There comes a time once a year in the life of a Game of Thrones fan, where they must sit down and take stock of reality. Wild mass guessing and pet fan theories have always been a staple of both the Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire fandoms. Unfortunately, not all paths to the endgame can be true, and with the end game in sight for the men behind the Iron Throne, red herrings have been busted right and left. Game of Thrones Season 6 has been the graveyard where fan theories go to die, but what theories are still viable? Here are a few theories fans lost, and one that may still prove true.
The Faceless Men. Think back to the first season of Game of Thrones. A time when everyone was innocent, no one yet had blood on their hands, and everyone kept their heads and skin. Ned Stark hired a dancemaster for Arya, who was, in fact, The First Sword of Braavos, Syrio Forel. When viewers last saw Syrio, Ser Meryn Trant and a group of soldiers were advancing on him while he gave Arya time to escape. A short time later, Arya met Jaquen H’ghar and her path toward becoming a Faceless Man was set. Fans have long suspected that Syrio and Jaquen were the same person, but according to GQ, this theory has always been more supported by the novels than the series. In fact, Game of Thrones seemed to bust it entirely at two points during the series. The first time was last year’s finale, “Mother’s Mercy,” when Jaquen H’ghar apparently drank poison and died. Arya pulled several faces off of Jaquen’s lifeless body, but none of them belonged to Syrio Forel. During last week’s penultimate episode, “Battle of the Bastards,” Jaquen allowed Arya to leave with no mention of a connection between them beyond the Faceless Men. It seems certain that this theory is cold and dead.
Cleganebowl: Game of Thrones has spent much of Season 6 building to Cersei Lannister’s trial. In both the novels and the show, Cersei intended there to be a trial by combat, with Ser Robert Strong (aka The Mountain in zombie form) as her champion. Fans have long suspected that Ser Robert Strong’s opponent would be Sandor Clegane. The powers-that-be behind Game of Thrones teased the theory earlier this season with the return of The Hound. According to Vanity Fair, fan’s hopes were dashed King Tommen Baratheon banned the practice, and the Hound joined with Beric Dondarrion and headed for the North. Sorry, Game of Thrones fans, you’ll have to get hype some other way.
R+L=J: The Game of Thrones fan theory to end all fan theories. The basic idea of this theory is that Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen’s time together, the nature of that time is heavily disputed among characters, did more than lead to a civil war in Westeros, it spawned Jon Snow. There are variations of the theory. Some think Rhaegar and Lyanna had a daughter named Meera. Some think Lyanna bore twins, Jon and Meera. This theory is so ingrained in the fandom that many fans just accept it as fact. So far, neither Game of Thrones nor A Song of Ice and Fire has contradicted it. The question remains, with the end game near and Jon and Daenerys (and her fire-breathing dragons) a continent and an ocean apart, does it matter? Fans will find out for sure during tonight’s finale. One event will either confirm a variant of R+L=J or bust it for good: Bran Stark revisiting the Tower of Joy memory. Bran Stark is confirmed to appear in tonight’s finale, so one way or another, Game of Thrones fans will have one more theory settled.
[Image via HBO]