In 51 days, Game of Thrones will finally return. And 35 days after that, Thrones will end. In less time than it seemingly took Littlefinger to zip around to every corner of Westeros, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will deliver a conclusion to the story George R.R. Martin first introduced 23 years ago—and in that precious time they’ll have to answer half a hundred pressing questions: Who will live? Who will die? Who will tell Jon he’s doing it with his aunt?
Separate from those series-shaping questions are countless smaller but still crucial details that the show may or may not explore in the final season. These are Thrones’ loose ends: the characters, places, events, prophecies, and more that the story has made audiences wonder about over the past seven seasons but the show has yet to wrap up. In the run-up to the final season’s April 14 premiere, we’ll be digging through these loose ends, looking at why they matter and how they could affect the endgame as we count down to Thrones’ long-awaited conclusion.
The Loose End
When Podrick Payne meets Tyrion Lannister at the beginning of Season 2, he’s a humble virgin. In the third season, as a gift for saving his life at the Battle of Blackwater, Tyrion arranges for three women in Littlefinger’s brothel to have sex with Podrick. Much to Tyrion’s surprise, the women refuse payment.
And so the biggest mystery in Westeros commenced: How did Pod become the sex god?
Why This Loose End Matters
Why do astronomers study the stars? Why do theoretical physicists ponder the structure of our universe? When a great mystery exists, it is human nature to probe it. And there is no greater mystery in Game of Thrones than the question of how a lowly, admittedly inexperienced squire acquired the best sex skills in all the Seven Kingdoms.
How Season 8 Could Address It
There are three explanations, as I see it, for Podrick’s sexual prowess. The first is that he is just a naturally incredible lover. There is some supporting evidence—he’s great at following orders, after all—but I’m discounting this option. Even in the fantastical world of Westeros, virgins just can’t be that good in bed.
Next option: magic penis. This option seems more plausible, and perhaps the show can dig into how Pod’s rod got so pleasing by revealing some of the details of its supernatural origins. Maybe Pod’s parents prayed to the Seven that he wouldn’t turn out as murderous as his executioner relative Ilyn Payne and the gods went way overboard making him a lover not a fighter? Maybe there was a perverted sword-in-the-stone situation and instead of pulling a sword out of something, Pod had to prove his mettle by sticking his sword into something, and it came out enchanted? Maybe Pod’s dick turns into dragonglass when erect and will strike a fatal thrust into the heart of the Night King? This possibility opens up a lot of storytelling options.
But, alas, I think there’s a more plausible explanation. Which is: Podrick actually isn’t particularly good at sex. It’s just that everyone else in Westeros is 100,000 percent TRASH at BONING. Tyrion is probably his nearest competition, as he clearly put some effort in with Shae, has plenty of experience, and once inspired Ros to comment on his skills. But everyone else seems questionable, from pre-Reek Theon to the Grand Maester Pycelle. Think about the supposed sex experts of Westeros. Are we even sure Littlefinger knew about the clitoris? He made Lysa happy, but she had extremely questionable taste. The only potentially other good-sex-haver who we see in the brothel is Oberyn, but, no offense, Oberyn got distracted by his own prowess and couldn’t finish things off in a fight, so there’s a good chance his enthusiasm in the bedroom didn’t translate to successfully finishing things off there, either.
Who could possibly be better than Podrick? Ygritte did give Jon props for his generosity as a lover, but he’s pretty tied up in a romance with his aunt at the moment, and one passionate fling with a wildling doesn’t necessarily translate to satisfying a room full of professional sex workers. Jaime can’t really come back from the whole twincest situation, both Theon and the Hound seem too traumatized to get frisky, Samwell’s booed up, Bronn is hot but seems like a selfish lover, Daario wasn’t good enough to prevent Dany from leaving him behind in Meereen, Tormund is interested only in Brienne, Jorah is interested only in Daenerys, we already saw Gendry lose all common sense when he got horny around Melisandre, and Bran is the freakin’ Three-Eyed Raven … the only potential male rival for the title of Most Eligible Bedroom Friend is Davos, who abandoned his wife, but knew all about the sensual benefits of fermented crab. (As far as female sex-having characters go, the competition is much stiffer, as Yara easily has the most game in Westeros.) The enthusiastic response Pod received might simply boil down to the unimpressive showing from the rest of Westeros’s sexually active men.
No matter the exact reason, though, winter has finally arrived, and that means only one thing: It’s cuffing season in Westeros, and high time for Pod to put his talents to good use once more.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.