In which we have a slow news week.

Apparently this year’s Game of Thrones off-season is really unusual. We’re not supposed to get as much information leaked as we’ve had thus far. The last several days are more typical: not really any substantive material coming from the sets.

So, I’m really low on speculation fodder right now.

There’s still a big, heavy question mark hanging over certain things going on in the Riverlands.

I tried reading the tea leaves on what they seem to be building at the Riverrun set, but there are still too many moving parts. (That, and I may have had a bit too much to drink when I was trying to run the predictions.) If I could get any sign of the actors back at the set, that might help point me in the right direction, but so far I’m hearing nothing. Someone on Twitter (in Spain) reported that NCW was in Belfast yesterday, but I can’t tell how they sourced that info. Even if he has gone back for more filming, I still don’t know whether he’s going anywhere near Corbet-Banbridge. So, basically: there’s just enough info coming from Corbet-Banbridge to get me all confused.

The most I have on the Riverlands, which is still somewhat dependent on speculation and assumtions, is some thoughts about how various factions are taking sides.

I wrote up a bunch of questions and tried to see what was at the center of them. Those questions are:

  1. What is Jaime trying to accomplish?
  2. What is Walder Frey trying to accomplish?
  3. What is Ser Brynden the Blackfish trying to accomplish?
  4. What is the Brotherhood Without Banners trying to accomplish?
  5. What is Brienne trying to accomplish?

Already, I’m relying on factors not entirely in evidence. We know the Freys are interested in Riverrun, we’ve heard previously that Walder Frey was supposedly its new lord, and we know Walder Frey is reappearing in S6, so I’m assuming he’ll be somehow involved in the siege of Riverrun.

We don’t exactly know whether the BWB have any interest in Riverrun, but some group of outlaws who sound lot like the BWB will be present, and probably in the Riverlands, so let’s tie things together and figure the BWB will be a player at Riverrun.

So then I start putting everyone on sides. Frey is a Throne ally, and Jaime is serving the Throne, so Jaime and his Lannister troops are supposedly on the same side as Walder Frey and his Frey troops.

The BWB are opposed to the Freys, and the Blackfish is trying to keep the castle for the Tullys, so the BWB may be nominally allied with the Blackfish, but perhaps he’s mistaken in trusting them. (“Enemy of my enemy” is not a good way to make friends in Westeros.)

Brienne is a wild card. We’re still not entirely clear on what business brings her to Riverrun, but she’s there. I think she’s back in the Riverlands on some business for Sansa, and if not, then I have no idea what she’s doing, and nobody else seems to have any idea what she’s doing, either. We know she’ll be having some interaction with Jaime that doesn’t end very well, and that she has at least one scene with the Blackfish, though we don’t have a when/where/why for that. If she’s in the area on business for Sansa, then her position will be, to paraphrase an earlier season: “I don’t serve the Tullys. I serve Lady Sansa.” She’s not really on anyone’s side in this battle. Which sort of makes her a loose cannon for everyone.

On that note, I’m still REALLY not feeling the “Sansa Stoneheart” idea. It occurs to me that Sansa probably doesn’t even know about Jaime pushing Bran out the window. She won’t know unless/until Brienne tells her! (Which is entirely possible, but then Sansa will also get an earful of Jaime’s honorable deeds.) She surely knows about him picking a fight with her father and killing Jory Cassel, but she also knows about him being held prisoner in her brother’s camp and losing his sword hand on the way home, so, all things considered, I think Sansa would be happiest if the Lannisters simply kept themselves south of the Neck. The Lannisters are angels compared to the Boltons. I far prefer the idea of Sansa asking Brienne to go back south to find Arya and bring her up to Winterfell. It’s the sort of thing Sansa would want to arrange, and an assignment Brienne would be super-motivated to complete successfully. Still have no positive evidence for it, though. We have a lot of blind spots around Riverrun, still.

Now the production is supposedly bringing more equipment to the Riverrun set, without breaking down what’s already there, and I have no idea what’s going on.