Like a cheap, drunken night at a Braavosi brothel, Game of Thrones usually leaves us with far more questions than answers. Each week, we’re going to take a deeper look into every single Q HBO’s fantasy mega-hit needs to A. Next up: Battle of the Bastards — Who lives? Who dies? Who tells George RR Martin’s story?
(Spoilers–both real and speculative–to follow)
So this week is Game of Thrones‘ annual Episode Nine-A-Palooza, in which traditionally we eschew the normal world-jumping format to focus on a massive twist and/or a battle with a budget far larger than that of Silicon Valley and Veep combined. This year is Jon v. Ramsay and, spoilers spoilers spoilers, it looks awesome. But since we’re putting aside traditional plot development, there’s really only one question we have: Who gonna’ die?
Is Jon Snow going to die?
“Thousands of men don’t need to die. Only one of us,” Jon says in the preview, the “us” being he and Ramsay, which is a hilariously un-self-aware thing to say considering thousands upon thousands of men and possibly a giant are clearly about to die because you two can’t share the coldest house in Westeros. The ventilation is horrible in Winterfell, ya bastards. You’re basically fighting over a meat locker filled with tapestries. (Plus, yeah, because of all the horrific murder, rape, and torture).
But anyway, how funny would it be if Jon died? Not say death by repeated spear-thrusts is funny, per se, but to have the media liar-storm before season 6 centered around Jon being dead, and then to bring him back, only to kill him again? Oh man, Entertainment Weekly would be so mad.
Alas, no. Jon will be fine. Come on now. I’m pretty sure between episode’s 3 and 4 the manbun atop Jon’s head gained sentience for several minutes to sign its own extended contract with HBO. I mean, remember when they tried to kill him the first time? Kit Harington is basically this country’s kidneys. Remove him once, okay, we’ll recover eventually. But twice? Dead. We’re all dead.
Really, the far more question is whether or not we were wrong to get way too hyped over this vaguely Harington-esque blob of pixels from the original trailer:
Is Ramsay Bolton going to die?
You know…I don’t think so. Yes, that smug goblin motherf*cker deserves it. And double yes, one day it will happen and be incredibly cathartic and if there’s any justice in this world will involve Sansa Stark stabbing him repeatedly in the dick.
But–despite Jon claiming the battle can’t end until one of them is dead like this is history’s deadliest game of capture the flag–I’m still pretty convinced a third party interrupts the fun to teach everyone the real meaning of Snow. I think the Battle of the Bastards bleeds over into The Winds of Winter with the White Walkers showing up like “Wowwwww you people are still fighting with each other? Didn’t the pretty one with the manbun tell you we were coming? Wowwwww.”
Of course, this could all happen after Ramsay’s death, which is a bit of a “out of the dying pan and into the (opposite of) fire” situation.
Is Sansa Stark going to die?
I’m deeply concerned at how close Sansa seems to be observing what looks like endless slaughter and mayhem. Have they not invented binoculars in Westeros yet? Can someone get Qyburn on that? Tell him they can be made from like baby parts or whatever gets him inspired.
Sansa somehow dying during the battle of the blah blahs would be a crime on par with anything ever done to warrant a trip to the Night’s Watch. Season 6 has been a damn coming out party for Sansa as a badass Queen in the North who wears what appears to be an entire wolf carcass over her shoulders and stands precariously close to battles fought by stupid men on horses.
If Sansa somehow doesn’t make it, I vote Melisandre just alaka-R’Hllors her back to life like she did Jon. Jon doesn’t even want his get out of death free card! “If I fall,” he tells Mel in the trailer, “don’t bring me back.” Cool, bro. Real noble/dangerously depressing of you. I’m sure Random Wildling #46 would be thrilled to hear you have the offer to pop right back up and were like “Nah. Already did that.” You hipster, curly-haired fuck.
Yeah, sorry, so anyway keep Sansa Stark alive please and thank you.
Is Davos Seaworth going to die?
Almost definitely. They showed Davos thinking pensively against a sunset backdrop in a billowing cape. That’s the kill shot. If you ever find yourself being filmed in a similar situation, run for your life as best you can while still wearing that cape.
If someone whose name actually appears in the IMDB credits has to die, Davos is pretty much the perfect choice. Just familiar and likable enough to tug on the audience’s heart-strings, but not essential enough to cause a George RR Martin level story-tangle. Plus, by his own admission, he’s not great with a sword.
In fact, the really interesting thing here is that Davos might not even want to make it out alive. He’s spent most of his life loyal to Stannis Baratheon, who died sitting against a tree like a goober. The last person Davos cared for–even loved–on an emotional level was Stannis’ daughter Shireen, who Melisandre lit up like a firework. Is Davos and his boss-ass cape standing over the very pit where Shireen’s burning occurred? If so, that might be the moment the Onion Knight’s last, single fuck to give flies into the sorbet colored sunset behind him.
Is Tormund Giantsbane going to die?
Game of Thrones is, perhaps more than anything, a show about tragedy. It defies the notion that good always triumphs over evil, that our heroes make it to the end of the story, that at the end of the day you, the ones you love, the ones that you care about will be safe. We’ve seen the noble get cut down, the righteous lose their faith, the moral ground into the dirt. Game of Thrones is synonymous with pain. It’s most iconic moments come from hurt. It is practically built on disaster, runs on calamity.
With that said, nothing, nothing–not Ned, not Hodor, not the entire damn Red Wedding–would be more tragic than Tormund dying out here without telling Brienne how he truly feels. Don’t do that to me, Game of Thrones. Don’t you dare.
Is Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun going to die?
Not nearly as hard as that dude in his hand. Unless Ramsay is hiding a tank, King Shark, or one of those giant elephants from Lord of the Rings under Winterfell, I like Wun Wun’s chances.