With Game of Thrones coming to an end in its eighth season, it feels like the end of an era. Based on the novel series, A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin, the mature fantasy saga is one of HBO's biggest hits, adored by critics and audiences alike. Season Seven's ratings hit an all-time, record-breaking high of 30 million viewers per episode; an extraordinary achievement for a premium cable channel and in an age where traditional television is facing fierce competition from streaming services. After seven seasons of would-be monarchs, ice zombies and dragon babies — plus some of the most surprising twists in TV history — the stakes are high for the show to go on out a bang bigger than an explosion of wildfire.
The stakes also couldn't be higher for the pieces left on the board who have survived all of the bloodshed and backstabbing. But as well as all of the legitimate claims on the throne to consider, we've also been casting our minds back to remember some of the other unresolved story strands that the final season will probably — annoyingly — leave unanswered. Whether these inconsistencies have been caused by adaptational changes between the book and TV show, or stretching the plot beyond all sense and reason, these questions are going to bug us long after Game of Thrones wraps up.
25 TIME IS A CHANGIN'
Remember when Game of Thrones characters would spend entire seasons trudging through mud, clambering up and down hills, and sailing choppy waters to get from A to B? Though it tested our patience at times, it was also solid world-building.
This all went out the window in later seasons when same-day arrivals were magically possible when crossing from one side of Westeros to the other. The producers have even admitted to extraditing continuity for the sake of advancing the plot quicker.
24 A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE
One of Season Seven's biggest gasp-inducing moments — and there were a lot to choose from — was when Daenerys' favorite dragon son, Viserion was slain during her daring rescue of Jon and co. from a horde of wights north of the Wall.
However, Viserion soon lived to fight another day... under the Night King's command. Using his new icy blue fire, he ruptured a hole in the Wall. Whether this would be possible with that kind of firepower is debatable. Even more debatable is how Viserion cracked the Wall's magical barrier...
23 THE (IM)PERFECT CRIME
All the drama of Game of Thrones was incited by one moment: Bran's fall from a Winterfell tower. The young Stark boy made the near-fatal error of peering through the window right while the visiting Lannister twins were, well, doing the one thing siblings should never do.
Egged on by Cersei, Jaime pushes Bran out in the hopes that their secret will be taken to the poor kid's grave. This, of course, proved ineffective. But why didn't the Kingslayer do the obvious thing and take care of Bran with his own two hands and then stage the "accidental" fall?
22 ACCENTUATE THE DIFFERENCE
As is custom for a medieval-esque fantasy, regional British dialects are everywhere. Much like the U.K, the northern regions of Westeros are dominated by northern English accents; the flagship one being Sean Bean's natural Yorkshire cadence.
The rest of the Stark family, however, are a mixed bag. Specifically, Sansa, Arya, and Bran whose posher-sounding, southern English accents stick out from their other siblings. Are the younger kids just putting on airs and graces, or do they just take after their mother more?
21 A RASH DECISION
Ser "Forever-Alone" Jorah Mormont has been Daenerys Targaryen's number one fan from the very beginning, so when the already exiled knight was banished from her side for betraying her trust, it was a pretty tragic moment for a pretty tragic character.
Though Jorah did make his way back into her good books, fans questioned Dany's decision-making abilities. Why get rid of such a useful and skilled ally when a demotion would have been punishment enough? And who's to say someone couldn't have extracted crucial information about her from him?
20 SIBLING RIVALRY
The long-awaited reunion between the two Stark sisters in Season Seven was a sweet moment, but it was soon undercut by a sour uneasiness. Of course, viewers' suspicions that Sansa and Arya were faking it all to fool Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish thankfully turned out to be correct.
As fun as this plot twist was to watch, it did leave one glaring hole. Sansa and Arya staged their tension for Lord Baelish's spying eyes. However, who was the audience for that tense bedroom scene in which Arya practically threatened Sansa's life? If the answer is us, the viewers, this doesn't make much sense story-wise.
19 THE HISTORY BOY
As the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran is quietly one of the most powerful people in Westeros. His main party trick is seeing through time, but there's a lot left up to interpretation about whether Bran can change the course of history or remain a passive observer.
Isaac Hempstead Wright, who plays Bran, thinks his character can "access" the past, but still has a long way to go in terms of navigating that access. It's not even clear if Bran is physically present in these excursions, as while he's invisible to most, the Night King has been able to sense his presence.
18 PROTECT YA NECK
We had quite a shock in Season Six when Melisandre suddenly showed us her birthday suit. Her real birthday suit. It turns out that the Red Woman has been lying about her age by about, oh, several hundreds of years; a reveal that seemed to be triggered by the removal of her necklace.
The flaw in this idea is that we've seen the priestess take this piece of jewelry off before in the Season Four episode "Mockingbird" without the illusion dropping. It could be that the necklace is merely a conduit for the spell's magic rather than the source, but this has yet to be confirmed.
17 CREMATION FRUSTRATION
Hardly any Game of Thrones' fans believed that Jon Snow's fatal stabbing at the hands of his own men during Season Five's Mutiny at Castle Black would be permanent and, sure enough, the prodigal bastard was alive and well again come Season Six.
Obviously, all resurrections are plot contrivances, but Jon's revival was even more unlikely when you remember that the Night's Watch have a strict cremation policy to protect themselves against wights. So, why was Jon's body abandoned in the open?
16 WRITTEN IN THE STARS
Season Six saw Samwell Tarly follow his dream of becoming a Maester by travelling to the Citadel of Oldtown for training. His short time there bore a lot of important fruit for the show but, for all the answers we got, Sam's trip left us with a burning question.
What's with that astrolabe? The spinning orb takes a prominent place as soon as Sam enters the Citadel's library and viewers were excited to recognize the instrument from the show's opening credits. Unfortunately, by the time Sam left, we were none the wiser about why it was there.
15 A DISH SERVED... NEVER
Revenge is kind of everyone's hobby in Game of Thrones, with the top schemers delivering the most crushing retributions of them all. Chief among them is George R.R. Martin's favorite character, Tyrion Lannister.
That's why it's a misnomer that, after Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish framed Tyrion for the attempted assassination of the newly-disabled Bran Stark in Season One, Tyrion's never even tried to retaliate. And now that Littlefinger has finally met his sticky end in Season Seven, Tyrion's opportunity is gone forever.
14 WHO IS SHE?
It can be hard to keep up with Game of Thrones' sprawling cast of characters, especially when some come and go too quickly for their significance to become entirely clear. One such person was a masked woman named Quaithe who appeared in two episodes of Season Two.
In "A Man Without Honor," she correctly predicts that Daenerys' dragons will be stolen, and then we never see her again. The books reveal she's a shadowbinder who speaks in such thick riddles even Yoda would get confused listening to her, but the show leaves with little clue about who or what she is.
13 KILL IT WITH FIRE!
The Massacre at Hardhome was our first proper taste of just how big a threat the invading White Walkers are. The scrap between them, the Wildlings, and the Night's Watch was a desperate one, but one that perhaps could have been slightly less grueling if Jon Snow's side had brought more firepower.
While we know that White Walker and wights' weakness to fire is inconsistently portrayed in the show — and it probably wouldn't have helped that much — it seems odd that, when faced with an icy enemy, Wun Wun was the only person smart enough to use a flaming weapon.
12 MOTHER OF NOTHING
The show's omission of Mirri Maz Duur's prophetic line to Daenerys that Khal Drogo would only be restored "when your womb quickens again and you bear a living child" means that later references to Dany's apparent infertility seem to come out of nowhere.
Things got even more complicated when the show started to backtrack in Season Seven by having Dany explain a "witch" had told her she'd bear no children, only to then call the legitimacy of this into question. So, curse or no curse? Make your mind up, HBO.
11 BURIED GRUDGES
In Season Three's "Valar Dohaeris," Daenerys' past actions come back to bite her when a young, blue-lipped assassin attempts to take her life. The girl is heavily implied to have been sent by the Warlocks, likely seeking vengeance for Dany burning their leader, Pyat Pree to a crisp.
We never see or hear from the Warlocks again — but why give up after one failed assassination? In the books, an explanation is offered for their disappearance, but the show leaves this plot point hanging.
10 INTO THE STAG'S DEN
Ser Davos and Melisandre look for a way to penetrate Renly Baratheon's camp in Season Two's "Garden of Bones." Rowing to a cave-mouth accessible via a beach, they find the gate to be sealed and are dismayed that the only way to reach the camp is blocked.
While this makes sense in the books because it all takes place underneath the Baratheon's ancestral castle, Storm's End, in the show, Renly's forces are just sat out in an un-barricaded field. Why would there be just one way in?
9 EURON'S RICHES
Love him or hate him, Euron Greyjoy made it clear he was here to stay when he made his grand and stormy entrance in Season Six. As the newly crowned King of the Iron Islands, Euron wasted no time looking to forge an alliance with Cersei Lannister or Daenerys.
Despite Yara and Theon Greyjoy's theft of the Iron Fleet, Euron commands an armada of 1,000 warships, which he claims is the "greatest Westeros has ever seen." But, where did this incredible arsenal come from? A handful of tiny, poor islands? Seems hard to swallow.
8 NOT AL-WIGHT
As evidence in the show and books, the only true weapons that can be used against White Walkers are dragonglass and Valyrian steel. No such rule exists for wights who must be burnt until they are completely incapacitated. (Or, just chop bits off them for a similar effect.)
These established facts are conveniently forgotten about by the show come Season Seven where Jon's Valyrian steel blade, Longclaw cuts through wights like butter in the episode, "Beyond The Wall," completely contradicting his previous encounters with them using the weapon.
7 FACELESS OR FALSE?
Despite being a part of the show since Season Two, the Faceless Men are still the most mysterious group in Game of Thrones. What we do know is that they worship a Many-Faced God and carry out expensive hits using other people's identities as disguises while they themselves have none.
We also know that they don't assassinate people for selfish reasons like personal gain or hatred, a concept Ayra struggled to accept. So too, it seems, did her Season Six mentor, the Waif. When testing Ayra, she expressed an obvious contempt for her pupil, contravening everything we were told.
6 SHAE-DY DEALINGS
In order to better conceal Shae in Season Two, Tyrion arranges to have his lady love serve as Sansa Stark's handmaiden. While Cersei — who kept tight control over those close to the Stark girl — does question her presence, her scrutiny is interrupted by the Battle of Blackwater.
You'd expect someone with Cersei's meticulous attention to detail would have remembered to pick up where she left off, especially considering Shae remained in Sansa's service and even threatened one of Cersei's spies. But, nothing ever comes of this plot thread.
5 HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW
Proving she just wanted to watch the world burn, an ever-vengeful Cersei managed to take out most of her enemies in one fail swoop by blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor with wildfire on the day of her trial under the Faith of the Seven.
Not only were the Tyrells almost wiped out, but the High Sparrow and High Septons were gone too. The Faith is an analogue for Catholicism and its devotees are similarly hinted to be large in number, so how can one single explosion eradicate the whole organization? Will Cersei ever face consequences?
4 FICKLE VARYS
Few characters left alive as we head into Game of Thrones' final season have played the game more shrewdly than Varys. The Master of Whisperers is a valuable asset to any ruler — despite his silver tongue — and in Season Five he pledges his services solely to Daenerys.
Though the show claims this was Varys' true allegiance the whole time, Dany was clearly just his fallback option after her older brother, Viserys — who Varys was naturally more interested in — was taken out of the picture. Clearly, we're meant to forget this little detail.
3 STOMACH PAINS
Season Six marked the completion of Arya Stark's transformation from a wandering, helpless kid to deadly, ruthless assassin. But, it's a resolution she arguably shouldn't have survived. After failing to complete a mission for the Faceless Men, Arya faces punishment.
That punishment involves being stabbed several times in the belly by the Waif. Against all odds, Arya miraculously lives through this brutal assault and even stays infection-free while recovering. We've definitely seen characters slain by far less but, obviously, they didn't have the plot to protect them.
2 TARLY VISION
At the very end of Season Two, Samwell finds himself between a rock and hard, frosty place when he hides smack bang in the middle of a wight horde. Amazingly though, he's all but ignored by wights and White Walkers alike. But... why?
It's a question that fans have been puzzling over for years. Was Sam just not enough of a threat to bother with? Do White Walkers like leaving witnesses to spread fear among Men? Is Sam more special than anyone realizes? Or, is he just really good at Hide and Seek?
1 GREYSCALE TO COLOR
The chances of surviving the highly infectious Greyscale disease are slim to none. The affliction first causes the skin to harden like stone before slowly doing the same internally. The only known survivor is Princess Shireen, and the circumstances of her recovery are unknown.
This is why some fans found it hard to swallow that Sam, an apprentice Maester, could cure Ser Jorah entirely by simply amputating the infected skin and rubbing some herbs on him. And, despite it being a life-threatening procedure, Jorah was fine the next day. Are we really meant to believe no-one attempted this before?