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Warning: This article contains potential spoilers for the upcoming season of Game of Thrones.
HBO has released scant details about the forthcoming season of Game of Thrones (just over a week left to wait!). Of course, we couldn't help but try to figure out what the vague clues meant.
Episode 61: "Dragonstone," airing Sunday, July 16
Jon (Kit Harington) organizes the defense of the North. Cersei (Lena Headey) tries to even the odds. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) comes home.
Having been named King in the North, it looks like Jon Snow is trying to unite forces that were Stark-ly (sorry) divided under the reign of Ramsay Bolton. We know he's capable of bringing people together—we saw it before his victory at the Battle of the Bastards. But back then, he didn't have Littlefinger to worry about, and that conniving strategist has been taking Jon's half sister and "true" Stark, Sansa, aside for his own devious purposes—probably trying to persuade her she should be Queen in the North.
As for what Jon will be defending the North against? In his eyes, the true enemy is the White Walkers beyond the Wall. But since the Boltons fell, Cersei knows she no longer has friends in the North, and Jon would be aware that it's never good to have an adversary at King's Landing (much less one with nothing to lose).
In fact, Cersei is surrounded by enemies on all sides. If she's trying to "even the odds" in the game of thrones, she's running out of options. After burning down all her Tyrell and Sparrow enemies in a wildfire blaze, will she have any other tricks up her sleeve? Does she still have any of the powerful substance left—and will it work against dragons, if they come flying overhead? This could also mean she'll be casting around for new allies. Our bet is Euron—even Pilou Asbaek, who plays him on the show, thinks so.
We knew from the trailer that Daenerys would land at Dragonstone, scoring a throne as well. Since the castle is the ancestral seat of the Targaryens, this definitely fits the description of "home." She's wanted to touch down in Westeros for a long time, and there's no better place for her to do it.
Episode 62: "Stormborn," airing Sunday, July 23
Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) receives an unexpected visitor. Jon (Kit Harington) faces a revolt. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) plans the conquest of Westeros.
News of Daenerys' arrival in Westeros will no doubt travel very quickly. But who's the unexpected visitor this episode description refers to? Back in October, images of Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington on set together were leaked, indicating the two would be meeting eventually. But since he apparently has a revolt on his hands (another mirroring, this time of the betrayal he suffered at the Wall), any face time between the two is not likely to happen soon. There are a few main possibilities: Melisandre, who may or may not have returned to her old haunt after being banished from the North; Jorah, whom Dany farewelled after he was afflicted by greyscale; and Euron Greyjoy, whom we know has a rather vulgar and potentially sinister proposition for her. July 23 is too far away.
The King in the North won't have an easy time of it. There are plenty of people who might rise up against him. We know Jon's partnership with the wildlings has caused conflict before, and if Littlefinger prods the knights of the Vale into dissent, he'll have his hands full for sure. Would Sansa let that happen to the only blood relative she has reunited with? Maybe.
Now that he's back in Westeros, we're curious to know what Tyrion will do first. Will he head straight for the Red Keep and his malicious sister? Or are there other allegiances to build first? Will he reach out via raven to Jon Snow? Olenna Tyrell wasn't mentioned in this blurb, but since she escaped the wildfire, we've been hoping to see her again—and, for that matter, her new ally, Ellaria Sand, who has herself declared for Daenerys. A meeting between these three would be satisfying, to say the least.
Episode 63: "The Queen's Justice," airing Sunday, July 30
Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) holds court. Cersei (Lena Headey) returns a gift. Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) learns from his mistakes.
If Dany is holding court at Dragonstone, that probably means her dragons are with her. How big will they be by then, and how will her subjects react to their new surroundings? Will the Dothraki, the Unsullied, and the erstwhile Greyjoys Yara and Theon be as happy to fight her battles now that they are all far from home?
Moving on to Cersei—the "gift" she's looking to return is probably the snake, presumably sent by Ellaria Sand as a token before she murdered Cersei's daughter Myrcella. But Cersei isn't the kind of woman to just give something back. We wouldn't put it past her to avenge Myrcella's death by taking the lives of one (or all) of Ellaria's children—although they're all vicious fighters who can protect themselves. (If the Queen referred to in the episode name is Cersei, this would fit perfectly.)
As for Jaime, he's made a few errors of late. Perhaps the biggest is letting his brother Tyrion go, even though he'd been imprisoned for murdering their father. Another problem of his own making might be related to Brienne, whose loyalty to the Stark women will forever make her an adversary to the Kingslayer, despite their respect and fellow feeling. Either way, the cost of his past actions looks like it will be high.
Phew, that's a lot. And it's probably not even the half of it. (Where's Arya? Bran? Brienne? The Hound? Lady Mormont?) And it certainly doesn't answer the question we've all been asking: Who is Ed Sheeran going to play?
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Estelle Tang is the former senior editor of ELLE.com.
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