In 44 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 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
At the beginning of the second season of Game of Thrones, Davos recruits his friend, the pirate Salladhor Saan, to join Team Stannis. Saan, portrayed by Lucian Msamati, is in only three episodes over three seasons, but he’s still a pretty significant recurring character in Stannis’s story line. He rescues Davos after the Battle of Blackwater in the third season, cementing his status as a notable friend to everyone’s favorite fingertip-free former onion runner. He makes his last appearance in the middle of the fourth season, when Davos and Stannis head to Braavos to secure funding for battle. Davos visits Saan as he’s enjoying himself in a brothel, and once again asks his pal for his ships, plying him with a bag full of money. It certainly looks as though Saan is still firmly #TeamStannis … but while Davos does appear to use Saan’s ships to reach the Wall, we never see the pirate again. Did he give his fleet to Stannis and stay in the warm baths in Braavos? Doesn’t he want his ships back? The show treated Saan like a potential major ally, but he’s been AWOL for the past three seasons.
Why This Loose End Matters
White Walkers appear to be unable to swim, and Salladhor has boats, so he still seems like a pretty clutch ally for Davos’s new crew.
Also, Salladhor’s most memorable bit during his brief time on screen was an insistent desire to have sex with Cersei. Like, that’s the only reason he agrees to help Davos in the first place. ”One thing: I want the Queen. Cersei, I want her. I’ll sail with your fleet, all 30 of my ships, and if we don’t drown at the bottom of Blackwater Bay, I will fuck this blond queen and I will fuck her well,” he tells Davos in Season 2 (he clarifies that he doesn’t want to rape her, citing his powers of persuasion). If Salladhor is still lusting after Cersei, he could prove a formidable opponent to Euron Greyjoy, who is currently sailing his Iron Fleet to Essos to bring over the Golden Company of sellswords.
Cersei’s major advantage over Daenerys and Co. is on the water. Euron demolished Yara’s fleet early in Season 7, and while Dany had enough boats left over to later ferry her Dothraki onto the mainland, Euron’s fleet represents the strongest navy in Westeros. Euron hasn’t faced dragons yet, of course, but it would still be helpful if Dany could enlist Salladhor to help match Cersei on the water.
How Season 8 Could Address It
There is so much plot to get through in the final season that I really wouldn’t be that mad if they dispatched Salladhor with a few simple lines, like:
Melisandre: “What happened to that pirate dude? The one who really wanted to fuck Cersei?”
Davos: “He died!”
That would be acceptable, or at least better than not explaining his disappearance at all. However, I think there’s a far more elegant way Game of Thrones could resolve this issue.
Euron is a poorly written, unnecessary, annoying character, and it would be wonderful if Game of Thrones brought back Salladhor to get rid of him. Imagine this: In the opening scene of the final season, we see Cersei looking out at a bunch of ships. Oh, great, it’s Euron, the Adam Levine of Westeros, here to jangle his pirate bracelets around while dispensing unclever one-liners and wasting everyone’s freaking time. But … wait … those aren’t Euron’s sails … Salladhor drops anchor … he’s here to claim his queen.
Game of Thrones instantly regains its status as a critical darling for closing a plot hole and offing Euron “Moves Like Jagger” Greyjoy in one brilliant stroke.