Predictions for 'Game of Thrones' Season 7 You Won't Be Able to Deny
Daenerys attacks, Jon broods, Bran learns and Arya kills.
Before George R.R. Martin finishes The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in A Song of Ice and Fire, let's look ahead to next season while we still, like Jon Snow, know nothing. The GoT showrunners predict around 13 more episodes, likely seven this year and six more to end the series in 2018. Supposedly, some of these episodes will be longer than the usual 50-55 minutes to make up for the shortened seasons. With that in mind, what should we expect to see?
(**Book spoilers and potential spoilers to follow**)
First, it's worth noting HBO has reupped the five chief actors (Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) through seasons seven and eight. Many are pointing to the contracts as proof none of their characters will die on the show. But it's not like HBO is gonna say, "Oh, we renewed everyone for 13 episodes except Lena Headey. She only gets 10." So, again, we know nothing. That said, I do think everyone listed above will make it to season eight, even Cersei.
Here's what else I'm thinking:
1. Daenerys Stormborn Will Arrive in Westeros
I'm going out on a limb here, I know. This is the one thing that'll definitely happen (confirmed by recently released photos). The ships are on the Narrow Sea and the Mother of Dragons is set to unleash on the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms and take back the Iron Throne for House Targaryen. This attack is years in the making and will hopefully happen early in the season. It should happen early considering the armada is already on its way and I've heard the element of surprise is a pretty good thing when you're attacking something. Daenerys has the Lannisters outmanned by the thousands and out-dragoned three to none.
The new season seven photos appear to show Daenerys at Dragonstone (below), previously occupied by Stannis Baratheon. Dragonstone, the castle of House Targaryen, is just across Blackwater Bay from King's Landing. Look for Daenerys and her fleet to settle there first before attacking the Landing and taking the Iron Throne. However, don't expect Cersei to give it up easily. A big detail I'm looking forward to seeing is how Dany goes for the Throne. Will she simply attack, or send Tyrion to negotiate a peaceful surrender with his siblings?
2. Tyrion Will Meet Jaime and Cersei (and Bronn!) Again
I'm expecting a relatively calm beginning to season eight. Dany will go to Dragonstone, rest and regroup, and make plans for taking the Iron Throne. Daenerys will also send Tyrion to treat with his siblings and discuss a peaceful surrender. She has a history of doing this. She met with the Slave Master of Astapor before taking the city. She gave a speech at the gates of Meereen before talking the city. Dany likes to give the opposition a chance to keep their lives before taking them. She'll likely do the same at King's Landing.
Look for Tyrion to speak for Dany in the Red Keep and attempt to persuade "Queen" Cersei to give up the game. He'll be hesitant, since both Cersei (and Jaime supposedly) hates him, but Tyrion has always taken pride in out-thinking his family members. This seems like the ultimate chance. Plus, it will lead to a reunion with Bronn. We need more Tyrion and Bronn scenes.
King's Landing has just endured the destruction of the Great Sept, which likely killed thousands. And I'm guessing the common people of the city haven't had the nourishment of House Tyrell's food supplies for some time (Olenna is sure to cut it off now if she hasn't already). The city is more vulnerable than ever. Is it possible Cersei, now in control of the Lannister army and Kingsguard, would back down to save the people if she's presented with an enticing offer? Yeah, probably not.
Jaime is the wild card here. The story is set up for history to repeat itself, a theme of the show, with Cersei playing the part of the Mad King. Will the Kingslayer kill his sister, his love, if Cersei instructs Qyburn to burn King's Landing to ash? Would Cersei do that in the first place? (Nodding.) It's tempting to say that's what'll happen but I come back to the fact that Jaime seems to be on a path of redemption. He's not the Kingslayer. His name is Jaime. I doubt he'll kill Cersei, but he could help Tyrion defeat her. Jaime told Bronn he would kill Tyrion if he ever saw him again for murdering their father, but I don't believe that for a second.
The new season seven photos show Jaime by Cersei's side in the Red Keep. He seems to have found Joffrey's old sword, Widow's Wail, and is in prime Kingsguard position. He was definitely shocked by Cersei's actions in the season six finale, but he hated the High Sparrow as much as anyone and I doubt he sheds a tear over the demise of (most of) House Tyrell. I think Jaime will stand by Cersei's side during season seven, which brings us to...
3. Cersei Won't Die...Yet
I don't see Maggy's prophecy coming into play until the end of season seven or season eight. Cersei won't go down easily and she still has a pretty large army (around 30,000 + the Mountain Zombie) behind her now that she's queen. She also has tons of wildfire left in her caches. Jaime will remain loyal to her, but season seven will see them drift apart. Tyrion will be back in their lives and he may be what Jaime needs to see his sister for the maniac she is (although it never helped before). Maggy's prophecy says Cersei will be queen "for a time" before a "younger, more beautiful" queen casts her down. Who could that be? The other part of the prophecy states Cersei will die at the hands of the "Valonqar" which means "little brother" in High Valyrian. That points to Tyrion as her killer, but maybe her twin, Jaime, was born second. Either way, one of her brothers will kill her.
4. Jon Reunites With Bran & Learns Who His Mother Is
Expect Daenerys to meet her nephew, Jon Snow, at some point in season seven. But, before that happens, Jon must learn who his real mother and father are. I think he'll learn this all-important truth from Bran or through Bran. If the two brothers don't meet, I think Bran will be able to communicate with Jon somehow. Maybe he'll warg into Ghost and Ghost will sit him down for a chat. Somehow... Jon will find out Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen are his parents. He certainly seems to be gazing at her tomb in the Winterfell crypt in the above image from season seven.
5. Bran Will Have More Flashbacks
The Three-Eyed Raven knows everything right? Well, there's still a hell of a lot more for Bran to learn. The show will probably employ more flashbacks to reveal the rest of what we aren't sure of. Could we get a Battle of the Trident, where Robert Baratheon hammered Rhaegar Targaryen to death, spraying his ruby-studded armor everywhere? Might we get a glimpse of the tourney at Harrenhal when Rhaegar named Lyanna Stark Queen of Love and Beauty? Could that be how Bran learns who the father of Lyanna's baby is? These would be big, expensive scenes to shoot, but we're at the end. Here's hoping HBO breaks the bank.
6. Sansa Will Play Littlefinger and Cause His Death
Do you think Sansa has forgotten how Petyr Baelish gave her away to that miserable psycho Ramsay Bolton? Knights of the Vale or no, Sansa Stark will be the end of Littlefinger. She knows him better than anyone and can use his love for her against him. And, for anyone who thinks Sansa is still too sweet and innocent to play these kinds of games—wake up. Ramsay was no fluke. She's no longer the little girl of Winterfell. Look for Littlefinger to continue to try to turn Sansa against Jon, for Sansa to play along, and then put a knife in Littlefinger's throat.
7. Arya Will Return Home, But Only Briefly
A Stark reunion at Winterfell is in the cards, but don't expect Arya to just kick it around the castle. She just killed the Freys and I'm curious to see how Jon and Sansa learn about this. Will Arya just come home and tell them? Maybe, maybe not, but she should return home early in the season and see her sister and cousin (not a step-bro anymore) before heading out again to finish her list.
Look for Arya to also find Nymeria somewhere in the wilderness and get a needed travel companion. Arya and the Hound also MUST reunite. Sandor Clegane is in the North with the Brotherhood Without Banners (wearing Lem Lemoncloak's signature garb by the way (inset at right)—a fact Lem was not pleased about on Twitter). They'll meet again.
The same goes for Arya and Melisandre (their reunion was promised). I think Arya could pick up some of the Lady Stoneheart storyline from the books. Will the Hound and Arya meet again as friends? Does he hate her for not putting him out of his misery after fighting Brienne? I doubt it. More likely—the Hound and Arya team up and start checking off that list together. The Hound has soft spots for both of the Stark daughters. He's destined to serve them, and likely die in the process.
8. Sam Will Learn Important Stuff and Things
At the Citadel, Sam will study Westeros tomes and try to peel back the mystery of the White Walkers and the Wall. (I covered Sam's importance to the show last year). Sam is on the path to becoming a maester at Jon's side, but he'll also discover something important about dragonglass and/or Valyrian steel that will help in the fight against the Night King. This information may be what convinces Jon to believe in Daenerys (if the familial ties aren't enough). He'll need those dragons to have a chance against the Army of the Dead. Their two weaknesses (dragonglass and dragonsteel) are both dragon-related. It seems probable dragonfire is the one way to defeat the Night King.
9. Yara and Theon Will Take Back the Iron Islands
Daenerys has promised Yara and Theon the Iron Islands, but they're on the western side of Westeros so it makes sense for them to attack King's Landing first. Although, the more time Euron Greyjoy has to build his giant fleet, the bigger threat he poses. Euron will be dealt with, maybe in the series' first big battle at sea, but likely not until after Daenerys sits on the Iron Throne. I'd send a dragon up there to wipe Euron and his boys out in an afternoon, but, you know, that's just me. If Yara and Theon survive long enough, we'll see them return home to fight their uncle.
(Editor's note: This article was originally published July 1, 2016. Update: April 25, 2017.)