In the season six finale of the series that has seemingly divided the world into two camps – those that follow the show religiously and everyone else – the great battle between the living and the dead, fire and ice, draws nearer. Jon Snow has taken back Winterfell from the psychopathic head of the house of flayed men, Ramsay Bolton – oh, what a treat it was to behold his gruesome demise – with what we believed was his half-sister Sansa at his side. However, the lineage of the former LordCommander of the Night’s Watch is finally made clear. Initially believed to be the bastard of Eddard Stark and a random bar maiden, Snow’s real heritage as the son of Ned’s sister Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen is confirmed. This is a grand revelation in that it makes Jon’s claim to the Iron Throne much more substantial and, perhaps more importantly, makes him a nephew to Daenerys Targaryen, as well as a Stark – another clash of fire and ice.
Daenerys, now aided by her newly-proclaimed Hand of the Queen, Tyrion Lannister – whose lineage is also questionable considering his father’s dying oath that Tyrion is not his son – has amassed her army and is heading to Westeros with her fleet and three dragons to claim the Seven Kingdoms. Surely, this confluence of bloodlines and ambitions – Dany’s desire to rule, along with the greater goal of surviving the Long Winter and the ever-growing militia of White Walkers that comes with it – will find aunt and nephew uniting not only for the right to reign but to remain among the living. Dany, as the mother of dragons, is sure to be a great asset in the oncoming war of ice versus fire, particularly as other than the dozen or so swords of Valyrian steel left in the world, dragonglass (and presumably dragon’s fire) is the only thing that can kill a White Walker or their monarch, the Night’s King.
Also, as Dany has left behind her former suitor Daario Naharis and much dialogue is paid to the building of alliances via marriage, Jon Snow, if his heritage is not made known quickly enough, may find himself the husband of his aunt, although that wouldn’t be too absurd or incestuous for Game of Thrones. Not by a long shot.
Meanwhile in King’s Landing, the suicide of Tommen and the immolation of his queen Margaery and the Faith by wildfire – perhaps another weapon in the battle against the frozen hordes of zombies – propels Cersei to the Iron Throne as the sole monarch. While her children were the supposed inspiration for all of her dastardly deeds, with no one around to comfort or love her save for the father of her children and brother, Jaime, there’s no telling what Cersei is capable of now. Perhaps, with her children gone, she may find some inkling of compassion and reason, especially in the face of a common enemy of White Walkers, although it’s unlikely. One thing’s for certain, between the new King of the North Jon Snow, Danaerys and her army of Unsullied, Dothraki and Ironborn and House Tyrell, Cersei’s demise will come as no surprise should it transpire in season seven.
Whether the ruling houses can put aside their differences and the perpetual infighting and unite against the shared threat of White Walkers will really be the test of their survival. This cause, the struggle that could unite them all, will hopefully be the great equalizer. To draw non-fictional parallels, if and when the human race is threatened by a greater enemy than itself, say climate change or an extraterrestrial attack, the gravity of our situation should work as a fulcrum for bonding us together, from the most repugnant fascist to the peace-seeking pacifist. Whether we are capable of doing so is another issue and one that the writing team of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, as they have officially taken over the duties for the show from George R. R. Martin, are sure to expound on in the most entertaining way.
For, if we cannot take anything away from Game of Thrones other than a riveting way to kill an hour every Sunday, then we, too, just as the century-old civilizations that seem to crumble weekly, are sure to meet our mutual demise once we face a threat greater than ISIS, an occupying western force or Donald Trump. The polar ice caps are melting, the climate is rapidly fluctuating, species are dying off at a rate that rivals the extinction of the dinosaurs – the writing is on the wall. If you think that Martin, Benioff and Weiss are playing games, you’re missing out on the greater lesson and may perish just like the myriad of kingdoms that are wiped from the series’ history in the blink of an eye, the twist of a blade or the slow melting of ice.