Game of Thrones returns for season seven on July 16, and there are plenty of major questions fans have had for years that will likely be answered during its seven-week run. However, there are still some confounding moments that have fled north of the Wall, and we’re beginning to suspect their explanations might never return.
Again, these aren’t the big mysteries we’re pretty sure will be addressed before the finale episode, e.g. the real story of Lyanna Stark’s abduction by Rhaegar Targaryen, who is Azor Ahai, will we get the Cleganebowl, etc. These are just the ones that we think the show isn’t going to get around to telling us.
At the end of season two, Samwell Tarly is engulfed by a swarm of White Walkers and wights, indicating that winter is well on the way to Westeros. It’s a powerful scene, and it’s great to see it through the eyes of a character we know and love, but there is no apparent reason why none of the zombie-like creatures attack Sam as he’s cowering behind a tiny rock. The White Walker leading the troops even appears to make eye contact with him, and then just moves on, like, “Dude, you’re so not worth my time.”
I’ve seen a couple of explanations, though honestly none of them have seemed satisfactory. There are those who say the White Walker never actually saw Sam; instead, it was a photography trick. That might be true, but that means none of the wights saw him either... and I doubt you can play peek-a-boo with an undead army and turn out okay. Others claim the White Walkers want to leave witnesses to spread word of their arrival, hence why the character Will was able to escape during the opening scenes of the series premiere. But given that they’d attacked a huge group of Night’s Watchmen, at least a few of which must have managed to escape, I don’t think one man by himself in the middle of an open wintry field would be all that valuable to them.
There are plenty of characters who are playing the long game in Game of Thrones (Varys and Littlefinger come to mind), but Tyrion really isn’t one of them. One of his biggest weaknesses has been his restlessness. Yes, he is intelligent and clever, but he’s also impetuous. You really saw this in his role as Hand of the King—especially in the season two episode “What Is Dead May Never Die,” when he used every member of the small council against the others to figure out who was betraying him to Cersei. It was a short-hand solution that screwed him over in the long run, because it alienated key allies.
That being said, it’s still baffling that Tyrion appears to be playing the longest game in the history of Westeros when it comes to Littlefinger—so long, in fact, that it doesn’t look like it exists. Back in season one, Littlefinger framed Tyrion for Bran’s murder attempt, leading Catelyn Stark to kidnap him and put him on trial for his very life, setting off the conflict between the Starks and the Lannisters. Eventually Tyrion then finds out that Littlefinger was behind it, and you’d think he’d be pretty pissed to find out the role Littlefinger played in his near-demise.
And yet, when Tyrion returns to King’s Landing, it never comes up. He and Littlefinger never even talk about it in their not-so-subtle double-speak. Tyrion just kind of forgets it ever happened. Unless, of course, it’s all going to come to a head soon, in one of the longest cons in the history of the show. Varys eventually got revenge on the sorcerer who castrated him—maybe Tyrion has also just been biding his time.
In Westeros, a simple paper cut can be a death sentence. Both Robert Baratheon and Khal Drogo died after having their bodies punctured, the latter of which succumbed to an infection. So, in a world where flesh wounds are fatal, Arya seemed doomed to die after being stabbed multiple times by the Waif. Her injuries looked so severe that many people assumed it wasn’t actually Arya, that she’d traded her face for someone else’s to keep herself alive.
It turns out, nope, it was Arya who crawled out of the water, bloodied and cavernous, likely exposing her wounds to massive infection. And all it took was a few clumsy stitches and a bit of Braavosi magic to keep her from meeting the Many-Faced God. But it seems a little too convenient, in the wake of, you know, the reality of Westeros, where dying is pretty easy. After all, if Robb Stark’s doomed wife Talisa couldn’t survive a multiple stabbing to the stomach, it seems unlikely that Arya would’ve been able to.
Game of Thrones loves it when Daenerys burns everything to the ground, but that doesn’t always solve the problem. In season two, Dany and her dragons flamebroiled Pyat Pree at the House of the Undying, seemingly destroying the Warlocks through their main proxy. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case. At the beginning of season three, Dany is nearly killed by a young assassin—her blue lips and magical tendencies serving as a clear indication she’s allied with the warlocks. Then, she escapes.
It’s not clear whether the assassin was a manifestation of the warlocks themselves, or someone under their employ. But either way, she’s a sign that the warlocks are still around in some capacity, and they’re not finished with her yet. On the other hand, they’re never seen again. The whole assassination attempt is way different in the books, and better explored, but in the show it leaves a lot of questions that get scattered to the winds even faster than Pyat’s ashes. Are they still lying in wait? Will they attempt to take revenge during Daenerys’ assault on Westeros—or maybe even after?
In the season six premiere, “The Red Woman,” we got the shocking reveal that Melisandre is secretly an old woman (possibly up to 400 years old) who’s using magic to keep herself young. The magic looks to be in her necklace, as her real body appears the moment she takes it off. However, this isn’t the first time she’s taken the necklace off—she bathed without it in a season four episode.
There are some theories that have circulated about this, even though none of them have been confirmed, and they all come down to that bathing scene in “Mockingbird.” During the scene, we get lingering shots of the potions that Melisandre is pouring into the bath, indicating that the magic may not be in the necklace itself, but rather that the necklace is her metaphorical “armor” keeping everything together.
The scene also features Selyse Baratheon, who looks visibly uncomfortable as Melisandre bathes and implies that the Red Woman doesn’t have to pretend in front of her, as she’s a “true believer.” This could be because she’s conflicted about Melisandre’s affair with her husband, but it could be because she sees the woman’s real form as an old crone.
Alliser Thorne might have been a dick, but he was a sworn brother of the Night’s Watch, and he knew better than almost anyone in Westeros that winter was coming. Hell, he was the one Lord Commander Mormont sent to King’s Landing (armed with a wight’s hand) to convince Joffrey that the White Walkers were coming and the Night’s Watch needed aid.
After Thorne and the other mutineers murdered Jon Snow, they simply left his body out in the snow to bleed out, giving Davos the opportunity to pull him to safety until Melisandre could arrive. They didn’t put him on a pyre to burn, which is the standard procedure for a death in the Night’s Watch. Sure, they wouldn’t want to give Snow an “honorable death,” reciting the words about how his watch has ended, but Thorne is well aware that wights have been seen south of the Wall. It doesn’t seem like he would want to risk Jon Snow coming back as a wight.
And if they had burned the body, he would’ve been spared the resurrection that led to their defeat—unless Jon Snow’s Targaryen blood means he too doesn’t burn, like Daenerys. But no one in the Night’s Watch should know that, including Jon Snow... for now.
There are only two of the Dire Wolves adopted by the Starks that are currently alive: Jon Snow’s Ghost, and Arya’s Nymeria, the latter of which only survived when Arya ran her off after the wolf attacked Joffrey for being a jerk, and Cersei demanded its death. Sansa’s Lady paid the price instead, unfortunately.
Given the important roles all the Dire Wolves have had in the story, and how symbolically linked they are to their Stark child, it feels woefully unsatisfying to have a loose Dire Wolf running around for all these years. Has the show been saving her return for a key moment, which is presumably coming soon now that Arya is back in Westeros? Does her absence mirror Arya’s, who seems to have completely lost her way as a Stark? Or, in one of Game of Thrones’ patented mixes of the magical and mundane, is Nymeria just gone for good because all those years spent apart severed the connection between the two, and we’ll never see her again?
One of season six’s most baffling moments was when Samwell entered the Cidatel of Oldtown, which is basically Maester University, and discovered non other than the crazy astrolabe that has spun over the map of Westeros in the show’s opening credits.
The potential discovery that what we see as a show is in fact a history recorded by the Maesters adds a very bizarre aspect to the series. If Sam is writing the history down, we can safely assume he’s writing for accuracy. But a later historian could be taking dramatic licenses, have wrong information, or may even be a bad speller. In short, it’s possible the show no longer has a reliable narrator, which is very unsettling. On the other hand, it could also just be an Easter egg by the show’s creators designed to blow fans’ minds (mission accomplished).
Whatever the reason, it exists primarily as a mystery for viewers to obsess over, and any answer would take that power away from it. So I suspect the show will not be providing us with one, and leave us to wonder about it for the rest of the series, if not our lives.
One of the biggest mysteries of the series wasn’t Jon Snow’s parentage, nor is it who’s going to sit on the Iron Throne... it’s why the hell Podrick is the greatest lover in the history of Westeros. He went to a brothel once, just once, and apparently he was so good at bedding ladies that they wouldn’t accept his money. This has never been explained—even the actor who plays him has no clue what makes Podrick such an excellent boy toy. What’s more, the show has never explored it past that one episode in season three. You’d think if Podrick had the greatest dick in Westeros, and the Master of Whispers knew about it, the ladies would be flocking from all over the Seven Kingdoms to take a turn on it.
This is more of a personal gripe than anything else, but I still have no idea why the season three episode “Walk of Punishment” ended with a rock cover of “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” by the Hold Steady. It was the only time the show ever did something like this, and it was such a major misstep. The episode ends with Jaime losing his hand, arguably the one event that set his entire story in motion. It was powerful, tense, and tragic.
To follow it with a rock song by a real-world band just completely ruined the tone. I’m not surprised the show hasn’t tried something like it again, and I hope they never do.