By Jarrod Jones. Yes, today is technically the Summer Solstice, but that shouldn’t suggest that we aren’t ready for winter.
That’s probably why HBO chose today of all days to release its latest trailer to the Seventh Season of Game of Thrones. Within its far-too-brief two minutes are glimpses of what’s to come, and hints of what’s coming for Dany, Jon, Cersei, and the rest. I assume you’re sitting down?
Let’s break this sucker down.
Bael-ish. “Don’t fight in the north. or the south. Fight every battle everywhere. Always… in your mind.” Now that the Eyrie has helped secure the North for Jon Snow, Petyr Baelish has turned his machinations back onto Sansa Stark. It’s in Petyr’s interests that he keep Sansa as close to him as possible, but to what end? For Petyr, all roads lead to the Iron Throne. But in order for Petyr to secure his reign, he has one sulky ex-Black Brother to cut through — turning Sansa against her
half-brother cousin Jon might be the key to the White Wolf’s undoing.
Still knows nothing. Speaking of Jon, the newly-minted King in the North has earned some quiet time. He’s quelled the traitorous Ramsay Bolton (giving us one of the more cathartic episodes in GoT history in the process), secured the remaining Stark bannermen — Houses Glover, Manderly, Cerwyn and Mormont have sworn fealty to House Stark — and rallied the entire Free Folk under his banner. From the look of things, Jon is more concerned with the imminent threat of the Night’s King than with Queen Cersei Lannister in the south, wearing wildling pelts and dwelling just north of the Wall.
What will Jon learn by traveling North? We know is cousin Bran is out there somewhere, holding both immense power and the truth of Jon’s Targaryen lineage close.
The Queen of the Damned. Cersei has had one hell of a year. In her quest for vengeance, Cersei has murdered all of her enemies — and a good fraction of King’s Landing along with them. Isn’t a wildfire massacre exactly the reason why her twin brother Jaime once killed King Aerys? When we left the remaining Lannisters, Jaime was pondering over what his beloved sister had become as she ascended the Iron Throne. Perhaps in securing her family’s legacy, Cersei has invited more danger into her life: Jaime certainly isn’t going to take this lightly (lest we forget, Maggie the Frog once stated she’d be killed by her “valonqar”, which is High Valyrian for “little brother”). Then there is still the small matter of that Targaryen legion presently crossing the Narrow Sea.
The Unburnt, and the Untested. Daenerys Targaryen has made a long journey (some would say the longest journey) to get to her family home of Dragonstone. Yet there she is, running her hands along the Painted Table, an artifact built by her ancestor, Aegon the Conqueror.
Dany’s made it to Westeros with her Unsullied, a Dothraki horde, a fleet of the Ironborne (courtesy of Theon and Yara Greyjoy), the council of Tyrion Lannister, and now Varys, who has united the Tyrells with Martells — both of whom really, really want Cersei dead. Then there are her three dragons, all ready to cast their shadows across King’s Landing.
The Targaryens ruled Westeros for centuries, and as it stands right now — with Stannis Baratheon, the last remnant of King Robert’s revolution, finally dead — Dany holds the greatest claim to the Iron Throne. It’s going to be very interesting should Jon ever get wind about who his parents actually are, and it will be especially interesting when he finally gets to meet his aunt. Make no mistake: once Dany rolls through King’s Landing, she is most certainly headed north — and to war. Through Jon, however, Dany may begin to shift her priorities, not to mention learn the limits of her strength. The Night’s King holds more horror than Dany has ever known.
Little Wolf Girl. Arya Stark’s story is where the tragedy of Game of Thrones truly lies. She’s survived tremendous horrors, traveled across the Narrow Sea to find mystery and death, and returned to Westeros to find solace in brutal revenge. And she is still only a girl.
By the end of Season Six, Arya made her way back to the Twins to put an end to Walder Frey. She avenged her mother and her brother, slain during the Red Wedding, and took her time to savor sweet vengeance. (She baked Walder’s sons, Black Walder and Lothar, into a meat pie and fed it to him before she provided the red slash of mercy.) With Frey dead, Arya is free to hunt down and murder the rest of the ill-fated members of her Death List: Thoros of Myr, Beric Dondarrion and Melisandre (there for betraying Gendry), and chief amongst them the Queen of Westeros herself, Cersei Lannister, along with her undead man-Mountain, Gregor Clegane. It’s more likely we’ll see Arya stumble across the Brotherhood Without Banners first — dont forget, Melisandre insisted that Arya would see her again — and ol’ Beric is looking downright ready for battle.
“The Lone Wolf dies… but the pack survives.” To whom is Sansa Stark referring? “The pack” has to mean House Stark, but the “lone wolf” could mean either Jon or Arya — let’s not forget, Sansa believes Bran is dead, and we know he’s turned into a raven anyway (a three-eyed raven, to be exact).
Game of Thrones won’t go quietly into its finale. Loathe as I am to admit it, there are still one or two Starks left to sacrifice. Regardless of what’s waiting for us in the pages of the still-unreleased Winds of Winter, the “bittersweet” ending of A Song of Ice and Fire, as promised by George R. R. Martin himself, is on its way. It’s for the best that we all prepare accordingly.
What are your predictions for the next season of ‘Game of Thrones’? Sound off in the comments below.