Everyone knows that when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die so said current HBIC Cersei Lannister to Ned Stark, just two episodes before he, uh … well, you remember.
As we approach Season 7, it’s worth noting that there are only 13 episodes remaining in the entire series seven this year, and six in Season 8 which means that we should probably expect bodies to start piling up like a bastards’ battlefield in this final run of episodes.
The new trailer for Season 7 certainly seems to put a lot of our favorite characters in the danger zone, with more battle scenes than you can shake Valyrian steel at, and let’s face it, the show has never been shy about offing our heroes.
With that in mind, we put together a highly unscientific ranking of the top seven characters that seem destined for the chopping block in Season 7. (Maybe they could ax one each episode, just to keep the stakes high?)
The show has never quite known what to do with Oberyn Martell’s shrewd paramour, and in George R. R. Martin’s novels she’s much less of a presence, let alone a puppet-master; while the Sand Snakes are itching for war with the Lannisters, the book version of Ellaria hopes to see an end to the conflict and a quiet life for her daughters.
In the Season 7 promo, she’s seen kissing Yara Greyjoy, which could be a power play or genuine chemistry (we’re guessing the former), but true romance seems unlikely given her thirst for vengeance. While her lips have proven deadly for others before (RIP Myrcella), we’re not worried for Yara yet Ellaria’s own death would prove to be the catalyst needed to send the Sand Snakes off the deep end, and that seems like a stronger narrative step. So far, they’ve done a lot of talking, flirting and threatening, and they’ve been following Ellaria’s lead instead of taking the fight to their foes. It’s high time we get to see these vipers bite.
Everyone’s favorite ginger giant still looks as thirsty for Brienne as ever, and perhaps his persistence and jaunty beard will start to thaw our kickass knight’s icy reserve in Season 7 but we’re guessing that just when she starts to warm up to him, he’s going to bite the dust in a heroic battle with the White Walkers.
This show trades on near misses and romantic tragedies, and the build-up has been so delicious, it would be peak Game of Thrones to shatter those hopes right when they’re about to be realized. Tough love, y’all.
5. Grey Worm
Daenerys’ loyal commander had a brush with death in Season 5, which was when we realized just how much we love the handsomest eunuch in Westeros (sorry Varys). That close call also brought him closer to Missandei, and the Season 7 trailer gives us a delightful glimpse of the two finally getting hot and heavy.
But remember what we just said about Tormund and the show’s penchant for romantic tragedies? Yup, any hint of a happy ending (or as close to one as Grey Worm can get, if you catch our drift), paints a target on his back. Plus, it’s been at least a season since Dany sustained a major loss from her inner circle, if you don’t count Jorah’s banishment, and she’s overdue for a casualty or two in her quest for the Iron Throne. (Speaking of Jorah it doesn’t look good for him, if our theory about that gnarly hand in the trailer is correct, but he’s been off-screen long enough that we reckon he’ll manage to make it to Season 8 before sacrificing himself for Dany, just for dramatic impact.)
A late player to the game, Euron Greyjoy certainly made an entrance when he arrived on Pyke last season; shamelessly killing his brother and declaring that he intended to forge an alliance with Dany using his ships and a particular part of his anatomy to impress her.
He’s definitely designed to be a boss battle this season (just look at the intense skirmish at sea that’s teased in the trailer), but with the clock running down on the series, we have a feeling the show will focus on the established power players like Cersei and the White Walkers in the home stretch, not an upstart seaman.
Theon’s had a rough road from being Ned’s bratty captive (aka the guy that made us confused about how many Stark sons there were for at least three episodes in Season 1) to Reek to Sansa’s savior, and now he’s finally starting to redeem himself for his behavior during the sack of Winterfell (the North remembers, Maester Luwin).
He’s reconnected with his sister and joined forces with Dany, which means he must be about to go out in a blaze of glory. Let’s face it, he can’t really fight and he isn’t a master strategist (although it’s possible he could be forced to become one if Yara ends up being the Greyjoy who’s eliminated on this season of Westeros Idol), so the best we can hope for is that he kills his evil uncle Euron on his way to visit the Drowned God.
Petyr Baelish used to be subtle about his Machiavellian plans, but the guy has zero chill in the Season 7 promotional materials we’ve seen so far everywhere we look, he’s skulking around in the background, whispering wicked words in Sansa’s ear and generally creating mischief like a bearded Loki with an undefinable accent.
But even the Master of Lies has his limits, and in the Season 7 trailer, it looks like Jon has wised up to his trickery. (Good golly, isn’t it so satisfying to see someone smacking the smarmy schemer around a bit?) Has Jon caught wind of Littlefinger’s plot to overthrow the King in the North and install Sansa as ruler in his place? Sansa seems far too cynical at this point to buy Petyr’s platitudes about how she’s underappreciated by her family and deserves to be queen the dude did basically sell her to a rapist so we’re hoping that she’ll be the one to sell him up the river and firmly establish herself as #TeamStark. It’s about time that Westeros’ chief gambler overplayed his hand.
This one isn’t a matter of “if,” it’s only a question of “when” and “who,” and there are a lot of candidates who are itching to finish Cersei off. The current queen of Westeros is looking pretty confident atop the Iron Throne, with no one around to mansplain the finer points of leadership to her but with everyone gunning for her, from Dany to Jon to Arya to Tyrion to perhaps even her beloved Jaime, the fiercest Lannister is definitely doomed. All that remains is to see how many people she manages to take down with her.
Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres Sunday, July 16 at 9 p.m. on HBO.
Read more: http://mashable.com/