Game of Thrones mysteries that have yet to be solved

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!

Six seasons of Game of Thrones have taught us much about Westeros and the many, many, many people who have died horribly there. However, with just a couple seasons left (unless any of the proposed spinoffs end up airing), there's still a ton that we, like Jon Snow, know nothing about.

Will the White Walkers resurrect (and zombify) unburnt past characters?

The White Walkers—feral, nigh-immortal ice zombies everybody ignores because they're too busy fighting each other for piddling human glory—have shown they have the power to resurrect bodies as mindless, murdering wights. This is why you're supposed to burn or otherwise completely destroy a corpse: so they can't become one of the horde. Unfortunately for Westeros, very few people take the whole wight thing seriously enough to start burning bodies just in case it's true. They just leave corpses to rot on the ground; if they're important enough, they get buried in a fancy crypt with creepy stone eyes over their lifeless sockets. But that's it.

This begs the question: who's coming back as a wight? Will the White Walkers go so far as to revive fallen main characters and bring them into their army? Can you imagine the emotional advantage the ice monsters would gain if they could throw Zombie Hodor, Zombie Joffrey, or even Zombie Ned Stark on the front lines to greet those too ignorant to light a damn funeral pyre? At least a couple kingdoms might surrender right then and there.

Will the war of humans ultimately become a war of gods?

The Faith of the Seven, the religion of choice across most of Westeros, certainly has strength in its numbers–but we've yet to see magic or a miracle directly attributable to them. The Lord of Light has some serious black magic on his side, despite being a less popular religion. He brought Jon Snow back, so there's gotta be something more than tall tales there.

Then there's the Many-faced God, who the Faceless Men have proven must exist in some form, or else they couldn't pull off the magical chameleonic assassinations that they do. And of course, don't discount the Old Gods, who have legions of followers in the North and beyond the Wall. Bran's greensight through the weirwood trees and the powers of the Children of the Forest prove that the Old Gods have power, too.

Honestly, in a show where women birth smoke monsters, women can survive blazing fires without a scratch, and resurrections aren't out of the norm, the gods have to be real.

How long will this winter last?

Winter isn't coming, it's here. But not only do we not know how long this frost will last, neither do the characters. Westeros's seasons make no sense at all—winters and summers last anywhere from a few months to several years to multiple generations, with no rhyme or reason as to why. Unless Westeros's planet sports a super-wobbly axis and is constantly pulled in and out of orbit by random planets flying around their solar system all willy-nilly, then we can only explain the season issue with, "it's a show, run with it."

But eventually (probably near the end of the show), we should get a hint or two about when this winter might end. It might even help play into strategy, once the humans finally realize their silly little throne war means nothing compared to the oncoming threat of ice zombies. If they have any indication at all that this winter isn't going to last long, they can work to quell the White Walker threat just long enough to make it to summer, when their powers would presumably be much weaker. If no sign of summer arises, and in fact the only forecast is more and more snow, humanity's only hope might be to retreat as far south as possible and pray their new subzero overlords don't figure out how sunscreen works.

Is Jon Snow still a bastard?

In the final episode of season six, fans finally had the answer to one of the most long-debated questions from Game of Thrones lore: who are Jon Snow's real parents? In a flashback scene with Bran revisiting the Tower of Joy, the show revealed that Jon is indeed the child of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, not Ned Stark and an unknown woman. One major mystery wasn't resolved, however—were Lyanna and Rhaegar married before Jon was born, or is he still a bastard born out of wedlock? Oh, and by the way, what is Jon's real name? If his parents were married and he's a trueborn son of Prince Rhaegar, that would put Jon in line for the Iron Throne before Daenerys, who is Rhaegar's sister.

While Rhaegar was already married to Elia of Dorne when he absconded with Lyanna, polygamy wasn't unheard of among the Targaryens of old. The only living people who might know the truth of this mystery are Littlefinger or Varys—who deal in exactly this kind of secret information—or Ned Stark's bannerman and best friend, Howland Reed. It's also possible that the truth could be revealed to Bran through another flashback scene, perhaps showing us a secret wedding ceremony between the couple.

What happened to Howland Reed?

Speaking of Howland Reed, what ever happened to him after the Tower of Joy? In the books, Reed returned to his swampy realm in the Neck and has remained there ever since. He sends his children to assist the Starks when Robb calls the banners, and he provides soldiers for the war, but Howland himself is nowhere to be seen. The last time he's mentioned in the books is right before the Red Wedding, when Robb sends Maege Mormont and Galbart Glover on a mission up the Neck to find Reed.

Around this same time in the books, Robb also makes the decision to name Jon as his heir, and calls in his lords to witness him signing the decree. No such meeting happened on the show, and it's implied that Maege died during the fighting, but Lord Glover is still alive and well in the series. Did Glover ever make contact with Reed? Now that Jon has been named King in the North, it would be passing strange for Howland Reed, as the lord of Greywater Watch, to not make an appearance pledging fealty to his new King. If he does show up, he may have some very interesting information to offer Jon.

Who is the valonqar?

On the show, we see a Cersei flashback of her and a friend as children, visiting a woods witch near Casterly Rock. The witch provides Cersei with a prophecy about her future as queen and her children—but the show left out one major detail. In the books, the prophecy concludes, And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you. In High Valyrian, the word valonqar means "little brother," which seems to imply that Cersei will die at the hands of a sibling. In the books, Cersei becomes obsessed with this prophecy after Tywin's death, and is positive that it refers to Tyrion. That solution seems a little too straightforward for George R.R. Martin, however.

Over the years, fans of the books have speculated about the valonqar's identity, and have pointed out that gender-neutral words do exist in Valyrian, which means that the valonqar could potentially be a little sister. This opens up possibilities for just about anyone who isn't an only or eldest child to be the potential assassin, from Arya to Euron Greyjoy. It should also be pointed out that Cersei was born several minutes before her twin Jaime, which makes him a little brother, too. If you want to read more on who we think will end up killing Cersei, check out this article.

What happened to Nymeria?

In case you need a refresher, Nymeria was the direwolf owned by Arya Stark. Onscreen in the series, we haven't seen Nymeria since Arya was forced to chase her away during S1E2, "The Kingsroad." In the books, we're given some strong hints that not only is Nymeria alive and well, but she's leading a huge pack of wolves in the Riverlands. Nymeria also finds and pulls the body of Catelyn Stark from the river following the Red Wedding. HBO also chose to ignore the development of Arya's warging skills from the books, as she frequently finds herself seeing through Nymeria's eyes in her dreams.

Even though the show has left out this major plot point, that doesn't mean all hope is lost for a reunion between Nymeria and her owner. In recent filming news from the set of season seven, Maisie Williams was spotted shooting for Thrones in Canada, around the same time as Instinct Animals, the company that provides wolves for the show. One major clue points to Nymeria's return: in addition to Quigley, the white wolf who plays Ghost on the show, the company was also working with a grey and brown wolf. Given that all the other Stark direwolves are dead except for Ghost and Nymeria, and this wolf resembles Nymeria, it seems likely we'll see Arya reunite with her beloved pet in season seven.

To go west you must go east

Okay, show-only fans: who here remembers Quaithe? You know, the mysterious red priestess with a penchant for crazy masks and undecipherable dialogue? In the books, Quaithe makes several appearances to Daenerys, delivering warnings and prophecies to the Dragon Queen. In one of these scenes, Quaithe urges Daenerys to come to the mysterious land of Asshai: "To go north, you must go south. To reach the west, you must go east. To go forward you must go back, and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow."

Even though this prophecy was never delivered on the show, Daenerys is still fulfilling parts of it—most notably by going back to the Dothraki in order to go forward with her quest to Westeros. On the show, Quaithe hasn't been seen since season two, and her plotline was significantly cut by the showrunners. These changes may rule out her reappearing in the future, but we might not have seen the last of Quaithe—some fans speculate that Jorah may seek her out in order to cure his grayscale.

What's the deal with the Night King?

One major question looms large above the entire plot of Game of Thrones: What is the true nature of the White Walkers, and what do they want? In the books, the Others (as the White Walkers are called) seem only marginally less mindless than the wights they control, and they have no discernible motivation other than death and destruction. For the television series, the showrunners have changed their role quite a bit, adding an origin story and a leadership structure that doesn't exist in the books.

By adding those plot points and giving the White Walkers a titular leader—the Night King—the show's writers need to explain what the Night King wants, and why. They've explained how the White Walkers were first created by the Children of the Forest, but are they simply guardians gone wrong, like nearly every science fiction artificial intelligence trope in existence? With only two seasons remaining in the series and the endgame fast approaching, this mystery needs to be resolved before the final credits roll.

Who is Azor Ahai?

Throughout both the books and the show, references are made to two (possibly different) legendary messianic figures: the Prince That Was Promised, and Azor Ahai. Rhaegar was obsessed with the Prince That Was Promised, and his rationale for having a third child (Jon Snow) was in order to fulfill that prophecy. Azor Ahai figures heavily into the religion of the Lord of Light, and while Melisandre thought Stannis was Azor Ahai reborn, she was obviously wrong. That leaves the identity of Azor Ahai and TPTWP (who may be two different people) up for grabs. Some say it's Daenerys, while others point to Jon, but one thing's for certain—with both prophecies mentioned on the show, it's sure to be resolved before the end of the series.

Get hype?

It's one of the most-talked-about theories in the Game of Thrones fandom (after R+L=J): will we get a Cleganebowl? After the resurrection of Gregor Clegane (c'mon, we all know who's under that helmet) and the amazing revelation that Sandor Clegane survived his wounds, the amount of Cleganebowl hype has grown exponentially. In the books, fans speculated that the Hound would fight against the Mountain in Cersei's trial, an idea that was shot down spectacularly when Cersei blew up the Sept of Baelor at the end of season six. Now, the Hound is heading North with the Brotherhood Without Banners, while Gregor is chilling in King's Landing. It seems difficult to see how the two might cross paths again before the end of the series, but if and when they do, we'll be ready with lots of chicken.

The third treason

Daenerys visits the House of the Undying in season two, and while she does receive visions, the warlocks of Qarth don't give her a prophecy like they do in the books. The prophecy she hears in the books reads as follows: "Three fires must you light, one for life and one for death and one to love. Three mounts must you ride, one to bed and one to dread and one to love. Three treasons will you know, once for blood and once for gold and once for love." Despite not receiving the prophecy, Daenerys' actions on the show have followed it so far. The fires have included the pyre for Drogo (for life) and the Khals in the temple at Vaes Dothrak (for death). Most of the speculation has surrounded Daenerys' third treason. So far she's been betrayed by Mirri Maz Duur (for blood) and by Jorah (for gold). Who will betray her for love? Will it perhaps be Daario, left behind by his Dragon Queen in Meereen? Hopefully we'll find out soon.