Does anyone have a tissue handy? Game of Thrones ended its fifth season in a truly bloody fashion, killing a total of six characters, including Stannis Baratheon and fan favourite Jon Snow, who everyone believed was untouchable at this point.
All in all it was a depressing finale for everyone involved–heroes, villains and all the grey matter in between. In fact, the only person who seemed to be having a good time this episode was Ramsay Bolton, which is never a good sign.
While this may just be a serious case of denial, instead of looking back at all the sad and horrible things we just watched, let’s look ahead at what the still-living characters have to look forward to next season. After all, now that the series has caught up to the books, I can now officially say that I have no clue what will happen next. So, as the dust settles from that traumatizing finale, here are some of the big questions we’ll be asking ourselves during the agonizing wait for season 6.
Is Jon Snow really dead?
It certainly didn’t look good, with all that blood pooling around his pale face. All season we’ve seen how Jon alienated his Night’s Watch brothers for the sake of the greater good, leading up to his Julius Caesar-like assassination. In a way, Jon’s death is very similar to Ned’s back in season one. In spite of trying to do right by the realm, the people looking out for their own interests betrayed him to his death. It was a sad and shocking way to end the season, but it certainly succeeded in reminding the audience that there is no such thing as safe in Game of Thrones.
But is he really gone? There is no doubt that will be the question on everyone’s mind as we wait impatiently for next April. With a shamed Melisandre back at the Wall, I’m holding out hope that he’ll be resurrected, just as Beric Dondarrion was raised up by Thoros of Myr back in season 3. So many plots and characters have been cut from the books that it seems too unlikely that Beric and Thoros’ inclusion won’t be important down the line. At least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself for the next nine months or so until season 6. Despite what actor Kit Harrington says…
What’s going to happen to Daenerys and Meereen?
Dany’s final moments of the episode saw her completely surrounded by a Dothraki khalasar, and no Drogon in sight. Somehow I doubt the writers would be willing to kill off another major character in the season 6 premiere, so it’s relatively safe to assume that she’s not moments away from death (and we can assume she dropped that ring as a breadcrumb). Who knows, maybe we’ll see the return of the Khaleesi? She’s certainly gotten a lot stronger since the last time she was with Khal Drogo’s khalasar.
As for Meereen, that may be the most intriguing new plot to come out of the finale. Tyrion, Missandei and Grey Worm were left to rule the chaotic city as Jorah and Daario set out to find Dany. Varys arrived just in time to give Tyrion a pep talk, reminding us of just how far he has come since his days of being an aimless drunk in the season premiere. Tyrion and Missandei may be the most unlikely of pairs, but with his political prowess and her understanding of Essos’ language and culture, they might actually pull it off.
Where does Arya go from here?
After giving in to her own desires and killing Meryn Trant for the sake of revenge, Arya was left blind and confused as a consequence. While seeing her kill Syrio Forel’s murderer and Sansa’s abuser was satisfying, I think next season Arya will only use her handicap to fuel her fire and take her training to become a Faceless Man far more seriously. Of course, what else can she do? Going back to Westeros isn’t much of an option and becoming a blind beggar won’t be Arya’s fate if she can help it.
Is King’s Landing headed for war with Dorne?
We know for sure that Cersei, and possibly Margaery and Loras, will be officially put on trial next season. After that powerful and awful Walk of Shame, there’s a chance we may see a changed and humbled Cersei moving forward. Who wouldn’t be altered after an experience like that? However, one major question is whether we’ll see a retaliation on Dorne after the death of poor, innocent Myrcella. The old Cersei would undoubtedly try to set the whole country on fire if she could, but in the wake of such a trauma, and sensible, reliable Kevan Lannister running things, Dorne may yet see a reprieve.
Of course, this is still Game of Thrones, where any chance for massive violence is probably going to happen. Plus, after depriving him of his long-awaited father-daughter bonding moment, Jaime will no doubt be furious. At least if there’s one thing we know, it’s that Tommen will never be able to taste or touch anything again without someone checking for poison first.
Will Sansa and Theon survive that jump?
Seriously, that was a long fall. Beyond that, whether or not they maim themselves in their attempted escape, where will Sansa and Theon be able to go? Thanks to Melisandre’s failed attempts to helping Stannis’ army, Stannis was broken and eventually executed by Brienne of Tarth. In an ideal world they could run into Brienne and Podrick, who could potentially keep them safe. Unfortunately, it seems far more likely that they’ll head to the Wall, where Sansa believes Jon is alive and well and acting as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Awkward…
Can fans survive another season?
Season 5 had some of the highest highs and lowest lows in the show’s history, sparking controversy one week and universal praise just a few weeks later. It’s kind of exhausting to be a Game of Thrones fan, to be honest. After all the turmoil, you couldn’t blame a person for packing it up and moving on to a slightly happier show like, say, The Walking Dead.
Of course, then you think about all the things we have to look forward to: Bran’s epic reappearance after mastering the Sight, a look at the Maester’s citadel in Oldtown, the Frankenstein-like return of The Mountain, the hope of one day seeing Ramsay get what’s coming to him, PLUS more dragons and White Walkers. I think I’ll go ahead and tick that answer as an unequivocal yes.
Were you traumatized by the finale? Share your woes in the comments below. Or better yet, tell us your theories on what you think should happen next.
Associate Editor Kelly Townsend always had strong opinions on TV growing up, so it was only natural to evolve from couch musings to online journalism. She can't ever choose a favorite series, so please don't ask. Her writing has also appeared on IndieWire and Tribute.ca. You can find her on Twitter at @kellybtownsend.