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The biggest questions left after this week’s Game of Thrones

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Next week’s episode might be a big deal, just guessing

HBO

The second episode of Game of Thrones’ final season brought an impressive amount of emotional weight to what ended up being another hour of table-setting — but who cares, when so many of the show’s subplots pay off as the Avengers of Westeros all end up at Winterfell?

That said, spending two hours across the first two episodes of the season setting up what promises to be an epic battle next week leaves us with a large number of questions about what all this means for the future. And I’m going to start with probably the most pressing question any character on the show is currently facing.

And it’s kind of a basic one: I’m of course referring to the question of ...

How will they actually destroy the Night King?

There is a plan in place for the battle we’ll see in next week’s episode: Bran will stay in the Godswood of Winterfell and the Night King will know he’s there, because the Night King always knows where Bran is. Since the Night King’s goal is to erase the world of man to bring “endless night,” killing the Three-Eyed Raven would erase the history of the world, so using Bran as bait to draw out the Night King seems like a solid plan.

This is all assuming that Bran has an accurate read on the situation, however, and he might not. But that’s a much more complicated discussion for another time.

So they have an idea of how to get the Night King into the open, but then what? Dragonglass is an effective weapon against the wights and the White Walkers, but will it take down the Night King himself? Will dragon fire do the job? Even Bran isn’t sure, since “no one has ever tried it before.”

Right now, everyone at Winterfell is operating based on the faith that one of these options will be able to take down the Night King, but no one is sure. It’s not like they have much choice about fighting at Winterfell at this point, but it’s still a huge question that everyone seems to be mostly guessing about.

Well, except for Arya, because we still don’t know the answer to ...

What does Arya’s javelin do?

Arya gave Gendry the plans for a very specific weapon, and it seemed to take him a decent amount of time to create it, but we don’t quite know what it is. We see it during this episode, and it seems to be a sort of javelin that is tipped with dragonglass, but why would that require specific plans? And why did those plans seem to show a weapon that could break into two pieces?

Gendry’s response also made it seem as if this was more than just a general weapon order. “What do you need something like this for?” he asked her during last week’s episode. He’s familiar with basic weaponry — being a blacksmith is literally his job — so that doesn’t seem like a question he would ask if she just wanted a standard spear. Whatever that thing does, it’s likely going to be something special.

At least we know that Arya will be able to hit her target with it; this episode contained multiple scenes where she proved she’s lethal with ranged weapons. That detail isn’t much of a surprise, but it was certainly driven home visually tonight.

Does giant’s milk actually make you stronger?

If so, I might have just answered my own first question.

Can someone please acknowledge Ghost’s presence?

Fans have been asking about Ghost, Jon Snow’s direwolf, since his last appearance on the show back in season 6. Ghost finally returns during this episode, and he’s basically ignored. I’m not even sure most fans will notice him the first time they watch the episode.

Here he is, in the scene where Jon and Sam have a conversation in the dark.

Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2 - Ghost, Sam, and Jon HBO

This is kind of a big deal, and Ghost is just there waiting to be noticed. Waiting for someone to pet him or something. His presence is pretty subtle, so I’ve included this painstakingly photoshopped image to help you see him.

Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2 - Ghost, Sam, and Jon, with an arrow pointing at Ghost
Ghost.
HBO via Polygon

Maybe you’re still confused, because the show’s writers seemed to be. Here he is again:

Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2 - Ghost, Sam, and Jon, with three arrows pointing at Ghost
Ghost!
HBO

He’s being such a good boy. Can someone please at least say hello to him? This whole thing was so awkward, like Jon was snubbing an ex at a party or something. Ghost deserves better.

Who is going to rule Westeros when this is all over?

The answer will likely be whoever has an honest claim and also survives the next few episodes, but that doesn’t exactly narrow it down.

Three people with a natural claim to the Iron Throne are currently at Winterfell, with two of them telling at least one other character who they are in the latest episode:

  1. Gendry, who is Robert Baratheon’s last living bastard son;
  2. Jon Snow, who is actually Aegon Targaryen, the last living male Targaryen;
  3. Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, first of her name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons.

Two of those characters don’t seem to care that much about the crown, and one has way too many titles, but they’re all going to have to hash it out somehow if more than one of them survive. Fighting over who has the best claim to the throne is what got us into this mess in the first place, after all.

I’m still kind of rooting for Sansa to take over, because so much of this show has been about breaking down tradition to find a better version of the world. That point was made again when Jaime made Brienne a knight, but I’d also like to point out that everyone else is discussing lineage while Sansa is the only character to look at the whole situation and wonder something as basic but important as how they’re all going to eat.

And I also have to ask ...

What is Daenerys going to do now that she knows she’s sleeping with her nephew?

I love how quickly she processes that information and the first thing her brain spits out is “oh shit, he has a claim to the throne.”

Which is important, sure, but it seems like this information has other implications for her personal life based on the fact that she also just told Sansa she loves him.

Will the North ever stop being racist as hell?

I get that Westeros as a whole is facing an existential threat, but maybe the people of the North could be a little less skeptical of anyone who doesn’t look like them? Especially when the Unsullied are part of their best hope at the moment?

Never too late to open your mind a bit, is all I’m saying.