Season 6 of Game Of Thrones has been the year of unexpected returns. (Here's looking at you, Jon Snow, Benjen Stark, and Sandor Clegane!) It's also been the year of unexpected optimism. (Here's looking at you, Stark family reunion and the literal death of patriarchy!) It's also been the year of not-unexpected secrecy, as HBO has compensated for last year's shocking leak of four full GoT episodes by not offering press screeners and releasing increasingly vague episode descriptions that would make Mad Men proud. Now, HBO is announcing that they won't even be releasing those super vague descriptions for the final two episodes of Game Of Thrones Season 6.
We know that Episodes 9 and 10 are titled "Battle Of The Bastards" and "The Winds Of Winter," respectively. It's pretty easy to guess what the former is going to be about: the long-brewing conflict between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton over possession of the Stark ancestral home of Winterfell. It will mostly likely be an entire hour devoted to one battle with every other storyline sitting out a week until the finale, just like every even-numbered season to date (Season 2's "Blackwater," Season 4's "The Watchers On The Wall"). We also have an action-packed promo for the episode that gives us a taste of what to expect.
It's a bit harder to surmise what's going to go down in the finale. Although the title gives us a pretty good hint that the White Walkers will play a role, it's almost impossible to say which of the show's many storylines will take precedence in the episode. Daenerys and her battle against the Masters of Slaver's Bay? Arya and her triumphant return to Westeros? The Greyjoys and their race for Meereen? Sam and his arrival in Oldtown? Margaery and her plot against the High Sparrow? Perhaps the Sand Snakes and their long-slumbering subplot? Too bad we don't have even the vaguest of episode descriptions to go off of.
Or do we…?
Although HBO said they wouldn't be releasing episode descriptions for the final two episodes, that turned out to be not quite true. Voting for the 2016 Emmys began today, and in the midst of the network's submissions for consideration were a couple of interesting tidbits. HBO is submitting "Battle Of The Bastards" for consideration in the Writing, Directing, Editing categories and more, and provided voters with this tiny little summary: "Terms of surrender are rejected and accepted." Yep, infuriatingly vague. HBO is also submitting "The Winds Of Winter" for consideration in the Cinematography and Costumes categories, and here's the equally tiny description of that episode: "Cersei faces her trial."
While all of those storylines I mentioned above will likely get their moment to shine, it appears that the centerpiece of the Season 6 finale will be Cersei's long-awaited trial — directly echoing the way Season 5 ended, with the Queen Mother's humiliating Walk of Atonement. Now that trials-by-combat have been outlawed by King Tommen, Cersei will be forced to submit herself to the judgment of the High Sparrow. That's not likely to go well for her.
Then again, there is the small matter of Qyburn's rumor (wildfire?), which could potentially help get Cersei out of a tight spot. It would be a neat bit of symmetry if the season ended with both the White Walkers finally invading Westeros and Cersei burning King's Landing to the ground. That would make it… a song of ice and fire, now wouldn't it?
Images: Helen Sloan/HBO; Giphy