This post contains frank discussion of Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 10 “The Winds of Winter.” If you are not caught with the season finale, now is the time to leave.
There was a myth hovering around Game of Thrones Season 7 that the HBO show had completely gone off the George R.R. Martin books. But thanks to the writers circling back on some older stories like the election in the Iron Islands, the Siege of Riverrun, the return of the Hound, and more, book readers were actually able to predict a lot of Season 6 in advance. But with Season 7 looming, we’re well and truly off the book reader map. Unless Martin releases his next book, “The Winds of Winter,” between now and next year (and he might! he met with his publisher earlier this month!), we’re all going to be heading into the next cluster of episode fairly blind. However there are still a few lingering clues that could help readers know what to expect next year. Careful, here be dragons and some very mild spoilers.
What We Can Expect from Game of Thrones Season 7
The Lannister Twins
In the “Game of Thrones: Season 6 Game Revealed: Episodes 59 & 60” feature on HBOGo, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau described this mysterious look between Cersei and Jaime as “shock.” According to him, while processing the wreckage of King’s Landing and the news of his son’s death, Jaime “does not understand what the game plan is. No one will accept [Cersei] as queen willingly. I’m not sure he understands or knows who that person is now. And that’s scary.” There are some prevalent theories that, like he had to with the Mad King Aerys, Jaime will be forced to put his sister down. There’s even a book prophecy that supports this theory. Will Jaime pull the trigger as soon as Game of Thrones Season 7? It’s hard to say. But if he doesn’t go after her, Daenerys and company sure will.
But while Cersei’s reign may not be as long as Qyburn promises, it could be some bloody good fun. With Ramsay gone and Euron failing to make too big of an impression as the next Big Bad, will Cersei slide into that role? We still have some time to waste before it’s all-out war with the Night’s King. As showrunner David Benioff put it, “[Cersei’s] capable of doing anything, as she’s proven in this episode. To get what she wants. The real question now is what does she want?” Presumably? To survive the coming storm that is Daenerys Targaryen.
Sansa and Littlefinger
While we’re on the subject of ambiguous looks, how about this beauty shared between Sansa and her erstwhile mentor? Despite the fact that Jon gave her the master suite in Winterfell and self-deprecatingly said he wasn’t a Stark, Sansa seemed to warmly back him. But Littlefinger has been pouring poison in her ear and spent this triumphant Stark moment smirking in the corner. What does Sansa’s look here mean for the future? In a released chapter from the upcoming book, Sansa is still very much Littlefinger’s pawn as she learns courtly manners at the Vale. I can’t ever see the show version of Sansa regressing in that direction, but is there an alliance in the works?
According to Sophie Turner, the look between them is intentionally oblique. “You really don’t know where they’re going to go from there,” she said in the Game Revealed video. “You don‘t know if Sansa is just going to turn on Jon or what‘s going to happen.” Hmmm, maybe Turner has learned her lesson about dropping even the most casual of spoilers. But while Sansa will likely never fully trust Littlefinger again, should some kind of sibling rivalry drive a wedge between her and Jon, I wouldn’t put my money on Sansa to come out the winner. Jon is the one with the big, heavy destiny, Sansa. This isn’t a fight you want to pick.
Jon Snow a.k.a. Jon Starkgaryen a.k.a. The King in the North
Speaking of that destiny, we now know (or think we know) much more about Jon Snow’s legacy. As the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen (yep!), he’s grappling with the burden of expectations from two noble Westerosi lineages. Not only that, but if Jon winds up being Azor Ahai reborn, he’s already probably one step ahead of Stannis. Jon rejected Melisandre’s seductive offer of power and assistance in the wars to come. (It might have been an easy decision given that she did nothing to help him win the Battle of the Bastards.)
So unlike Stannis, Jon won’t be on the receiving end of some occasionally terrible and destructive advice. He will probably continue to rally the North and turning everyone’s attention towards the White Walkers, but Jon might need to take a breather if/when he finally reconnects with Bran. We may know Jon’s destiny, but Lyanna’s kid has yet to find that out for himself. It may prove quite an existential blow.
Bran and Meera (and Benjen)
Speaking of Bran, this might be where we actually have the most concrete hint about what to expect next year. Game of Thrones fan site Watchers on the Wall reports that Season 7 is looking to cast two Northern youths for “a high-stakes scene with leading cast members.” They’re looking for a 16-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy. That could be anything, but many suspect that this will be another flashback and we’ll see Bran fill in more gaps in Westerosi history.
But there’s also the curious matter of Uncle Benjen’s abrupt info dump right before he left Bran and Meera on the doorstep of the Wall. “This is where I leave you,” he said. “The Wall’s not not just ice and stone. Ancient spells were carved into its foundation. Strong magic to protect men from what lies beyond. While it stands, the dead cannot pass. I cannot pass.” This is a plot point many book savvy viewers were quick to point out earlier this season. The spells that protected the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave are the same that protect the Wall. We already know that the Night King’s mark on Bran broke the enchantments on the cave. Will it do the same for the Wall? Will Game of Thrones Season 7 open with Bran bringing the whole thing toppling down or at least allowing the White Walkers passage behind him? To be honest those feel like dramatic end of Game of Thrones Season 7 moves, but there’s only so long Bran and Meera can kick around north of the Wall next year. For better or worse, they may be meeting Lord Commander Edd Tollett soon.
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