After a long, tense wait, Game of Thrones season seven is finally almost upon us, with the first episode due to be broadcast extremely early on Monday (and then at a more reasonable time later that evening).
But what might happen in it? The official episode description is characteristically vague, telling us only that: “Jon (Kit Harington) organizes the defense of the North. Cersei (Lena Headey) tries to even the odds. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) comes home.”
We’re basing this amazing deduction off the fact that the season opener is titled Dragonstone, and that we already know Danerys “returns home” in it – and off some new images, taken from the first episode, of the character arriving at the ancestral Targaryen home.
Presumably the Dragon Queen is going to use the island fortress as a base from which to strike out against the rest of Westeros, and its current ruler Cersei.
There’s going to be a big, exciting opening
Whatever you do, do not nip out to make a quick tea before the opening credits begin – you’re going to want to be present and alert right from the very start.
Our writer Jane Mulkerrins, who was lucky enough to attend the season seven premiere in Los Angeles last week, had this to say about a dramatic pre-credits sequence:
The opening scene, ahead of the credits, drew the biggest crowd reaction of the night. As an audience member, I was, initially, a little confused. The first minute seemed an unusually slow start – a large gathering on screen, but not one heavy with tension or intrigue, a notorious plotter addressing his followers.
Then, a shift in tone, and a swift massacre – without actual violence – and a dramatic unveiling prompting wild applause and gleeful cheers.
Meera (and hopefully Bran too) will arrive at Winterfell
The official image at the top of this article, taken from the Dragonstone episode, clearly shows Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) at Winterfell. We also already know from the trailers that Bran ends up there too, suggesting that the pair will arrive together in this first episode – finally reuniting Bran with his sister Sansa and half-brother (but actually, Bran now knows, cousin) Jon.
They’ve presumably all got a lot of catching up to do…but will Bran be telling Jon about his true origins and the real identity of his mother?
Brienne and Podrick are now also at Winterfell, apparently
We’ve already seen the trailer scenes of the pair in the Winterfell courtyard – and the image below, which HBO released as part of a set of stills from episode one, suggests that the pair will make it there in the first episode.
Cersei will be planning something (as per usual)
Images of the character standing on a giant map of Westeros, and having the map painted, suggest that the newest incumbent of the Iron Throne is relishing her position as head of the (very fractured) seven kingdoms, and isn’t planning on giving it up anytime soon.
But how exactly is she planning to “even the odds”, as promised in the episode description? While it’s hard to say for sure, we do know that this season will see Cersei being especially cruel to one particular character.
“Whatever was good [in her life] has been erased and she’s a horrible cow to one particular character… It’s really quite loathsome,” actress Lena Headey, who plays Cersei, recently revealed in an interview.
While some have speculated that her words might refer to sadistic Septa “Shame” Unella, who was still alive at the end of the last season (and being kept that way so Cersei could enjoy having her tortured), there’s also a good chance Headey could have been speaking about Jaime Lannister, Cersei’s brother/lover. How will he help her defend her crown?
Finally, it’s also been strongly hinted that the character might form an alliance with Euron Greyjoy this season. Although there has been no indication that this will happen in the first episode, access to the Greyjoy fleet might well be one way for Cersei to “even the odds”