While I am completely pleased that House Stark reclaimed Winterfell and The North, I am concerned about their future. The reason for this is because Robb and Rickon are dead and because Bran is a paraplegic he cannot produce an heir. Because of these factors, the Stark family name will end with them, but on the upside the Stark bloodline will continue through Sansa and Arya. Even though Jon Snow has been crowned King in the North, he does not have the Stark name in any case because he is neither a Stark nor a bastard, but a Targaryen.
Despite reclaiming The North, the Starks still have other challenges ahead as they prepare for the Second Long Night. Chief among them is Littlefinger because he betrayed their family once and it is a certainty that he will do it again. Fortunately, I think I know Littlefinger’s weakness: his obsession with Sansa Stark. Now that Sansa has rejected Littlefinger’s advances to be his queen when he takes the Iron Throne, Littlefinger will be more hell-bent to get her more than ever. This could make him sloppy in his manipulations and lead to his downfall. To make things worse for Littlefinger is that many Lords of the Vale are Stark loyalists as well as Arryn loyalists. Even though Littlefinger is the de facto leader of the Vale, half his army could turn on him if he acts against the Starks. Also, Sansa is the only one who understands how Littlefinger operates so if he decides to act against the Starks, she will know about it and trump him.
It is officially confirmed that Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. So far, the only ones who know the truth about Jon’s heritage are Bran Stark and Howland Reed. While Bran Stark’s warging and greensight are powerful, there’s no guarantee that he will be able to convince everyone what he has seen unless he finds a way. As for Howland Reed, he is the sole survivor of the duel at the Tower of Joy and he was close friends with Eddard Stark. Because of his fierce loyalty to both Eddard Stark and House Stark in general, he might be able to convince The North of Jon’s true identity. When Jon realizes that he is the true king of the Iron Throne, it will be a lot for him to digest and accept considering he has been treated as a bastard all his life. Even if The North publicly acknowledges the truth about Jon’s heritage, it could put his claim as King in the North in question. The reason for this is due to The North’s animosity towards House Targaryen. They may hate him because he is the son of the man who supposedly abducted Lyanna Stark and the grandson of the man who murdered Brandon and Rickard Stark. Only time will tell how The North and the rest of the Seven Kingdoms will react when they learn that the true king of the Iron Throne has been living with the Starks all this time.
Because Jon understands the threat that is about to breach the Wall, he will be more focused on preparing The North for the Second Long Night instead of participating in the War of the Five Kings. With the Lannisters too busy clinging to what’s left of their hold on the Iron Throne and the Iron Islands busy rebuilding their fleet, the Stark’s only hindrance would be Littlefinger. The sinister look he gave Sansa and Jon clearly hints that he is already hatching a plan against them. When Daenerys lands in Westeros, the Starks would not risk the lives of their countrymen against the wrath of her dragons and legions. Like their ancestor Torrhen Stark did with Daenerys’s ancestor Aegon the Conquerer, the Starks would most likely surrender and reach a compromise with Daenerys in order to save Northern lives.
Overall, I look forward to how House Stark will deal with their current circumstances in Season 7. I only hope they won’t suffer more than they already have. I completely hate it when bad things happen to good people.