We’re in uncharted territory on Game of Thrones. There are no books to work from — even George R.R. Martin might be surprised with what’s happening on the HBO series — and things could get confusing. To help you out, after every new episode, our Thrones experts will answer your six most pressing questions.
1. Valar Morghulis! Was that a new record for the most people killed during a Game of Thrones season finale?
Josh: The highest Game of Thrones body count is typically one week before the season finale, in episode nine. That’s when the Battle of the Blackwater was fought, and the Red Wedding coated Walder Frey’s hall with Stark blood, and the Wildlings fought the Night’s Watch, and Drogon set fire to the Sons of the Harpy in Daznak’s Pit, and, well, you remember what happened last week. This was no typical season, though, and “The Winds of Winter” was no typical finale. I can’t find a definitive guide with the corpse count for every episode, but this one claims the biggest finale death toll came last season, when Stannis Baratheon, Meryn Trant, and Myrcella Baratheon, among four other “major” characters, were murdered, including Jon Snow (yeah, about that…).
“Winds” put that number to shame.
Margaery, Loras, and Mace Tyrell were blown up, as were the High Sparrow and Lancel and Kevan Lannister; Grand Maester Pycelle was stabbed by “little birds”; King Tommen Baratheon committed suicide; and Walder Frey ate his sons, Goofus and Doofus, then had his throat cut by Arya. That’s a whole lot of grisly murder, even for Game of Thrones. Which one was your favorite!?
Ryan: Tommen jumping to his death was definitely the most powerful. For all the wuss moves he pulled over the past season, I still can’t help but feel for the kid as he carefully took off his crown and then fell from a window, Bran-style, without hesitation. It’s as if he wanted to avoid any further havoc being wrought on account of his poor leadership, and plunging to his death seemed like the completely obvious solution. It’s probably also the only move he made as king that was actually his own. He went from being a pawn of Tywin to Cersei to the High Sparrow, never truly in power and never being able to make anything happen. You could see how helpless he felt over the course of the season, and it was only in death that he finally got to make his own choice rather than being controlled by others.