You have to feel for George R.R. Martin. True, yeah, dude works at the pace of Bran Stark on a StairMaster and is hampered by only writing on what I believe is an un-plugged Galaga screen, but your story is still your story, you know? And if you set up numerous plot twists stemming from 1996, you want to be the one to see them through 20 years later.
Unfortunately, the HBO train stops for no one, and Game of Thrones‘ sixth season has ticked off Martin’s plot reveals one by one with three episodes still left to go. Jon Snow is alive again, but Stannis Baratheon is dead. Hodor is also dead, along with 90 percent of our Direwolves. Benjen Stark should have left Castle Black with warmer mittens, because that mother-effer is Coldhands. On and on until today, when HBO finally just said screw it and confirmed the 69-minute season finale is titled “The Winds of Winter”—just like the next installment of Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire source material.
In short, this:
How can we interpret this, other than as HBO throwing shade so dark the aliens from Independence Day are like “My goodness that’s excessive?” Well, let’s assume Winds both book and show are related somehow, and take into account what little Martin has said on the matter. I’m going to open [The Winds of Winter] with the two big battles that I was building up to,” the author said in a 2012 interview with SmarterTravel, “the battle in the ice and the battle at Meereen—the battle of Slaver’s Bay. And then take it from there.”
Game of Thrones is clearly building toward that second battle at some point, with two separate Greyjoy fleets—one led by an insane pirate, the other a brother-sister duo with no testicles between them–currently sailing toward Meereen intent on wooing Daenerys Targaryen (and her dragons) to their cause. But as Dany will probably speech at you from atop Drogon, Targaryens are not to be woo’d. Cue crazy pirate v. dragon battle so amazing it retroactively erases the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise from existence.
It’s the “battle in the ice” that’s really interesting. Odds are Game of Thrones‘ ninth episode, “Battle of the Bastards”, will focus primarily on the snow-down between Ramsay Bolton and Team Stark at Winterfell. It’s been set up as quite a doozy–a life-or-death conflict between goblin-monster Ramsay—representing all that is sick, twisted, and bug-eyed—and the righteous fury of the constantly-killed Stark family. Giants are going to get involved. Wildlings, too. So many people are going to die, possibly Jon for a second damn time. It’s going to be momentous, game-changing, the biggest slobber-knocker TV has ever seen.
But that’s episode nine, before “The Winds of Winter” roll in. I think what that title indicates is that whatever bloody nonsense between humans goes down at Winterfell, it’s going to end with a surprise run in.
DJ, hit this guy’s music:
Winterfell is about as far north as you can get without actually pledging to the Night’s Watch, which puts it in direct proximity to the massive army of the undead that no one but Jon and Davos seems to care about. Oh man, they’re about to care a whole lot.
“You’re definitely going to see more the the Others in The Winds of Winter,” Martin promised in that same interview. It makes sense, both literally and figuratively, for that to pertain to the finale as well. The Others are basically the janitor that keeps the AC in your office on in February, except maybe a little less evil. Thanks to the Children of the Forest, the Others don’t really have much of an agenda other than making the entire world as miserable and freezing as possible. They did it once, and they’ll do it again.
And that’s what it’s been about from day one, right? Ned Stark, when he still had a head, constantly warning that “winter is coming?” That reminder goes deeper than Ned reminding Sansa to pack her extra embroidered parka. Winter—a.k.a. a merciless swarm of walking, evil ice sculptures—has been coming for Westeros this whole time, from the first scene of the first episode. Now, the winds of winter have arrived.
Just in time, too, on the day of possibly Jon Snow’s biggest victory to date. After months leading to season six centered almost exclusively on Jon as the resurrected boy-king of our dreams, he hasn’t really done much other than hang one child and lose in a sass-off to another. But if those Tower of Joy flashbacks mean anything, it’s that Jon is the only person, the Prince That Was Promised, who can do anything about the White Walkers other than scream and get impaled by an icicle.
“Words are wind” after all, which technically paints this episode title in another light. Because what are the Words of Winter, if not a whole lot of Snow?