After nearly a decade, Game of Thrones is finally over - and did it manage to sneak Howland Reed into the present-day events of the show? The Game of Thrones series finale saw Bran become King of the Six Kingdoms, but not because of his bloodlines or his armies, but by being voted in by a council of the great Lords and Ladies of Westeros. It was an epic scene, and one that introduced a few new faces.
The election made a point of showing fans where many of the major characters end up; Gendry is there, decked out as the Lord of Storm's End, Yara is representing the Iron Islands, where she rules, Edmure Tully has moved past his years as a captive and is Lord of Riverrun, and even Robin Arryn is there, looking significantly better since his lunatic mother is out of the picture. However, the council also included five unknowns - and it's likely that one is none other than Howland Reed.
It's been speculated that the Lord sat between Sam Tarly and Edmure Tully is Howland Reed. He's not clearly dressed from any particular region - missing the furred cloaks of the North, the fashions of the South, or the bright colors of Dorne. This fits with the position of House Reed as Lords of the Neck (in the middle of Westeros). He's a vassal of House Stark, too, which means his position on the Stark side of the council make sense (Sam is, obviously, rooting for Jon, and Edmure is related to the Starks by the marriage of his sister, Catelyn). Finally, his age fits, as he is one of the oldest at the election, and Howland was of a similar age as Ned, having fought with him at the Tower of Joy.
If this is Howland, this would be the first time that the character has appeared in the main timeline of the series, although he did appear in the flashbacks to the Tower of Joy. As the only other survivor of this fight (along with Ned Stark), Howland was also one of the few people who knew the secret of Jon Snow's birth - although by the time of the election, Jon as Aegon is common knowledge, and therefore isn't brought up. Howland's children, Meera and Jojen, played a much bigger part in the series, as they were the ones who helped Bran get North of the Wall to the Three-Eyed Raven (and back again), and fans were disappointed that Meera didn't make a final appearance herself.
At the moment, there is no official confirmation that this mystery Lord was actually Howland Reed, but this may come soon as fans continue to speculate about the identities of the mystery faces at the election council. There's every possibility that this is someone else, because there doesn't appear to be any real logic behind the representation at this council (the Starks have three seats, the Vale has two, but Dorne and the Iron Islands appear to only have a single person there to represent them), but it would be fitting to have Howland make an appearance. Fans may have assumed that he would have a much bigger role to play, as one of the few who knew Jon's secret, but a final nod to his place in Westeros at the end of it all may be enough.