There are no books to work from on Game of Thrones this season — 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, two resident Thrones experts will answer your five most pressing questions.
1. The Children of the Forest fought alongside the First Men to defeat the White Walkers? Didn’t they create the White Walkers?
Ryan: There’s a lot of history between the Children of the Forest and the First Men going back 12,000 years to when the latter arrived on the shores of Westeros from the East. The first thing they did while settling was cut down large swaths of trees, pissing off the Children and starting a war. The First Men had bronze swords, leather armor, and horses, while the Children had world-shattering magic, which legend says they used to do things like raise the ocean, submerging the land bridge from Dorne to the east and creating the boggy “Neck” that divides the North and South of Westeros.
In season six, Bran traveled back in time with the Three-Eyed Raven and seemed to witness the Children of the Forest creating the first White Walker. They did this by sticking a giant chunk of dragonglass into the beating heart of a First Man. We assume this was sometime during the hundreds of years when the First Men and the Children were warring, but who knows for sure? All history tells us is that peace was eventually made with the Children withdrawing into the deep forests and the First Men promising not to cut down any more weirwood trees. When the Long Night came, the Children and First Men teamed up to drive them back. The Children raised the Wall with magic and the First Men created the Night’s Watch to guard it.
Josh: I realize cave drawings are less interesting than Stark family reunions and giant-ass dragon fights, but Daenerys and Jon’s dimly lit conversation was important. Not only for the history that Ryan just outlined, but because — on a purely practical level — Dragonstone isn’t very big and Dany is just finding out about this cave now? I realize ruling from an uncomfortable-looking throne and asking Missandei about her sex life is time consuming and all, but the Mother of Dragons could have spent a few minutes exploring her ancestral home, which is covered in freaking drawings of the Night King. Unless, of course, we find out in the series finale that Jon snuck into the cave holding a bucket of chalk and made them himselfthe day before, thereby changing the course of the series and the history of Westeros.
Jon is at his happiest when he’s in a cave…
2. Why was so much attention paid to Arya’s dagger?
Ryan: The dagger could be important for a number of reasons. First off, it’s Valyrian steel, which is never a bad thing to have this close to White Walker territory. But its history as the weapon used to try and assassinate Bran could be even more relevant. Who sent the would-be killer is still shrouded in mystery, but if you had to make a wild guess, would you not suspect Littlefinger? Lord Baelish was already working hard to turn the Starks and Lannisters against each other at that point.