Now that the dust has settled, we’ve had time to properly pick over Game of Thrones season six and its heart-attack-inducing finale. We’ve done our rewatches, wallowed in discussions, and come out on the other side with a stack of ideas about the future of the show, and where we’re headed in season seven (whenever it gets here).
Let’s dive into it: next season, and my predictions for the episodes to come.
The Mad Queen’s Reign:
Cersei’s tenure on the Iron Throne is going to be the hottest of messes. We all know it, and I can’t wait to see it. This is the beginning of the War of the Queens, with Daenerys likely landing in Westeros next season. We also have a complication in the form of the King in the North, taking a large chunk of Cersei’s queendom. With threats from the east and the north, and only Qyburn and the Mountain to support her, Cersei will unravel further.
It’s believed that Mad King Aerys stashed wildfire all over King’s Landing, underneath the streets and buildings (not just the sept of Baelor) before he was killed by Jaime. When attacked, will Cersei use the rest of the wildfire caches, forcing Jaime to kill another fire-obsessed mad monarch? I think it’s possible.
Another factor: Jaime’s wish to die “in the arms of the woman I love,” mentioned in “Sons of the Harpy” in season 5. Was that an idle thought or was that a hint in an episode that was loaded with foreshadowing for seasons 5 and 6? Jaime killing Cersei and dying with her would be fitting. It also works with a vague book prophecy about Cersei’s fate (google valonqar for details and book spoilers).
Factor #3: Daenerys’ vision in the House of the Undying. Dany dreamed she walked through the burnt out shell of the Red Keep’s throne room, with snow falling around her. (Some view it as ash, but the texture looks snowy to me.) While we can take a metaphorical view of the vision- snow is rather on point (Jon), the symbolic destruction of the castle amid war- it may in fact be a very literal vision of the future.
Prediction: Cersei’s reign will end with fire and blood, the destruction of the Red Keep, and a couple more dead Lannisters. Why season 7 instead of 8? No hard reason for it, they may draw it out into season 8, but personally I think it makes sense to take care of this business before we reach the true endgame, dragons versus White Walkers, Everyone versus Them.
Tyrion the Hand
Same old tricks, only bigger and with free access to dragons.
Prediction: Tyrion sends Jaime an “I told you so” raven from a safe distance as Cersei lights the entire city on fire. Then he has a glass of wine, because the pin won’t change the man. Tyrion is an endgame player; he’ll be here until season 8, no doubt.
Daenerys: Manifest Destiny
At the end of season six, Daenerys is so loaded for bear (pun intended, miss you Jorah), that something has to throw a kink in the works. Cersei will be her rival for the throne, but she has to get there first.
So Daenerys prediction #1: Euron Greyjoy isn’t giving up that easily, once he finds out she’s ditched Meereen. If he can’t win the Dragon Queen’s affection with his ships and allegedly impressive phallus (if I had a nickel for every time I heard that one…), he’s going to attack her fleet at sea, where he’s strongest.
That leads me to a more speculative prediction. What about Daario? Is he 100% off the table (and the show) now, safely tucked away in Meereen with the Second Sons? I find it hard to believe this is going to work. He’s a sellsword. As Bronn says, “I sell my sword, I don’t give it away.” Michiel Huisman has been “cryptic” in interviews when his future on Game of Thrones is discussed.
Reiterated in his final scene, Daario is not interested in helping Meereen- he’s here for her, not anyone else. And Daenerys just broke his heart. If someone else turns up and finds Dany gone, like say, Euron, what’s to stop Daario from switching sides if it benefits him and the Second Sons?
Daenerys prediction #2 (Wild Card): Daario joins Euron’s cause. For a price, but mostly because he’s pissed off.
Also brought up in Daenerys and Daario’s last scene is her need to make a political marriage. Playing The Westeros Dating Game, you will find a very limited number of eligible bachelors which means we may be getting some classic Targaryen incest. Unless Dany wants to propose to Robin Arryn, who was only forcibly weaned within the last two years.
Daenerys prediction #3: Daenerys will propose a political marriage to the new King in the North, Jon Snow. If they’re smart, the two of them will team up to take on Cersei, and Daenerys can let Jon assist with managing the famously unruly north. There ya go, there’s your Song of Ice and Fire.
Speaking of the King in the North and his awkward housemate situation:
Before we get to a Daenerys and Jon alliance, we’re going to see more of the power struggles in House Stark. Sansa’s legitimacy and contribution was completely overlooked by the northerners in the finale. I think Littlefinger’s poison words will work their magic in season 7 while we try to ignore the accidental sexual tension the show has created between the half-siblings who are actually cousins. (God this is getting weird.)
In the finale, we also finally received confirmation that Jon is the child of Ned’s sister Lyanna, and the obvious implication of his father being Rhaegar, her kidnapper (since the Tower of Joy was being guarded by Targaryen Kingsguard. I’m talking show canon here, not random HBO website charts with unknown authorship). Jon’s heritage will undoubtedly be explored more next season.
Prediction for the North: Despite the tensions, Sansa makes a choice, stands with her brother-cousin, and Littlefinger gets the axe (or sword), finally paying for his crimes against House Stark. Lyanna Mormont runs the world while the rest of these fuckers are busy angsting.
The Three-Eyed Raven approaches
In the season 6 finale, Bran and Meera are very close to the Wall, and I suspect the story in season 7 will magic us ahead to the duo arriving at Castle Black with Meera having built a litter. (That was probably an undead horse Benjen rides, much like the White Walkers do. One that can’t pass through the Wall’s spells. That or Benjen Showhands is a prize jackass for taking the ride with him.) Bran is now the powerful Three-Eyed Raven but he isn’t omnipotent, and he is still a scared teenager with the Night King’s mark on his arm.
Prediction: That damned mark on his arm. He’s going to pass through the Wall, nullify the magic, and basically issue an invite to the undead army to follow him. The Wall is coming down in season 7.
Prediction #2: Bran will meet with Jon and Sansa (bringing together the Starks a little bit more in season 7), and he’ll share with them the story of Jon’s birth and his vision of the White Walkers’ origins.
Arya and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad List
Arya reiterated the names on her list in season 6, but there were fewer names than previously mentioned. After discussing the Hound and acknowledging that her feelings for him were confused, Arya names the others remaining on her kill list: Cersei Lannister, Gregor Clegane, Walder Frey.
At some point, Arya has dropped Melisandre, Thoros of Myr, Beric Dondarrion and Ser Ilyn Payne from her agenda. The first three were not on her list in the books (since Mel’s visit and her taking Gendry is a show invention). I suspect Ilyn Payne’s phasing out has more to do with the practical reason that Wilko Johnson stepped away from the show for his health. Though he’s doing better, it seems as though they don’t intend to have Arya settling her score with the executioner who took Ned’s head. As for the priestess and BWB pair, perhaps Arya let go of that grudge when she let the Hound slip away from her list?
With Walder dead in the finale at her hands, we’re down to two names- unless Arya decides to settle that score with Melisandre or the Brotherhood after all.
Prediction: Arya is down a very dark path, and can’t simply head home to Winterfell after bumping off Walder Frey at the Twins. She’s in the Riverlands…and so are the Brotherhood without Banners, who have just announced their intention to travel north (which would take them in the direction of the Twins). Arya is likely headed for a meeting with some old acquaintances.
Prediction #2: The Hound is along for the ride. Will he be the one to tell the Starks (Arya, or Jon and Sansa if they get that far north) that Littlefinger is the one who sold out Ned? I’d like to see that happen, a witness to Littlefinger’s betrayal in season 1 stepping forward to serve him up for justice in season 6.
Hey, you know who is headed south? Melisandre who told Arya in season 3, “We will meet again.”
Hey, you know who just left Riverrun, and is most likely traveling north? Brienne and Podrick.
The Riverlands are going to be incredibly busy in season 7. It makes sense, as with a limited number of episodes, storylines flow together and characters have those long-awaited reunions and promised meetings we’ve been waiting for. The only question now is, how many of them will survive those meetups? Arya may decide those three have a place on her list, after all.
Sam at the Citadel:
In the ASOIAF books, the Citadel is a low-key hotbed of potential, with the storyline just beginning where George R.R. Martin’s books left off. There are shenanigans afoot involving the archmaesters and the future of Westeros. With Grand Maester Pycelle assassinated, that leaves a major job opening that’s traditionally voted on by the men of the Citadel, action that Sam may be privy to in season 7.
Sam was sent there to learn what he needed to serve the Night’s Watch but he doesn’t have the time to truly become a maester, with the Night King’s army on the move. So, narratively, what purposes does it serve on Game of Thrones for Sam to be there? To figure out how to better fight the undead army. Dragonglass and Valyrian steel are scarce, and if anyone knows how to make more or where to find a lot more, the maesters may have that info.
Prediction #1: Sam will uncover the secret of forging Valyrian steel, and creating dragonglass in large quantities. After that, he’ll leave the Citadel.
Prediction #1a. If he fails to figure out the secret, he’ll remember Stannis telling him there was dragonglass on Dragonstone, and he and Gilly will hit the road again.
A bold prediction, I know, since Sam desperately wanted to be a maester, but there’s a fight in the north, and Sam wants Gilly more than the maester life he used to dream of. And Gilly can’t sit outside the Greatest Library Ever for the next two seasons. Can she?
Hell no. Are they going to put the Valyrian steel sword Heartsbane in hock to support her and the kid in Oldtown? Unlikely.
Prediction #2: He’s not keeping that sword for long. Randyll Tarly knows where they went and he would never let the son he’s ashamed of keep it. No one in the south believes in the White Walker threat and so he has no reason to let his son hold onto the sword for scholarly purposes. Either way, Sam and his father will be having it out again next season.
Maesters, you say…
In season 6, Jorah Mormont left in search of a cure for the greyscale killing him. So where does that leave him now?
In A Dance with Dragons, a red priest cures Victarion Greyjoy of a festering wound, using their fiery magic. So there’s that option. No shortage of red priests and priestesses running around Essos, as we saw in season 5 and 6. They could cure Jorah off-screen and have him suddenly pop up in Westeros like Emma Roberts in American Horror Story.
Another more intriguing option that would help condense storylines as Game of Thrones loves to do: send Jorah to a place packed with healers, one known to a Westerosi man like Jorah- the Citadel.
Prediction mostly because I want it to happen: Jorah’s going to Oldtown and the Citadel to find a cure and will cross paths with Samwell Tarly.
The Captain of the S.S. Abandoned Plotlines is the only person left aboard, as of season 6. Gendry, where you at? Benioff and Weiss will probably be throwing a random blacksmith in the periphery of every season 7 episode just to troll viewers.
Prediction: Seriously though, I can’t imagine that they don’t show Gendry somewhere in season 7. This would be a good time to slip him back into the fray, if only to show that he survived the journey and is living a quiet life far away from the highborn, their leech-wielding priestesses and their nonsense. If Gendry made it back to the coast, and decided to avoid King’s Landing, he could head west instead- back into the Riverlands, joining the party happening there.