Game of Thrones: Season 7 Primer
Game of Thrones’ Season 7 is finally here. After a longer-than-usual wait for this upcoming season, we are mere days away from seeing what will happen in Westeros and beyond. As the resident GoT junkie, below is a Season 7 Primer that highlights what events have transpired most recently in Season 6 and what could possibly be on the horizon.
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(NOTE: This article contains no spoilers other than the ones that I have briefly theorized from the two HBO trailers. If you have chosen to go completely spoiler-free, I’d advise you not reading further.)
In The North
Jon Snow started Season 6 dead and ended it as King in the North. Not a bad climb. After he executed the traitors including Aliser Thorne and Olly, Jon reunited with Sansa at Castle Black, who arrived with Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne. We finally got our first Stark Reunion™ and I expect it won’t be the last… Roose Bolton, his wife and newborn son are killed by Ramsey, who then is presented Rickon Stark by the Umbers, who have seemingly turned on the Starks. Ramsey quickly sent word about this to Jon (and to return Sansa), which causes Jon and Sansa to begin to rally both Northerners and wildlings to their side to take back Winterfell… With his Watch now ended, Jon hands the Lord Commander duties to Dolorous Edd Tollett who now holds Castle Black, as the Night’s Watch’s fighting men continue to diminish.
This led to the epic Battle of the Bastards, where all hope is lost for Jon and his army, until Petyr Baelish and the Knights of the Vale decimated the Bolton forces. RIP Rickon, Osha, Wun-Wun and Shaggydog. Show-watchers finally got to see the (grisly) death of Ramsey Bolton at the hands of Sansa. In the finale, Jon is first declared King in the North by Lady Mormont and Lords Manderly and Glover, followed by other Northern Houses and the Vale lords. This season, I would expect Jon to continue rallying Houses (Northern and otherwise) now that he has the KitN title in order to convince other lords of the threats beyond the Wall. I really don’t expect Jon to play the “game” and to seek out the Iron Throne, unless it helps his ultimate end-game in building an army to fight the White Walkers. Despite their short time together, I would expect Jon to name Davos his “de facto” Hand. It is also inevitable that Littlefinger will continue his scheming, whether that is with the aid (and/or benefit) of Sansa or without. He is still a dangerous player with the control of the largest and freshest army (the Vale).
In The Riverlands
Midway through Season 6, many fans were excited to see the return of Sandor Clegane. After toiling with a peaceful community that was later butchered by vagabonds, he joined up with the Brotherhood without Banners who are marching north to join the great battle against the White Walkers. I would expect this contingent to eventually run into any or all of Arya, Melisandre (who was banished by Jon after it was revealed she killed Shireen Baratheon) and Brienne/Pod on their way to Winterfell and the Wall.
After King Tommen sent his uncle to the Riverlands, Jaime met his old friend Brienne, who is unsuccessful in persuading the Blackfish to lay down his arms. Jaime does come to an agreement with the Lord of Riverrun, Edmure Tully, who waved the white flag and let the Frey and Lannister forces in to the castle. It will be interesting what happens to the Riverlands which now lies in shambles. Will Edmure regain control now that Walder Frey is dead? Will another lord or house rise to power? Or will the Riverlands continue to be chaotic and lie in ruins as it has since Season 1? All are possible options.
In King’s Landing
Since her return after the Walk of Atonement in the Season 5 finale, Cersei has been plotting to rid the realm of her mistake in putting the High Sparrow in a position of power. And boy, does she ever. After an unsuccessful attempt to bring Queen Margaery home from the Sept by Tyrell forces, it is revealed that Tommen is fully under the tutelage of the High Sparrow. Cersei further lost power once Tommen relieved Jaime of his Kingsguard duties and ordered him to take back Riverrun from Brynden the Blackfish Tully since the Freys have been unsuccessful.
The season culminated in a mastery sequence where Cersei destroyed the Sept of Baelor with wildfire, killing a laundry list of cast including Margaery, Mace and Loras Tyrell, the High Sparrow, Kevan and Lancel Lannister, GrandMaester Pycelle and her son Tommen (by suicide after the fact). Jaime returned to the capitol to see Cersei crown herself as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Now that the Seven Kingdoms are (in theory) ruled by Cersei, she will need to defend them from all sides, because in reality her grasp on Westeros is loosening, and quickly; the North has declared for Jon, the Mother of Dragons will have suitors and followers left and right pledging their loyalty to Dany, and Casterly Rock’s influence and fighting forces are getting weaker and weaker. I’d expect that Cersei will reluctantly ally with the new King of the Iron Islands, Euron Greyjoy, to develop a formidable navy to try and slow Dany and her fleet. Last we saw Euron, he was beginning to rebuild the Iron Fleet. I also expect Jaime’s relationship with Cersei to sour further as she makes more political moves with her new power.
In The South
I’d rather just skip over Dorne but I promised a Season 6 Recap so here it is. Myrcella died at the end of Season 5, Ellaria and the Sand Snakes killed Doran and Trystane and took control of the Dornish forces. They then linked up with Dany through Varys. Olenna Tyrell also joined in to seek vengeance on Cersei for murdering literally her entire family, thus ending the Tyrell name. The most exciting part about the South is certainly Sam and Gilly arriving at the Citadel in Oldtown. On the way, Sam stole his father’s Valyrian sword, which will undoubtedly make its way up north eventually. While I don’t expect Sam to become a Maester (it takes years and he doesn’t have the time), I am really excited to see what he learns from the Maesters and in their library, as I’m sure he will have a further effect later on in the series.
In The East
After a period of blindness in Braavos, Arya received a second chance to become a Faceless Man. However, she decided not to kill the actress, which prompted the Waif (at the behest of Jaqen H’ghar) to attempt to assassinate her. Arya was able to lure the Waif, ultimately killing her and presenting her face to Jaqen. After his apparent approval to leave, Arya traveled to the Twins where she crafts a little Frey Pie and slit Walder Frey’s throat, another name scratched off her list. There are several routes Arya could go this season but she is undoubtedly one of the most deadly characters left given her assassin/disguise teaching. She could travel North, where I’d expect her to first reunite with the Hound and the Brotherhood, or head south to exact revenge on Queen Cersei.
More importantly in the East, we finally saw Daenerys Targaryen making moves towards Westeros. She began Season 6 as a hostage of the Dothraki. She ended the season leading the entire horde across the poisonous black water towards home. While captive, Tyrion, Varys, Missandei and Grey Worm almost lost the city of Meereen to the forces of Volantis, Yunkai and the other slaving cities. It is only until Dany and Drogon return does the tide turn and the Volanteese fleet is decimated.
After the battle, Daenerys received even more good news, as she is later joined by the Ironborn ships commanded by Yara and Theon Greyjoy, as well as the armies and navies of Houses Tyrell and Martell (both of whom seek revenge against Queen Cersei and House Lannister). With those Westerosi forces combined with Tyrion, her new wise and shrewd Hand, the Dothraki, the Unsullied and of course, her three dragons, Daenerys is primed to take the Iron Throne. Judging from the trailers, she will return first to her ancestral home at Dragonstone, and then be ready to take the entire Seven Kingdoms by force.
Beyond The Wall
Past the Wall, we finally saw Bran after a Season Five hiatus. During that time, his powers have become stronger and stronger, until he is “touched” by the Night King. This caused the magical powers of the Three-Eyed Raven’s tree to dissipate, resulting in the tragic killings of Bloodraven, the Children, Summer and Hodor at the hands of the White Walkers and their undead army. They are luckily rescued by Benjen Stark, who leads them to the Wall. Bran and Meera will undoubtedly travel further south and past the Wall, which likely means that the Wall’s magical powers will be no match for the Night King, the White Walkers and their army of the dead. Perhaps the most important revelations from Bran this season was the long-awaited Tower of Joy sequence, which resulted in the confirmation that Jon Show is the son (and rightful King of the Seven Kingdoms) of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, brother of Ned Stark.
Jorah Mormont is looking for a cure for his greyscale. We certainly haven’t seen the last of him and perhaps his disease spreads to others this season… Dany’s other companion, Dario, was left in Meereen with the Second Sons to govern. I also expect to see him return to his love before this show breathes its final breath… It will be interesting to see what Bronn does and where he goes. I expect he will have received a respectable castle in the Riverlands or the Stormlands for his work with the Lannisters, but I anticipate that he will switch from Cersei’s side to Tyrion’s once he knows his old friend has returned… And Gendry’s still rowin’.