BY: MATTHEW PYNE
It's almost here...perhaps the most anticipated season premiere yet: Season 7 of Game of Thrones. Debuting this Sunday, this year of Game of Thrones will only contain seven episodes in its penultimate season. Trailers have dropped, cast photos are out, and late night talk shows only fuel the anticipation. If you're like me (Game of Thrones super fan), then you know to expect a jam-packed seven episodes sure to give Thrones fans their best season yet. Okay, there's a lot to unpack here, so let's delve in. WARNING: SPOILERS MAY BE INCLUDED IN A FEW OF MY PREDICTIONS
Westeros is under attack, Daenerys and her army of Dothraki and Unsullied are sailing toward King's Landing with some pit stops along the way. Daenerys is intent on sitting on the Iron Throne that was usurped from her father, King Aerys II (The Mad King). At this point, the Mother of Dragons and her army look unstoppable. But knowing Game of Thrones and especially George RR Martin's general careless attitude toward the status quo, I don't think she will just roll through Westeros uninterrupted. This leads me into my first prediction.
Prediction #1 -- One of the Dragons falls in battle
Daenery's three Dragons are her biggest strength, there is no denying that. Losing one of her dragons would certainly level the playing field a bit, especially if one of those dragons becomes an Ice Dragon (popular fan theory). If the White Walkers were able to acquire an Ice Dragon into their army, I would place my bets on their side. But I feel like that is more likely to occur in Season 8. However, I do believe a dragon will fall this season, just simply not to make Daenerys the obvious odds-on favorite to sit the Iron Throne at the end of the series.
We should see several key battles this season as pieces fall into place on the ever-changing chess board that is the realm. From the looks of the first couple trailers, Lannister soldiers are fending off the Dothraki and a dragon in what looks to be Casterly Rock.
I'm especially eager to see this battle in particular, simply to see if the opposition of the Targaryen army offers any real resistance. By the looks of the trailer, Jamie Lannister is involved in this battle, so it will be interesting to see his tactics to defeating the juggernaut.
Up in Winterfell, we have the newly declared 'King in The North.' This, of course, is referring to Jon Snow. Drawing comparisons to the former King In The North, Robb Stark, Jon Snow will also descend south. His reasoning, however is very different. His reasoning is to stop these guys:
Jon will most likely make a stop in Dragonstone to meet with the Dragon Queen herself to possibly convince her that the real war isn't in King's Landing, but actually in the North. As we also see in the trailer, Bran may have made his way to Winterfell. Bran, the three-eyed raven, now holds knowledge unlike anyone in the realm, has big plans for the future, and seems to be the gateway to a resolution to the entire series.
Prediction #2 -- Bran tells Jon Snow of his Targaryen lineage
As we know from Season 6, Bran had a vision of Lyanna Stark giving her child to Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy. That child later turned out to be Jon Snow, whose father was presumed to be Rhaegar Targaryen, which was later confirmed by HBO. If Bran indeed makes contact with Jon, one would have to think he spills the beans on the whole Targaryen link. Jon may actually take and use this knowledge with him when he goes to meet Daenerys to earn her trust.
Also in the North, we still have Sansa Stark and Petyr Baelish. In fact, in one of the trailers we see a meeting between Jon Snow and Petyr Baelish, in which Jon appears to slam Petyr against the wall. Jon is clearly upset about something and let's be honest, Littlefinger is hard to trust.
Prediction #3 -- Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish Dies
Littlefinger has few friends left in Westeros and seems to have little to no role left in the show. Of the main characters left, I see Littlefinger as the most expendable coming out of Season 7. His ambition will be his downfall and will meet his fate.
Back in King's Landing, Cersei Lannister has just taken the Iron Throne after....uhh...taking care of some business.
Cersei has now lost all three of her children and has nothing left, but her brother/lover Jamie and power. As the old saying goes: Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Cersei made sure she gained absolute power when she took out the Sept and most of the Light of the Seven Faith with it. Cersei's only true threat comes from Essos and Daenerys' army. While the pressure of the crown will weigh on Cersei, the impending siege of the Dragon Queen looms, which will almost set Cersei into a mad scramble to retain power.
Prediction #4 -- Cersei becomes the 'Mad Queen'
Much like the Mad King before her, Cersei faces an enormous rebellion. Cersei draws striking similarities to King Aerys II, like her obsession with wildfire. Knowing its use and functionality, Cersei will only be more tempted to utilize it to her advantage in the future. But now, who knows if she uses the phrase, "Burn them all!," if it will refer to her enemy armies.....or the White Walkers. Game of Thrones seems to uses patterns and even repeats history often, so this theory holds some credibility.
However, power has proven to be short-lived in this series, with four different people sitting on the Iron Throne in just six seasons. So maybe we'll see another changing of the guard this season. Remember that guy rowing away from Dragonstone a few seasons back? Yeah, Gendry Baratheon probably has the most legitimacy and claim to the crown even as a bastard.
Prediction #5 -- Gendry sits on the Iron Throne by the end of Season 7
This one may be a stretch, but one would have to think we see Gendry at some point this season. With so much turmoil in a volatile world, now is the time to take power. So, it's certainly possible Gendry shows up and states his case for his claim. This could be tricky, because if Cersei so much hears of a remaining Baratheon heir, she will crush him before he even gets a chance to reclaim what is his by birthright.
Prediction #6 --We find out Samwell Tarly represents George RR Martin
Moving down to Oldtown. In the series finale last year, we see Sam and Gilly make their way down to Oldtown to the Citadel, in order for Sam to become a maester. As alluded to, Sam feels he needs to become a maester to provide knowledge to Jon Snow for the Wars to Come. Now, I believe a fan theory that suggests Samwell Tarly is actually a metaphor for George Martin himself. A little chubby, likes to read, and faced struggles throughout his life, until he finally made something of himself, Sam Tarly is telling the story of Game of Thrones. In fact, that's what I think this entire series is about: just one long storytelling saga. The evidence can be found right in the opening credits of the show, where the cities and villages specific to the episode are built up and revealed for which current house calls that area their domain. (Baratheon stag in King's Landing, Starks or Boltons in Winterfell). Going deeper, seen during the opening theme are what look to be magnifying scopes just like the ones the Maester who greets Sam at the Citadel has, suggesting a Maester looking down upon the map. (Visible between 0:10-0:13).
Elsewhere, we see in the trailers, beyond the Wall is Jon Snow and Beric Dondarrion against the army of the dead, which I actually think will be the final scene of Season 7 leading into the final one. We see the arm of Jorah Mormount riddled with Grayscale. Arya on her way back to Winterfell (presumably). Theon and Yara Greyjoy in a battle at sea. A glimpse of a Greyworm and Missandei romance. Season 7 will bring it and with all of the talk of Jon Snow being the 'Prince who was promised,' Tyrion's resiliency to become Hand of the Queen, and The Night King leading his army, we have some pretty badass female players. Cersei, Daenerys, Yara Greyjoy, and Lyanna Mormount...remember what Varys said: