Here are a few things we’re certain (or almost certain) will transpire:
Dany will (finally) return to Westeros
This is absolutely happening. After years of running, being sold as a physical commodity to a Khal, discovering an immunity to fire, raising dragons, conquering, liberating, building an army, making strategic errors and getting the finest knight the world has ever known—sans, arguably, Ser Arthur Dayne—stabbed in a back alley (RIP Ser Barristan), Daenerys Targaryen is coming home.
Every trailer has shown her back at her homeland Dragonstone, which is right off the eastern coast of Westeros.
If these images don’t tweak your heart, you haven’t been paying attention—or your soul is made of ash.
Dany is staring at a Baratheon banner that has hung in her birthplace since Robert Baratheon killed her brother Rhaegar (Jon Snow’s father) at the battle of the trident, and subsequently took the iron throne.
Just as the stag replaced the dragon, the dragon will replace the stag. Although, technically, a lion—or more accurately: lioness—has the iron throne now, all of the Baratheons—except for possibly Gendry who rowed off at the end of season 3 and is almost certainly returning this season—are dead. But for the sake of poetics, you get the point.
It was a Baratheon/Lannister alliance that led to the downfall of the Targaryen empire. And, in case a refresher is needed, the latter stages of that reign were defined by loads of green-flamed homicides. Aerys II (Dany’s dad) was a wildfire-flinging lunatic who was primed to burn King’s Landing to the ground.
Jaime Lannister, the man who killed Aerys II, is a hero.
The throne at Dragonstone is rustic as all hell. And badass. Also, it looks terribly uncomfortable.
Cersei will team up with Euron Greyjoy
Cersei is pretty much out of options, and Euron, being the unhinged sociopath that he is, would be a welcome ally. Pretty much anyone would be welcome on team Cersei at this point, but this pairing makes sense given their respective win-at-all-costs approach to life and their shared goals. Euron wants revenge on his niece and nephew—who recently joined team Daenerys—for skipping out in the dead of night with his newly acquired fleet. Cersei wants her reign to continue, and a certain fiery blonde and her pets are dead set on ensuring that doesn’t happen.
Added bonus, if the Euron, Cersei relationship turns romantic, Westerosi tabloids can use the super-couple moniker: Eursei.
Bran will head south of the wall
This one is also a guarantee. In the trailer we see Bran and Meera standing at the wall as the gate rises.
In a later trailer, we see Bran—sporting a more modern wheelchair—at what appears to be the Godswood at Winterfell. He’s accompanied by someone who, from the back, looks like the three-eyed-raven. Of course, the three-eyed raven vaporized into black dust last season. Bran could be conjuring an image of the three-eyed raven, or, this is simply someone else.
John, along with the brotherhood without banners (BWOB) take their talents north of the wall
There’s a lot to unpack here. By the looks of the trailers Jon, Tormund, Beric, Thoros, the Hound and co. are north of the wall fighting hoards of wights. There are a few theories as to where they are going and what they are looking for. One theory posits that the crew is searching for the children of the forest in hopes that if there are any left alive, they (the children) will know how to defeat the dead army. The logic here is that since the children created the white walkers, perhaps they will know how to destroy them. Of course, if the children always knew how to destroy the white walkers (their enemies), why didn’t they, ya know, destroy them. Perhaps they needed Bran? Or Jon?
Another—possibly connected—theory is that Jon is out looking for the Horn of Joramun. The legend states that the Horn of Joramun (AKA the Horn of Winter) has the capability to bring down the wall. So, if the Night’s King gets his hands on that horn, it’s bad news for the rest of the world.
Perhaps Bran, or Sam will let Jon know about the alleged existence of the horn, and the mission will commence from there.
It’s also possible that winter has begun to move its way south and this whole crew isn’t actually north of the wall, it just looks like they are. But this seems unlikely; the terrain is stark and mountainous:
As with many of Jon’s missions, his side seems to be severely outnumbered. The survival of everyone on this quest is up in the air.
Oh, and Beric’s gonna light it up.
Yara and Ellaria will hook up
It was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it- moment in the first trailer, but these two, at least momentarily, seem to be an item. Now, it’s worth noting that Yara looks surprised by Oberyn’s paramour mouth-dominating her, so it could just be a spur of the moment sort of thing. Regardless, the sexually fluid, spear-wielding, poison slinging, Casanova of Dornian funk, Oberyn Martell (Seven rest his soul) would be proud. This will likely have little to no impact on the overall arc of either character, but it’s an intriguing, and surprising pairing.
There will be war, lots and lots of fiery war
From the trailers, we see the Unsullied rolling into what looks like Casterly Rock and Lannister soldiers marching. We see the Dothraki exhibiting some impressive, equine-aided acrobatics; there are quick cuts of a sea battle (Greyjoy vs. Greyjoy/Dany most likely) punctuated by flames. There are many sprawling shots of Viserion, Drogon and Rhaegal in flight. We see Jon alone facing a menacing sea of wights, Jaime riding through land that has been torched by dragons, and maybe, just maybe, a preview of the Clegane bowl (more on that later.)
Also, Drogon is enormous now:
What will Bran get into this season?
As we mentioned the youngest living Stark will move south and, by the looks of it, end up back in Winterfell. Judging by the trailers he will be doing some serious warging. There’s this shot of a constable of ravens with white eyes.
Presumably, Bran is using them to scout something. Is he checking in on Jon perhaps? Will he help guide Jon to the horn, or to a stash of obsidian blades, or to the children? Bran’s warging has thus far been calamitous and deadly. His screw up last season led to the deaths of: most—potentially all—of the children of the forest, the three-eyed raven, Summer the dire wolf, and most notably, he turned poor Wylis into the damaged, sweet, disyllabic hulk Hodor, and caused his death as well. I’m sure Bran will have a large role to play moving forward—a good possibility of dragon-warging I’d wager—but he needs to show more patience.
What will Sam and Gilly discover at the Citadel?
There are two materials known to be very efficient white-walker killers: obsidian (aka dragonglass) and Valyrian steel. We saw the effectiveness of Valyrian steel when Jon obliterated a white walker during the battle at Hardhome.
And, we saw Samwell Tarly use a dragonglass dagger to kill a white walker in season three.
So, my guess is that Sam and/or Gilly will find a way create Valyrian steel, or potentially obsidian. The primary location of dragonglass is (surprise!) Dragonstone island, the very same island Daenerys will be stationed at this season. Following, or potentially prior to the journey beyond the wall, could Jon take a trip to see his aunt Dany at the advice of Samwell? It could happen, although that’s an awful lot of traveling.
Will we get the Clegane Bowl?
I’m going to say yes. I feel like it’s coming, don’t you? Since the Mountain is at least half zombie, the payoff won’t be quite as satisfying, but, regardless, everyone wants to see the Mountain face off against the Hound. And there is a bit of evidence it may be coming this season.
Check out this still from the trailer #2:
Though his face is entirely a sun-flared silhouette, that certainly looks like the Hound. And if you look closely there is a knight standing off in the distance who seems to be preparing to square off. Is that the Mountain? Is this the beginning of Clegane Bowl? Let’s hope so.
What’s going on with Jorah?
If we are to assume this appendage (below) is Jorah’s, I think it’s safe to wager he hasn’t found a cure for greyscale yet. That arm looks far worse than the last time we saw it.
However, Jorah’s run isn’t over; it won’t be Greyscale that takes him down—at least not yet.
What about Brienne and Pod?
I don’t have many theories on these two. I don’t think the Brienne and Tormund relationship will become anything significant, and I’m not sure where Brienne’s arc goes from here. Will she re-reunite with Jaime? Maybe. One thing is certainly worth remembering, Brienne has a sword forged from Ned Stark’s Oathkeeper—which was made from Valyrian steel.
An Arya/Nymeria Reunion will happen
We’re due for a dire wolf/Stark reunion, and Nymeria is the only Stark wolf left aside from Ghost. Plus, every shot we see of Arya she’s alone in the woods. And there’s snow on the ground; we can see her breath. After pulling a Titus Andronicus on the Frey’s, it looks like Arya heads north, which is precisely where she parted with Nymeria. I’m unconvinced we’ll get an Arya/Jon reunion this season, but I think we can bank on Arya/Nymeria one.
Sansa will NOT turn on Jon
Many people seem to believe lurky, slimeball Littlefinger will manipulate Sansa until she turns on Jon. There is no doubt in my mind that Littlefinger will try to do this. And for a while, I think it will seem like he’s succeeding. But Sansa knows the game now, she has learned from Littlefinger and Tyrion, and she will use what she’s learned to take Littlefinger down.
Which brings to be my next theory…
Sansa will take down Littlefinger
Many viewers and readers seem to think that Arya will be the one to take Littlefinger down. While Arya may end up being the one who actually pulls the trigger so to speak—if she makes it to Winterfell—it will all be set up by Sansa. I think Sansa will be the mastermind behind the plot that ends Petyr Baelish.
Just to hedge a bit, I think there is a slim chance Littlefinger somehow slithers out of this season with his heart still beating and continues to be the scumbag yin to Varys’ yang.
Littlefinger will tell Jon about his parentage
There’s a moment from the first trailer that was hard to overlook.
It’s not very easy to make out, but Jon is slamming Littlefinger against a wall, by his throat. By the looks of it, they are in the crypt at Winterfell. I have a feeling Littlefinger, who seems to know Jon Snow’s origin story, just informed him that Ned Stark was not his father or something along those lines. If I know Littlefinger—and I think I do—he will try his best to delegitimize Jon in the eyes of his followers while simultaneously attempting to get in his head. Remember, Littlefinger believes chaos is a ladder, he thrives and rises when things are in disarray.
Arya will reunite with Bran and Sansa—but not Jon
It looks like Arya is making her way north. It’s been a long time. Arya has been on the run since her father was executed. I think and hope we will get a Stark reunion this season. Arya/Jon is the one everyone wants to see, but I think we’re going to have to wait for that one. I think Jon will be off on his quest before Arya makes it to Winterfell. But Seeing Sansa, Bran and Arya back together, after all these years, would be pretty amazing.
Euron will kill Yara
I’m not entirely certain Yara will be killed by her uncle directly, but I have a bad feeling she doesn’t make it out of the inevitable Greyjoy on Greyjoy sea battle. While Theon will likely shirk away when the feces meets the wood chipper, Yara will not. She is a warrior; she will be in the thick of the combat, and her uncle is a ruthless beast of a human being. Good luck Yara.
Jaime will kill Cersei
Ah, the valonqar. The story goes like this: when Cersei was a young woman, she went and visited a fortune teller named Maggy the Frog. Thus far, everything Maggy has predicted has come to pass.
When asked when she (Cersei) would marry a prince, Maggy responded by telling her she would never wed a prince, only a king. She married Robert Baratheon after he assumed the iron throne.
It’s also worth noting that Maggy predicted than Melara, a friend of Cersei’s who also visited Maggy that night, would perish that very evening, and sure enough, she fell down a well on the walk home.
Cersei then asked if she will bear children with this king. Here’s the meat of the prophecy.
Maggy says, “Oh, aye. Six-and-ten for him, and three for you. Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds. And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
Again, Maggy was spot on. All of Cersei’s children have died. And her tears have drowned her, brought her to madness even. So this is the point where the valonqar steps in.
Valonqar is high Valyrian for “little brother.” Of course, this could mean Tyrion, but Jaime is technically a younger brother as well, Cersei was born a few minutes before her twin. And this arc just makes more sense within the typically tragic context of Game of Thrones.
Last season we were reminded of how the Mad King (the aforementioned Aerys II) lost his mind and used wildfire to kill hoards of innocent people. Through Bran’s visions, we saw Aerys II screaming “Burn them all”
This was followed up by this glimpse of Jaime unsheathing his sword and committing regicide.
The creators want us to remember that this happened because history is repeating itself. Cersei has an insatiable thirst for power, and she has proven she will do whatever it takes to hold on to it. Conversely, Jaime has proven that, when it comes down to it, he will do what it takes to stop a maniac from ruining the world.
The end of the Jaime and Cersei will be a tragic one. Jaime will be the one who “wraps his hands around [her] pale white throat and choke[s] the like from [her].”
While I am convinced this will happen, I hope it’s really drawn out. I already miss Cersei; the show won’t be the same without her. She’s been an all-star since day one. Plus, we’re running really thin on human villains on GOT.
One possible alteration: I do think it’s possible, although highly unlikely that Arya kills Jaime, takes his face and then kills Cersei, thereby still (kinda) fulfilling the prophecy.
Tyrion will be conflicted
While Tyrion is certainly no fan of his sister, he still cares deeply for his brother and for King’s Landing in general. Being the mastermind behind a military invasion that will result in thousands of deaths will weigh heavy on his conscience. I don’t have many direct predictions regarding Tyrion this season, but I think he will be dealing with an internal struggle that may complicate his relationship with Daenerys.
I could go on for another 3,000 words, but that’s enough for now.
Jesse Mechanic is the editor in chief of The Overgrown.