(Spoiler alert: this article contains information on the major plot developments of the season finale The Winds of Winter.)

Winter has finally come. The very exciting sixth season of Game of Thrones has come to a quite literally explosive end. It has been an extremely satisfying season for the HBO series, with more than a fair share of brutal murders, plot twists, betrayals, alliances, dragons, ships, and an unforgettable battle.

The season was full of revelations and did a lot for general plot development. One of the most important turns in the season finale was the long-awaited truth about the parentage of Jon Snow.
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‘The Winds of Winter’ season finale teaser.

The episode The Winds of Winter gave millions of fans around the world a chance to punch the air and cry out a loud and resounding “I told you so!” From the beginning, we were told that Jon Snow is the illegitimate son of Ned Stark of Winterfell – something that wasn’t easy to believe once you got to know the good old honourable Ned. The finale confirmed that Jon is actually the son of Eddard’s sister, Lyanna, and Rhaeger Targaryen. Lyanna was kidnapped (or so the stories go) by Rhaeger and kept captive at the Tower of Joy for over a year. This is where young Ned Stark finds his sister, half-dead after childbirth. She hands over her infant son to her brother, asking him to protect the child by hiding his real identity from the usurpers and enemies of House Targaryen. This makes Jon the “Song of Ice and Fire” – a Stark and a Targaryen.

This theory, called L+R=J, puts the entire conflict of George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series in context, placing Jon Snow just where we want him to be – at the centre of the chaos and the action. Crucial to the plot as it may be, this is in no way the only fan theory doing the rounds about Game of Thrones. The books and television show are so rich with content that there are hundreds of fan theories, a few of which have come true. Some are bizarre, and many are yet to unfold. Here is our pick of speculations that braved the test of ice and fire, others that were too strange to be taken seriously, and those that we hope find their way to George RR Martin.

Jon Snow lives When Jon Snow was stabbed to death by his fellow Brothers of the Night’s Watch at the end of season 5, no one could believe that he was gone for good. This was as much out of loyalty to Snow as it was due to the innumerable fan theories that surrounded his death. Some believed he “warged” into his dire wolf Ghost, saving a part of himself by transferring his consciousness into the body of the animal. Others believed he might come back as a White Walker. In the end, it was the mystic Melisandre who brought him back from the dead.

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‘Battle of the Bastards’.

The Hound who turned good One of the most ruthless killers in Westeros, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane was left to die by Arya Stark after his defeat at the hands of Brienne of Tarth. Fans hoped that the cynical chicken-eating fighter was alive and living as the Gravedigger character from the books, who turned towards the faith of the Septon who saved him. That is exactly what happened, until the Brotherhood without Banners murdered his friends. He is killing again, and could very well lead us to his much awaited duel, called Clegane Bowl, with his brother, the unbeatable Mountain.

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‘The Hound’.

Meera Reed is Jon Snow’s twin sister Convincing for a while, this theory has been thrown off by the last episode of season 6. The theory claimed that Lyanna Stark gave birth to two children, a boy and a girl. As Howland Reed was the only person with Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy, it was assumed that he adopted the girl, as Ned took the boy home to Winterfell. But by revealing an only child in the finale, the series has saved itself from a very Luke and Leia situation.

Bran Stark and Meera Reed in ‘The Winds of Winter’.
Bran Stark and Meera Reed in ‘The Winds of Winter’.

Hodor is the God of the White Walkers and an agent of evil Fans can be cruel. Many speculated that the gentle giant was anything but gentle or kind. It is said that the Great Other, who is the enemy of the Lord of Light, must never be named – just like Hodor who was never known by his name, but only by the one word he repeatedly uttered (and we painfully discovered why). Also, “Hod” is the name of the Norse god of everything cold and dark, the god of the Winter.

Fans also conjectured that Daario Naharis, Daenerys’s lover, was actually Euron Greyjoy and/or Benjen Stark, Roose Bolton was an immortal vampire, and Dragon Glass, the element that can kill White Walkers and was used to create them in the first place, is in fact dragon poop.

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‘Hodor’.

Bran Stark drove the ‘Mad King’ Aerys Targaryen mad By witnessing the incidents at the Tower of Joy, Bran Stark, the new Three-eyed Raven, has established that he can travel through time. At one point, he called out to his father Ned Stark, who seemed to hear him through time and space, hinting at a possibility of being able to alter the past. The ink may not be as dry and smudge-proof as the old Third-eye Raven had told him. It is possible that Bran’s whispers to the Mad King drove him mad. Bran speaking to Aerys through an unreal dimension, telling him about the White Walkers, could be the reason the Mad King kept yelling “Burn them all”.

Bran built the Wall Bran has seen how the White Walkers were created. He has seen what they can do. He knows the dangers that the realm faces when the proverbial and inevitable winter will set upon the land. This is why he built the big wall that guards Westeros from Wildings and all that lies beyond. The wall is not just a big unbreakable structure of ice; it is constructed with magic that guards the realm against its biggest enemy. Incidentally, Bran is said to have been named after his ancestor Bran the Builder, the architect of the wall.

Tyrion is not a Lannister The last words of Lord Tywin Lannister as his son, Tyrion, killed him were “You are no son of mine!” While the contempt the man felt for his son was clear from the start, there are many theories that there may have been more truth in the statement than we’ve given the old hateful man credit for.

According to the theory, Tyrion Lannister is the son of Joanna Lannister (Tywin’s wife) and Aerys Targaryen. It is interesting to note that Tyrion is fascinated by from a very young age and extremely good around large fire-breathing dragons. Also, as per a prophecy that was revealed to Daenerys, “The dragon has three heads”. Jon and Daenerys are the two living Targaryens we’re now aware of. The third could well be Tyrion. And just how incredible that would be. Tyrion is the most intelligent, well-intentioned and misunderstood character in the series.

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‘Tyrion’s breakdown’.

The next season will be out in 2017. That’s a full year to dream up the most unbelievable fan theories. Since the television series is no longer based on the books, the realm is open to your wildest imagination.

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‘Inside the season finale’.