As I said, I'm pretty sure Stannis met his end in the forest that day, but it did get me thinking: what's coming up next season? I decided I'll write this up quickly, since I don't want it to be ruined by actual fact regarding what's coming up. These are just my musings, based on what's happened in the show, what I've read in the books, and my various discussions over time regarding these events. There will be some book-related spoilers in here, but come on, if you've been reading these posts you're already as far as I am, maybe even further since I refuse to read the sample chapters from The Winds of Winter that have already been posted. I'll read it when it's done.
So, here are the storylines I believe we'll follow in season six of Game of Thrones.
The Vengeance of Cersei
Right or wrong, Cersei believes that the Sparrows committed a great sin against her by holding her captive for her sins. And now she's got FrankenMountain (which I vastly prefer to Mountainstein) at her disposal, who I expect to be doling out pain and punishment at Cersei's demand. I think she's still hurt by Tommen's failure to help her, but that will only strengthen her belief that she needs to protect her baby boy.
Plus, don't forget that Jamie will be bringing her daughter's lifeless body back from Dorne. Cersei will lose her shit, and gods help the people of King's Landing when she does.
But what about Dorne? Clearly it would be Cersei's (and probably Jamie's) intent to burn Dorne to the ground, but would that be feasible? The reality is that Dorne wasn't involved in the War of the Five Kings, so whatever armies they have would be fresh, unharmed, and un-wintered. Who would help Cersei?
- Tyrells are being imprisoned willy-nilly; there's no reason to think that they'd be motivated to go back to war.
- The Boltons seem to be preparing for a Northern winter.
- Walder Frey isn't sending his guys anywhere for free, and the Crown is already deeply in debt.
- The other River Lords have no taste for Lannisters.
- Nor do the former Stark bannermen.
- Nor do the remaining Baratheon bannermen.
- Nor do the knights of the Vale.
Who Watches the Watchers?
If you know what that heading is in reference to, NERD! Me too.
The Night's Watch just killed their Lord Commander, and will presumably put Alliser Thorne in charge. I actually expect that there won't be a ton of content about this period of time at The Wall, but I think several interesting stories will find themselves passing through The Wall next season. First and foremost, I do believe that Jon Snow will return to us, fully human, possibly through a similar process as Beric Dondarrion's revival. I don't think it's a coincidence that Melisandre found herself at Castle Black just hours before Jon's fall.
We've also got Davos at Castle Black now, and he's suddenly kingless. I don't think he wants this freedom, but it's thrust upon him now. We also have Sansa and Theon leaping...to safety? It's not 100% certain that they survive their jump, but I'm betting they do. And to where would they go at this point? Boltons and Lannisters hold most of the Seven Kingdoms, and I don't think that Sansa would risk the open road to make her way back to Littlefinger in the Eyrie (or wherever he is; he seems to fly across the continent). That means her best choice, her only choice really, is to head north to Castle Black, where (as far as she knows) Jon Snow is still stationed.
So what happens? Well, I'm guessing that Jon's revival coincides with him having to hide said revival, or he'll probably just get killed again. So he runs off to do something, maybe hang with wildlings, maybe flee to Essos with Melisandre. Regardless, I don't think he and Sansa will cross paths. But I do think that Sansa will cross paths with Davos, and since Davos just lost his "princess," he'll be warm to the idea of protecting another. So maybe the Greatjon Umber (who may or may not be alive) gets forced by the Boltons to take the Black, and when he arrives, he meets Sansa Stark, who he tells about Rickon being hidden away somewhere in the North. Then Davos, Theon, and Sansa run off to find him. That could be fun...although it'd be snowing like whoa by then probably, so it could also be deadly freezing.
Speaking of Starks...
Bran and the Tree Guy
I'm sure the Tree Guy has a name, I just don't know it. But some time has passed here, and presumably Bran has spent this time learning about warging and timewalking, and he's learning about the history of the realm. So next season, we'll probably get a fair share of flashbacks, maybe with some guest appearances by Sean Bean and Mark Addy, which would be fun. I'm not sure what Bran is supposed to do with whatever information he finds out, but that will be for the story to relate.
I'm sorry, I'm just not in on Arya's storyline. Presumably she'll get her sight back after getting better at being "no one," and then...I don't know, start killing other people? It was marginally cooler when she had a revenge list, but now she's just supposed to kill whoever she's told to kill? Doesn't that mean, at this point, she could be Flippy McTubernuts rather than a Stark of Winterfell? So it's fine, but I don't care.
What Is Dead May Never Die
The show definitely butchered the Iron Islanders last season with that little "rescue attempt" by Asha when they tried to rescue their "prince" (who, according to Iron Island code, they shouldn't give a shit about), and then got scared off by some dogs.
My desperate hope is that they recapture what makes the Ironborn interesting: they're basically orcs, attacking the weak and respecting only strength. But they look like everyone else, so we think they should think like everyone else. The show-runners might be able to bring those Ironborn back, and put them back on the high seas. I wasn't crazy about the Ironborn storylines we saw previously, but with what I've read in the books, there's potential for some sweet, sweet pirating. And also maybe super-important story stuff.
Missing: One Dragon
So, Daenerys flew off on the back of a dragon, and that was amazing to watch. But obviously she's going to need to come back to town at some point, if her pursuit of the Iron Throne is to resume. She's back in the hands of some Dothraki again, which turned out okay the first time, but I think Khal Drogo was unique among Dothraki Khals in his appetite for Western ladies. Regardless, Dany looks like she's going to be needing some saving, and I suppose Daario and Jorah are setting out to do just that.
Back in Meereen, I guess Drogon did enough damage to the Sons of the Harpy that they dipped out of the arena, but they're clearly still a factor. And I have to say, I'm a million percent excited to see Tyrion and Varys run the city. Varys might be a bit of an absentee father, though; I feel like he still has some moving parts he has to take care of on both sides of the Narrow Sea. Either way, as I mentioned before, Tyrion being added to the mix in Slaver's Bay has me edge-of-my-seat riveted to watch things play out.
So that's six storylines, four of which I'm very interested in, plus Bran's story could be informative. And then Arya's story has a lot of room for improvement. And now to spend the next eight months wondering what's going to happen.