After an absolutely crazy season six finale of Game of Thrones, we rounded up staff members and friends-of-the-site to dish on our predictions for the next round of the fantasy epic.
1.) ARYA PROVES TO BE THE BADDEST GIRL ON THE BLOCK
While it looks like Danny and Yara are meeting up with the Sand Snakes and Lady Olenna to bring some serious girl gang hurt to Westeros, I think it’s going to be Arya that delivers the final deathblow to Ceresi and proves she’s the baddest bitch out there.
I’m sure she’ll be elated to hear her brother and sister are alive, but she didn’t spend the last couple seasons across the narrow sea to just go home. She’s heading straight for King’s Landing to cross that name off her list.
And Cersei is just the beginning. I don’t think the showrunners would spend so much time with Arya simply to have her settle a score or two, especially with the threat of the White Walkers making Cersei seem relatively harmless. I have a theory that humanity is going to find a way to stumble upon itself at least one more time before the epic showdown with the ice zombies, and it’s going to be up to Arya to save the day. So whether that means Euron uses black magic to stir up some trouble or Littlefinger pulls another betrayal from his bag of tricks and sends Westeros back into turmoil, Arya is going to have to step in and show them who’s boss.
Arya’s strength is that she’s unattached. Every other major character has the burden of leadership on their backs. None have the freedom to move and make decisions solely for themselves. It’s this freedom that is going to prove pivotal in Arya’s ascendance into greatness. She isn’t playing the game of thrones; she’s making up her own game.—Keefe Dempsey
2.) JAMIE ADDS QUEENSLAYER TO HIS RESUME
Though it should be impossible to like a character who casually has sex with his twin sister and pushes small rock climbing enthusiasts out of windows, Jamie has somehow run away with the coveted "Jack's Favorite Thrones Character" championship belt and I can't wait to see how things shake up next season.
Maggy’s prophecy not only declared that all of Cersei's children will die, but that “the valonqar (little brother) shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” She thinks it's going to be Tyrion. I'd bet a great deal of money it's Jamie, likely after taking out "Frankenmountain" in a scene that makes the Red Viper showdown look like child's play.
Now a kingslayer, queensplayer, oathbreaker, and a flat-broke Lannister – where does Goldenhand turn? First guess might be to Brienne, though I think Jamie somehow links up with Tyrion and a Dragon-riding Breaker of Chains, where the ultimate queen falls for the ultimate queenslayer in a politically unwise turn of events.—Jack Archer
3.) A LEGION OF DOOM IN WESTEROS
I am curious to know how the villains position themselves in the upcoming season. Will they remain on separate fronts or will they team up for a much more exciting conflict?
The Night's King and Cersei Lannister, with a little bit of Littlefinger sprinkled in, make for a yet unspoken but formidable alliance against who we all know are the good guys. Is Cersei's Zombified Mountain foreshadowing a possible undead alliance with her and the White Walkers? Tell me!—Doug Riggs
4.) BRAN SHAKES UP THE NORTH
It's no coincidence that a) Rhaegar, the presumed "R" in "R+L=J" equation, wasn't explicitly mentioned in the Tower of Joy scene, b) other than Bran, the only living person that can confirm what happened in the Tower is Howland Reed, and c) Bran's last surviving caretaker is Howland's daughter. Rhaegar and Lyanna's affair wasn't exactly common knowledge, so it wouldn't be surprising if Bran knows less than the audience and needs more information before he's able to confidently tell Jon about his parentage. Meera will connect Bran with Howland and the eventual revelation of Jon's past along with the reintroduction of a legitimate Stark male in the North will certainly complicate things. And considering the show writers' penchants for suddenly rendering powerful characters powerless and vice versa, Jon will likely not understand the significance of his Targaryen blood before his claim to the North is shaken.
Also, Dany will land first in Dragonstone as it's within striking distance of King's Landing, her family's claim to the island, and its defensive prowess. The first half of next season will see her and Tyrion clash with Cersei and Jaime in what's sure to be some excellent entertainment.—Ian MacDonald
5.) THE STONE MEN RETURN
Lyanna Mormont was the breakout star of season six, a formidable leader and charismatic presence that dominated every scene she was in. So with that much talent, how can House Mormont possibly ride the pine?
Enter Jorah "Greyscale" Mormont, her first cousin. Currently on the hunt for a cure to his skin-changing disease, what if he finds a way to not only stop his transformation, but relate to and help lead the dangerous and powerful Stone Men of Old Valyria? House Mormont, under Lyanna's leadership and Jorah's brute force, can suddenly provide a lot more than 64 men.—Benjamin Cooper
6.) THE WALL FALLS IN EPISODE 1
Our newest Lord Commander doesn't have the best of luck — hell, Dolorous Edd even bids a (very apparent) good luck farewell to Jon when he leaves The Wall for Winterfell. Add in the foreshadowing from this past season when Jon says, "don't knock it down while I'm gone," and we have a collapsing recipe.
Either way you slice it, the story points to The Wall's downfall. Dany's storyline fundamentally makes sense for The Wall to fall — if she arrives before the White Walker invasion, she's a conqueror, if she arrives to fight the ice zombies, she's a savior. Sprinkle in how we last saw Sam, and I believe it will be a race against time as The Wall falls and Sam discovers a way to fight them, as no regular army can defeat them.—Joseph Attanasio