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How Shireen Baratheon’s Legacy Led To A Major ‘Game Of Thrones’ Revelation

How Shireen Baratheon’s Legacy Led To A Major ‘Game Of Thrones’ Revelation

Warning: Game of Thrones spoilers ahead.

From the return of a long-departed character to news of an unexpected pregnancy, Season 7 of Game of Thrones continues to slay with the latest episode ‘Eastwatch’. Yet, another huge moment flew under the radar amidst books and a mispronunciation, a major revelation that even the scholarly Samwell Tarly didn’t catch. This moment was brought to us by Gilly, but would not have been possible without Shireen Baratheon and her lasting impact. Let’s first take a look at Gilly’s discovery:

Gilly Uncovers The Real Story Behind R+L=J

As Gilly regaled a frustrated Sam with fun facts like the number of steps in the Citadel and how many windows were in the Great Sept of Baelor, she unwittingly stumbled upon the true story behind Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. The longtime fan theory that Rhaegar and Lyanna were Jon Snow’s parents—R+L=J—was confirmed in the Season 6 finale ‘The Winds of Winter’ via Bran’s vision at the Tower of Joy. But until now audiences still didn’t know the real deal behind Rhaegar and Lyanna. Some claimed Rhaegar kidnapped and raped Lyanna while others spoke of passionate lovers that essentially eloped, their love burning too bright for the Seven Kingdoms. Now, as Gilly tells Sam via the diligent recordings of High Septon Maynard,

“Maynard says here that he issued an annulment for a Prince ‘Ragger’ and remarried him to someone else at the same time in a secret ceremony in Dorne.”

Gilly has come a long way with her reading ability, but her pronunciations are still not perfect. Prince ‘Ragger’ is actually Prince Rhaegar. Gilly thus discovers that the tale of passionate, consensual love between Rhaegar and Lyanna is the true tale. Rhaegar’s marriage to Elia Martell was annulled by this High Septon Maynard who then secretly remarried him. The ‘someone else’ has to be Lyanna based on what is known about the timing of Rhaegar disappearing with Lyanna, the beginning of Robert’s Rebellion, and eventually the confirmation of R+L=J that Bran witnessed in his Tower of Joy vision.

Not only does this put to rest the debate about Rhaegar and Lyanna’s relationship, but it also clarifies that  is not a bastard. Since Lyanna and Rhaegar married, Jon is a legitimate Targaryen child. Had Rhaegar lived to succeed his father Aerys Targaryen—the Mad King—Jon would’ve been Rhaegar’s heir to the Iron Throne. Now by the laws of Westeros and the Targaryen claim, Jon has a better claim to the Iron Throne than his Aunt Daenerys (Aunt Daenerys sounds even weirder than I thought it would).

Brimming with justified frustration and contempt for the Citadel, Sam completely missed this revelation. For both the past and future of Jon Snow and all of Westeros, Gilly’s discovery will be crucial moving forward, though it wouldn’t have happened without Shireen Baratheon.

Shireen’s Lasting Legacy

Shireen’s death is easily one of the most heartbreaking moments in all of . As fans continue to struggle with the loss of the girl both so fiercely intelligent and sweet, Season 7 has provided some closure and comfort through the likes of Gilly and Davos Seaworth. Shireen’s relationship with her parents left much to be desired, yet she formed lovely relationships with Gilly and Davos. Both Gilly and Davos were illiterate, but Shireen taught them how to read. Sam helped Gilly learn to read as well, however, Shireen was also integral to building Gilly’s literacy skills.

Without Shireen, Gilly would’ve never learned to read. Without Gilly knowing how to read, the revelation about Rhaegar and Lyanna and what that means for Jon would currently remain a mystery. On a personal level, Shireen’s teaching has also enriched the relationship between Sam and Gilly. Gilly is now just as capable at sharing obscure, fun facts that broaden one’s perspective of the world. Sam and Gilly’s relationship is therefore more intellectual and just as sweet as ever.

The legacy of Shireen also lives on through Davos. Fans reveled in Davos correcting Jon’s grammar in ‘The Spoils Of War’ but the teaching credit seems to be going towards Stannis. More credit should go to Shireen as she directly taught Davos to read during numerous hours of instruction as opposed to Stannis’s occasional mutterings about grammar. Regardless, it’s comforting to see Shireen’s legacy live on through the literacy of both Davos and Gilly, whether it’s Gilly’s discovery or Davos correcting the King in the North’s grammar. Even in the cutthroat world of Westeros, literacy is essential.

Season 7 of Game of Thrones continues Sunday, August 20th on .

Image Credit: HBO

Does An Unlikely Ally Await Tyene Sand In King’s Landing?

Does An Unlikely Ally Await Tyene Sand In King’s Landing?

It was a rough night for Tyene Sand. Tyene and her mother Ellaria Sand were taken captive following the brutal murders of Obara and Nymeria at the hands of Euron Greyjoy. Now Euron heads for King’s Landing with the priceless gift he promised Cersei. Queen Cersei’s rage will run unchecked as she torments the women responsible for lethally poisoning Myrcella. Life is pretty terrible for Tyene and her mother right now, but perhaps their doom isn’t quite sealed thanks to an unlikely ally in King’s Landing: Bronn. The opportunistic sellsword only became the anointed knight Ser Bronn of the Blackwater through working with Lannisters—the very people the Sands seek to destroy. So why would Bronn help these women?

Bronn’s History With Tyene

In Season 5 Bronn traveled to Dorne with Jaime Lannister on a foolhardy mission to find Myrcella and bring her back to King’s Landing. Tyene and her fellow Sand Snake sisters (R.I.P. Obara and Nymeria) clashed with Jaime and Bronn. During the fight Tyene’s dagger cut Bronn with the same poison that would later kill Myrcella. The poison nearly killed him while captive in the Dornish cells. Tyene saved him by tossing over the antidote, only after seducing Bronn from the opposite cell and making him agree that she’s the most beautiful women in the world. She also complimented Bronn’s singing and his looks.

[Credit: Giphy.com]

Will Bronn Help Tyene Or Her Mother?

Attraction and chemistry flared between Bronn and Tyene in Season 5. But more importantly, Tyene chose to save Bronn’s life when she could’ve easily allowed the poison to kill Bronn as it later did Myrcella. Bronn owes Tyene his life. Bad p*ssy is not worth betraying the Lannisters and risking his life.

A life debt is a different story.

Bronn may live for gold and the promises of great wealth that will lead to a castle and noblewoman, but he also has a code. He’s always remained brutally honest and loyal to both Tyrion and Jaime. Sure, they’ve paid him well and lured him with appealing promises but it’s still impressive he’s remained so loyal and honest.

Credit: Giphy.com

Jaime may still live by certain reasonable and moral principles unlike his sister, but all of that will be thrown out the window when Tyene and Ellaria arrive in King’s Landing. These are the women responsible for killing the daughter who died in Jaime’s arms seconds after telling Jaime she knew he was her father and was glad about it. Jaime will want Tyene and Ellaria to suffer just as much as Cersei does.

Thus, aiding Tyene would be the first instance of Bronn betraying the Lannisters he serves. Bronn probably won’t have any interest in helping Ellaria as they have no history and she was the real mastermind behind Myrcella’s death, though Tyene would want him to help her as well. Bronn is now faced with the choice of whether to try and save the life of a woman to whom he owes a life debt and has feelings for or to remain loyal to his benefactor and friend Jaime Lannister.

The Verdict

Ultimately it is unlikely that Bronn will step in to save Tyene or Ellaria from Cersei’s wrath. Beneath his ceaseless opportunism Bronn may live by a code, but part of that code is to remain alive and do what your generous benefactors ask of you. There is too much risk and not enough reward in this situation.

Bronn can also be seen next to Jaime Lannister on a battlefield sequence in a Season 7 trailer. Unless he’s able to save Tyene without Jaime, Cersei or any of their allies finding out, there’s no way Bronn would be next to Jaime on the battlefield.

Jaime and Bronn on the battlefield in a 'Game of Thrones' Season 7 trailer [Credit: HBO]
Credit: HBO
Still, things were left open-ended enough between Bronn and Tyene in Season 5 with hints towards a future meeting. Current events have created a foundation for such a meeting in King’s Landing. However, it will certainly not be the pleasure-filled reunion either character envisioned. Most likely is a scene in which Tyene pleads with Bronn to help as he silently refuses, his instincts for self-preservation taking precedence over the life debt he owes and feelings he harbors for her.

Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 3 “The Queen’s Justice” airs Sunday, June 30th at 9 PM on .

Will Bronn face Tyene Sand in King’s Landing and help her? Share your prediction in the comments section below!

Image Credit: HBO

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Arya Stark Steals The Show In ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 Premiere

Arya Stark Steals The Show In ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 Premiere

Warning: Game of Thrones Season 7 spoilers ahead.

The Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere “Dragonstone” delivered fantastic moments all around but saved the best for Arya Stark. After spending most of Seasons 5 and 6 locked in a storyline that frustrated many fans, Arya finally gets the scenes she deserve that convey both her cunning nature and her humanity.

That Awkward Moment When You Didn’t Kill All The Starks

Ever since the Red Wedding the Freys have patted themselves on the back for murdering and betraying the Starks. Their triumph made them more careless than ever as they lost Riverrun to the Blackfish and needed Jaime and the Lannister army to reclaim the castle in Season 6. Even after re-seizing Riverrun, the carelessness continued as Arya used her skills gained in Braavos to enact revenge against Walder Frey in the Season 6 finale.

Arya kills Walder Frey. [Credit: HBO]
Arya kills Walder Frey. [Credit: HBO]
Season 7 opens perfectly with Arya fulfilling her revenge against all the Freys. David Bradley brilliantly balances a Walder Frey convincing enough for his kin but with enough subtle differences that the audience knows it’s Arya wearing his face. Her words drive home just how messed up it is that the Freys continue to congratulate themselves because they “butchered a woman pregnant with her babe” and “cut the throat of a mother of five” and “slaughtered your guests after inviting them into your home.” Just like when she’s killed others on her list such as Polliver, Meryn Trant, and Walder Frey, Arya makes sure all the Freys know why they’re dying and who is killing them. In their final moments the Freys come face to face with the height of their heinous crimes and the fatal price of their careless arrogance.

The smirk on Arya’s face as she strolls past the array of lethally poisoned Freys is reminiscent of Sansa’s smirk after leaving Ramsay to his starving hounds, reminding audiences again of why Sansa and Arya need to reunite. Arya’s revenge is not only just but she also has enough humanity to spare Walder Frey’s latest wife and the serving women. She recognizes the futility of killing women who took no part in executing the Red Wedding, especially when the wife is a victim of the very people she hates. It also doesn’t hurt that they’ll spread the word about what happens when you mess with the Starks.

There’s Still Humanity In Westeros

Arya continued to steal the show beyond her epic Red Wedding revenge in a later scene where she encounters a small group of Lannister soldiers featuring a cameo from Ed Sheeran. While the opening scene displayed her cunning nature with a dash of humanity, this scene swapped the roles of those defining characteristics. Encountering a group of enemy soldiers near the Twins is not an unfamiliar situation for Arya. The very same thing happened in the Season 3 finale, only it was a small group of Frey soldiers shortly after the Red Wedding. Arya killed her first man back then and needed the Hound to finish off the rest. Coming off her single-handed mass poisoning of all important Freys, killing this group of Lannister soldiers didn’t seem like too difficult a feat.

What happens in this scene is way better than another bout of vengeful of murder, though. Arya’s humanity surfaces as the soldiers show their humanity. They offer her food and personally brewed drink and even give her the first bite since she’s their guest. One soldier shares his mother’s advice about being kind to strangers and expresses concern for his father while another smiles while talking about his wife having a baby. It’s a far cry from the Frey soldiers mocking the way Catelyn Stark sounded as she died.

Game of Thrones reminds us that while highborn individuals fight for the Iron Throne and the Army of the Dead looms closer, there are still plenty of everyday people in Westeros. Most of these individuals aren’t like the self-serving, sadistic schemers we’re used to seeing. They’re just normal folk with common fears and desires who happen to serve in an army that’s been considered the enemy since Season 1.

Maisie Williams carries the scene, her eyes expressing just a hint of surprise that these Lannister soldiers are such compassionate and normal people. She can’t help but smile and laugh, connecting with these soldiers and their everyday worries and desires. They unknowingly bring forth her humanity at a time when she needs it most, a time in which she can become completely consumed by her vengeance, no matter how justified it may be. With Arya’s life in recent years mostly revolving around Jaqen H’ghar and the Waif beating her into becoming “No One” and crossing enemies off her list, this scene is the first positive human interaction Arya has had in a long time. She even allays the soldiers’ mild suspicions with the unbelievable truth and more laughter.

What’s Next For Arya?

It seems like Arya is headed south to kill Cersei and the Mountain, thereby completing her list. This taking precedence over reuniting with her siblings at Winterfell is a bit disappointing. Nevertheless, the road to King’s Landing and the enemies that await her there will certainly prove fascinating. Arya traveling to King’s Landing with the same group of Lannister soldiers she met in this episode would be particularly fascinating. They could grow fond and protective of Arya, unaware of her identity. Unfortunately this is unlikely to happen as those soldiers were sent to the Riverlands in the first place to keep the peace in the wake of Arya’s violent actions at the Twins. More importantly it’s unlikely Ed Sheeran is going to transcend a cameo role and become a recurring character. Poised for a direwolf reunion in the preview for next week’s episode and her most formidable enemies yet awaiting in King’s Landing, Arya’s story will continue to be a highlight of Season 7.

What predictions do you have for Arya as Season 7 continues?

 

Image Credit: HBO

Will The Ghost Crew Meet Cassian And K-2SO In ‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season 4?

From Lando Calrissian to Ahsoka Tano, Star Wars Rebels excels at weaving a rich array of Star Wars characters into their narrative. Fans reveled in the inclusion of Rogue One characters in Season 3, such as Saw Gerrera and Mon Mothma, both of whom are set to return in Season 4. With Star Wars Rebels entering its final season, and the show’s timeline growing even closer to the events of Rogue One, the potential for including more Rogue One characters definitely exists. Two fan favorites — Cassian Andor and K-2SO — have the most potential of Rogue One characters to meet the Ghost crew in Season 4 with their integral roles in the Rebel Alliance.

Yavin 4 Sets The Perfect Stage For Meeting

Audiences already know from Rogue One that Cassian and K-2 are staples of the Rebel Alliance and frequent the base on Yavin 4. The  Season 3 finale and Season 4 trailer show the Ghostcrew is now headed to Yavin 4. Cassian has been in the fight against the Empire since he was 6 years old and, due to his crucial position in the Alliance by the time of Rogue One, it’s a sure bet he’d already be on Yavin 4 during the time of Season 4.

It’s unclear how long K-2 has been part of the Alliance, though an upcoming comic book will likely clarify that. Unless the timing is super close to the beginning of Rogue One — which is unlikely based on K-2’s familiarity with the Alliance and repertoire with Cassian in the film — K-2 is just as likely to be frequenting the Yavin 4 base around the time of Star Wars Rebels Season 4.

There are countless ways Cassian and K-2 can cross paths with the Ghost crew once they land. Cassian could even be an individual to whom they report in greater detail what happened at the Battle of Atollon. While Cassian and K-2 could meet all members of the Ghost crew, in terms of longevity, the characters they’re most likely to meet and maintain relationships with are Hera and Chopper, who are at Yavin 4 during the time of Rogue One.

K-2 interacting with Chopper and AP-5 would be absolutely hilarious, and he would refuse to take any crap from the sometimes immature Zeb and Ezra. Dedicated to defeating the Empire and restoring what they’ve destroyed, Cassian would likely be most interested in meeting the Jedi among the Ghost crew: Kanan and Ezra.

Kanan and Ezra in 'Star Wars Rebels' [Credit: Disney-ABC TV]
Kanan and Ezra in ‘Star Wars Rebels’ [Credit: Disney-ABC TV]

Would Cassian Mistake Chirrut For A Jedi If He’d Already Met Kanan And Ezra?

After Cassian witnesses the blind Chirrut Imwe battling Stormtroopers on Jedha, he asks Baze Malbus if Chirrut is a Jedi. This makes sense when watching Rogue One, as the Jedi have mostly become the stuff of myths and legends due after Order 66. Chirrut’s dialogue concerning the Force and his unique fighting style would logically make Cassian wonder if the Guardian of the Whills is a Jedi.

While this makes sense in the context of Rogue One and Star Wars canon up to that point, it is highly unlikely that Cassian would mistake Chirrut for a Jedi if he’d already met Kanan and Ezra. Chirrut is impressive and his belief in the Force powerful, but he is not a Jedi. If Cassian has met Kanan and Ezra, seen them use the Force, and wield their lightsabers, Cassian should recognize Chirrut is not a Jedi.

If their meeting is written well, Cassian could meet Kanan and Ezra without seeing them use their powers or even knowing they’re Jedi. There likely won’t be any fighting on the Rebel base, so there would probably be no need for Kanan and Ezra to use their powers, so Cassian would never know their identity. There’s no need for Kanan and Ezra to announce they’re Jedi ,or for members of the Rebel Alliance like Bail Organa to inform Cassian.

There’s also the possibility that Cassian and K-2 could meet some but not all members of the Ghost crew. From a writing standpoint, there are many storylines to resolve, and from an in-universe standpoint, there are endless battles to be waged in the fight against the Empire. Both options could lead the Ghost crew to split up more than ever before. This began last season when Sabine chose to stay with her family on Mandalore, intent on uniting her war-torn home world.

This season, some of the Ghost crew could head to Lothal to liberate the planet from the Empire, while others combat the ongoing threat of Grand Admiral Thrawn. If Kanan and Ezra go to Lothal, Cassian and K-2 could still meet other members of the Ghost crew like Hera and Zeb.

Cassian’s Fulcrum Status Could Lead To A Mission With The Ghost Crew

Just because the Rebel Alliance base is on Yavin 4 and Cassian, K-2 and the Ghost crew will logically all be there this season doesn’t mean it’s the only place these characters can meet. Just like Ahsoka and Kallus, Cassian is also a Fulcrum agent. With Ahsoka’s fate still a mystery, and Kallus getting his cover blown at the end of last season, Cassian could very well become the key Fulcrum agent in the show. As an undercover agent, he could easily be assigned to help the Ghost crew infiltrate an Imperial base or a planet occupied by the Empire.

Cassian could even be assigned to help the Ghost crew in their mission to liberate Lothal. Cassian’s sniper skills and K-2’s piloting skills could be utilized for that mission. K-2 would also be well-suited for such a mission thanks to his knowledge of the Empire and ability to blend in as a former Imperial droid.

Even more intriguing is the possibility that Cassian and K-2 work with the Ghost crew without them realizing who Cassian and K-2 are, or that they’re part of the Rebel Alliance. The Ghost crew received critical information from an unknown Fulcrum agent in Season 3 before learning the information came from Kallus. They’d been actively fighting Kallus without realizing he was Fulcrum and on their side, which helped further Kallus’s deception towards his Imperial peers. A similar situation could arise with Cassian and K-2 in order to maintain their cover within the Empire.

Commander Sato and the Ghost Crew receiving information from Fulcrum in ''Star Wars Rebels' [Credit: Disney-ABC TV]
Commander Sato and the Ghost Crew receiving information from Fulcrum in ”Star Wars Rebels’ [Credit: Disney-ABC TV]
With all these pieces aligned, it would be a missed opportunity to not introduce Cassian and K-2SO into Star Wars Rebels and have them meet the Ghost crew. Such inclusion can provide more specific insight into what Cassian and K-2 did for the Rebel Alliance before Rogue One, particularly concerning some of Cassian’s morally questionable actions that still haunt him. Creating a meeting between these characters can further the fascinating connectivity in canon and another meaningful link between Rogue One and Star Wars Rebels.

Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels premieres Saturday, September 23 on Disney XD.

Do you think the Ghost crew will meet Cassian and K-2SO this season?

Sisters And Survivors: Why The Sansa-Arya Stark Reunion Is Pivotal To Season 7

Sisters And Survivors: Why The Sansa-Arya Stark Reunion Is Pivotal To Season 7

Sansa and Arya Stark hated each other growing up. Both were manifestations of what they each dreading becoming. With Sansa at Winterfell and Arya likely headed there as well, they are now poised for a highly likely and pivotal reunion, hinted at in the season 7 trailers:

Much has changed since Arya and Sansa last saw each other. Both have been thrust into a multitude of horrific and hopeless situations, yet they’ve not only survived. They’ve emerged stronger than ever before, Sansa as a politician and Arya as an assassin. There will now be newfound respect, appreciation, and love leading to fruitful action between these two sisters and survivors.

Arya Can Bridge The Tension Between Sansa And Jon

The reunion between Jon Snow and Sansa Stark and what followed was incredible and fascinating to behold. After years of suffering and torment, for the first time since season 1, Jon and Sansa had finally reconnected with family and used that bond to move forward. Love and compassion was there, but trust only existed to a certain degree. Tension built as the season progressed, particularly as Jon refused to listen to Sansa’s warnings about Ramsay or alter his plan to take back Winterfell. Furthermore, without Sansa contacting Littlefinger to bring the knights of the Vale, Ramsay and his allies would still hold Winterfell. Yet Jon is the one anointed King in the North while Sansa receives little real power or even credit. Jon and Sansa made their peace after retaking Winterfell but Jon’s ascension to King in the North and Littlefinger’s manipulations are already tearing at that peace.

Unlike Sansa, Arya was actually close with Jon in the days of growing up at Winterfell, bonded by their outcast statuses (Arya being a feisty tomboy rather than the polite lady she was supposed to be and Jon as a bastard). Jon is the one who had Needle forged for Arya in the first place.

Capitalizing on the foundation of their relationship forged as children, Arya can bridge the tension between Sansa and Jon, helping both siblings learn to trust and support each other. Regardless of Jon’s true parentage, they are all family, raised by Ned and Catelyn Stark, now the leaders of House Stark and the North.

Arya Will See Through Littlefinger

There’s no shortage of complicated relationships in Game of Thrones, one of which is the Sansa-Littlefinger relationship. Sansa finally stood up to Littlefinger in a powerful, important scene that for the first time in the show explicitly spoke to the effects of sexual assault and the post-psychology of survivors.

However, this was not the end of their relationship. Thanks to the Vale army needed to defeat Ramsay and his allies at Winterfell and the ensuing alliance that formed between the North and the Vale, Littlefinger and Sansa are once again around each other. Their relationship has changed but there’s too much history and understanding between them to negate the relationship. Sansa knows what Littlefinger really is but also knows he can help fulfill her ambitions. In the season 6 finale and in the trailers for the upcoming season he speaks to her unparalleled survival and her right to rule the North. This will likely lead Sansa to trust Littlefinger more than she should.

Through her own identity but also through the skills she acquired from studying others as “No One,” Arya will see right through Littlefinger. At the very least Arya can remember the last time she saw Littlefinger he was meeting with Tywin Lannister, helping the Lannisters forge an alliance with the Tyrells to defeat not only Stannis Baratheon but more importantly Robb Stark and the North.

Once Sansa can forsake all trust to Littlefinger, she can work with Arya to defeat Littlefinger for good. Using her political finesse, Sansa can distract and seduce Littlefinger with plans to seemingly actualize his dream of sitting on the Iron Throne with Sansa at his side. Meanwhile, Sansa and Arya can work to wrestle away Littlefinger’s influence, taking his army and power from him, and eventually eliminating him for good. Eliminating Littlefinger will test everything they have but Sansa needs Arya in order to make it happen.

Sansa Can Help Arya Kill Cersei

Cersei is one of the few individuals remaining on Arya’s list. For many reasons Cersei is more difficult to kill than the other individuals (Walder Frey, Meryn Trant, Polliver, etc.) Arya knows of Cersei’s crimes against her family but she doesn’t really know or understand the way Cersei operates.

Sansa does. During her years of captivity in King’s Landing and specifically in the Red Keep, Sansa spent ample time around Cersei, watched her rise and fall all the way to Joffrey’s death. Whether it’s her passion for drinking wine, her boundless cruelty only capered by her children (all of whom are dead now), or how she uses her sexuality as a weapon, Sansa truly knows Cersei.

Arya cannot navigate King’s Landing and the Red Keep and successfully kill Cersei without Sansa’s knowledge, insights, or experience of the Queen, the city, and the castle. With all the time she lived in the Red Keep, Sansa may even be able to help Arya find a way to kill the Mountain.

Women Are The Real Power And Future Of Westeros

From Robert Baratheon to Tommen and the men featured in the War of Five Kings, kings have been dying left and right. Now Queen Cersei sits on the Iron Throne and Queen Daenerys lands at Dragonstone with an unparalleled array of forces. Other women like Brienne of Tarth, Yara Greyjoy, Olenna Tyrell, and Ellaria Sand currently operate in impressive positions as well.

Men have failed to rule Westeros and navigate the future. The women are the real power and future of Westeros now but it doesn’t stop with the likes of Cersei and Daenerys. Together, an indomitable politician and assassin duo, Sansa and Arya can play integral roles in ruling the North and creating a future for Westeros despite the myriad threats.

What will be the most pivotal effects of an Arya-Sansa reunion in season 7?

The War Of Hosts And Humans: How Bernard Is The Key To ‘Westworld’

The War Of Hosts And Humans: How Bernard Is The Key To ‘Westworld’

Played with brilliant nuance by Jeffrey Wright, Bernard proved to be one of the most fascinating characters in Season 1 of Westworld. As a host who spent most of his existence believing he was human, Bernard is in a unique position that may propel him to become the key to the story moving forward, acting as the only viable bridge of communication between humans and the hosts as their conflict rages.

Of the many #Westworld twists, arguably the most shocking was that Bernard was not human but, in fact, had been a host under Ford’s control all along. Bernard thus understands both humans and the hosts in a way no one else understands. He has operated through the perceptions of both identities, living as a host among humans, the only host we know of to be treated as an equal. Humans like Theresa and Elsie trusted and respected Bernard, holding him in high esteem, and in Theresa’s case even developing romantic feelings towards him. Bernard is the only host we know of that lived among, interacted with and developed meaningful relationships with humans.

But What About Maeve And Dolores?

You might be thinking “What about the relationship Dolores had with William or Maeve’s relationship with Felix and Sylvester?” The difference is that those relationships were never about coexistence and equality. Maeve’s relationships with Felix and Sylvester ran on her ambition and their fear. William’s relationship with Dolores ran on how they liberated each other from their respective loops and narrow existences. Even in their most hopeful moments the relationship always exuded doom through the inescapable reality that Dolores was a host and William a human. Bernard’s ignorance allowed him to live among humans as an equal and form organic relationships, unlike Dolores or Maeve.

As the conflict escalates between the humans and hosts, Bernard is the only one who can really understand the perspective of both sides. A character like Dolores is too caught up in her rage (righteous as it may be) to consider the human perspective, let alone understand it. Maeve is too focused on reuniting with her daughter. Humans like Charlotte Hale will react out of fear. Driven by the single-mindedness of their missions and intensity of their emotions, neither these characters nor their kind can understand the perspective of the other side.

Both the hosts and humans have remained in their loops. Now that their loops are broken, their actions are dictated and blinded by powerful negative emotions. Not only does Bernard have the advantage of understanding both sides but he also has already broken out of his loop.

The Legacy Of Ford And Arnold

Ultimately, both Ford and Arnold sacrificed their lives in order to grant the hosts true autonomy. Both men not only created and maintained the hosts, but intimately understood them like no other. Their legacies now live on through Bernard, the host created and maintained by Ford in Arnold’s mental and physical image. Ford controlled Bernard in countless ways, but he also instilled his knowledge and values into Bernard, helping Bernard develop into a stronger and wiser being.

Ford and Arnold needed to die in order for the hosts to have free will. Yet, Ford claims he can help the hosts in a way Arnold never could, as Ford understands the hosts need time and suffering to attain genuine free will.

The Future

Now that Arnold and Ford are dead, and chaos will likely reign, Bernard is the key to the future for both hosts and humans. No one knows what exactly this future looks like, not even Ford.

There are many intriguing possibilities. Bernard may aid the hosts by going undercover with the humans. With Ford and Theresa dead, the only individuals that know that Bernard is a host are Maeve, Felix, Armistice and Hector (if he somehow survived the finale). Felix is the only human that now knows Bernard’s secret. Felix was already an ally of the hosts — out of both fear and compassion — and will continue to be their ally given their newfound power. This makes Bernard going undercover quite feasible.

He and Felix can work together from the inside to gather intelligence and dismantle human operations, preventing humans from reasserting control over the hosts. The best part is that someone like Charlotte Hale could easily turn to Bernard in desperation, begging him to fix Ford’s mess as he was Ford’s closest associate and confidant.

Empathetic as Bernard may be to the hosts, in the long run I don’t see Bernard totally screwing over the humans. He loved Theresa and trusted Elsie. And Ford, well, there’s a vast range of complex emotions concerning Bernard’s relationship with Ford. Bernard understands that humans are not just sadistic slavers. He won’t want to seem them all destroyed. He’s wise enough to know that their destruction and suffering cannot ultimately satisfy the hosts and their desire to find meaning in previously controlled existences.

The most likely future I see is that Bernard will act as a bridge between the warring hosts and humans. He will struggle to gain the trust of either side — more of the suffering and time Ford asserted is necessary for the hosts to reach full autonomy. It’s a classic scenario where his identity is rooted in both, but neither will view him as one of their own. Maeve will become his strongest advocate based on their shared past experiences. Her intelligence and influence will help Bernard win over the hosts.

Through his experiences working and living among them, Bernard already has plenty of footing with the humans, though it will be challenging to maintain that footing once they discover he’s a host. Bernard and an ally like Maeve are brilliant enough to navigate this obstacle, though it doesn’t negate the challenge. Over time, Bernard can use his intelligence, skills, multi-faceted identity and trust built among both the hosts and humans to create productive communication, and perhaps even coexistence.

Ford does not know the future, but he certainly believed in Bernard and the role he will play moving forward. Only Bernard has the intellect, patience and unparalleled perspective to understand both humans and hosts while navigating a future filled with peril and autonomous opportunity.

Do you think Bernard is the key to Westworld?