Well, we’ve got about four hours left of the show and a ton of ground to cover. Here’s where we stand (so, spoilers, duh):
The Night King is gone, and so is his army. Beric’s theory from last season was correct.
Some folks died I didn’t expect (Edd, Lyanna Mormont, Beric), but for Edd it almost makes sense: There’s no need for the Night’s Watch anymore. His story is told. Still, I liked Edd and wish they’d let him live.
Some folks I expected to die, didn’t (Jaime, mostly).
I wonder if Syrio and Jaqen also knew what was up with Arya, and guided her for that reason. Did Bran know what she’d do when he gave her that dagger?
I can see Jaqen having a vested interest in stopping the Night King: He’s stealing from the God of Death.
Now, on to the loose strings we have left and what I expect to happen.
The Hound lived. The Mountain (sort of) lives. There’s still a potential show down.
Gendry seems to have lived from the preview (and maybe the dark-ass scenes of the battle).
At least one, maybe two dragons are left. Ghost is in the preview. So here’s my knowledge of the show-universe coming out.
The North is depleted. There’s just no way they have any sort of major fighting force left, other than the men guarding the other houses (and also House Glover, which may be the powerhouse in the North right now). They fought a mini-civil war in the Battle of the Bastards that saw what, a few hundred men survive? Maybe a thousand? Then this buzzsaw.
Dany’s army is significantly weakened. She lost the Dothraki, maybe lost a second dragon. She lost untold numbers of Unsullied. It seems like it was a lot though.
Cersei sits atop a weakened Lannister force but also has the Golden Company.
The Greyjoy’s are split between Yara and Euron, with the latter having the bigger force by far.
The advantage is clearly Cersei’s, from a purely tactical perspective. The wore out North and Dany’s remaining army aren’t a match for the Crown at this point in time.
Now, assuming the Golden Company haven’t been infiltrated by a bunch of Faceless Men who want to help Arya knock off the last two names on her list, there’s still a lot of pieces on the playing field other than these two armies:
– The Riverlands have been through a wringer, but Edmure Tully has a fair claim to be the Lord of the Riverlands as things stand. The Freys are gone. A lot of the Tullys are gone. Edmure and his Frey wife, with a Tully-Frey child, stands atop a potentially strong force. Last we saw him he was alive, and there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t ally with his nieces — Arya and Sansa — against the hated Lannisters. His wife might not like it, but…
– The Knights of the Vale are still out there, as there wasn’t any indication they were at Winterfell that I could see. We last saw Royce refuse to help Littlefinger, but I’m not sure what he’s up to now. Either way there is no reason to think Royce would let Robyn Arryn align with the Lannisters — who were a part of the plot that killed Jon Arryn — versus loyalty to Robyn’s family, the Stark girls. Especially if the icky theory that Robyn will end up married to Sansa holds true.
– While the Sand Snakes are gone, someone has to rule Dorne, and there’s little reason to believe they care for the Lannisters.
– Ditto the above for the Tyrell bannermen.
– Finally, for what bannermen are left in the Stormlands, how many of them might be loyal to Gendry as the future Baratheon Lord? Dany could legitimize him with the stroke of a pen, and Davos might still have connections there. A Stark-Baratheon alliance would seal the deal pretty good.
Basically, Cersei holds the strongest position… unless people unite.
Now, for predictions:
– I still say the Hound kills the Mountain. He telegraphed it last season with the “you know what’s coming” line, and it’s nice and circular and these people love circular (the throwback to “I have a daughter, you have a son” with Arya/Gendry in mind, the circle that dagger has spun in, etc).
– IF Jaime finds a way to die still, Arya could wear his face and wipe out the last person on her list. That said, after last night, I’m having doubts. I mean, really: Arya killing BOTH Big Bads? That’s a stretch.
– If not Arya, Tyrion could kill Cersei somehow or another (or, realistically, Jaime). Tyrion might do it to prove his loyalty to Dany. Maybe he drops the ball big after this episode and has to put on a good show. He’s good at sneaking into and out of cities. He’s also good at getting people to meet with him.
– Jon and Dany are also both younger siblings. Just throwing that out there.
– The Hound is a younger sibling.
– Sansa is a younger sibling.
– Sam is a younger sibling.
– Gilly, too.
– Tormund, Davos, and Grey Worm could be younger. Gendry might not be the first bastard Robert had. Etc, etc, etc.
(Hey, which dragon hatched first?)