We are less than one month away from premiere of Game of Thrones season seven! Twenty-seven days in fact. Soon we’ll be spending our Sunday nights with the characters we love, the characters we hate and the characters we love to hate, crafting theory after theory and waiting to see if any of our favourites will be confirmed, playing drinking games every time someone dies and feeling the full spectrum of human emotion in the most epic hour of television ever. With the sensationally successful HBO series returning very shortly (albeit a bit late), here’s 7 Reasons To Be Excited About Game of Thrones Season 7.
What is hype may never die.
With last season’s revelation that Sandor “The Hound” Clegane is, in fact, alive some fans may just get the one fight that they’ve wanted above all others. The CleganeBowl theory originally stated that The Hound would return to King’s Landing to fight on behalf of the the Faith in Cersei’s trial by combat, in which Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane would have been representing her. It has also been linked to the Valonqar prophecy (see entry four); since The Hound is the younger – “little” – brother to The Mountain, it suggests that The Hound is the valonqar.
Obviously Cersei’s trial by combat won’t happen on the show since she blew up everyone in the Sept of Baelor and at present The Hound is headed North with the Brotherhood Without Banners (will he run into Arya?!) and not south toward King’s Landing. Plus, The Mountain is always at Cersei’s side. Also, it doesn’t really make sense that the High Sparrow would have chosen The Hound when he was so far away from the capital, far less that he’d have known about him hiding out with Brother Ray at all. The Hound wouldn’t even have been on his radar and it would have required a lot of hoop-jumping for the story to align in just the right way to make it happen. At least in this original incarnation of the theory.
But proponents of this theory won’t let minor details like that dampen their hype for this epic battle! We saw what a clash between the two brothers could look like in season one, when The Hound and The Mountain fought after the latter was defeated by Loras Tyrell in jousting.
It likely won’t happen, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility. As the series wraps up, Benioff and Weiss seem to be – to some extent – giving the fans what they want in terms of confirming long standing fan theories. The brothers definitely won’t fight in a trial by combat, but the could in a different context. Either way, it’s a fun theory.
#6. Arya’s Murderous Rampage
In one of the most satisfying moments of last season, Arya used the skills she acquired in her training as a Faceless Man to kill Walder Frey. It was a beautiful death made all the more perfect by her feeding him his own sons.
Aside from him, she’s gotten to kill a few others from her kill list; Polliver (who killed her friend Lommy all the way back in season two and took Needle; she killed him in season four when she and The Hound stopped at an inn), Rorge (one of the men who was locked in the cage with Jaqen as she was travelling to the Night’s Watch with Yoren and who threatened to rape her; she also killed him in season four while travelling with The Hound) and Ser Meryn Trant (one of the kingsguard who killed her water dancing instructor Syrio Forel; she killed him in season five at a Braavosi brothel).
Of the people who were on her kill list, there are only two who are now dead and we didn’t get the sweet, sweet satisfaction of seeing her off them: Joffrey (who was poisoned by Olenna Tyrell and Littlefinger at the infamous Purple Wedding) and Tywin Lannister (who took an arrow to the belly at the hands of Tyrion while sitting on the toilet).
Those remaining on her list are Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion (for selling Gendry to Melisandre), Melisandre (for taking Gendry), Ilyn Payne (for beheading Ned Stark; we likely won’t see him again, however, since the actor who played him nearly died from pancreatic cancer), The Mountain (for torturing the prisoners at Harrenhal) and Cersei (for her involvement in Ned’s death).
The only person who’s been removed from her list without dying is The Hound and that is because she’s largely forgiven him, although she seems conflicted about it. They’re still plenty of people left for her to kill though and hopefully she gets through much of her list in season seven.
#5. A Stark Reunion
If there’s one family that’s suffered the most in this series, it’s the Starks. Between Ned being beheaded, the separation of the Stark children, the Red Wedding, the sacks of Winterfell by Theon and Ramsay and Rickon’s death, they’ve been through quite a lot. The one thing we’ve always wanted – begged for even – was for the family to come back together.
We were teased with a mini Stark reunion in season three as Jon made his way south with the wildlings and came remarkably close to encountering Bran and Rickon. At the end of the last season, two of the four remaining Starks – Jon and Sansa – reunited at Winterfell.
From what we’ve seen in the trailer it looks like Arya will be heading North and we know that Bran is heading South toward the Wall. We saw Jon beyond the Wall in the trailer as well. With these three more or less headed toward each other, hopefully Arya makes it to Winterfell before Jon leaves their childhood home, Jon runs into Bran when he’s beyond the Wall and both brothers return to Winterfell, together or no.
Given Bran’s responsibility as the Three Eyed Raven however, it’s perhaps unlikely he will ever make it home. But there is a weirwood at Winterfell that he can use for his green-seeing.
This being Game of Thrones, we probably won’t get a happy ending like this for the Starks, this season or the next, but a fan can dream right?
Also, could they please stop killing off the direwolves? Thanks!
#4. Jamie Is The Valonqar
In season five we got one of our first flashbacks on the show; a young Cersei and one of her friends snuck out to visit Maggy the Frog to have their fortunes read. It was here that we received the Valonqar Prophecy. Maggy said to Cersei:
“And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
“Valonqar” is High Valyrian for “little brother.” Theories abound as to who it could be, with many of them pointing toward Tyrion; the obvious choice since he is the youngest of the Lannister children and has suffered greatly at the hands of his elder sister. However, despite Cersei and Jamie being a twin, he was born after his sister/lover and thus is in fact younger than she is. So he does qualify as her “little brother.”
I was all for Tyrion being the one to kill Cersei, she certainly deserves it, but I love this theory even more. Jamie being the valonqar would fit perfectly into the narrative! He killed Mad King Aerys because he planned to use wildfire to burn down all of King’s Landing. Cersei used it to destroy the just the Sept of Baelor and not the entire city, but she did what Jamie ruined his life and reputation to prevent.
He’s finally caught up to his book counterpart in releasing how mad and dangerous Cersei has become. It would be all the more perfect if he winds up killing her during a second sack of King’s Landing, with her threatening to burn the entire city. The same circumstances under which Jamie killed Mad King Aerys.
#3. Jon Stark-Targaryen
R + L = J confirmed! At least on the TV series. We’ve yet to be told if it’s true in the books.
Bran is now the only other person in the world who knows the truth of Jon’s parentage besides Howland Reed (are we ever going to see present-day Howland?). As stated in the Stark Reunion entry, he and Jon are headed toward each other. Perhaps Bran will tell him who his real parents are? There are so many implications!
It’d be fascinating to see what Jon’s reaction would be to learning that Ned is not his father and is actually his uncle, that he’s a Targaryen, that he’s a prince, that he’s next in line for the throne of Westeros, that he’s the personification of The Song of Ice and Fire! Well that last bit he wouldn’t know, but still.
It’s highly doubtful that Jon would even want to rule Westeros in any case. He’s never wanted power. He has taken up the title of King of the North, but it’s not one that he asked for. Furthermore, Winterfell is his home and he only just got it back. He possibly won’t want to leave.
It would also be fascinating to see how Daenerys reacts to the news, if she ever does find out. She’s believed that she’s the last remaining Targaryen for so long and here she would have another member of her family. Beyond that, as the last Targaryen she’s believed that the throne of Westeros is rightfully hers. Now here’s someone who bumps her down the line of succession, something that I don’t think she would take very well.
But they do say that the dragon needs three heads, a theory which the revelation of Jon’s parentage all but confirms as well; that he and Daenerys will comprise two of the three heads, with Tyrion as the third. Jon and Daenerys wouldn’t need to squabble over which Targaryen would sit the Iron Throne. They could rule together!
Yes, yes, yes. That requires more incest on this show and we’ve had quite enough of that, but at least that way we could avoid conflict between Jon and Daenerys. Although, as I said, I don’t think he’d want to sit on the Iron Throne anyway.
#2. Daenerys vs Cersei
Three words: Field of Fire.
This was a huge battle during Aegon I Targaryen’s war of conquest. Taking place in the plains south of Blackwater and in the northern region of The Reach, Aegon and his Targaryen forces fought against Loren I Lannister, King of the Rock and Mern IX Gardener, King of the Reach. During the battle Aegon and his sisters-wives took to their dragons Balerion, Meraxes and Vhagar, setting the battlefield afire and securing a decisive victory.
We see what looks to be a similar battle between Daenerys’ Targaryen forces and Cersei’s Lannister soldiers in the promotional images for the season; Targaryens and Lannisters facing each other on the battlefield once again in an identical confrontation. Don’t you just love how Daenerys’ journey mirrors that of Aegon’s at times?
This would be another opportunity for us to see Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal in action after last season’s Second Siege of Mereen, in which they burned part of the fleet belonging to the joined military forces of Astapor, Yunkai and Volantis. With the shorter run this season and thereby more money allocated for each episode, hopefully the effects budget will allow us to see more of the dragons and that they will have a significant role in this battle.
There are also glimpses of fighting between the Unsullied and Lannister soldiers at what appears to be Casterly Rock. In all honesty, any and every clash between these two women will be exciting to watch and likely a spectacle to behold. It’s the face off we’ve all been waiting for. The ultimate girl fight! Queen against Queen! And it’s finally here!
- Grey Worm’s Grey Worm: We clearly see him and Missandei getting it on in the trailer and admit it, just like Littlefinger wonders of Varys, we’ve all been a little curious as to whether or not our other favourite eunuch still has a penis. We’ll soon then out.
- Mad Queen Cersei: Cersei has never been more fun to watch! By placing her on opposition with the High Sparrow the writers managed to make her sympathetic and got us all to root for her. With no such comparative evil to make her look better, she’s still going to be one of the most captivating characters in the series and after her destruction of the Sept of Baelor it’ll be interesting to see where she bored and what she does next.
- Jorah’s Grey Scale: Jorah the Explorer has had the worst of luck in the last few seasons. Second only to his bring rejected and exiled by Daenerys was his contracting Grey Scale. Daenerys has since forgiven him and he’s on his way to Dragonstone with her. Who do we just so happen to see at Dragonstone in the trailer? Melisandre! She can and hopefully will cure him.
#1. The War for the Dawn
This is the name given to the prophesied battle in which humanity and the reborn Azor Ahai /The Prince That Was Promised (theories point to both heroes being the same person) will fight against the the White Walkers and possibly the Great Other (the enemy of R’hollor).
It would be the second such battle, with the Battle for the Dawn having occurred six to eight thousand years ago – during the Age of Heroes – between the joint efforts of the First Men and the Children of the Forest and the White Walkers. This Battle ended the Long Night and preceded the construction of The Wall, which was built to keep the White Walkers out of Westeros.
Winter has been coming since the first episode of this series. Now that it’s finally come the White Walkers have come with it (or they brought the winter, it’s not clear yet which comes first). As we know, all of this petty squabbling between the Westerosi lords for the Iron Throne means nothing in the face of such powerful enemies, whose very existence threatens that of the Seven Kingdoms and its populace.
The poster for the season places the Night King front and centre as the looming danger. Davos even gives us a stark (no pun intended) reminder of what war really matters in is voice over in the trailer:
“If we don’t put aside our enmities and band together, we will die. And then it doesn’t matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne.”
Jon’s voice over ends the trailer on an ominous note:
“The Great War…is here.”
As definitive as that line is, it’s likely that The Great War a.k.a. The War for the Dawn won’t start until the end of this season and will be the main, if not sole, story of the eight and final season. There are a lot of story lines that need to come to a head and/or be resolved before that happens – pretty much all of them in fact – and it looks like that will be what occupies the bulk of this season. But it wouldn’t be surprising if the the war started before said story lines are resolved.
One thing that needs to happen in order to usher in The War for the Dawn is that the Wall must fall.
It’s going to come down. There’s no doubt about that. There is no other way for the White Walkers to make it into Westeros and we know that they will. The Wall was constructed with the magic of the Children of the Forest woven into it and this magic is what keeps them at bay. This same magic protected the cave of the Three Eyed Raven and after Bran was marked by the Night’s King, the White Walkers were able to enter it. Speculation has been rampant since then that, because of this, Bran going through the Wall will enable the White Walkers and their army of wights to do the same.
Now that isn’t a physical bringing down of the wall, only a means for the White Walkers to circumvent its magic. But there is another way to bring down the Wall; blowing the Horn of Winter.
Also known as the Horn of Joramun, it belonged to and was used by Joramun, the first King Beyond the Wall. He gathered the Free Folk and defeated he Night’s King (not the same one from the series) and the Night’s Queen along with Brandon the Breaker, the then King of the North. Joramun blew his horn once and “woke the giants from the earth.” It’s said that blowing the horn again will bring down the Wall.
We may have seen the Horn of Winter on the show already; in season two when Sam, Grenn and Edd find the cache of dragonglass and an old warhorn. It may have been just that, an old warhorn, but some fans believe it to be the the Horn of Winter and it’s still in Sam’s possession. There’s even an identical horn on the cover of the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, Winds of Winter.
For more information on the Horn of Winter, watch Alt Shift X’s video about it: The Horn of Winter: will Joramun’s Horn destroy the Wall? [S5/ADWD spoilers].
Season 7 of Game of Thrones premieres July 16th at 9 PM on HBO.