What Does Game of Thrones’ Seventh Season Have in Store?
WARNING: This post is long and full of spoilers.
Oh, Game of Thrones. It’s been a wild ride from start to finish. Season 6 ended with quite a bang, and book fans are still, still waiting for George R.R. Martin to finish Winds of Winter.
HBO’s released all sorts of tantalizing tidbits hailing the return of the series to television, from certain character’s costumes, to several awesome teaser trailers, they’ve got us on the edge of our seat. We’re left wondering: what’s next?
Well, we’re here to try and answer that question. Buckle up, kids.
Without further ado, here’s four awesome theories about what we can expect from Season 7 of Game of Thrones:
The Ice Dragon
Kicking off this post, we’ve got a more obscure theory from reddit: there’s a dragon for Bran, too. Namely: an ice dragon beneath the Wall.
During Bran’s visions of the Three-Eyed-Raven while he’s in a coma, just after being tossed out a window by Jaime, the Raven tells him “you will not walk, but you will fly”.
Some have taken this to mean that Bran will become the next Three-Eyed-Raven, warging into various birds to watch over the war with the Night’s King in the final season. This theory has a slightly different interpretation: Bran is going to bring the Wall down and ride a dragon.
It’s a pretty sick theory.
Ice Dragons do exist in the ASOIAF Universe. According to George R.R. Martin, their mere presence heralds Winter, and makes the land around them frozen to the bone.
In ASOIAF, the Wall is often compared with an Ice Dragon. Beyond that, it’s been said that the Wall has been standing for 8,000 years, virtually unmelted through the various seasons, despite being made almost entirely of ice.
Is this a coincidence, or something more?
Like Maester Aemon said:
“I see them in my dreams, Sam. I see a red star bleeding in the sky. I still remember red. I see their shadows on the snow, hear the crack of leathern wings, feel their hot breath. My brothers dreamed of dragons too, and the dreams killed them, every one. Sam, we tremble on the cusp of half-remembered prophecies, of wonders and terrors that no man now living could hope to comprehend… or… “I should not have left the Wall. Lord Snow could not have known, but I should have seen it. Fire consumes, but cold preserves. The Wall…”
Not only that, but it’s mentioned that the Bran the Builder used magic to build the wall. If you’ve been paying attention to Game of Thrones, you know that magic comes from, you guessed it: dragons.
But if there is a dragon sleeping beneath the Wall, what does this have to do with Bran?
Bran is causing the Wall to collapse.
Well, if The Door was any indication, we’ve seen that what Bran does within his visions affects the real world around him, both in the past, and in the future. During one of his visions, Bran met the Night’s King.
It’s possible that this moment strengthened the Night’s King’s connection with the world of the living, and that Bran may have unwittingly made him even more powerful and caused the magic holding the wall together to wane.
Bran & The Horn of Winter
So what’s the one thing that can bring down the Wall for good, and what does it have to do with Bran?
The Horn of Winter, also known as the Horn of Joramun.
Joramun was one of the Kings-Beyond-the-Wall, who, along with Brandon the Breaker (sensing a pattern with all of these Brans?), helped defeat the Night’s King the first time around. Legend states that he used his magical horn to wake the giants. Legend also says that if he blows his horn again, the Wall will collapse.
So here’s how I see this theory panning out in Season 7:
One of the two other great Others seen with the Night’s King might be Joramun. We know that the Night’s King can turn dead into undead at the flip of the switch, and that ancient corpses have been rising from the snows beyond-the-Wall.
Joramun still possesses the ancient Horn of Winter. When the Others reach the wall, he’ll sound the horn, bringing the Wall down for good and allowing the Others to invade Westeros. Consequently, the dragon will be awoken, and either Bran or the Night’s King will ride this dragon in the final battle.
What’s Sam Up to At Hightower?
With the White Walkers on their way, Sam left the Wall to search for a way to fight them in the libraries at Hightower, the Citadel of the Maester’s (basically Westeros’ version of the Library of Alexandria).
We know that there are only two things that can kill White Walkers for good: Dragonglass and fire.
We also know that Valyrian steel swords are a distant cousin of Dragonglass (or obsidian, as it’s scientifically known), and work just as well. In Hardhome, Jon was able to defend himself against the Night’s King using Ironclaw, the Valyrian steel sword given to him by Jeor Mormont.
Valyrian steel swords are few and far between. The actual technology to forge these swords has long since been forgotten, but almost every great House in Westeros has one or two hanging on a wall somewhere. For reference, these are the blades that are still known to exist somewhere in Westeros:
- Heartsbane: the ancestral greatsword of House Tarly. Sam stole it and took it with him.
- Lady Forlorn: the ancestral sword of House Corbray.
- Longclaw: ancestral sword of House Mormont, in Jon’s possession at Winterfell.
- Nightfall: ancestral sword of House Harlaw
- Oathkeeper: one of the swords forged from Ice (ancestral blade of House Stark). Currently it’s held by Brienne, at Winterfell.
- Red Rain: the sword of House Drumm. It’s since been stolen and its whereabouts are unknown.
- Widow’s Wail: the other sword forged from Ice. This sword was owned by Tommen, but it’s unclear where it might have gone after he took a tumble from the Red Keep.
- The Dragonbone Dagger: the dagger used by Bran’s would-be assassin. It’s currently held by Petyr Baelish at Winterfell.
- Valyrian steel axe possibly owned by House Celtigar.
- Blackfyre: Daemon Blackfyre’s sword. It was lost during the Blackfyre rebellion, and its location is unknown.
- Brightroar: ancestral sword of House Lannister. Whereabouts unknown.
There are a few other swords, but most have been lost to the sands of time.
These swords will make or break the final battle between the living and the dead. Sam has probably gone to Hightower to make a catalog and try to gather all of these Valyrian steel swords into one pool to bring back to Winterfell for the final battle. We’ll see if the high lords of Westeros will comply and hand them over.
There’s one other Valyrian Steel sword in existence that we haven’t touched on yet that’s rather important, and that’s Dark Sister, the sword wielded by Visenya Targaeryen. Its last known owner was Brynden “Bloodraven” Rivers. Yep, The Three Eyed Raven,
Which brings us to…
Arya, Nymeria, and Dark Sister
“A Girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I’m going home.” — Arya Stark.
In the books, Bran isn’t the only Stark sibling to have the ability to warg. Arya displays pretty pronounced warging abilities as well, and we know that her direwolf is one of the few direwolves left that’s still alive. The last we heard of Nymeria, she’s still roaming the wilds of the North as the alpha female of a wolf pack. The best part? She’s grown big enough to ride.
Arya’s connection to the Targaryen warrior princesses that conquered Westeros isn’t a coincidence. It’s very probable that she and Nymeria are going to be reunited at last, and that Arya may ride into battle on Nymeria’s back. But if she does, she’s going to need a sword made of Valyrian steel. Needle’s done her just fine for now, but Needle won’t help her against the White Walkers.
George R.R. Martin certainly likes drawing connections with names. It’s possible that Dark Sister, one of the Valyrian steel swords still unaccounted for, is intended for Arya, and will somehow make its way to her from beyond-the-Wall.
It might be wishful thinking, but I can’t think of anything more badass than Arya riding into battle on her Direwolf against the Knight’s King wielding one of the legendary swords that first conquered Westeros.
The Valonqar Prophecy
“Queen you shall be, until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.”
“Will the king and I have children?” [Cersei] asked.
“Oh, aye. Six-and-ten for him, and three for you. Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds,” she said. “And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
— A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei.
There’s nothing else for it: Season 7 will see the final conclusion of the prophecy that has haunted Cersei since childhood.
When Cersei was a child, a sorceress named Maggy the Frog told her exactly how her life would play out from that moment on. This prophecy has dogged Cersei’s steps ever since, and no matter how much she’s tried to avoid it, it’s been continually unfolding to its final conclusion: her death.
Let’s unpack this for a minute:
Queen you shall be: Cersei did, indeed, become queen when she married Robert Baratheon.
The Younger, More Beautiful Queen: It’s clear that Cersei believed at first that the younger, more beautiful queen that would eventually overthrow her would be Sansa…until Margaery entered the game. Margaery was younger, more beautiful, and just as cunning as Cersei was, and Margaery was genuinely seeking to overthrow Cersei and be queen of Westeros.
The problem? Margaery’s dead, Cersei thinks she’s won, but what she doesn’t know is that Danaerys (a younger, more beautiful queen), is on her way to Westeros to take the Iron Throne with three dragons in tow.
Cersei, you’re absolutely fucked.
And Three for You…Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds: Cersei had three children: Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella. All three managed to get their hands on a crown, and then all three died and were buried beneath golden shrouds.
Joffrey was poisoned by Olenna Tyrell. Myrcella was poisoned by the Sand Snakes, and Cersei brought about Tommen’s suicide after she got all wildfire-happy on Margaery and the High Sparrow.
So, we see that yet again, Cersei has brought about the fulfillment of the prophecy (or is it a curse?) all by herself while trying to avoid it.
And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall… choke the life from you: This is the part of the prophecy that hasn’t come to pass yet, and has given fans the most grief. The key lies in the word valonqar.
What is a valonqar?
Valonqar is High Valyrian for “little brother”. It’s likely that Cersei knew this, and believed that the little brother in question was Tyrion, which only fueled her hatred for him and definitely explains the amount of times she tried to have him killed.
Just one catch:
Jaime is the younger twin.
So Jaime, too, is the valonqar.
If the events of the previous season are any indication, Cersei is descending into madness. Jaime doesn’t look too happy to return to the Red Keep to see his sister and lover crowned Queen of Westeros, with all three of their children dead, and Cersei murdering people left and right just like the Mad King Aerys once did.
It’s likely that the Mad King isn’t the only insane ruler that Jaime is going to end up killing.
When Danaerys’ dragons descend on the Red Keep to take King’s Landing for the Targaryens, I suspect Jaime and Cersei will likely commit murder-suicide, ticking the last box in the Valonqar prophecy and sealing House Lannister’s fate for good.
Azor Ahai and the Power of Three
We’ve heard the name echoed throughout the ASIOAF Universe: Azor Ahai. Book fans will be more familiar with the name than show fans, but show fans should know that Azor Ahai, or “the prince that was promised”, and the “stallion that mounts the world” are three sides to the same coin: the prophesied savior of the world, the warrior that will defeat the Night’s King and end the Long Night.
Who is Azor Ahai, though, really? Melisandre originally believed it to be Stannis, but now she thinks it’s Jon Snow. Aemon Targaryen believed Danaerys is Azor Ahai, or “The Prince That Was Promised”.
“Maester Aemon believed that Daenerys Targaryen was the fulfillment of a prophecy … her, not Stannis, nor Prince Rhaegar, nor the princeling whose head was dashed against the wall.” — Samwell Tarley, A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
I would argue that Azor Ahai is not one, not two, but three people all working in tandem to defeat the Night’s King. Why? Well, when Danaerys first hears the prophecy of Azor Ahai when she sees a vision of Rhaegar on his deathbed, Rhaegar says: “There must be one more…The dragon has three heads.”
Who are the three heads of the dragon?
Presumably, it would be three Targaryens. However, the story only seems to have two confirmed Targaryens still in existence: Dany and Jon.
Perhaps the most on-the-nose statement pointing to Jon as one of the Heads of the Dragon comes from Melisandre in A Dance With Dragons.
“I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R’hllor shows me only Snow.”
It’s clear that both Dany and Jon are heads of the Dragon, keys to the prophecy of Azor Ahai…but this still leaves us one person short.
Who is the third?
That leads us to…
Tyrion is a Targaryen
Okay, hear me out here. If you haven’t read the books, stay with me. This is going to get messy.
Tyrion, Danaerys, and Jon are all related by blood. How? Tyrion’s the son of Aerys II, AKA “The Mad King”.
Yup. The one that Jaime killed.
Before you say “WTF” and close the browser, take a minute to consider: why did Tywin hate Tyrion so much?
It’s easy to say that the Lannisters hated Tyrion because Joanna died giving birth to him, but remember that Tywin hardly ever thought of Tyrion as his biological son. Is this a mere hatred for the child that killed his wife, or something more?
Let’s talk about the clues that GRRM leaves us:
Joanna was an extremely beautiful woman. Barristan Selmy told Danaerys that Aerys was at least interested in her. In other chapters, it’s said that, at Joanna and Tywin’s wedding, a very drunk Aerys took certain unspecified “unwonted liberties” with Joanna during the bedding ritual.
Not long after, Joanna was dismissed by Queen Rhaella from her service as the Queen’s handmaiden. It’s implied that Aerys was having a (probably unwanted) affair with Joanna. Joanna left for Casterly Rock almost immediately after and rarely returned to the capital.
Years passed. Joanna became friends with other members of the royal court and traveled to the Red Keep more often, as Tywin was the Hand of the King there. Aerys liked to play cruel jokes on Tywin, and shortly after Joanna began visiting the Red Keep more often, she became pregnant with Tyrion.
Perhaps Tyrion was the Mad King’s last practical joke on Tywin, a lingering reminder of the affair he had with Tywin’s wife, and that’s why Tywin hates him so much.
Still not convinced?
Here’s two more clues:
- Maegor the Cruel, a head on the Targaryen family tree, was said to produce several horribly deformed children. Not only that, but the stillborn daughter of Princess Rhaenyra, Visenya, was horribly deformed to the extreme, possibly with some form of dwarfism. These deformities are likely a product of centuries of incest between Targaryens in order to preserve their Valyrian genetics.
If Tyrion is, himself, a Targaryen, this would explain why he was born with dwarfism, since the deformity seems a little, well, out of left field, considering House Lannister has no history of it.
- Danaerys’ dragons may give us clues to their intended riders. Drogon, for instance, is clearly intended to be Dany’s dragon. He’s the largest, and his coloring matches the Targaryen’s house colors: black and red. Rhaegal, named for Rhaegar, may be Jon’s dragon. R+L=J is all but confirmed, and it would only be appropriate for Jon to ride the dragon named after his true father.
If Tyrion is the Third Head, that leaves Viserion for him. This is an extremely likely outcome if we’re paying attention to the clues left behind by GRRM and The Game of Thrones showrunners. Viserion is described as “white with flecks of gold, with an orange and red flame”. Gold and red are classically Lannister colors. Not only that, but we get a stunning visual in A Clash of Kings when Viserion is described as digging his claws into a lion’s pelt Dany is wearing. Coincidence? Probably not.
These two clues would imply that Tyrion, more than anyone else, is the most probable choice for the Third Head of the Dragon.
The Song of Ice and Fire
“He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.” — Rhaegar Targaeryen, A Clash of Kings.
It’s extremely likely that Jon and Danaerys are going to team up with Tyrion during the war against the Night’s King. All three have significant parallels in the story. Tyrion has already allied with Danaerys as Hand of the Queen, and at the very beginning of the story of ASOIAF, Jon and Tyrion strike up an unlikely friendship.
When Danaerys reaches Westeros, she’s going to need Jon’s expertise in fighting the White Walkers in order to keep the Iron Throne. Tyrion will likely be able to broker an alliance between the two, uniting Westeros once again under the rule of the Targaryens with Jon ruling the North and Danaerys ruling the South.
Jon is a Stark, born amid snow and ice. Danaerys was born in salt and smoke on Dragonstone. Tyrion brings it all together.
Theirs is the Song of Ice and Fire.
What do you think of these theories? Who do you want to win?
How do you see Season 7 playing out? Choose your favorite theory in our survey, or tell us your own. We’d love to hear what you think!