Game of Speculation: Spoilers in the North

I spent the past couple of days grousing about language differences, but we’ve had some much bigger GoT S6 news at the same time. I’ll put this stuff under a cut with a SPOILER WARNING, because it’s pretty serious, though this is also a good time to talk about how I define “spoilers.” In this case, it concerns crazy shit happening in the North.

Watchers on the Wall would like us to know:

Sources report that today Game of Thrones is filming portions of a massive battle in Saintfield, Northern Ireland, that will likely be a part of episode nine. Preparations and the beginning of filming were seen in that area recently, but it was difficult to glean many details. We’ve learned that the battle will involve many northern armies fighting including the Umbers, the Boltons, wildlings and more! The true major spoiler is this: Kit Harington a.k.a Jon Snow was also seen at the location, participating in shooting this week. Harington has been spotted in Belfast again recently, along with Iwan Rheon, so it’s not too shocking Harington is filming Game of Thrones.

Umbers, Boltons, wildlings, and more. Including Jon Snow. Oh yes. Oh fucking yes. This is an Episode Nine-size event. A Northern battle involving the Umbers, and the Boltons, and Jon Snow, is probably centered on Winterfell. Just a wild guess, that. Even if the location isn’t Winterfell, the outcome will be a major factor in deciding who controls Winterfell, and thus who controls the North. This one will be an Episode 9 battle, whereas the last time we saw someone try to take over Winterfell, it was an Episode 10 occasion. It wasn’t really a battle so much as a suicide mission. Baratheon’s Last Stand didn’t go so well. Episode 9 is always when the really big, game-changing stuff happens. If the battle is happening in Ep9, that is significant. We can speculate based on timing. Of course if it turns out the sources are mistaken about timing, then that’ll be a lot of good prognosticating down the drain.

Anyway. How might I define “spoilers”? How much information on S6 do I have to absorb before I feel like my enjoyment of the coming season has been compromised? When I hear about a big battle at a particular location at a particular time involving particular groups of people (but some are still undisclosed!), that’s what I call “news.” It’s some BIG news, but a “spoiler” would be if they told us who wins the battle. If they tell us which major characters die in this battle, that’s also a spoiler. Which former enemies decide to put aside their differences, and which supposedly noble characters betray their allies: those are spoilers. Now, if Jon Snow is involved in this battle, I guess that’s a sort of spoiler, but seriously, most of us are already fairly sure that Jon will not stay dead. Is it really a spoiler if most of us can see his resurrection coming a mile away? I’m waiting to see how and when he gets resurrected. There’s frankly no mystery about if he gets resurrected.

If they tell us something like, “JON SNOW TOTALLY RIPS OUT RAMSAY BOLTON’S GUTS WITH A RUSTY SPEAR,” that would be a spoiler. It would also be GREAT NEWS. I’m totally on board with the idea of Snowbowl. I don’t like Cleganebowl, but I’m here for Snowbowl, because Snowbowl isn’t about revenge. It’s about getting rid of someone who desperately needs to die. It’s about Jon Snow kicking ass and taking names.

I think the biggest question mark hanging over this battle is the matter of “and more”! After we’ve counted the Boltons, Umbers, Wildlings, and Jon Snow, who else is involved? And how many sides are there to this battle? Something tells me it’s not a simple matter of one set of allied Houses against another. This piece by Joanna Robinson reminds me of something important concerning the North: Littlefinger is also interested in Winterfell! Of course he is, and his first plan of playing carrion crow didn’t work out so well. I think this will be his next chance at swooping in with his Arryn knights after a hard battle and grabbing Winterfell away from whichever side is left standing. I’m sure he’ll try it. A spoiler would be finding out how that works out for him.

If the wildlings are involved, and Jon Snow is there, then it’s fair to assume that Jon Snow will be fighting on the same side as the wildlings. Maybe even as their battle commander. He seems to have developed a rapport with the free folk. They’ll be happy to see him back from the dead.

Another likely group to join in the battle is the Karstarks. We’ll be meeting the new Lord Karstark in S6, and it’ll be interesting to see where his House’s loyalties lie. It would be very satisfying if, after pretending to be loyal to the Boltons for most of the season, they decide they actually prefer the Starks, and join the Umber forces against the Boltons. They choose the quick deaths over the live flayings.

I’d like to get some confirmation that this is for Ep9. That’ll make it easier to read the tea leaves.