Editor’s Note: This post contains potential spoilers for season seven of Game of Thrones and DEFINITE ones for the past six of the show thus far. Don’t read on if you don’t want to know things, mmkay Jon Snow?
It’s felt like the longest autumn on record, but winter is finally here. And oh, what a brilliant turn of events went down in Game of Thrones‘ epic season six finale, “The Winds of Winter.” We got questions answered and storylines coalesced in a way we didn’t expect to see until 2017. But, for every R+L=J we received, we also got a whole new slew of questions about where the story could possibly go. With a rumored 13 hours worth of story left to tell, we wanted to try and get ahead of the questions we all have heading into season seven. Questions to which — since we’ve now deviated so far from the books — we may or may not get an answer (or, at least, the expected answer. Which: is there such a thing on Game of Thrones?).
OK: Who’s Going to Kill Cersei?
As it states in the prophecy, Cersei’s gonna die — and at the hand of the “valonqar,” which is High Valyrian for “little brother.” Now, the easy route would be to take this literally and name Tyrion the man who would kill his older sister. But… it could also mean Jaime Lannister, her twin brother who is technically younger than Cersei by a few minutes.
Of course, “little brother” could also describe a lot of people living in the Realm: Jon Snow, for instance. So, really, it’s anyone’s guess but given how the show teed up Jaime’s own fears about his sister’s tyranny in “The Winds of Winter,” our money’s on Jaime being the one forced to kingslay yet again. Kingslayer, queenslayer: all he does is slay, slay, slay no matter what! (Maybe Jaime’s the new Beyoncé.)
And What’s Going to Happen to Septa Unella?
Cersei’s treatment of the shame-y septa was—according to an interview with Entertainment Weekly—far more brutal than what we saw on-screen, calling it “so depraved, it’s brilliant. The scene was meant to be worse, but they couldn’t do it. This is like the tame version. It’s pretty bad still though.” But in what way could it have been worse? And what does that mean for Septa Unella, especially left in the hands of The Mountain, Gregor Clegane. While Lena Headey was short on details in both her EW interview and on the show, the machinations and mentions that happened during the wine-rboarding sequence leads us to believe that septa’s going to come back mightily undead in season seven, adding to Cersei’s army of creepy half-baked undeadites. They’re both so quiet, after all. Cersei likes that.
Brienne and Podrick: Where Do They Go from Here?
Two people we didn’t see on Sunday’s finale that we sorely missed seeing in “The Winds of Winter”? Definitely Brienne of Tarth and her squire, Podrick “Tripod” Payne. While others were also left out of the night (Euron Greyjoy, Sandor and the Brotherhood, and Ser Jorah Mormont), these two have, perhaps, the biggest question mark hanging over their heads. Ser Jorah has a cause (to find a cure for his Greyscale) and Euron’s got a fleet of ships to build and a war to rage (we’ll get to Sandor and the Brotherhood in a moment), but Brienne and Pod are so far off book it’s a big ol’ mystery to know where they’re going. Plus: we get admittedly worried anytime the last time we see someone is floating on the water in a boat. (AHEM, Gendry.)
With a battle between Jaime and Brienne foreshadowed during their meeting this season, it feels safe to assume that Brienne and Pod will end back in Winterfell. But will Brienne err on the side of Sansa Stark and her ever-evolving push for power, or will she remain loyal to the family homestead and those that rule within it (i.e. Jon Snow)? Certainly that moral push-pull will become a real sticking point for Brienne next season. And Pod’ll be along for the ride (and probably more than a few dick jokes).
What About Sandor Clegane and the Brotherhood Without Banners?
Ahh, see: this is perhaps my favorite new development. Because why bring these guys back at all this season if they’re not going to play a major part in the next? As evidenced by both the murder pies she baked and the slicing Walder Frey’s throat, Arya is definitely taking up a lot of the plotlines handled in the books by Lady Stoneheart. Which means now’s the perfect time and scenario for Arya to link up with the Brotherhood and reunite with Sandor Clegane. Mark me: these three are going to return to each other wholly different entities from who they were when they first met-up in season three.
This will also aid in the hotly anticipated, much-discussed Cleganebowl to still be a thing: after all, Arya’s list of people to kill still includes Cersei Lannister, who’s down in King’s Landing being guarded by the Hound’s big brother, the [Undead] Mountain. You know who’s going to be highly supportive of such a murder-y revenge plot? Definitely Arya Stark. And really: she sorta owes Sandor this one after she left him for dead last time they were together.
And, hey: if Beric Dondarrion gives his life for Arya instead of Catelyn Stark, wouldn’t you be all-the-more satisfied as a viewer? In fact, I’d wager undead Arya sounds like the stronger play overall. Of course the idea of them undead-ing Arya also makes us deeply sad, simply because we want everyone’s favorite serial murderperson facestealer to never, ever die. But it’s like the Greyjoys always say: what is dead may never die, so maybe this’ll be their way of letting her live forever. Silver lining?
What’s the Big Deal About Oldtown and the Citadel?
…OTHER than that incredible, envy-inducing library you mean? Uh, LOTS. First of all: Oldtown is literally the oldest town in Westeros, built before the Andals came over and defeated the First Men (mostly). It houses the Citadel, the house of training for all maesters in the Realm. It is also home to the Hightower castle, and that bangin’ library we all drooled over in the season finale. Basically: Oldtown holds the secrets, even more so than Bran and his visions of the past and future. Where Bran gives us answers about history, Samwell will also likely give us intel — answers to the magic and the power of the gods (rather than the story of the people, which is what Bran has so far foretold).
In the books, the prologue of A Feast for Crows is from the point of view of a maester-in-training named Pate, who dies in Oldtown trying to make a trade with a mysterious Alchemist. Fans of the book have noted similarities and theorized that this Alchemist may actually be good ol’ Jaqen H’ghar, and that Jaqen takes over the body/identity of the now-dead Pate in order to gain access to Samwell and his knowledge about the Wights, the White Walkers, and the Night King. Because of all the answers held within the walls of the Citadel — plus the impending battle Euron Greyjoy is set to unleash upon it next season on his way to getting to Dany — our money is on this prequel scene being the cold open we get for season seven of the series. Because the wars to come are going to be much bigger than control over an Iron Throne.
What are the “Wars to Come”?
You know how they’re always talking about winter being on its way? It’s not just a metaphor for global warming and impending White Walker insanity, but also the real battle, between the gods and men. This, my friends, is what I think George R.R. Martin’s story’s been getting at this whole time: The follies of men have been nothing more than a distraction, a means to get the players to an end of the gods’ choosing. Hey: they don’t call it Game of Thrones for nothin’.
All series long, the inclusion of magic in a world ruled by old gods and new ones has lent itself very much to a story of puppetry on behalf of the gods, their plans being exacted by men unaware — the best sort of pawn. (There’s a reason for all those scenes with the theater troupe beyond Arya’s character development.) In many ways, A Song of Ice and Fire is a story of the laws of men versus the laws of gods. And depending on what you believe, Dany and Jon Snow embody those dueling sides. Even though Dany has magic on her side—what with the whole dragon platoon and all—we tend to believe Jon is the savior of the gods, and Dany the one that was promised to defend the realms of men. After all: Jon’s spent most of his time battling the idea of White Walkers and a Night King, whereas Dany’s been setting slaves free and trying to rule.
Maybe the only way humans win is if they realize who the true enemy is: the gods who control a world without its knowledge, putting puzzle pieces together and players into the game.
Oh, and One More Thing: WHERE THE HECK IS GENDRY?!
YOU MUST TELL ME, GAME OF THRONES. YOU MUST![brightcove video_id=”4850855347001″ brightcove_account_id=”3653334524001″ brightcove_player_id=”2bfa565b-5412-4cfd-9211-6269880b8a5e”]
What questions do YOU have for season seven? Let us know in the comments below!