Heres what will likely happen next season in Westeros. WARNING: Spoilers abound. “>
Game of Thrones breakneck-paced sixth season ended with a bang, to put it mildly, and set into the place the shows final moving pieces: Jon Snow is King in the North, Cersei now rules in Kings Landing, and Daenerys is fast approaching Westeros with three dragons and an armada. George R.R. Martins books are now firmly in the rearview, but there are still plenty of in-show clues about the clashes to come in Season 7. Look into the flames and be warned, spoilers and speculation lie ahead.
The Mad Queen vs. The Kingslayer
Newly crowned Queen Cerseis ascendance to the throne is unprecedented in Westeros history: shes an unmarried woman ruling the Seven Kingdoms, something no Great Council would ever have allowed. The aristocratic bigwigs who would have been on that council are now dead, but that doesnt mean Cersei will reign unopposed for long.
Daenerys is now on her way to Westeros to seize the throne with the full power of an army and three dragons. Shell likely land first in Dorne, where Olenna Tyrell and the Snakes are also plotting Cerseis demise. But more tragically, there is one figure in the capital now poised to forcibly end what will likely be the most unhinged period of short-sighted ruthlessness anyone has seen since the Mad King Aerys Targaryen.
Thats Jaime, Cerseis twin and lover, who stabbed the Mad King to death for even planning to do what Cersei already did in his absence: detonating the explosive wildfire hidden under the Sept of Baelor. Over the years, and especially through his relationship with Brienne, the show has taken care to establish Jaime as a more nuanced character than his Kingslayer nickname let on. He killed Aerys to save the lives of thousands. He owns his Kingslayer nickname with a mixture of self-loathing and regret.
And hes going to be the one who kills Cersei.
Maggy the witch foretold the major events of Cerseis life in a prophecy we saw in Season 5s The Wars to Come. She accurately predicted Cerseis marriage to a philandering king, the deaths of all her children, and her rise to the throne as queen.
She also predicted Cerseis downfall. Queen you shall be, until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear. Cersei seemed to think this referred to Margaery, though it may actually be Daenerys. Another line of the prophecy foretold Cerseis death, though the line was omitted from the show: And when your tears have drowned you, the valonquar shall wrap his hands around your pale white throat and choke the life from you.
Valonquar means little brother in Valyrian, a word Cersei assumes refers to Tyrion. But Jaime is younger too, if only by minutes. Season 6 took care to remind us that there is still honor in Jaime, as Brienne said. Judging by the disturbed look on his face at the sight of his sister crowned queen, that nagging sense of moralitya trait he does not share with his twincould be Cerseis demise.
Clash of the Puppetmasters
In all the chaos over six years, its easy to forget that Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger, is the architect of the entire game of thrones. He started the War of the Five Kings by convincing Lysa Arryn to kill her husband Jon, then-Hand of the King, thus sparking the deadly rivalry between the Lannisters and Starks. He arranged for Margaerys marriage to Joffrey, then planned and executed the Lannister kings death, Sansas escape, and her subsequent marriage to Ramsay. He even orchestrated Cerseis arrest by the Faith Militant by giving Olenna the information she needed.
The Winds of Winter finally told us his endgame: he wants the Iron Throne for himself with Sansa Stark by his side. (Ew.) His newest tactic? Driving a wedge between Sansa and Jon Snow in the North by convincing her that she deserves to rule instead of him. There have already been hints of sibling animosity there: Sansa didnt trust Jon enough to tell him about the Knights of the Vale in the Battle of the Bastards, and she resented being excluded from the war council beforehand.
Happily, Littlefinger isnt the only one pulling strings and exerting world-changing influence behind the scenes. Varys is just as busy these days, seemingly teleporting between Dorne, where hes planning a coup against the Lannisters with Olenna and the Snakes, and Meereen, where hes been helping Daenerys mount the Targaryen restoration hes been planning all along. If Littlefingers long con only serves his own ends, Varyss, at least in his mind, is in service of the kingdom.
Their rivalry has been on the back burner for the better part of two seasons but their machinations will rise to the forefront again, especially as their interests physically clash in Kings Landing.
The Red Witch vs. The Many-Faced Assassin
With Melisandre banished from the North and Arya hot off her pie-baking debut at the Twins, these two will cross paths again as well. It is known: the last time Melisandre saw Arya, she looked into her face, saw her future as a Many-Faced assassin, and predicted their next meeting: I see a darkness in you, she said. And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. We will meet again.
Their reunion will, of course, turn violent. Melisandre is still on Aryas kill list for wanting to hurt Gendry. Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr from the Brotherhood Without Banners are still on her kill list too, for handing Gendry over to the Red Witch. Maybe Melisandre will join up with the Brotherhood again and thats where Arya will find heritd certainly be a poignant, eventful meeting: Aryas ex-travel buddy The Hound (also on her kill list) is now traveling with the Brotherhood as well.
Bran Ruins Everything (Again)
Bran didnt exactly endear himself to us this season, what with him shattering Hodors mind, letting the Night King touch him, and thus breaking the seal that protected the Three-Eyed Ravens tree. With him and that nasty blue mark on his arm heading south to the Wall though, Brans biggest fuck-up may still be to come.
As the undead Benjen Stark reminded us in Winds of Winter, the Wall is also protected by ancient spells meant to keep White Walkers out. Bran has no choice but to turn south from the Lands of Always Winter at this pointtheres no safe place left there. If he makes it past the Wall, will the Night Kings touch also break those spells, finally unleashing the horde of White Walkers on Westeros? The sight of thousands of them crawling over the Wall would make a pretty impressive last shot of the season.
Samwell Tarly Helps Save the World
Apart from a few sweet makeover scenes and a nightmare family reunion, Sams Season 6 quest south of the Wall to his hometown of Horn Hill then to Oldtown could feel a little inconsequential. But thats only because the payoff is yet to come: Sams Beauty and the Beast moment in the Citadels staggeringly expansive (and beautiful) library is the first in a series of moments that will be crucial for the survival of mankind.
The Citadel is a bastion of ancient knowledge and Sam knows better than most how urgent the threat of White Walkers is. Maybe hell discover some ancient spell (like the one on the Wall) that can keep the monsters away. Or maybe hell dig out clues to the creation of Valyrian steel, one of only two known substances capable of killing White Walkers. (The other is dragonglass.) He does have his fathers prized Valyrian sword handyit could be what makes the difference in the experiments to recreate it.
Jon Snowgaryen Deals With a Prophecy
The Winds of Winter finally confirmed the theory thats been all but canon at this point: R+L=J. Former Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Neds sister Lyanna Stark are Snows real parents, a fact hidden from him to keep him safe from Targaryen-killing King Robert. Jon himself doesnt know it yet (we see the Tower of Joy flashback through Brans eyes), but with the audience already up to speed, it cant be long until Jon is, too.
What will he do once he finds out? By that point, Daenerys (his aunt, technically; she is Rhaegars little sister) will likely already be in Kings Landing. His Targaryen blood gives him a stronger claim to the Iron Throne (and negates his claim to the North), but it feels unlikely that he would ride south for power.
Maybe hell meet his aunt and ask for her armys help in waging war against the White Walkers. Maybe his Targaryen blood means he is one of the prophesied three heads of the dragon. (How cool would it be to see him riding Viserion or Rhaegal?) Maybe hes even Azor Ahai, the world-saving Prince Who Was Promised whom the Song of Ice and Fire is all aboutMelisandre certainly thinks so, though other Red Priestesses say its Daenerys.
Either way, he and his lineage will be instrumental in settling the shows final score. With as little as 13 episodes left to go, we wont wait long to find out.