Time is running out on “Game of Thrones” Season 6, with only two episodes remaining before fans have to spend months speculating about the fate of Westeros. HBO has been even more secretive than usual about both the penultimate episode and the season finale, but there are plenty of storylines that need to be advanced before the curtain falls on this season.
Warning: “Game of Thrones” Season 6 spoilers ahead.
The broad strokes in “Game of Thrones” Season 6, episode 9, “Battle of the Bastards,” are easier to predict than those in the finale. The episode title and trailer point to the highly anticipated fight between House Bolton and Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) on the one side and House Stark and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) on the other side. Series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have called the coming battle the show’s biggest yet as the two forces fight for control of the North. Adding to the attractiveness of the installment is the news that director Miguel Sapochnik, who helmed the excellent “Hardhome,” directed “Battle of the Bastards.”
House Stark is not in a position of strength. Its army is limited to the Wildlings, a few men from House Mormont and a smattering of troops from a few minor houses. The Vale’s army is at the side of Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen) while House Manderly is absent. Reinforcements from House Tully are not coming in the wake of Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) successfully ending the siege of Riverrun.
Sansa Stark’s (Sophie Turner) fear of losing the battle led her to send a raven to somebody, so there should be some resolution about the identity of the recipient. It’s likely she sent a letter to Littlefinger explaining her predicament and how he was supposed to protect her. Sansa knows Littlefinger has an ulterior motive, but probably figures it is best to deal with that after House Bolton is defeated.
Ramsay must be feeling pretty confident. He defeated Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) in battle; killed his father, Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton), to seize power; and has an important hostage in Rickon Stark (Art Parkinson). It’s been a long time since so many Starks have been in the same location, but it’s uncertain whether Rickon will reunite with his older sister and Jon.
It’s hard to see Jon losing the battle against Ramsay, but there could be a few sad deaths along the way. Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) and Melisandre (Carice van Houten) also will be at the scene. And if you can’t wait until Sunday, there are some spoilers out there that reveal what could be the entire timeline of the confrontation.
It’s possible “Battle of the Bastards” could focus on one particular location, much like the “Blackwater” episode in “Game of Thrones” Season 2. The huge fight would wrap up the North storyline, and the installment may even have some time to focus on the White Walker threat or what’s happening at Castle Black.
With the North out of the way, the extended “Game of Thrones” Season 6 finale can spend its time in King’s Landing and Meereen, wrapping up the storylines there. Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) can’t choose trial by combat, which could lead to some desperate decisions in “The Winds of Winter.” Her aside with Qyburn (Anton Lesser) about what his little birds have learned could involve hidden stores of wildfire throughout King’s Landing. Cersei could use that to destroy the Great Sept of Baelor, but there could also be some unintended consequences of such a plan. Knowing Cersei, anticipate plenty of violence and death. And knowing “Game of Thrones,” expect the possibility of a shocking death taking place to close out the season.
Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is back in Meereen with her dragon, Drogon. With the Great Masters attacking the city from ships, the Sons of the Harpy are probably doing the same within its walls. However, Daenerys recruited a Dothraki army to combat her foes. With this threat out of the way, it could set up her plan to travel to Westeros. Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) and a fleet are in nearby Volantis, so they could also make an appearance in the “Game of Thrones” Season 6 finale. As for Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk), he may just have to wait to do anything of importance until next season.
With the three major storylines out of the way, that would leave Jaime, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), as well as Dorne. Jaime could arrive at King’s Landing in the aftermath of Cersei’s wildfire plan. Arya may have had her last scene this season already, although there could be a brief cameo appearance showing her in a new city. And Sam may have to wait until “Game of Thrones” Season 7, when the White Walkers become a big threat to Westeros. Dorne hasn’t been seen since the first episode of “Game of Thrones” Season 6, so it could be nice to bookend the season with a Dornish appearance.
It’s unclear what happens next with Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann) and the Brotherhood Without Banners. A fight between the Hound and Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) is unlikely to happen in “Game of Thrones” Season 6. But with the reappearance of the Brotherhood Without Banners, many fans have speculated Lady Stoneheart will finally be seen somewhere around the Riverlands.
A visit to the Tower of Joy would be a great way to end “Game of Thrones” Season 6. Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is safe with Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle), which could lead to another flashback to the moments after a young Ned Stark (Robert Aramayo) and Howland Reed (Leo Woodruff) killed Arthur Dayne (Luke Roberts). The young Ned could find a dying Lyanna Stark who has just given birth to Jon Snow.
The conclusion of “Game of Thrones” could happen sooner than expected by fans. Based on comments made by the showrunners, its Season 7 may have just seven episodes and its Season 8 might have only six. This means there could be 15 episodes left after this season, which is even sadder than all the shocking “Game of Thrones” deaths combined.