Game of Speculation: Let’s Assume These Rumors are Credible

The last time I saw a Game of Thrones filming rumor and insisted that no, of course that would never happen, totally out of character and so perfectly ridiculous, I turned out to be wrong. The rumor turned out to be 100% true. And meanwhile, I had made other predictions for S5 that precluded that rumor being true. I sort of embarrassed myself on that one. So based on that experience, I tend to think it’s best to make positive predictions, rather than negative ones. (Unless you can make a really solid argument for a negative prediction. Even there, at some point you need to have some positive ideas at work.) I think it’s smartest to assume, for now, that the rumors are credible unless they are in direct contradiction with what we already know, or unless/until we hear them debunked by more credible sources. With that in mind, unless/until Sue at Watchers on the Wall tells us her sources told her this is a load of nonsense, I will make room for this scenario as reported by Ani Bundel at Winter is Coming:

On Reddit, people who claim to have friends among the extras say they know how the battle plays out, but their claims should be taken while wearing tinfoil suits and with several mines worth of salt. They include (but are not limited to):

The battle scene in the North. Boltons vs northern allies (Karstarks & Umbers), sellswords, wildlings and A STARK is killed in a very shocking battle.

What? They’re killing another Stark? So now everyone’s speculating about who that Stark may be.

Ani Bundel points out that it would be redundant to kill Jon Snow more than once. I agree. Bran’s in a tree: probably not coming anywhere near this battle. Arya’s in Braavos: we’ve heard she’ll be coming to the Riverlands, but probably not soon enough to show up in the North in time for this battle. Sansa’s MIA: there’s no reason why she needs to stay missing for an entire season, but I agree with the commenters who say it would be shitty storytelling to kill Sansa. I think she needs to spend at least one season surviving, and not being victimized. IF she doesn’t survive the series, she needs to die on her own terms. And for structural reasons, that should happen later than S6. That leaves Rickon, who’s still the baby of the family, but we’ve already seen by now that Game of Thrones is not above killing children.

However, some commenters are pointing out that Benjen is also an option; he’s been missing all this time, but not confirmed dead.

I’m trying to figure out which would be a more plausible death, in structural terms. If the new Stark death is Benjen, then I’m thinking he would need to be brought back into action, and Jon would need to be resurrected, by early-mid-season at the latest. They need to have time to bond for a while, and for Benjen to tell us what he’s been up to since S1, before he’s killed.

And if Rickon is the one who’s killed, I feel like he needs to meet up with Sansa at least once before the battle. It was such an emotional moment when she learned her little brothers were maybe still alive, it would be a waste to kill one of them without letting her see him one last time.

A place where I will hang a question mark is with the sellswords. I believe the Umbers and Karstarks will be fighting together; perhaps the Karstarks appear to be on the Boltons’ side until the last minute, but ultimately they figure they hate the Starks less than they despise the Boltons. The wildlings, of course, will be on Jon Snow’s side. But then are we to believe the sellswords will also be fighting against the Boltons? The Redditor in question may have mixed up, or misinterpreted what they heard from their source, who may have slightly scrambled what they gathered from the production.

For one, I think the Boltons are the only Northern family rich enough to hire a sellsword company. And they’re the ones who are in a position where they need to pay people to pad out their army. If the Umbers are supporting Rickon Stark, then they’re a more desirable leader for most Northern fighters. Even if the Umbers could afford a sellsword company, they’re too honor-driven to use hired help in battle.

For another, sellswords introduce an opportunity to present another twist in the fighting. Sellswords are not known for loyalty. As Dany said earlier, you can’t collect wages from a corpse. The practical upshot being that if sellswords feel like they’re on the losing side, they tend to bolt. That’s why Stannis had to march on Winterfell with a meager force of foot soldiers; his sellswords abandoned ship and took all the horses with them. I can picture a scenario in which the Boltons have the Karstarks and sellswords fighting for them at first, but then the Karstarks turn their cloaks to the Umber/wildling alliance, and the sellswords respond by getting the heck outta Dodge.

There’s another rumor presented at the same Reddit link, which is that Yara and Theon flee to Volantis following the Kingsmoot, with Euron in tow. For this, I would like to know in what episode the Kingsmoot takes place. I would also like to know whether Victarion will be a character, or if Euron is doing double duty for himself and Victarion. I’d like to know where they’re filming Volantis scenes, as well. Probably not at the same location they’re filming the big battle in the North. I’d like to know how far Saintfield (filming location for Northern battle) is from Port Ballintoy (location for Iron Islands). I can believe someone might hear from an extra a mostly-accurate version of what’s happening in the Northern battle, OR something happening in the Iron Islands, but probably not both from the same source? As for the question of the Greyjoys fleeing to Volantis vs. Meereen, that’s simple enough. Volantis is on the way to Meereen. Anyway, for the sake of getting a better grip on the Greyjoys’ goings-on in S6, I’d like to know when the Kingsmoot is happening, and how many uncles are still alive and involved.