'Game of Thrones' Season 6 Finale: 'The Winds of Winter' Spoilers and Theories

Game of Thrones - 6x10
"Game of Thrones" HBO

Game of Thrones fans, this is it. Our adventures in Westeros have nearly come to an end for another year. Please, I know it will be difficult, but try not to sob too much.

Although season six may be concluding, even if it feels like the season just started, the good news is that you’ll have a little longer to say goodbye to Jon, Dany and Tyrion. Sunday’s final episode “The Winds of Winter” marks Thrones longest-ever episode: It will be a blockbuster 69 minutes.

HBO hasn’t released its usually vague descriptions for the final two episodes of the season, but the network’s Emmy submission ballot gave away one key detail: Cersei Lannister will face her trial. This is the moment that has been building since the High Sparrow locked her up in season five for charges including incest and adultery. (She only, however, confessed to adultery with cousin Lancel Lannister, now one of the Sparrow’s radical Faith Militant.)

After last week’s big action-driven “Battle of the Bastards” focused heavily on Jon Snow, Sansa Stark and Ramsay Bolton, it looks like the Lannisters will be the centerpiece of the finale. The trailer for “The Winds of Winter” focuses heavily on Cersei’s trial, but if history has taught us anything, Cersei is ruthless. She will do whatever it takes to avoid conviction, surely?

Well, the web has been swirling with theories about what Cersei might do to release herself and her son, King Tommen, from the clutches of the High Sparrow and his radical extremists. In fact, there have been some hints in previous episodes.

In episode eight, for example, Cersei asked her maester Qyburn if the “rumors are true”—which many have taken to believe are rumors that the Mad King Aerys had secret stores of deadly wildfire around King’s Landing during his terrifying reign. And, as luck would have it, Tyrion Lannister confirmed as much in episode nine.

THE LATEST NEWS IN PICTURES
'Game of Thrones' Teases Finale in Pictures
Pictures from the "Game of Thrones" season six finale, titled "The Winds of Winter".
6 PHOTOS

Foreshadowing what might take place in the finale, Cersei’s brother/lover Jaime Lannister said Cersei would “do anything to protect [her] babies—start a war, burn cities to ash, free their worst enemies.”

The groundwork has been laid for King’s Landing going up in flames in the finale. Perhaps that is why Thrones needs a whole 69 minutes? Widespread fire raging through the city could lead to a few casualties. Will Cersei be among them?

Pictures from Sunday’s episode show Jaime meeting with villain Walder Frey, who re-emerged earlier in season six—perhaps they are talking about Jaime taking back Riverrun from the Blackfish, Brynden Tully, in episode eight?

The trailer for “The Winds of Winter” also has a foreboding theme to it—Tyrion appears to be giving Daenerys a big pep talk, but what for? “Are you afraid? Good. You’re in the great game now, and the great game is terrifying.”

That ominous phrasing could suggest that Dany is finally gearing up to head to Westeros and claim the Iron Throne. In episode nine, the Khaleesi’s story in Meereen appeared to reach a natural conclusion: she fortified her rule by using her dragons to kill the masters of Slaver’s Bay. Her meeting with Yara and Theon Greyjoy, talking about her eventually ruling all of Westeros, also suggests it’s time for a change of scenery. If rumors are true that Thrones is heading into its final two seasons, now seems like the right time for Dany to begin her journey to King’s Landing.

Finally, there is that small matter of the Tower of Joy, one of the scenes in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels that fans have been waiting to see play out on the show. We saw some of the scene in episode three in a flashback Bran Stark had, but the scene stopped short of revealing the entire story.

To recap what we previously saw: in events preceding the start of Thrones in 2011, a young Ned Stark storms the Tower of Joy where Rhaegar Targaryen, the eldest son of the Mad King Aerys, is holding his sister Lyanna Stark captive (or where they’ve run away together, depending on which version of the story you believe). He and his men thwart the soldiers protecting the tower and he begins climbing the stairs to rescue Lyanna…

And that’s all we saw.

Young Ned Stark is rumored to appear again in “The Winds of Winter” in a significant scene, which could be the conclusion of the Tower of Joy scene.

Thrones enthusiasts will be fully aware that there’s a popular theory, R+L=J, that has been speculated heavily on the internet. Will it finally be confirmed in Sunday’s episode?

In the books, upon going into the tower to rescue Lyanna, Ned finds her dying in a “bed of blood.” With her last breath she asks him to make an undisclosed promise. Many believe she had a child, the son of Rhaegar Targaryen, and begs her brother to take him in and look after him.

That child? Jon Snow. (Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon.)

Now that would be a heck of way to end season six.

Game of Thrones airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO in the U.S. and Monday at 9 p.m. on Sky Atlantic in the U.K.