(Warning: The following contains major plot SPOILERS for the most recently screened episode of Game of Thrones — Season 6, Episode 8. Proceed with whatever level of caution your friendly neighborhood Three-Eyed Raven suggests is wise.)
Now, after a week of frenzied speculation off the back of last week's eyebrow-raising episode, it's something of a relief to finally have some answers — and, of course, a whole lot more questions. That, after all, is the true, water-cooler conversation-sparking genius of Game of Thrones — its ability to get us to obsess over its every detail.
And, so, without further ado, let's take a look at...
7 Things You Might Have Missed On Game Of Thrones Season 6, Episode 8
(And note, this is where those aforementioned SPOILERS begin in earnest.)
7. 'What's West Of Westeros?'
Now, if we're being literal about this, the best guess as to exactly what's west of Westeros is a giant Pacific Ocean-style sea, with the land of Asshai on the other side of it. There's been some speculation in the novels that there's a mysterious landmass out there somewhere, but as far as Game of Thrones the show is concerned, there most likely isn't anything west of Westeros.
Except, except, except — as something for Arya to speculate on, the idea of a place further west than Westeros is likely intended to tell us that everyone's favorite junior assassin is beginning to think a little more outside the box than in previous episodes. If/when Arya returns to Westeros, she may well not be playing quite the same game as everyone else.
6. 'You're Shit At Dying, You Know That?'
Now, the Hound may not be overly impressed by some of his vengeance-related victims' approach to death, but he himself is one to talk. With this week's episode featuring several characters who've narrowly dodged death, or been outright resurrected (the Hound, Arya, Beric Dondarrion, the Mountain), there's a pretty solid argument that the whole of Westeros is pretty "shit at dying."
Especially Jon Snow. And, just maybe, a certain Lady Who Shall Not Be Named (whose return could well spell trouble for Brienne, seeing as she's now in the permanent possession of a notably Lannister-themed sword).
5. 'That Old Rumor You Told Me About'
Now, fans' dreams of Clegane Bowl might have been dealt a cruel blow by Tommen's pronouncement that Cersei would no longer be receiving a trial by combat, but it seems that another popular fan theory could just be making its way into the show. This part is potentially extra spoiler-ific, though, so click the box below to read on.
Qyburn's reference to "that old rumor you told me about" is surely a sign that a return of the wildfire plot is afoot. The Mad King, you see, once hid a whole lot of wildfire (the stuff that once blew up Stannis's royal ambitions on the Blackwater) around King's Landing — and it seems Cersei may just be planning on blowing up the city.
Time to get excited for Episode 10's big finish.
4. 'The Things We Do For Love'
Aside from being a neat reference to Jaime's classic line (delivered alongside his shocking defenestration of Bran back in the show's very first episode), there's a lot of emotional resonance to the idea of doing things for love in Westeros. It's certainly how Jaime justifies his often horrifying actions, and will likely be how Edmure Tully keeps himself sane in the wake of his, but it's also often something more.
Jaime letting Brienne escape (itself a nod to his own escape from the Starks) is a perfect example of this. He does awful things in the name of his love of Cersei, but is willing to act against his own expressed interest (returning to her as quickly as possible) when it comes to doing the right thing for those he cares for. Helping the likes of Tyrion and Brienne isn't any less "for love" than his dastardly conquest of Riverrun; it's simply not seen as such.
3. 'Lots Of Horrible Shit In This World Gets Done For Something Larger Than Ourselves'
The Hound certainly has a point here — one that the thousands of victims of the show's "noble causes" would likely second — but that doesn't mean that Game of Thrones' leading characters aren't going to keep doing that "horrible shit" in the name of something larger.
A case in point? There's a distinct possibility that Varys could be sailing off to do something distinctly disreputable (and taken directly from the books). Y'see...
In the books, Varys wasn't actually in Meereen with Tyrion. Instead, he spent a long, long time hiding in the bowels of King's Landing before, finally, revealing himself and killing Kevan Lannister. Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion's uncle had managed to bring some stability to the realm (as seems possible in the show) and Varys, a devoted Targaryen supporter, couldn't allow that to continue. It seems we could now see that moment in the forthcoming Episode 10 — or, perhaps, an even more shocking variation on it.
Another likely candidate for the closing scene of Season 6, perhaps?
2. 'Cold Winds Are Rising In The North'
It's been speculated elsewhere that the Hound might just be heading north — something that's still far from set in stone — which could yet have far-reaching consequences, especially considering the fact that this season's loose chronological order could allow Clegane and the Brotherhood Without Banners to arrive in the north during next week's episode. That could well turn the tide of the imminent "Battle of the Bastards" and the fight against the surely impending White Walker hordes — while perhaps putting paid to both the long-awaited Clegane Bowl and the idea of the Brotherhood being involved with a certain character from the novels who's yet to appear (but still just about might).
On the plus side, though, if such a (mildly) unexpected storyline does indeed happen, then we might also be set to see something even better than the long-rumored Clegane Bowl: The Hound telling Jon Snow to stop moping around, while eating chicken in a menacing fashion. After all, as he reminded us this week, he really, really does like chicken.
1. 'A Girl Is Arya Stark Of Winterfell, And I'm Going Home'
Rarely has a grammatically questionable sentence brought so much joy to the hearts of millions as Arya's did this week, with our dreams of a mass Stark reunion finally growing closer to actually (just maybe) coming true. While Arya's escape from the amoral, nihilist face-robbing clutches of the Faceless Men is exciting enough on its own, there's also now a very big question that needs answering: Just how far ahead of the rest of the story is Arya's plot thread?
After all, if it turns out that we've been watching events a few weeks in the show's past, there's always the chance we could see Arya return to Westeros in the season finale. Although where — and with precisely what purpose — very much remains to be seen.
The biggest question now?
What do you think?