Game of Theories: Finale Edition

The final episode of Game of Thrones' seventh season is almost upon us and there are more loose ends to be tied up than there are peeled-off faces in Arya's hipster satchel. But how?

whitewalker

What in the seven hells is actually going on in Westeros this season?

Tread carefully, for this post is dark and full of spoilers…

Theory 1: Are Arya and Sansa Plotting Against Littlefinger?

What the hell is up with Sansa and Arya? After seven seasons of being seperated, they finally reunite beneath the crypts of Winterfell where they throw some shade at Ned Stark’s Cristano Ronaldo-esque statue.

Then, in true sisterly form, they start fighting over stupid bullshit while Littlefinger lurks in the shadows, stroking his little beard.

In the same episode (episode 3) Arya is reunited with Bran, who by this stage is no longer Bran, but the creepy, ethereal Three-Eyed Raven. The three remaining Starks meet in Winterfell’s godswood where Bran confirms to Sansa that Arya’s murder list is no joke.

Then he gives her a Valyrian steel dagger (the one used to try kill him back in season 1, kicking off the whole war almost) which he had gotten from Littlefinger

Things appear to take a turn in episode 4 after Sansa, now the Lady of Winterfell since Jon is off trying to bang his aunt, witnesses a thrilling sparring session between Brienne of Tarth and Arya. During the course of the fight, becomes very clear that Arya is a formidable warrior and not unfamiliar with killing.

The scene appears to unsettle Sansa (is it jealousy? Fear?), who stalks off leaving a concerned-looking Littlefinger to continue watching. Arya’s eyes catch Littlefinger’s and for just a moment he looks dare I say it, worried?

Maybe it was because she was carrying the Valyrian steel dagger Littlefinger had given to Bran earlier in the episode in a blatant, and ill-conceived attempt to curry favour with the younger Stark.

But Bran knows all and sees all, making him useful to the plot, but a fucking pain to watch. “Chaos is a ladder,” he dreamily tells Lord Baelish, parroting Littlefinger’s statement from the third season back to him. Littlefinger realises that this Bran is not going to be malleable – he can barely conduct a conversation, for fuckssake, and so he redoubles his manipulative efforts on Sansa.

At the same time Arya starts in on Sansa, pointing out that she didn’t look too upset when Ned Stark was beheaded at the Sept of Balor (RIP Ned, RIP The Sept). Then she needles Sansa about taking their parent’s bedroom. Soon, she accuses Sansa of being power-hungry, a bad Stark who even wrote a raven’s scroll telling Robb to bend the knee, of being a second rate-Cersei etc.

In a later discussion, Littlefinger casually reminds Sansa that if she and Arya were to fight, Brienne, as their sworn shield, would be honour-bound to intercede. Which would mean that if Arya decides to get stabby, Brienne would be on hand to save Sansa.

Or vice versa.

It’s after this that Sansa decides to send Brienne to King’s Landing in her stead. What does this mean, exactly? Well, it seems to suggest that Sansa intends to harm Arya.

Could the Stark sisters really be falling for Littlefinger’s lies?

Let’s looks at this. She might be the best character in the show, but Arya is not noble. She kills for revenge and is single-minded in her determination to obliterate anyone who wrongs her. This is not healthy – it’s pathological.

It’s perfectly possible that Arya, who has no time for, or understanding of politics, has read Sansa’s savvy manouevering (with the soldiers of the Vale and the Northern lords) as a sign of political ambition.

Also, for all the talk of how Arya is such a skilled manipulator herself, what with all of her intensive Faceless Man training, she is undisciplined and still impulsive. Remember when she was leaving Bravos, and she decided to take an incredibly dangerous undisguised walk on the quays and The Waif stabbed her about 100 times? She survived, sure. But that was stupid.

So it is entirely possible that Arya has managed to be hoodwinked by Littlefinger and his blatant tricks – like not-so-subtly ‘hiding’ the scroll Cersei made Sansa write way back in season 1, telling Robb to come South and bend the knee.

It appears that since the Stark reunion, Littlefinger the beard-stroking, pot-stirring maestro of Westeros has managed to drive a wedge between the sisters…….

………NOT SO FAST, LITTLE SPARROWS!

The Stark’s reunion in the godswood was short, but it is possible that lots of important stuff happened off camera – namely, that Bran, Arya and Sansa had a real heart-to-heart about what’s really happening, and maybe even devised a strategy on how to deal with Littlefinger.

Since Bran knows everything, isn’t possible he’s told his sisters something of use. Like that Littlefinger is a scheming rascal? Or Jon Snow’s true parentage?

That strategy, would first involve sending Brienne of Tarth away, so as to 1) make Littlefinger believe that he has gotten back into Sansa’s head and 2) make him drop his guard. The fewer allies around Sansa, the easier it is for Littefinger to control her.

Also, Arya saw Littlefinger while she was Tywin Lannister’s cup-bearer in Harrenhall and knows that he was involved in much of the damage done to the Stark family from the start.

So, isn’t it possible that the Starks have a plan to put a stop to Littefinger’s evil machinations for good? I SURE HOPE SO, READERS.

Likelihood of vengeance: 4 / 5 Valyrian Daggers

 

Theory 2: Bran Is The Night’s King

This theory has gotten serious traction as the seventh series has progressed but it’s been floating around the internet for a while now.

Speculation reached a fevered pitch this week after an Reddit user made an interesting observation about the similarities between the Night’s King and Bran’s outfits.

The theory goes that Bran becomes the Night’s King effort to prevent the destruction of Westeros by warging into the man the Children of the Forest eventually turn into the first White Walker in an attempt to convince them not to go through with the process.

This theory fits into a larger theory – laid out in exception detail by Reddit user turm0il26 here – about how Bran attempts to change the course of history by hopping into the past and interfering with proceedings.

As part of this, turm0il26 posits that Bran hops back in time to prepare the Mad King for the White Walkers, somehow getting his attention (like he almost managed to do with young Ned outside the Tower of Joy) and encouraging him to make tons of Wildfire in preparation for future attacks.

This doesn’t work though, so Bran goes back further in an attempt to discover how to defeat the White Walkers. He fails again, but this time he ends up building the Wall and becoming the famous Bran the Builder.

The most compelling part of the theory is suggests that Bran goes back into the past to the moments before the Children of the Forest created the Night’s King, in an attempt to stop them. He wargs into the body of the man but is unable to convince the Children, and since he has stayed so long in the past, he’s unable to hop back out. Bran’s consciousness ends up trapped inside the Night’s King forever.

And so, Bran becomes the Night’s King. Here’s how turm0il26 puts it:

“With the combination of the childrens magic and Brans power, he becomes the villian instead of the hero he tried to be, resulting in turning against the children for creating him and getting stuck behind the magical Wall he later builds as Bran the builder.

Immortal as he is, he waits for himself to be born thousands of years later, knowing when and where he has to be to mark the young Bran, personally kill Brynden Rivers for hiding the truth about what would happen with him, and eventually being able to destroy the wall with a certain dragon. The reason the Night king doesn’t end his misery by killing his younger self, is that he finally learnt the ink is dry, and he would fail again. The reason he doesn’t kill Jon Snow, and instead observes him at Hardhome (maybe even resurrected him at Castle black?) will be covered in the end. Ending up marching south and once again fulfilling his timeline which we will see in the following two seasons.

You can actually see in the scene where young Bran goes back to the creation of the Night king, that when the children push the dragonglass into his heart, we see Bran tighten his grip on the veins, just as it is himself experiencing the pain. Also in the end of the flashback, Bran is laying in the exact same position in the cave, as the human pushed up to the tree is.”

The reddit user also points out that if this is true, it means Jon Snow – as a potential candidate for the Prince who was Promised – would be the one to kill his little brother, Bran the Night’s King.

Theory 3: There Actually Is A Good Reason For Bringing A Wight To King’s Landing

When Jon announced his plan (well, Tyrion’s plan) to take a handful of hardy men north of the Wall to kidnap a wight, Daenerys swooned while the audience went ‘WHAT THE FUCK, CERSEI WILL NEVER BELIEVE YOU’.

Still, he and his motley crew did it, costing Dany a dragon in the process (Viserion, RIP) but also in the process convinced her that the threat posed by the White Walkers is real.

She even tells him as much while he’s lying shirtless in bed on the boat ride back from the Eastwatch. When he tells her they shouldn’t have gone on such a foolish mission she responds, “If we hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t have seen. You have to see it to know. Now I know.” Well, this line might be a little bit of foreshadowing.

Another reddit user, WeenahSixNine, has put forward a very interesting theory as to why Jon and co would go to such lengths to supposedly convince Cersei, who they already know is so imperious and cruel that she’s unlikely to even care that the fate of the living is at stake.

In a nutshell the theory suggests that bringing the wight to King’s Landing isn’t about convincing Cersei – it’s about convincing the people of King’s Landing.

Tyrion, with his sharp analytical mind and political savvy, knows that Cersei probably won’t give a damn about the White Walkers. She’ll also want to make a big show of her power for Daenerys benefit and so it’s likely that the citizenry will be out in force for the big meeting (also, maybe to get a glimpse of dragons).

And Tyrion also knows that you can’t rule by fear alone – a ruler must have the acceptance and respect of the people. Riding into town on a dragon and burning all your enemies alive is just “more of the same”, and people won’t stay loyal to a psychopathic, dragon-riding arsonist for long.

So, the purpose of bringing the wight to King’s Landing, isn’t to convince Cersei – it’s to convince the people. It will also show them who truly has the good of the realm at heart. WeenahSixNine writes

“By bringing a Wight back to King’s landing and using Cersei’s own arrogance and brovado against her, Tyrion can simultaneously convince the People of the true threat to the Realm, discrediting Cersei and highlighting her refusal to protect them, while also showing Dany to be the saviour and true protector as well as showing Jon Snow to [be] the right proper lad that he is, risking his life for the Realm and earning the people’s loyalty and devotion to follow him into battle to save humanity.”

So, what initially seemed to be a completely stupid decision may in fact be one of Tyrion’s craftiest scheme to date.

Warrior give me strength! I can barely wait until August 27, my dragons.

Game of Thrones airs Sunday, August 27 at 2am on Sky Atlantic and again on Monday, August 28 at 9pm.

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