Unpacking What the ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6 Finale Revealed
Predictions, guesses, hopes and dreams about what “Game of Thrones” has in store for next season.
By Amy Garcia, Johns Hopkins University
The finale of Season 6 of Game of Thrones was so rich and full of intense new twists and turns that the end of every scene had every fan shocked, exhausted and delighted for more.
Cersei eradicates all of her enemies with one move, but also unintentionally kills her last child in the process. Jon becomes King in the North as Littlefinger and Sansa (with some possible jealousy) look on. Arya kills the disgusting Walder Frey. Cersei seats herself on the Iron Throne as Jaime returns and realizes what she’s done in horror. Daenerys, finally, sails to Westeros, with her Hand Tyrion and the full forces of the Martells and the Tyrell’s behind her.
All of this is so much that it would be understandable if a fan forgot that the writers finally confirmed a decades-old theory: Jon Snow is not Ned Stark’s bastard son at all, but the son of Ned’s sister Lyanna and Dany’s oldest brother, Rhaegar Targaryen.
The scene itself was heartbreaking, as young Ned enters the room and sees his beloved sister on the bed covered in blood, and they both tell one another in tears how much they missed each other. It’s still unconfirmed if Lyanna was abducted by Rhaegar (as Robert Baratheon so incessantly believed), or if she ran with him willingly. Either way, Lyanna tearfully tells Ned that she doesn’t want to die, and he brokenly promises she won’t and shouts for someone to bring water. Lyanna whispers something the viewers do not hear (what’s the point of secrets now?), and then begs Ned to protect “him.” Finally, those words Ned was haunted all through the first book—”Promise me, Ned” –are revealed. Then out comes a little baby with dark brown eyes who is placed into the distraught Ned’s arms.
We know what happened next. Ned returns home to Winterfell after the war with a baby in his arms and proclaims it his bastard son Jon Snow, forcing him to lie to Catelyn, who gave birth to his true born son Robb while Ned was at war. Jon grows up his entire life without a clue of who his real parents are, obsessing instead on who the woman could be that made Ned break his vows.
Now that Bran knows the truth, Jon’s future could rise higher than he can even imagine, although it is unclear how Bran will be able to convince anyone other than Jon himself of what really happened all those years ago. It would be difficult for many to believe, especially since the explanation essentially is “I saw it in a tree.”
This reveal undermines Jon’s claim as King of the North. Everyone’s favorite badass Lyanna Mormont proclaims for all the world to hear that she doesn’t care than Jon’s a bastard—he’s Ned Stark’s son, and that should be good enough for everyone. But now it’s known to the audience that this is not true. Littlefinger already planted that seed of doubt of Sansa’s mind.
Does she really want a bastard as the leader of Winterfell, or the true born daughter of Ned and Catelyn Stark?
If Jon is revealed to the North as the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar, he may lose the support he gained in the finale. The North loved Ned, and it was the thought of his son leading them once again that led the Stark banner men to raise their swords to Jon. If he is not Ned’s son, why should they bow to him? Why not to Sansa?
Hopefully, Sansa would not undermine him, but it cannot be sure given her reaction to Little finger’s meddling. She pauses in her rejection of Littlefinger when he asks her who she would really want to rule Winterfell, and her smile fades as Jon is proclaimed King of the North when she meets Baelish’s eyes.
You would hope that any animosity or jealousy would fade away, as Jon and Sansa have gone through hell and back to find one another. Their familial bond should be more important than petty jealousy, but if Sansa allows Littlefinger to whisper in her ear, it’s impossible to be sure. Jon may have an enemy buried in Sansa, and when Bran reveals the truth, Sansa may agree that he has no claim to Winterfell anymore.
If not Winterfell though, perhaps the Iron Throne? Maybe. It depends on if Daenerys was telling the truth that she may have to make a marriage alliance when she arrives to Westeros. The Targaryens were well practiced in marrying family members in order to keep lines pure, so it would make sense that Dany and Jon marry to get the North to back her side, leaving Sansa to lead Winterfell as she wants.
If Jon is a bastard, then this is the only option for him to claim leadership over Westeros. Without a trueborn name, he cannot hope to have a better claim of the Iron Throne over Daenerys. However, there is another option: Targaryens also sometimes had more than one wife. Is it possible that Rhaegar married Lyanna as well as Elia, making Jon a trueborn Targaryen? If this did happen, the Throne belongs to Jon, not Daenerys.
Of course, no one can be sure if this is really what Jon wants. He has never thought about being King of the North, let alone king of the entire country. It is hard to imagine Jon not covered in warm furs and cloaks of the North and instead wearing the light robes of King’s Landing.
It all depends then on Bran’s return to Winterfell, which, given the speed of everyone’s travel time recently, will most likely be in the first few episodes on Season 7. Jon could be King of the North, or King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm. It’s all up to Bran, so hopefully Meera is somehow able to carry him home soon.