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When it comes to Game of Thrones, what happened long ago is just as important as what’s coming up.
The powerful past of Westeros dictates virtually all present and future actions on the HBO show, from boiling conflicts between noble houses, to long ago slights suffered by small-folk who later turn their rage into weapons. The war between the Starks and Lannisters owes its roots to uneasy tension during the days of Robert’s Rebellion, for example, and almost every other large-scale atrocity comes courtesy of Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen), who plunged the realm into chaos because the Starks insulted him in his youth.
But beyond petty differences between houses and people in the past, there are massive historical moments that contain equally massive story ramifications as Thrones moves forward — at least potentially. Here are seven of the biggest in that regard, with some of these stories likely to appear on Thrones in the upcoming sixth season.
1. The Tourney at Harrenhal
It’s the site of some of the most important events in Thrones lore, including the place where Rhaegar Targaryen first expressed his public adoration for Lyanna Stark — an act that ultimately led to the destruction of House Targaryen. What’s more, the Tourney was almost rumored to be a meeting ground for a plan to overthrow the Mad King Aerys … a plan hatched by Rhaegar himself.
2. The Tower of Joy
Ned Stark (Sean Bean) and Howland Reed were the lone survivors of a clash against Ser Arthur Dayne and two other members of the Targaryen appointed Kingsguard, all in an effort to protect Ned’s sister, Lyanna. This legendary moment in Westeros history will make it onto the show in season six, as seen in multiple trailers released by HBO.
Three little letters and two simple symbols amount to one of the greatest possible reveals in all of Game of Thrones. It’s heavily theorized that Rhaegar and Lyanna are the actual parents of Jon Snow (Kit Harington), making Jon an heir to the Targaryen throne. It’s one of the most widely accepted theories in the fandom and one that is all but guaranteed to reveal itself on the show before much longer.
4. The Past, Present and Future of House Targaryen
Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) told his side of the Kingslaying tale back in season three; no need to see that with our own eyes. But the night the Lannisters sacked King’s Landing and ended the Targaryen reign remains an important one, at least in the books, because it’s possible they didn’t kill all the Targaryens. Let’s just say if season six introduces a young man named “Griff,” then Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) story will get very complicated indeed.
5. A Thousand Eyes and One
The Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) currently tutoring Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) in the ways of the green-seeing arts has a name: Brynden Rivers, also known as Bloodraven. He’s one of the many bastard children of King Aegon the Unworthy and played an instrumental role in a civil war within the Targaryen family. Bloodraven was always linked to rumors of magic and mysticism and even served as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch for a time — but then he disappeared … and that was a long, long time ago. How did the Targaryen bastard become a great big magic tree? Let’s see if season six answers that bizarre question.
6. The Long Night
One of the oldest stories in Westeros lore involves the first conflict between White Walker and man. It’s a time known as The Long Night in which darkness swept over not just the Seven Kingdoms, but the lands beyond, even stretching past Essos. Drilling down into that bit of history could reveal the nature of the fickle seasons in the world of ice and fire, not to mention the reason why the White Walkers and humanity can’t stand each other and where the mysterious Children of the Forest fit into the mix as well.
7. The Night’s King
The ruler of the White Walkers might have more of a human heart than some fans realize. In the books, there’s a legend about a former Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch who makes love to a woman “with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars,” ultimately becoming a monster himself, at least in action. This person is remembered in lore as “The Night’s King,” which is why readers were so alarmed when they learned the name of the White Walkers’ leader on the show. A deeper dive into the backstory of the Night’s King would not only reveal more about his motivations, but also more about the nature of the Walkers and their potentially humble beginnings.
Keep up with all the Game of Thrones coverage here.
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