The recent season finale for HBO’s Game of Thrones did its usual job of shocking viewers who maybe thought they had the whole thing figured out. By this point, even book readers are likely to be a little shocked since the show has more or less used up all the material George R.R. Martin had published officially to date, with changes made and some characters (Lady Stoneheart for example) being completely omited.
But Martin has said there are two more novels to come, and while The Winds of Winter may be finished next year (or it may not), the books do have a number of unsolved mysteries left to be explored.
After the cut, I’m going to write up 15 unsolved mysteries from the novel series. I’m not ranking them. That’s for other people. The list is no doubt not exhaustive either.
Obviously, there are MAJOR SPOILERS below the cut, and some of the mysteries listed may be true for the show as well. You’ve been warned.
1. What is the deal with Aegon VI?
Game of Thrones is clearly foreshadowing an eventual ending with Daenerys ruling the seven kingdoms. Aegon for the show would be a distraction. So, is Aegon really the lost son of Daenerys’ older brother, the late Rhaegar? Is it all a lie? Was Tyrion offering him sincere advise to help him take the Iron Throne? Is giving siege to Storm’s End really a good idea? The answer to that last question is undoubtedly no actually…
2. What happened to Arya’s dire wolf Nymeria?
In the novels, Arya has dreams of a giant wolf running around Westeros, far south of the wall, with an ever-growing pack of other wolves. It sounds a lot like Bran’s own warging dreams. Is this Nymeria? Even if it isn’t, it seems doubtful that a plot point like the fate of Arya’s wolf would be completely abandoned.
3. What does Littlefinger want?
Petyr Baelish is probably the biggest villain on the show. He betrays just about everyone he comes in contact with. Like a certain Joker, he may just like to see the world burn. But unlike every other plotter to date, there’s still no actual word on what Baelish himself wants. Does he want to prove himself better than everybody? Does he want to rule? Arguably, no one deserves death in the series more, book or show, than Littlefinger does…and I personally suspect he’ll be killed by the hands of Lady Stoneheart, but that’s just me.
4. What role does Lady Stoneheart play? The Iron Islanders? The Dornish?
Lady Stoneheart, the Iron Islanders, and the Dornish all seem to have roles of their own to play, but what the overall impact of any of these groups will have is still up for debate.
5. Who will rule Winterfell when this is over?
Assuming all the remaining Stark children survive the series, who gets Winterfell? Arya and Sansa are older, but they’re girls. Bran may never return from above the Wall. Does that mean Rickon Stark will be Warden of the North?
6. How hard will the fall of the Boltons be?
Both Roose and Ramsay have it coming. Ramsay may be the only person in the books with more cartoonish villainy going for him than Joffrey did. Do they die with a bang or a whimper? Joffrey was a bit of a whimper all told. The readers almost certainly want to see Ramsay of all people suffer. The series might give us some justice of a sort then.
7. Who are the other two heads of the dragon from Daenerys’ vision?
Daenerys will have two associates, presumably one to ride each of her other dragons. Who will the other two be? Arya? Tyrion? They’re both on the correct continent at present. Jon Snow? Aegon? Someone else? Do they need to be related to the Targaryens?
8. What happened to Ned and Howland Reed when they attempted to rescue Lyanna Stark?
Only Ned and Howland know what it was that happened during that rescue, and Lyanna made Ned make her a promise before she died. What was it? Is it related to the next one?
9. Who is Jon Snow’s mother?
The best hint that Snow didn’t die when he was stabbed by the other brothers of the Night’s Watch is that his narrative, the mystery of his birth, has not been solved yet. Even if Jon is dead, that mystery needs to be solved given how much has been invested in that answer by the narrative. Fan theory speculates that Rhaegar and Lyanna are his true parents, and that could theoretically make Jon the true heir to the Iron Throne. He wouldn’t have been the first Brother of the Night’s Watch to have that as a possibility.
Of course, what we really want to know is…
10. What do the White Walkers want?
The series’ Big Bads seem to be these guys. They have a language of their own and presumably a culture. They’re back. Why? Is it because of the return of magic to this world? Does the Wall stop them? What do they want? They must want something, and it seems doubtful they’re going to be satisfied with just the land north of the Wall.
11. Will the Wall fall?
Mance Rayder claims to have had a horn that could bring down the Wall. Does he? Will it?
12. What’s the deal with Patchface?
Stannis’ really odd court jester freaks Melisandre out. Why? He survived a drowning. Is he an incarnation for the Iron Islanders’ Drowned God?
13. For that matter, what’s the deal with Melisandre?
George R.R. Martin says she is the most misunderstood character in the series. Is she on the right side? She does tend to burn people at the stake. How good are her visions?
14. What will become of Stannis’ family? Or the Lannister children?
They’re probably not going to be ruling over anything when this is all over. Stannis probably won’t survive the series himself. But what of his wife and daughter? Tommen and Myrcella? These characters are relatively blameless for everything that happens. Should they be punished for their parents’ sins, or will the cycle be broken somehow?
15. Who will rule the seven kingdoms?
The TV show is clearly setting up Daenerys. But they also clearly set up Ned Stark as the series hero. The books have invested a lot of time in her. It would be weird for it to amount to nothing. If not her, then who?