We’d been sitting at the edge of our seats for months, awaiting the arrival of each episode within the sixth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the first batch to take fans past what was already covered in the books. Now that it’s come to an end following an epic series finale, fans are left with nothing but their speculations as to what’s up ahead.

With the release date pushed back once more for George R. R. Martin’s  The Winds of Winter, there’s a real lack of concrete material for die-hards to rely on for guidance. But in the meantime, that doesn’t mean we’ll stop wondering about Westeros. What did season six’s conclusion set into motion, and what might just be a fan’s flight of fancy? Rewind on the season premiere (click here and here for details) before reading on for just a few of the brightest ideas.

The most important “fan theory” to consider is what’s been dubbed “R+L=J”, meaning Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark are Jon Snow’s actual parents – not Ned Stark and a different unknown character. In the books, there’s a lot of corroborating evidence for this theory: for example, Jon only Game-Thrones-Season-6-Finale-Picturesresembles one of his “half-siblings,” Arya, who is constantly said to evoke her aunt Lyanna. In the show, more answers and revelations lie with Bran and his visions. Everything we’ve learned from them has been crucial so far – in another flashback set during Robert’s Rebellion at the Tower of Joy in Dorne, Bran had seen a young Ned Stark defeat the double-sword-wielding Ser Arthur Dayne before finding Lyanna in a bloody bed. Audiences see her whisper something to her older brother before making him promise to protect her baby. The screen fades to Jon Snow, thereby proving the validity of this equation.

The Curse of Robert Baratheon may be true, but we only really know about it after the fact and because it’s run its course. The curse reveals that all the folks whom King Robert met and touched in the first episode would die: Ned, Carolyn, Robb, and now Rickon. While Bran, Sansa and Arya haven’t had the best of times (to put it mildly) and might still perish before all is through, that’s not the biggest flaw with the theory. Most of it was hinged on Jon being spared because Cat didn’t want a bastard meeting the King – but then what accounts for the fact that Jon already died last season? Also, this theory is merely descriptive, not necessarily predictive – so we get nothing else about the direction of the show from it.

Of course, other theories will not prove to pan out despite their popularity. Such as, Arya actually being The Waif or Jaqen H’ghar being Syrio Forel. When you include as a plot point an organization of people that can easily change their faces at will, you’re also going to get people thinking any character can be any “Faceless Man” – which can be done on screen in a world like that of Planetos without even needing an unreliable narrator like in Fight Club. Was Arya really doing the equivalent of punching herself in the ear in an empty parking lot by stabbing herself on a stone bridge in Braavos? That was put to rest when the real, bloody face of “The Waif” was finally seen and reacted to by others, such as Jaqen.

Now for a fun prophecy. After King Tommen outlawed trial by combat, Cersei can no longer rely on her stalwart zombie Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane to help her in her trial. With her future and power in doubt, she might act rash with the Wildfire cache Qyburn uncovered. Expect Jaime Lannister to save King’s Landing from the same exact fate that earned him the name “Kingslayer” and stop Cersei. All while fulfilling the prophecy that her death will come from the hand of the “Valonqar” –Valyrian for “little brother”. Jaime is younger by minutes and can beautifully strangle Cersei, after all “golden hands are colder…”

So, while we wait for the next news from the battlefront we have theories to debate, prophecies to foretell, and tinfoil conspiracies to throw out. Until we find out what fate’s foretold, we’ll have to sit tight and let the stories write themselves.


~Liz Hannah