In 46 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
We haven’t seen Edmure Tully since Season 6. Our guy has had a bad run of things, generally speaking. When we first meet him in Season 3, he awkwardly fails to carry out the Tully funeral rites for his father, Hoster, sinking flaming arrow after flaming arrow into the Trident River before being savagely upstaged by his uncle, Brynden the Blackfish. Then he was married off against his wishes to Roslin Frey, in part to make nice with Robb Stark, Edmure’s nephew through his older sister Catelyn (née Tully), after a rash battle decision by Edmure kept Gregor Clegane alive (for … a while, anyway). It wasn’t all bad: Roslin was unexpectedly lovely and un-Frey-like. But, OK, it was mostly bad: Their wedding turned out to be the Red Wedding, and, as Edmure and Roslin got busy consummating things, his new father-in-law, Walder, murdered Robb, Catelyn, and all the other Stark loyalists in attendance except for Blackfish, who escaped. Edmure was taken prisoner by Walder and thrown into a cell at the Twins that same night. There he remained until Season 6 (!), when poor, bedraggled Edmure was used as a pawn to help Frey-Lannister forces conquer the Tully family estate, Riverrun. He gives the command to surrender himself, largely out of concern for his son with Roslin, whom he has never met. With Riverrun captured, Edmure is once again chucked into a cell by Walder Frey.
His luck might have improved after the Season 6 finale, when his niece Arya Stark turns up at the Twins and kills Walder and all his male heirs. But if Arya knows old uncle Edmure was imprisoned nearby, she makes no mention of it. So far as we know, Edmure is still imprisoned—perhaps at the Twins, or perhaps elsewhere in some other Lannister-aligned dungeon.
Why This Loose End Matters
Edmure is the younger brother of Catelyn and Lysa Arryn, making him uncle to Sansa, Arya, and Bran, as well as to the late Robb and Rickon. He was allied with Robb until Robb’s unceremonious—or would it be very ceremonious?—demise.
Much of Season 7 dealt with the contraction of allegiances: “We’re all on the same side,” Jon Snow notes, because “we’re all breathing.” While the earliest seasons of the show dealt in a smorgasbord of shifting houses, we’re now down to just a handful of major teams: The Stark-Targaryen camp and the many, many houses and factions that have joined them; the unholy (and perpetually scheming) axis of Cersei Lannister and Euron Greyjoy; and the great undead forces of the North, led by the Night King.
This makes Edmure interesting, in part because he’s something of a throwback; he’s been aligned with House Stark for far longer than almost anyone else at this point. We’ve seen precious little footage from Season 8 so far, but we know that Daenerys makes her way to the seat of House Stark, where Sansa tells her that “Winterfell is yours.” That exchange—and Sansa’s apparent lack of enthusiasm about this development—has led to theories that Sansa and her siblings might not be quite as magnanimous as they seem, or at least not quite as willing to get into bed with the Mother of Dragons as Jon is. (Hubba-hubba.) This would make the reappearance of a powerful—or once-powerful, anyway—Stark ally that much more significant.
How Season 8 Could Address It
Maybe, just this once, something will go well for a long-suffering Thrones character. When Arya slaughtered the men of House Frey, she made a point of leaving all the women unscathed—including, presumably, Roslin. Perhaps Roslin took this moment of freedom to liberate her husband; maybe we’ve heard nothing about Edmure because he’s off raising a family with Roslin in Riverlands anonymity. Maybe!
If you’re reading this, you know the Thrones-verse, so you’re familiar with its general lack of cheerful endings. In that case, it’s not hard to imagine that if Cersei is holding Edmure, she might take a special interest in him. It’s unclear who controls the Riverlands now that old Walder is dead, but Edmure has the strongest claim to the region as the former Lord of Riverrun. Cersei could also use Edmure as she readies herself for some kind of Stark-directed treachery, as seemed to be the case late in Season 7. We know that she loves to keep prisoners around King’s Landing. Could she use Edmure to push some Stark-Tully pressure points?
Edmure’s been imprisoned long enough that it’s hard to imagine that he has much in the way of valuable intel, but he is one of the Stark children’s only surviving relatives—so would they be willing to make a sacrifice to guarantee his freedom or survival? Additionally, his son might have a claim to leading House Frey and is the heir to House Tully, which further cements Edmure as the key to the future of the Riverlands. Alas, a grim fate for Edmure seems a whole lot likelier than anything good.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.