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Game of Thrones Book Club | Spoiler Discussion of The Winds of Winter, Season 6 Episode 10


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Welcome to the Game of Thrones Book Club, the Post Show Recaps podcast that talks about HBO’s Emmy-winning series from the perspective of those who have read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels and related material. You are listening and proceeding further at your own risk.

In the final book club of season six, Josh Wigler (@roundhoward) and Terri Schwartz (@Terri_Schwartz) talk about “The Winds of Winter,” the season finale, and all of its major reveals — from wildfire roaring through King’s Landing, to Daenerys Targaryen leaving Essos, to Jon Snow becoming King in the North and his parentage revealed, and more. Josh and Terri agree and disagree over their hot takes from the finale, and at the very end, Josh speaks with Terri’s boyfriend Mike, an avid book fan, about his journey trying to completely avoid Game of Thrones season six.

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  • miamihi77

    I think there is still more to be revealed regarding R+L=J. As of now, the prevailing wisdom in Westeros that Rhaegar kidnapped and raped Lyanna. Bran (or HOwlen) may still have the opportunity to reveal that they were in love. Otherwise, Jon is a child of rape and still a bastard.

    • susan appleby

      I thought that his mother giving him a Targaryen name and wanting to protect him showed he wasn’t a child of rape?

      • miamihi77

        Bran knows that and we know that but Westeros doesn’t know that.

        • susan appleby

          Does it help Jon in any way to suddenly find out he isn’t who he thought he was?
          I wonder how that might change him.

    • Aldrick

      I think next season we are getting Bran flashbacks of the Tourney of Harrenhal, and more backstory on Jon being the Prince Who Was Promised. Bran will discover the important role Jon has to play in the war. I think the reveal that Jon is Rhaegar’s son is less important than the rest of the stuff that is going to be revealed / uncovered by Bran.

      • GeekFurious

        No doubt… we are getting the Tourney next season. There is no other reason to keep his father a secret… or Jon’s real name.

        • susan appleby

          I thought the reason to keep the name a secret is that show watchers would be hopelessly confused if they hear his mother call him a different name and then a shot of Jon. But of course they couldn’t omit her saying his name because that’s the first thing you tell someone about a baby.

          • GeekFurious

            You don’t bring it up, period, if that was a concern. No, from a story telling perspective, if you bring it up, you are going to use it. We are getting the Tourney. Bet on it. Bet large bags of money on it.

  • susan appleby

    George R R Martin is a genius with ideas. He would not repeat that trope of the cavalry rushing in, waste Tyrion doing nothing and have AryA wave bye bye from the Faceless Men or have Sansa be so poorly written.

    This story is saved by the acting (though not all the actors are great, enough of them are there to elevate the story) and directing and maybe CGI.

    Terri says the show lacks subtlety and I agree.

    • GeekFurious

      Yep… GRRM is not going to repeat the same deus ex machina move twice. Anyone who thinks he will doesn’t understand the books or the man. If that offends someone, oh well. It needs to be said.

      Season 6 is the worst plotted of all the seasons. It also has some of the weakest dialogue all-around. However, it also has the most “answers,” even if many of them feel unearned. They saved the best for last in the finale and that will certainly frame the whole season in the minds of a lot of people who don’t care about subtlety… or quality… or… effort.

    • Aldrick

      I agree. The show is sacrificing a lot and it is doing it for the sake of moving the story forward quickly and in service of big TV moments.

    • David Alexander

      I invite you and Terri to create something better. She sounds alot like Joanna Robinson. Complain, complain, complain. It’s sad, because I used to enjoy this podcast, it’s fast becoming a bitchfest. I am with Josh on a lot of things. I enjoy the show and the books. People who love the crap on the double d’s are just complaining. The are making the best product they can.

      • susan appleby

        I would have never sent Sansa to be raped by Ramsey for starters.
        I would have minimized Ramsey.

        It’s a good tv show but a great deal of its acclaim is due to the production values and some very solid to brilliant acting. It’s a tv show that rivals a movie in production and that is quite an achievement.

  • Aldrick

    Honestly, I might be the only one on this train, but I think Bran is ultimately going to be the Lord of Winterfell. It’s been driving me crazy that every time the discussion of what will Sansa do that Bran is basically left out. So, here is how I see things going–all the way to the final end of the show.

    Bran is obviously going to show back up at Winterfell. There is no reason for him to chill at the Wall. The show is obviously trying really hard to set up some type of drama between Sansa and Jon. There has to be some type of conflict there to drive the drama of the show.

    So, anyway, Bran shows up and then he spills the beans to Sansa about his Tower of Joy vision. It makes sense that he would turn to her for advice on what he should say to Jon. This means Sansa is going to know that Jon isn’t just a bastard, but he isn’t really a Stark at all. This either means that Sansa is going to make moves to put herself in the position as of Lady of Winterfell, or that she is going to make the more logical move: try to put Bran in his rightful place. Bran is the rightful Lord of Winterfell by law and by birthright. He might be a Tree Wizard, but he has that Tree at Winterfell–so he doesn’t have to even leave his backyard to do his Tree Wizard stuff.

    If Sansa moves to try and place herself as Lady of Winterfell, it’s going to make her look really bad and really power hungry. It would also be rather out of character of her–why would she not only try to depose Jon, but then basically ignore Bran’s birthright?

    I think most of this is going to play out as behind the scenes shenanigans involving Sansa, Littlefinger, and probably Davos. Jon will probably be elsewhere trying to rally and prepare the North for the war against the White Walkers.

    Now, let’s focus on Danny for a moment before we finish how things play out between Sansa and Jon. The books and the show obviously want us to believe that Danny is going to be the one who sits on the Iron Throne. However, I think that is too obvious. Both in the books and the show, Danny is portrayed as a conqueror rather than a ruler. However, to complicate matters she can’t have any children. This means that if the Targaryens do retake the Throne any future children are going to be from Jon’s bloodline.

    If Jon’s children are ultimately going to rule over the Seven Kingdoms, then who is going to be their mother? It’s not going to be Danny, since she can’t have children. I think the most likely answer to this will be Sansa. The Sansa and Jon problem in Winterfell ends with Sansa and Jon getting married. This unites House Targaryen with House Stark. Who does that leave to rule over Winterfell? It’s either going to be Arya or Bran, and the smart money is on Bran.

    I think Sansa ultimately gets pregnant by Jon, and then he likely dies fighting the White Walkers. This leaves Sansa as the one who ends up on the Iron Throne, giving us the bittersweet ending that GRRM promised us. Where else can Sansa’s story go? Where has her character arc been building?

    When we first meet Sansa she is a naive and innocent young girl. She is betrothed to Joffery, and she is going to be the Queen… someday. Of course, this turns into a horrific nightmare for her, but everything that has happened to her (at least in the books) has been preparing her to know how to play the game. She goes from the innocent young girl, to this hardened mature woman, fully knowledgeable about the cruelties of the world. Her entire character arc is pushing her toward this moment where she finally comes to power.

    The only two alternative ways I can imagine the Sansa story ending, is with her either dying (unlikely–as Tyrion said in the show, she is likely to outlive them all), or as Warden of the North and Lady of Winterfell. However, if she is Lady of Winterfell isn’t that rather anti-climatic? Her character arc builds her up, only to leave her basically where she started? I think the show was dumb sending Sansa back to Winterfell to be Ramsey’s plaything, because it screwed with her story arc, but we know in the books this is CLEARLY not the direction Sansa is going. Now that Ramsey is dead it is likely Sansa gets back on track for her book story (it has likely already started with the last two episodes of this season).

    So, Sansa’s arc so far has been one of decline–she’s been to the deepest lows imaginable, but now her story has her on the rise. She has just returned home as the conquering hero who has placed the Starks back in Winterfell. There is no reason that her character arc will not continue to elevate her all the way to the climax of her story.

    Really, who else is Jon going to end up with in the end? Most people assume it is going to be Danny, but their union isn’t going to produce any offspring. The Targaryen line would end. What’s more people have to die in the battle against the White Walkers. Some really big and important people have to die in that fight. I would not be shocked if both Danny and Jon and the Dragons all died against the White Walkers. My guess is that the victory will result in the death of all magic in the world. That would be a very GRRM move–we start out with almost no magic, then magic slowly begins to come back and awesome things happen, only to have magic be taken away in the end.

    Anyway, that is a long ramble. My best prediction is that Sansa will sit on the Iron Throne, she likely will be pregnant with twins (a boy and a girl–fire and ice), the Dragons will die, Danny will die, Jon will die, Arya might die–if not, she leaves Westeros to explore the ruins of Valyria or something, and Bran will sacrifice all the magic of the world to defeat the White Walkers–ending as Lord of Winterfell.

    That is my prediction. Oh, I also think both Jamie and Cersei will die. Jamie will try to stop Cersei from burning Kings Landing to the ground by killing her, but will ultimately fail and the entire city including the Red Keep burns. Sansa will have to rebuild the city or establish a new capital elsewhere. Tyrion will likely be Sansa’s Hand of the Queen. They will rule and rebuild Westeros together–thus uniting the two houses that started it all, Lannisters and Starks.

    Okay, so that is my end game prediction.

  • Buck Hondo

    The device in the Oldtown library and the opening credits isn’t a gyroscope, it’s an astrolabe. It was used to measure the movement of heavenly bodies and also to determine longitude and latitude. It makes sense for it to be in the opening credits as a mechanical representation of the sun (or moon) over the mechanical map, and it also makes sense that it is in Oldtown, since this is a device you would expect to find in an ancient library. I honestly don’t think there’s anything more to it as far as the story is concerned, it was just a fun little “oh cool, it’s that thing!” moment.

    • Salsar Saliman

      I think its a heliostat, that control the light exposure of those old ancient books.

      • Buck Hondo

        After looking at some pictures I think you’re on the money. The big apparatus hanging from the ceiling in the center of the room sure does look like an ancient heliostat, mirrors and such. But the astrolabes I mentioned appear to be hanging from the ceiling around the edge of the room (there are a few of them) and when we see a close shot of one of them, it seems to have the stag, the dragon, etc. engraved in it just like the one that appears in the credits.

        Side note: if you look at the scene you can actually see the beam of sunlight being redirected around the room with the mirrors. That leads to me to believe that you’re right about the big device in the center being a heliostat.

        • Salsar Saliman

          No worries it is not my observation.
          I saw the atrolabe elements, pretty neat

  • GeekFurious

    I have said this throughout the season and will sum up my feelings about this season with it… NONE of this will happen in The Winds of Winter, the novel. None of it. Not even the Hodor thing will happen that way. Cersei will not wipe out the Tyrells. Jaime will not return to King’s Landing. Jon will not fight Ramsay Bolton. Jon will not be declared King in the North by a 10-year old girl (that will is still out there). The direwolves will play big parts in the books to come. This whole Arya thing won’t go down anything like the show… and Theon will probably never meet Dany. Plus so much more…


    Tommen puts his crown on a table or something when he walks out of frame. You can hear it ding as he puts it down. That’s all he was doing. He’d already decided to jump.

    • Aldrick

      I agree entirely. Things are going to happen vastly different in the books. I imagine, at best, 25% of the future of the books are being spoiled, and I think that is an extremely liberal estimate. It may only be closer to 10%, and that 10% may just be how characters move into place for the end game. The end on the show may not be the same as the end in the books.

      GRRM is an exploratory writer. He doesn’t do outlines and stuff, he has a general idea of where the story is heading, but as he writes the characters might take him in a different direction. I think because the show has gotten ahead of the books, that GRRM is going to be even more determined that the books differ from the show. So, that means that things he may have planned to happen are very different in the books or don’t happen at all. Certain things like R+L=J, the meaning behind Hodor’s name, all of that likely remains the same. But core plot points? It’s going to be vastly different.

      So, I don’t think the show is really spoiling us all that much–not even in terms of who lives and who dies.

    • The show is as Josh said glorified and very expensive fan fiction. I agree, most things from this season either won’t happen or will happen in a very different way. I would suspect most things from season 5 that had not been written yet will happen pretty similarly though.

    • Tom Palmer

      GRRM has had years to finish Winds. D and D are trying to tell a good story, which means things have to happen rather than there being pointless filler, which is what most of Dance was.

      • GeekFurious

        GRRM should take all the years to finish it. D&D didn’t need to accelerate the plot. They wanted to. And they made the story weaker by doing it. So, going faster is not a good thing.

        • Tom Palmer

          Season 6 was much better than Season 5, and probably the best season, because they stopped dragging their feet. GRRM’s last book was ALL feet dragging, and it was weaker for it.

    • High odds at least 60% of what has happened in season 6 will be in the book.
      Narrative may vary, but the main events will be there.
      Wanna bet ?

      • susan appleby

        I will take that bet if you specify what you mean by the main events. We already know that the Freys deaths are different- do you include that? Make a list of main events you want to bet on.

        • 1- Sansa joins Jon
          2- Jon kills the mutineers of Castle black
          3- Jon attacks and takes back Winterfell
          4- Ramsay is killed
          5- Daenerys becomes the Khaleesi of the Khalasar
          6- Daenerys kills the plotters of slaver’s bay
          7- Cersei Kills the High sparrow
          8- Cersei kills Tommen (indirectly)

          • susan appleby

            Ok. What’s the bet- that 6 of these happen in the books?

          • I’ll bet my PS3. ;D

  • Tom Palmer

    I’m with Josh on the R + L = J thing. Honestly I was confused that people thought the show had NOT confirmed it. I mean, did someone need to run around yelling R + L = J? The show made it clear Rhaegar was the father.

    I loved this season, I thought it did away with the unnecessarily slow and pointless pacing that made Dance boring, and has prevented George from meeting a deadline, and got to the meat of the story.

    • Mimi

      I have to side with Terri. it was a big reveal and should have been handled with more precision and care. The needless whispering just led to lots of theories; the show whiffed this one. On a related note, I just finished a S1 rewatch, and unless the show ignores continuity, it appears Jon’s Targaryen blood doesn’t give him Dany’s ability to withstand fire. (He burns his hand flinging fire to kill reanimated Night Watch Rangers at Castle Black.)

      • Tom Palmer

        it wasn’t a big reveal though, because we already knew it, and had known for many years.

        • Matt The Golem

          And the big in-show dramatic reveal will happen when Jon finds out.
          The show defies expectations in many different ways. Not every major character death is played huge (or shown onscreen in bloody gory detail) and not every revelation is a grand dramatic moment.

        • susan appleby

          Not everyone who watches the show knew it. Maybe Jon isn’t the hero of their story? Maybe it’s just too confusing to remind everyone of his back story.

  • Derek_Sye

    I am constantly frustrated with people’s obsession with lineage. It isn’t just small minded, but frankly it is dangerous to us as a species.

  • I applaud Terri for not giving the show a pass and falling over themselves to praise it without fault. It’s probably the best show on tv the last 5 years, but it’s still light years away from ASoIaF and there’s plenty of things wrong with it that is worth pointing out and discussing.

    • susan appleby

      I would argue that The Americans is the best show on for the past 5 years.

  • Banglayna

    As someone who for years and year hoped and dreamed for Jon to become King in the North, nothing is more grating and annoying than for that moment to be dismissed with the ‘hot take’ that Sansa is going to very shortly take the throne from Jon.

    • Buck Hondo

      I keep hearing that Sansa theory, but I really didn’t get that from “the look” between her and Baelish. To me, it just seemed like she looked over and Littlefinger was being a creepy shadow lurker and looking like someone stole his lunch money. Sansa knows him pretty well and she can see the wheels turning in his head and her reaction seems to be mild terror. It was like she just knew Littlefinger was cooking up a plot and she & Jon were possibly in danger. I really didn’t take it as a realization that she would have to oppose Jon at some point.

      • susan appleby

        I still don’t see how Littlefinger planned to get on the iron throne from being married to Sansa, even if Sansa was Queen of the North.

  • Buck Hondo

    I’m starting to wonder if there’s any real reason for Bran to go any further south than Castle Black. There’s a Weirwood tree there and he can move his consciousness around the world by “tree-traveling,” or whatever you call it. One the reasons I thought this was the scene in the Godswood with Sansa-face and Littlefinger looked a LOT like the scene when Benjen dropped off Bran and Meera at the Weirwood near the wall. Almost like it was supposed to remind us that these trees are connected to one another.

    • Aldrick

      Because the Weirwood tree at the Wall is on the White Walker side, not on the Castle Black side. Also, unless we are just going to have Bran doing visions from here on out, he is going to have some interaction outside of them. If there is going to be any real plot there he has to go either to Castle Black or Winterfell. He probably goes to Castle Black first to look for Jon, then discovers that he is gone and he took back Winterfell, and then makes his way there.

      • Buck Hondo

        Yeah, he need to have interactions with folks but I was thinking (since it’s such a bitch getting this guy from A to B) maybe his powers will allow him to “manifest” in other places that have Weirwood trees and he can actually interact with people that way. I’m really not looking forward to endless scenes of Meera dragging Bran all over Westeros!

        • Matt The Golem

          Is it possible for Bran to warg into something (horse, wolf, dragon or wight) and have that to carry him?

          • What would be more interesting is him warping the space to travel.

    • susan appleby

      I was guessing that the White Walkers attack pretty much when Bran gets to the south of the wall so he won’t have time to go anywhere else.

  • Matt The Golem

    If there is to be another Book Club podcast:
    1. Provide a timeline or history for each of the remaining families (eg, how did we get to this point?), or for each active location.
    2. The Dating Game: who is the best prospect for Dany to marry? Same question for Sansa, Jon, Littlefinger…and Arya?!

    • susan appleby

      For my sanity figuring out where the armies and navies are would be awesome. Also the relative sizes of the armies. This show is basically a political and military story but the military angle gets little attention.

  • Salsar Saliman

    Can we have Terris boyfriend, on the podcast when he watches it. I would love to see him talk,about it

  • Jill Balderama

    Thank you Josh and Terri for a great season of book club! I am gonna miss these GOT podcasts as much as the show! And I just want to add after reading some of the posts that I have been a book fan for almost 15 years and over the years it has become more and more concerning to me that we may never read the end. So I’m fine with the tv show going it’s own direction and toward an ending in the next two seasons. It hopefully takes the pressure off GRRM and allows the tv show to continue making good tv. And if they end up telling different stories then that will just make my reading experience even better. Though I’m with Josh on wondering if we will ever get the book….such a terrible though -I know!
    Sure looking forward to some off season podcasts from y’all!