Family reunions are, on paper at least, beautiful experiences, where far-flung family members who haven’t seen each other in decades get to spend time together eating, drinking, dancing, reminiscing about the old days, and marveling at how much the children have grown. So it was when Sansa met Jon for the first time in six seasons last year.
This season, spoilers suggest that we might be in for the same experience, but writ far larger. Over the course of the last couple of weeks, we had a plethora of Starks and their supporters—including Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Maisie Williams (Arya), Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne), Aidan Gillen (Littlefinger), Liam Cunningham (Davos), Bella Ramsay (Lyanna Mormont), and Kristofer Hivju (Tormund)—all spotted on the same set on the same day. Could Jon Snow and Sansa Stark be welcoming Bran and Arya home for the final battle?
As much as we are hoping for such an event, there are signs it could be derailed.
[PICTURE] Maisie and Isaac in the makeup trailer! (via maisiestyle on Instagram) pic.twitter.com/M9Fg6g9B1P
— GoT Source (@GoTsources) October 12, 2016
MAISIE WILLIAMS WEARING STARK CLOTHES IM DEAD pic.twitter.com/mVsIpgTUWP
— no name (@danystxrmborn) October 11, 2016
Let’s take Arya’s outfit in the above shots. These are Northern leathers, but they’re not in Stark colors. They’re the plainer brown color we saw Bran wear last season during his lucid visions of the past.
Given what we know of Arya’s history, dressing in masculine outfit is in keeping with her character. It’s also the sort of thing she might wear as a Faceless Man disguise, for whatever reason.
Also, just because Williams and Wright are on the same set at the same time doesn’t mean that Arya and Bran are together. We know Bran can see through time and space, and this could be another “Stark family members pass like ships in the night” moment, with Arya walking or riding by a Bran she can’t see.
Not that any of us want this. We want Jon and Arya to see each other again. We want Bran to go home and explain to Jon that he’s a magical tree wizard now, and that Jon’s dad is actually a Targaryen and it’s really kinda complicated, but he’s the product of the now-failed Revolution of 282 AC in King’s Landing.
But there are concerns. For example, one person we don’t have an image of is Sophie Turner (Sansa). (Although we have a different red head who many suspect is a new character.) Could Arya arrive at Winterfell only hours after Sansa has left somewhere with Littlefinger? Could Bran only be there via one of his visions?
— Winter is Coming (@WiCnet) October 25, 2016
And even IF we get the great big hugfest we all want, that still leaves the biggest problem of all: family reunions aren’t all potato salad and ice tea on the porch at sundown. There’s that family member Jeff who you know you can’t talk about with Uncle Steve, because Steve doesn’t know and won’t approve of Jeff’s husband. There’s that great uncle in the corner in the Make America Great Again hat who won’t stop talking about the election. There’s those triplets by your third cousin once removed who are actively hitting and screaming and spitting on relatives while mom coos at them to be a little nicer please.
In short, family reunions can be hell, especially if the experiences of the far-flung relations have taken them all down different paths. How will her brothers and sisters feel about Arya committing vicious murders? How does Bran explain his scary new powers? And how do they all react when they learn that Jon Snow is actually Jon Targaryen?
To be fair, this sort of family reunion makes for snarky fun watching, just like those weddings down in King’s Landing. Just be glad that they’re not your relations.