer for next week's episode points to the return of Queen Margaery, who has been imprisoned by the Faith Militant for lying about her brother's sexuality. Her mother-in-law, Cersei Lannister, appears to be cooking up a plot with her grandmother, Olenna Tyrell, who both agree that Margaery shall not "repent her sins before the city", as Cersei did in season five. Will Cersei join forces with Margaery or does she have something worse planned for her son's wife?

 [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"94678","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

What's next for Jon?

After executing his assassins, including young boy Olly, who he had previously taken under his wing, Jon gives up his cloak and leaves the Night's Watch. So where will he go next? Actor Kit Harington has given Entertainment Weekly a clue: "At the heart of it, he knows by staying at the Wall he can't help the kingdoms and he's probably going to die very quickly if he stays." So, where to first? Winterfell, to oust the evil Bolton, we hope. 

How will Sam Tarly help Jon Snow?

Episode three included a touching scene between Samwell Tarly and Gilly sailing off to the city of Oldtown, albeit interjected with Sam throwing up into a bucket. He is headed to the Citadel to join the Order of Maesters so he can "help Jon when the time comes", still blissfully unaware that his best friend Jon has been murdered and resurrected. It is unclear when the two men might reunite, but it does look as if we will get to know Sam's family better in season six - he confessed Gilly that, as a woman, she would not be welcome in the Citadel and would have to stay with his mother and sister at the House Tarly stronghold of Horn Hill.

Will Arya's storyline get more exciting?

Arya Stark was finally given back her sight after a long montage of fighting scenes and looks set to be welcomed into the bosom of the deadly assassins, the Faceless Men. However, fans are complaining that the storyline is moving too slowly. Will she ever take revenge on the list of people who wronged her, or do the Faceless Men have something more important for her to do?

How will Daenerys escape?

The official – and rather vague – synopsis for next week's episode reveals that Daenerys Targaryen's devotees, Jorah Mormont and Daario Naharis, will "undertake a difficult task". The two men appear to have successfully tracked down their silver-haired warrior queen to Vaes Dothrak, where she is holed up in the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen with a group of hostile Dothraki widows. But can they rescue her on their own? Joanna Robinson at Vanity Fair wonders if Jorah, who has a "nasty case of greyscale" and has made "no progress winning the heart of the Mother of Dragons", might be primed to sacrifice himself.

Meanwhile, Drogon, the largest and most ferocious of Dany's dragons, has not been seen since the end of series five so it is possible he might return to save the day. Some fans have been looking to George RR Martin's books for answers and have dug up one of Daenerys's visions which refers to the Mother of Mountains, which is next to Vaes Dothrak: "Beneath the Mother of Mountains, a line of naked crones crept from a great lake and knelt shivering before her, their grey heads bowed." Are the Dothraki widows about to see their prisoner in a whole new light?

What is Littlefinger up to?

Although yet to make an appearance in season six, the trailer for next week's episode suggests it won't be long before we see Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger, again. The character was last seen handing over Sansa Stark to the tyrannical Ramsay Bolton. Actor Aidan Gillen insists Littlefinger will be a force for good this season, despite his dubious motivations in the past.

Littlefinger was unaware of Bolton's brutal side and will be trying to make it up to Sansa, says the actor: "For me, this time out, there's a level of atonement in relation to Sansa and my misjudgement of Ramsay Bolton. A lot of what I'm up to is atonement and really trying to align myself with the right people... I left Sansa married to a psychopath. It's probably the one time we've seen Littlefinger slip up. He really didn't know about him. He should have."

However, after Kit Harington's lies about the future of Jon Snow during a year's worth of interviews, fans and critics are sceptical of everything. "His words should be taken with a pinch of salt," says Christopher Hooton in The Independent. "I'm sure HBO would have him saying this even if he murders everyone in Westeros this season."

Game of Thrones season six: What's in store now Jon Snow is back?

6 May

Warning: spoilers for Game of Thrones season six ahead

This week's episode of Game of Thrones had fans gripped up to the very last moment, as Jon Snow reawakened from death. A preview trailer for the next part, Oathbreaker, suggests there are plenty more twists and turns to come….

Jon Snow a 'god'

After rising from the dead, Kit Harrington's character, Jon Snow, has already drawn comparisons to Jesus by fans and the inhabitants of Westeros and beyond are set to be just as overawed. "They think you're some kind of god," wildling leader Tormund Giantsbane tells him in the preview trailer. This could work in Snow's favour if he needs to rally support and fight against the Boltons at Winterfell, as well as the White Walkers beyond the Wall.

Arya is 'no one'

Maisie Williams's Arya Stark has appeared in episodes one and two but little has happened to her yet. Blind and homeless, she was challenged to fight by the deadly assassins, the Faceless Men, and allowed back into the House of Black and White. Hopefully there will be more action to come in episode three. In the trailer, she is told: "If the girl is truly no one, then she has nothing to fear."

Ramsay Bolton has a gift

A visitor from the House of Umber has arrived in Winterfell and tells Ramsay Bolton – now Lord Bolton, after violently murdering his father, stepmother and newborn half-brother – that he has a "gift" for him. In season five, the youngest of the Stark children, Rickon, was seen heading to find shelter with the Umbers. Is it possible they might hand him over to the ruthless Ramsay?

Young Ned Stark is back

In what looks like another Bran Stark flashback, a group of young men can be seen fighting on a hilltop. This appears to be Ned Stark, Bran's father, and Ser Arthur Dayne, a member of Aerys II Targaryen's Kingsguard. In George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, the scene takes place at the Tower of Joy in Dorne at the end of Robert's rebellion, although in the books the flashback comes in one of Ned's dreams. Stark and his men went to the tower to recover his sister, Lyanna. However, she was injured and made him promise something before she dies. Fans have long theorised that she asked him look after her son: Jon Snow. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"94546","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

Game of Thrones season six: Seven questions after Jon Snow reveal

Episode two of Game of Thrones series six was full of tense drama and grisly deeds - but ended with the moment for which many fans had been waiting.

However, the gripping events raised more questions than they answered. Here are seven of them:

Has Jon Snow changed?

So, Jon Snow is alive, brought back by Melisandre, the Red Priestess, at the behest of Davos. After some tense moments, in which both Melisandre and Davos believe she had failed, direwolf Ghost stirred at his master's feet and Snow opened his startled eyes. But what are the implications? Will the fans' favourite become like Beric Dondarrion, the "Robin Hood-esque rebel knight" of the Riverlands who has been repeatedly brought back to life by his own Red Priest, asks Erik Kain at Forbes. "Or will he be changed in some other, perhaps darker, way?"

What does it mean for the Night's Watch?

One of the most important aspects of Snow's revival is the fact that he was "legitimately, unquestionably dead", says Rebecca Hawkes in the Daily Telegraph. In theory, that means the vows he took when he joined the Night's Watch - to take no wife, hold no lands and father no children - may no longer apply. The wording of the pledge specifically states: "Night gathers and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death." The title of episode three is Oathbreaker, so perhaps that gives us a clue as to whether Snow will abandon his post for another mission.

What is the significance of the Hodor flashback?

Episode two wasn't all about Snow. North of the Wall, Bran Stark had visions of his father, uncles and aunt Lyanna as children play-fighting in Winterfell. Hodor also appeared in the vision, but he was called Willis and was able to speak normally. What was the event that left him unable to say anything but "Hodor"? And, is it a coincidence that we see Lyanna, rumoured to be Snow's real mother, just before Snow is brought back from the dead?

Will Ramsay get away with murder?

Ramsay Bolton is still as savage as ever, murdering his father Lord Roose, stepmother Walda and newborn brother in yesterday's instalment. While the Northerners might not be too upset about Roose's death, will Ramsay's cold-blooded murder have deadly consequences? Huw Fullerton in the Radio Times points out that Walda's family have a "history of dastardly revenge".

Who will lead the Iron Islands?

Well done if you remembered Balon Greyjoy, says Fullerton. Patrick Malahide's King of the Iron Islands has scarcely been seen in recent series, making his sudden reappearance and subsequent death less dramatic than it might have been. Nevertheless, his killer is "definitely an interesting new addition – Pilou Asbaek's Euron Greyjoy, a pirate and younger brother to Balon with a ruthless attitude and a God complex". Now Euron looks set to challenge his niece Yara for Balon's throne and the results might have serious consequences on the future of Westeros.

Is Tyrion a Targaryen?

In more interesting developments, Tyrion Lannister appeared to win over Daenerys Targaryen's two dragons, locked up in the Meereen dungeons, by unshackling their chains. Tyrion believes he has a bond of understanding with the animals, telling Varys: "Dragons are intelligent… They have affection for their friends and fury for their enemies. I am their friend." His rapport with them fuels speculation he is actually the son of Joanna Lannister and the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen rather than Tywin Lannister – meaning he is actually a Targaryen. The family, which has a three-headed dragon as its sigil, has the ability to successfully bond with and ride the fire-breathing beasts. This gives credence to the popular fan theory that Tyrion could be one of the prophesied figures known as "the three heads of the dragon and will eventually be one of the three people who rides Daenerys' dragons to retake Westeros, notes Time magazine.

Can it get any better?

"Make no mistake, this will go down as one of the most seismic 60 minutes in the annals of the show," says Ed Power in the Daily Telegraph. It's definitely up there with the Red Wedding and last year's epic White Walker battle at Hardhome. Seeing Ramsay calmly eliminate his family was "wrenchingly gruesome" and even after months of speculation, Snow's resurrection had a "bolt from the blue" quality. So the real question this season is: "How can Game of Thrones possibly top this?" 

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