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House Stark is on the cusp of winning back its ancestral home of Winterfell. But at what cost?
The coming episode of Game of Thrones, called “Battle of the Bastards,” promises to escalate the conflict between Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) past the breaking point. At long last, the children of the late Eddard Stark are this close to reclaiming the land that’s rightfully theirs — but if a Stark victory is all but narratively guaranteed, so is a Stark tragedy.
The preview for the episode shows just about every single beloved character in the North storyline participating in the so-called Snow Bowl. With that in mind, the odds of one or more of these figures not surviving the episode are astronomically high. For better and quite probably for worse, a fan-favorite hero will not escape the “Battle of the Bastards.”
A quick refresher on some of the men and women on hand for the battle:
— Jon Snow, already proven to overcome fatal circumstances; should he fall, he’s likely to rise again, no matter what he tells the Red Woman ahead of time.
— Ghost, Jon’s faithful companion, and one of two remaining direwolves in a season that’s already liberally killed off the Stark siblings’ pets.
— Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), the woman many fans believe destined to claim the mantle of Queen in the North … but only if she survives the war to come.
— Rickon Stark (Art Parkinson), not seen since becoming Ramsay’s hostage, easily in the most immediate danger of any main character.
— Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), Jon’s loyal lieutenant, left with little to lose after Stannis Baratheon’s season-five death, now holding on for the battle against the dead … assuming he can live through this battle first.
— Melisandre (Carice van Houten), the Red Priestess of Asshai who brought Jon back to life, and still has hundreds of years of wisdom to provide, assuming she’s not killed at Winterfell.
— Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), commander of the Free Folk, who might not live long enough to tell Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) how much he loves her — not that she doesn’t know already.
— Wun Wun the Giant (Ian Whyte), seemingly unkillable on the surface … but to riff on a phrase, they shoot Hodors, don’t they?
There’s hope that Ramsay won’t survive the battle, of course, but how many other prominent villains are at risk in episode nine? Not many, if any. The sad truth is that the heroes are laying it all on the line, and as such, at least one is bound to pay an ice cold price.
Watch the video for more on the final battles of season six:
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