WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Seasons 1 Through 6 of HBO's "Game of Thrones."
Season 7 of "Game of Thrones" is promising to bring the heat to winter with a teaser trailer out, and a confirmed release date of July 17, 2016. This season will see the fight for the Iron Throne to rule Westeros reach even dizzier heights, with the wicked Cersei coronated and sitting on it, while Jon Snow and claimant to the throne, Daenerys Targaryen, prep to cross paths and come knocking on Cersei's door.
Last season, as is the usual, was filled with twists, turns, major deaths, sneaky alliances, one epic resurrection (Jon), and a few heartwarming reunions, to show that maybe George R.R. Martin does indeed have a heart. However, many questions were raised at season's end which fans can only get answered from the HBO show, as it has already overtaken the books. That said, CBR decided to look at 15 things we want from the new season!
15 CERSEI'S COMEUPPANCE
Just when you think she's down, Cersei gets right back up again. Last season saw a big U-turn for her character after she was imprisoned and endured the walk on atonement for crimes against the Throne (namely incest, treason and regicide). Cersei moved back to King's Landing, awaiting trial by the Faith Militant, while trying to ensure her brother, Jaime, and son, King Tommen, remained close. However, with trial by combat eliminated, ruling out using her behemoth zombie monster, The Mountain, she resorted to using a bomb by wildfire to kill her enemies at her hearing.
The Tyrells were among those killed, including Tommen's wife, Margaery. This proved to be a costly price as Tommen committed suicide later, which fractured the relationship between her and Jaime, as he watched her get crowned as Queen of the Seven Thrones, despite the chaos she caused. Apart from Jaime's ire, Arya Stark is free and hunting Cersei, Olenna Tyrell (Margaery's grandmother) is looking to avenger her kin by aligning her side, The Reach, with Dorne (who lost Oberyn Martell to Cersei's schemes) and Danaerys' invading army, building up the hunt for the Queen's head.
14 AN ICE DRAGON
We saw the history of the White Walkers, created by the Children of the Forest to combat evil men. The animated ice zombies (wights) soon grew out of control and in the past, laid siege to Westeros until an alliance of men, the Children of the Forest and the giants drove them back far North and put up the Wall, policed by the Night's Watch. Jon Snow's team encountered them once more ready to invade, but this time, the Seven Kingdoms are in civil war, and unaware.
After that epic battle with Jon and the Night's King, we saw the latter's necromancy bring back the dead as wights, so Jon knows that friend or foe doesn't matter when they fight. The legends also states of how the Targaryens used their dragons against them eons ago, which is why the alliance with Danaerys and her three beasts is so important. They could simply fly over and spit fire at the wights, making it anticlimactic, right? But what if the Night's King brings one down and reanimates it for his side? Or if he has one already waiting as a relic from the past? An ice dragon would certainly level the playing field.
13 JORAH MORMONT'S DEATH
Jorah has been a most virtuous character because of his unwavering loyalty to Danaerys. Exiled for slave trading and being loyal to the Targaryens, he ended up protecting her in his new role, and helping her amass an army for a shot at the Throne. However, his unrequited feelings have compromised his journey. His role of advisor went sour when he was revealed as having been a spy for Varys. Banished yet again, he returned trying to offer up Tyrion as a prisoner in order to make amends, but in their journey, he was infected with Greyscale, a fatal disease that turns men into stone-skinned monsters.
Tyrion grew to become Danaerys' new advisor, but Jorah and Daario (her lover) had to go find her when the Sons of the Harpy botched their assassinations on her. With Jorah's sickness now out in the open, she ordered him to find a cure while she conquered the Iron Throne. Due to how he always comes back to her, we're hoping he meets his end, because all that physical suffering coupled with his aching of the heart is clearly taking a toll on him and he doesn't deserve to suffer.
12 CERSEI'S REVENGE
Don't get us wrong, we want to see Cersei pay for all her wrongs, but you've got to feel for her and the prophecy that came true about all of her and Jaime's children dying. Albeit, they died due to her insolence and corrupt thirst for power. Joffrey's death was welcomed as he was a tyrant, but it was hard watching Tommen commit suicide, following the poisoning of the young Myrcella who was married off to a prince of Dorne as part of a peace treaty.
With Oberyn dying in battle at the hands of the Mountain, Cersei thought she won, as he had come seeking revenge for crimes against his family, but this led to Dorne's attack on Myrcella just when Jaime tried to rescue her. In war, it's clear that all is fair (and in Westeros, that includes killing innocent kids), but Dorne could have kept her prisoner or let her live. This death hit hard, especially as she died in Jaime's hands, so while we're rooting for Cersei to suffer, a little vengeance for this particular murder would see us turn a blind eye.
11 THE FALL OF THE WALL
When the Wall was put up, it was at a time when the Seven Kingdoms were considered great and so was the Night's Watch. As time passed, however, civil war destroyed the Kingdoms, and the Night's Watch became a mere shadow of its former self, often relegated to legends, myths and stories. Now that they've encountered the wights and united with the Wildlings under the leadership of Jon Snow, it could be that they're slightly stronger and can protect the North from being breached. However, Jon has said that the great war imminent is one that will require more than just brute force.
The first wave of attack will be on the Wall and destroying it, along with the Watch, would truly show the strength and intent of the Walkers, as well as the power of the Night's King. It would also signal to the rest of the Kingdoms that death is approaching, and could kickstart them into finally uniting once more to fight off the huge looming threat. While everyone else wants the Throne for selfish purposes, Jon just wants a united front, so the fall of the Wall and the Night's Watch while he's busy trying to rally the North and the rest of the Kingdoms could be the catalyst.
10 GENDRY'S CLAIM
Gendry is the lone survivor of the Baratheon bloodline and could well have a strong claim to the throne, which his father, Robert, took from the Taragryens. He was a hidden bastard, befriending Arya until a purge came to kill off Robert's many other bastards, and he eventually fell into the lap of Melisandre, the Red Witch. The witch wanted to use his royal blood as a sacrifice to the Lord of the Light (her god) to help Stannis, Robert's brother, get the throne himself.
Davos, Stannis' right-hand man, ended up secretly freeing Gendry after his lineage and Melisandre's goals were revealed, putting Gendry in a boat back to King's Landing, despite the lad never having been in a boat before or knowing how to swim. It became a running joke online that while the Kingdoms are in turmoil battling each other, Gendry was likely still rowing, as he hasn't been seen since season 4 (and also because he was told to keep an island's shore always to his right, implying he might just be circling it, accidentally). However, he's set to appear this season, so fans are eager to see if he'll stake a claim for the Throne. All eyes will also be on how he reconnects with Arya, who's going to be gunning for Cersei, a key facilitator in the deaths of her father, Eddard Stark, and the one who orchestrated the purge of Gendry's fellow bastard siblings.
9 THEON'S REVENGE
Theon Greyjoy finally redeemed himself, helping Sansa Stark escape the clutches of Ramsay Bolton. He also atoned for betraying the Stark family and the fall of their liege, Eddard, before returning home to the Iron Islands. However, his father, Balon, was killed by his pirate brother, Euron, who now claimed the Salt Throne, and threw out Theon and his sister, Yara (who proposed herself becoming Queen), citing how Balon's bloodline led the Kingdom to failure. Euron won back his people with promises of making Danaerys his wife and taking the dragons to claim the Iron Throne himself.
However, Theon and Yara had already sailed with their best ships, beating him to Danaerys' army. They made a pact with her to stop their pirating ways if she would help them avenge their father. In return, they would join her cause and dedicate their fleet in her claim to the Throne. Theon was never accepted back by his father, and was often ridiculed as a eunuch, so having him take revenge would show his redemption come full-circle, as well as help wash away the demons of his past.
8 THE END OF JAIME & CERSEI
In the books, Jaime recognized Cersei's madness much earlier and parted ways with her, but in the show, he still harbored love for her, especially in the wake of the deaths of Joffrey and Myrcella. However, Cersei is still driven by that Lannister quest to rule the Iron Throne, and the bombing at her trial proved just that. Tommen's subsequent suicide may well be the final nail in the coffin as we saw Jaime shooting Cersei a disapproving look at her coronation.
It's clear that he now sees her for the monster she truly is and with no more children left, he may well be moving on and leaving the Lannister legacy behind. Her love, as well as the need to secretly watch over the children as their father, brought him back from being a prisoner of war, and his desire to be with Cersei actually saw him break the redemptive path that Brienne put him on. Cutting ties with Cersei could finally see him become the heroic man fans wanted him to be, even driving him from Kingslayer to Queenslayer, given how mad and vengeful she's been acting.
7 THE TOWER OF JOY'S SECRETS REVEALED
This remains one of the biggest secrets of the entire series, both in the books and on the show. Last season, thanks to Bran and his powers, we glimpsed the past with a young Eddard fighting to find his sister, Lyanna, who was allegedly held prisoner in this Tower by Rhaegar. Hopefully, we actually find out just who the baby truly is in the Tower that Lyanna gave birth to. It was all but confirmed to have been Jon Snow, believed to have been fathered by Rhaegar as part of a secret romance. However, nothing has been officially confirmed onscreen.
Not only would this give Jon a claim to the Throne, but also it would flip the entire mythos on its head, and play into the theme of ice (Stark) and fire (Targaryens) in terms of lineage in Martin's universe. It would explain why Eddard kept Jon's true bloodline a secret from everyone, including his own wife, and passed him off as his bastard, because otherwise it would have led to Robert killing the child. This could also confirm Jon as the linchpin of the entire series, and perhaps the truest claimant out there.
6 LITTLEFINGER EXPOSED
Petyr Baelish (a.k.a. Littlefinger) remains one of the sneakiest characters in the show. He was the one who instigated the entire game at hand, after convincing Lysa Arryn to kill her husband, Jon, the then-Hand to King Robert. This put Eddard into play as the new Hand, while Littlefinger began to secretly pit him against the Lannisters. When Robert died, Littlefinger's entire scheme of throwing Westeros into chaos finally reach feverish heights, as everyone who had a claim began sounding battlehorns.
Littlefinger continued to use the Starks, especially Sansa, whom he allowed to marry Ramsay, as part of a plan to rule the North. When Jon returned, Littlefinger smartly aligned with him, helping him become the new Warden, or as some see, the King of the North. Not only has this placed him next to the object of his desire, Sansa, but also it reminds him of his past love for her mother, Catelyn Tully, bringing full-circle his ambition of marrying a Tully he loves, and possibly becoming a future Hand himself. We're hoping Jon and Sansa see through his facade, because he's manipulated a lot of deaths to get to this point.
5 THE HOUND VS. THE MOUNTAIN
Sandor Clegane (The Hound) and his brother, Gregor (The Mountain), hated each other since childhood. Early on, we saw why their rivalry ended up like this, as Joffrey told a young Sansa that Gregor once discarded a toy as a kid and then found his younger brother Sandor playing with it; Gregor was infuriated regardless, and burnt Sandor's face, which led to the Hound's fear of fire. Since then, they've despised each other with a passion. Later on, Sandor ended up running away with Arya, while Gregor died at the hands of Oberyn, but that doesn't mean they won't be settling their business.
Cersei's new zombie Kingsguard is actually The Mountain, re-animated by Pycelle, who has long been imitating Victor Frankenstein. The Hound ended up surviving an attack by Brienne, and seemingly joined up with the Brotherhood of Banners, who offered him one last shot at redemption to fight against the White Walkers. This could see him ally with Jon and meet up with Arya once more, fixing his past as a Lannister henchman. Helping Jon take the Throne, and finally killing Gregor, could be the icing on the cake, and what he's waited for his whole life.
4 MORE DRAGON RIDERS
With Danaerys marshaling Drogon, it's clear that Rhaegal and Viserion need riders as well. We see them join her new armada as they sailed, as part of the new alliance with Dorne, the Tyrells, and the Grejoy fleet, towards Westeros to take the Throne. Some believe that the crippled Bran (although not a Targaryen) could be one of the riders, which would be even more epic given that he can take control of animals' minds, a.k.a. warging, so he may not even need to mount one!
Tyrion has also been pegged as the next rider, and given that he made contact already with them and is trusted by Danaerys, this would make sense in the show. It would be poetic if he does this and helps bring down the Lannister empire, completing his redemptive journey as well. Fans also speculated that Tyrion could actually have been sired by Aerys, the Mad King, to further complicate the Lannister family tree. With Jon also touted as a rider due to his likely Targaryen heritage, this season could see Danaerys joined in the air, and we can't wait to see by whom!
3 JAIME & BRIENNE'S RESOLUTION
Jaime and Brienne have a lot of unfinished business. She helped him grow as a hero, bringing him back safely to Cersei, all the while trying to keep her oath to protect the Stark girls. Jaime, on the other hand, showed her that he was willing to accept her as a knight despite being a woman, and even helped save her a few times. He also gave her his Valyrian steel sword, Oathbreaker, cementing their relationship. Brienne's path eventually took her and her new squire, Podrick, to finally find Sansa and Jon.
However, when Brienne undertook the task of recruiting their uncle, Brynden, to their cause in the North, she found his Riverrun camp under siege by none other than Jaime serving on behalf of the Lannisters. It showed that while Brienne was still fighting for change against oppression, Jaime was bound to the tyranny of Cersei and his family name. They caught one final glimpse last season that may have severed their ties, with Brienne realizing he could well be a lost cause. Either way, when they meet this year, it may end up being a cold, loveless reunion, or perhaps something that reminds Jaime of the good he can do.
2 ARYA REUNITING WITH HER FAMILY
There were a lot of emotions that Jon and Sansa went through when they reunited with each other. Since they were last together, so many Starks had died: their parents, as well as siblings Robb and Rickon. While they gear up for their march on King's Landing, one thing they'll be keeping in mind is that Brienne found Arya alive and well when she fought the Hound. Little do they know of her training as an assassin and how she's coming for Cersei's head, as well as the others on her kill list.
A reunion is just what Arya needs though, if she's to step off this murderous path she's on. Walder Frey, who engineered the famous Red Wedding, has already felt her wrath, so it's clear that she is making her mark in Westeros. Chances are that if her siblings find her, then it will be in King's Landing when she's already en route to her main target. However, some are hoping Arya meets them sooner to get some warmth and closure back in her life, as the young lady has gone so long without it.
1 JON VS. THE NIGHT'S KING
We already saw that Jon is capable of killing White Walkers, which the Night's King has taken note of. However, we get the impression that it will take more than dragonglass weaponry and Valyrian steel swords to kill this villain, the first man that the Children of the Forest converted to defeat mankind early on in the history of Westeros. Given that he can raise the dead as wights, and that he's quicker, stronger and much more fierce than the other Walkers, Jon knows the menace he will surely pose.
Jon's swordplay has been one of his biggest assets in the show, and in previous seasons he was taken to the limit fighting wights, but we all know that he's yet to face anything as empowered as the Night's King. Even if this season gives us a glimpse of them in combat, or allows the Night's King to brand Jon so that he can find him anyplace at anytime, that will surely satisfy us. However, we do want to see them locking horns and going for the jugular, because this could be what shifts the balance of power to either side and determines the fate of Westeros, and all creatures in Martin's universe.
Thoughts on our picks? Let us know in the comments what you would like to see in the upcoming season of Game of Thrones!