The return of Balon Greyjoy and the Iron Isles on Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones was one attempt to tie up loose ends the series introduced in the early episodes of the program. But Balon is not the only character left dangling over the course of the series’s run. Here are a few others the show seemingly has abandoned:
Gendry: One of Robert Baratheon bastards and the secret ingredient to making Melisandre’s curse against the false kings of Westeros succeed. He was also a friend of Arya’s as they traveled North to Castle Black and eventually met the Brotherhood without Banners. The Red Woman intended to kill him in an attempt bring the dragon carvings on Dragonstone to life, but was last seen rowing away from the island thanks to Ser Davos. It is unclear if he’ll ever return as Gendry and the bastard Davos frees are separate characters in the books. Also, book Gendry ends up in a plotline the television series will likely never adapt. At the same time, he is the only surviving character with a tie to House Baratheon.
Benjen Stark: Ned’s brother and loyal member of the Night’s Watch. He is the reason Jon was so eager to go North of the Wall at the beginning of season two. But he has since been forgotten thanks to everything else that’s been happening. He’s also a question mark in the novels. Some believe he is the secret identity of Coldhands, a character deleted from the television series. It is always possible we’ll see Benjen again as his name was invoked on Sunday’s episode during Bran’s flashback.
Beric Dondarrion: Introduced in season one, Beric was meant to capture Gregor Clegane, but returned in season three as the nominal leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners who happen upon Arya, Gendry and the Hound. Berric was also seen returning from death thanks to the Red Priest Thoros of Myr. Presumably he and the Brotherhood are still out there causing trouble for the Lannisters and Freys in the Riverlands. But with the War of the Five Kings long over, it is unclear how much trouble he and his men actually represent.
The Blackfish: Catelyn’s uncle, Brynden Tully, survived the Red Wedding, but has seemingly spent the years since on the run. Or he’s holed up at Riverrun, which is where he stationed by Robb Stark in A Storm of Swords. Photos of a Riverrun location circulated last year suggesting this plot may be resolved. Granted, it hasn’t actually been resolved in A Song of Ice and Fire, either.
Ilyn Payne: The royal executioner who took Ned Stark’s head still recurs on the list of the people Arya wants to kill, but we’ll never see the character get his comeuppance. Played by Wilko Johnson, the actor later took ill with terminal pancreatic cancer. Producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff declared they would never recast the part. In the novels, Payne becomes Jamie’s trainer after the loss of his hand — a role given to Bron in the television series.
Edmure Tully: Catelyn’s brother was last seen being carted off to his wedding night just before the murders that gave the event its blood-soaked name. He is presumably still a “guest” of the Freys and expected to produce a Tully/Frey heir to secure that latter family’s hold on the Riverlands.
Walder Frey: Last seen receiving a recap of events from Roose Bolton in season three, Walder helped orchestrate the Red Wedding and is no doubt a fans’ top pick for the next character to get shanked. He’s presumably keeping a close watch on Edmure. The character is reportedly returning in the sixth season, perhaps to finally become “The Late Walder Frey.”
Lady Stoneheart: Though this character never appeared in the television series, a lot of the deleted plotlines and seemingly forgotten characters revolve around this person. In A Feast for Crows, Berric, Gendry, Brienne and Podrick all end up working for or meeting her. She becomes the scourge of the Riverlands and a meeting with Jamie also seems inevitable. The television series has good reason to delete the plot, but all of the setups suggest it was intended to be included prior to the realization of season four; when the character would likely have been introduced as a season-ending reveal. Her function in the story will seemingly be served by Jon and Sansa going forward.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO.