Those of you who have been following along over the past month or so know that I’ve just finished reading George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I did this partly to immunize myself against spoilers for the show, but also because well, they’re really damn good books.
Now that I’ve reached the end, I wanted to take a look back and discuss with you readers some of the lingering questions that accompany finishing the books, and boy, are there plenty to choose from. Below you’ll find a mix of mysteries and cliffhangers that I found whirling around my head as the books ended. I think I’ve got a handle on a few of them, but I’d love to hear your own thoughts below.
Do I really have to say “spoilers ahead”? Alright, SPOILERS AHEAD!
Is Jon Snow Dead?
No. Hell no.
Well, that was easy.
But seriously, I know that we saw Jon Snow go down in a hail of knives at the end of A Dance with Dragons, and I know that George RR Martin is known for killing major, beloved characters, but there’s simply no way. Jon Snow is FAR too important to the story to be killed off, and Martin is ALSO known for acting like he’s killing characters, when really they survive (looking at you, Stoneheart).
The way I see it, there are three options here. One, Snow is injured, but saved as his Wilding friends rush to his aide and kill all his traitorous brothers. He spends at least half of the next book recovering.
Two, Snow dies but manages to warg himself into Ghost for a while until someone figures out a way to get his body back.
Three, Melisandre uses her magical Lord of Light powers to resurrect Snow the way Thoros did for Beric Donadarrion and Catelyn. This seems like the most likely option to me, given that it would make the most sense and probably be the easiest to write.
Or you know, he could be dead. And that would suck.
Who is Jon Snow’s Mother?
One of the major reasons I’m convinced that Snow isn’t dead is because we haven’t yet solved the mystery of who his mother is. You can’t kill him before answering that! And what would the point be of solving it after he’s dead when he is no longer relevant to the plot?
I’ve read that when showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss met with George RR Martin, in order to seal the deal with HBO, they had to answer the question of who Jon Snow’s mother was. The idea was that a true fan paying close enough attention would figure it out. And I believe I’ve passed his test as well.
It was “Promise me, Ned” that did it for me, all the way back in book one? Ned Stark has too much honor to ever father a bastard, so whose child is Jon Snow? That would be his sister, Lyanna. It perfectly explains the Stark resemblance the book goes on about at great length, but then who was the father?
I thought that Snow might be another one of Robert’s bastards, giving him some vague claim to the throne, but now I’m all but convinced that he’s actually the son of Rhaegar Targaryen back when he took Lyanna from Robert, forcing him to fight to try and get her back. That means that he’s got some of the dragon in him, and does indeed tie him to the throne, as theoretically he should have a better claim than Dany or Aegon, though I’m not sure how it works with bastards. And also that leads to…
Who is Azor Ahai Reborn?
If the above theory is true, it stands to reason that Jon Snow could actually be Azor Ahai reborn, instead of Stannis. Melisandre sees Snow in her visions, he dreams of fighting with a red sword, and he has the blood of the dragon which might help as well.
Other contenders include Stannis, though he’s always been presented as a not quite right version of Azor Ahai with his sword that doesn’t emit heat. Dany is also in the running as she meets many of the same criteria. Even Victarion Greyjoy has the smoking hand wound that fulfills some of the prophecies. But I think it has to be Jon. What that means for the great story, I’m not sure.
Who is Ser Robert Strong?
This one seems a bit easy. I’m not exactly sure what Qyburn was doing in the black cells all that time, but the mute giant who just joined the Kingsguard HAS to be the resurrected corpse of the Mountain.
What I don’t know is if he still has his head attached, or what Qyburn was doing with all the others that were sent down to him. What sort of magic is he using to bring the Mountain back to life? Somehow I don’t think he serves the Lord of Light. This feels like something…else.
Is The Hound Really Dead?
I feel compelled to mention The Hound here, as it never really sat right with me the way he simply died of his wounds offscreen after being such a major player previously. No, I’m not confused about the raider who was going around wearing his helmet for a while. I’m just wondering if the actual Hound is really dead. I have no evidence to say otherwise, but this was just weirdly handled to me. I’m also wondering how Berric Dondarrion finally died.
What Was the Complete Story Behind Joffrey’s Death?
Perhaps this was already explained fully, but let me just put forward where I stand in terms of how I understand this. Joffrey’s death was cooked up by the Tyrells and Petyr Baelish. Littlefinger gave Sansa the Tyrell’s poisoned hairnet which either Olenna or Maergary herself used to poison Joffrey.
What I don’t understand was why the Tyrells would risk killing the king when Maergary had just become queen. From what I understand, they maybe wanted to kill Joffrey because they knew he would treat Maergary like shit, and figured she could marry Tommen who is much easier to control? Still, seems like a pretty big risk for a family that would have had a lot of power anyway.
Is this the full answer to what happened, or is there more to uncover? And when will anyone else figure out this is what happened? I thought Cersei suspected, but did she ever truly know? I suppose she’s had other things to worry about lately.
What Really Happened to Loras at Dragonstone?
I still don’t know if this is actually a mystery, or if I simply misread some passages in the book. The story is that Loras got grievously wounded trying to take Dragonstone, and is currently dying from his wounds somewhere far away. But in one passage, it’s said that Dragonstone was NOT taken, and later, at the end of Dragons, Loras is mentioned (“But her brother…”) but it’s quickly hushed up.
Is it just me, or is something fishy going on here? Or is he really injured and dying and I’m just being paranoid because this series is laden with so many other mysteries?
Did Ramsay Bolton Really Smash Stannis’ Army?
Right before Jon Snow is knifed, he gets a letter from Ramsay Bolton saying that he’s broken Stannis’ siege of Winterfell, and the king’s men’s’ heads now adorn the wall. Snow is about to hunt him down when he’s betrayed.
But is this true? It was weird reading that major of a development in a letter considering we spent SO much time both inside and outside Winterfell, yet we seemed to have left right as the actual battle took place. If this is true, how did Theon and fake Asha get away? And is Stannis dead? Unless I’m mistaken, the letter didn’t actually say he was killed. If he was, that would be yet another major offscreen death that wouldn’t sit well with me. But I’m guessing he’s alive, for now. With Ramsay there’s no telling how many body parts he has, though.
Who Has Infiltrated the Citadel and Why?
This was the mystery at the end of A Feast for Crows. A man kills a maester (junior maester?) at the Citadel using a Faceless Men poison coin. It’s been remarked that the way he’s described actually mimics Jaquen H’gar. If it is him, he’s now assumed the man’s identity.
I have a hunch the reason for this infiltration has to do with the item mentioned buried in the Citadel that reportedly is the thing that killed the dragons. Was it a book? Was that made clear? I’m not sure, and this is still pretty murky.
What Do You Make of This Coming Clash of Gods?
It’s taken a while for me to finally understand the giant overarching plot of ALL these books. The title, A Song of Ice and Fire, should indicate it, but perhaps I’m just dumb. What we apparently see here is a pending clash between R’hallor, the Lord of Light and his foe, an unnamed god of darkness and cold and death. I believe it’s who the Faceless Men serve, and perhaps I’m mistaken, but didn’t someone mention that that the seven were all different facets of one singular god? Could it be this one?
I’m not quite sure who the “good guy” is here between these two. We’ve seen some truly messed up stuff done in the name of the Lord of Light, but then again if the god of cold is responsible for shadowy assassins and White Walkers, he’s not exactly sounding like a hero either.
This will be the ultimate showdown in the end. Light vs. Dark, Life vs. Death, Fire vs. Ice. I hope that means some dragons will be barbequing White Walkers.
Any other mysteries I’ve missed?