Game of Thrones creators say there are only a handful of episodes to stretch across the final two seasons––Seasons 7 and 8––of the mammoth HBO hit.
The show has been hurtling toward its climax, seemingly––delightfully—forever, and now, after the thrilling scenes from the jaw-dropping Season 6 finale, the chess pieces have been set up on the board for the final battles.
Jon Snow is King in the North. Cersei is sitting on the Iron Throne. Daenerys is sailing to the Seven Kingdoms with Greyjoy’s Iron Fleet. And, all the while, the Night King awaits.
Based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling book series A Song of Ice and Fire, the medieval fantasy epic chronicles two powerful families battling for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and to sit atop the Iron Throne.
The seventh season is set to premiere in 2017, and viewers were given a first delightful teaser on a recent episode of HBO favorite Westworld.
There are some obvious questions fans want to be answered: Who will end up on the Iron Throne? Will Jon Snow find out about his true lineage? Will Gendry finally arrive ashore after several seasons of weary rowing?
Here are a few scintillating storylines fans can’t wait to see played out:
When last we saw the youngest Stark daughter, she was exacting her revenge by murdering Walder Frey, the mastermind behind the infamous Red Wedding and the murder of her mother and brother. Is the fierce Arya finally going to reunite with siblings Bran and Sansa Stark and half-brother Jon Snow? Or will she continue her quest to cross names off her kill list?
Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen
Will the King in the North and the Mother of Dragons become allies and unite their armies to take on both Cersei in King’s Landing and the White Walkers?
More importantly to some Game of Thrones fans: Will Jon and Daenerys come together in a romantic storyline? While they’ve never met on the show, it’s a good bet their chemistry would be undeniable.
What will happen when Jon Snow and Theon Greyjoy finally come face to face? Theon, who grew up a ward of the Stark family, ultimately sided with his father to betray the Starks and invade the North. Will Jon punish Theon for his betrayal?
After Theon’s capture and torture at the hands of Ramsay Snow, and subsequent escape, Theon finally seems to be coming into his own. And, when last we saw him, he and sister Yara were sailing with Daenerys and her huge fleet to King’s Landing.
In the Season 6 finale, Samwell arrived at the Citadel with Gilly and baby Sam, and its final scene had Samwell looking over a cavernous library of books.
A shot of the Citadel library shows a large gyroscope chandelier that’s also in the opening credits of the show. Is this a hint, as many Game of Thrones fans believe, that Sam will be tasked with keeping a written record of Jon Snow’s adventures and other events in the Seven Kingdoms?
George R.R. Martin has said in interviews that the show will play out like Lord of the Rings, in which one character is telling the story for others.
The uncle of Yara and Theon is expected to return in Season 7 and will be hungry for power. Will he try to take control of Daenerys’s dragons? In the book series, Euron possesses a horn called the Dragonbinder that can be used to control dragons. If he, indeed, possesses it in the show as well, he has yet to produce it.
With Roose, Ramsay, and Walder Frey all dead, Euron may take on the role as the show’s most-hated character.
The Season 6 finale saw Jon Snow perhaps hinting to that, saying “The true enemy won’t wait out the storm. He brings the storm.”
And, in an earlier episode, Euron refers to himself as the storm, telling his brother Balon before his death: “I am the storm, brother. The first and the last.”
Daenerys and Cersei
Will the Mother of Dragons finally get to face off against Cersei, the female character Game of Thrones fans most love to hate? In one of Season 6’s most shocking scenes, Cersei took out almost all her enemies in one fell swoop, with a wildfire that wiped out much of King’s Landing.
However, her plan also cost her the loss of her son Tommen, who jumped to his death after realizing the love of his life had cherished in the blaze.
Who better to take down Cersei than an even mightier female character in Daenerys?
The “Younger Queen”
When Cersei was young, she ventured to see the fortune-teller Maggy the Frog, who predicted Cersei would one day be usurped by a “younger, more beautiful queen” who will “cast you down and take all you hold dear.”
Until her death in the violent Season 6 finale, many believed the younger queen to be Margaery Tyrell, the wife of Cersei’s son King Tommen.
So, who was Maggy the Frog referring to in her vision of the future? The Mother of Dragons or Sansa Stark? Or perhaps even Arya?
Sansa has been the most recent to hate Cersei Lannister, who played a crucial role in the death of Sansa’s dad Eddard Stark, the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. Eddard––or Ned–– Stark was beheaded in Season One.
According to legend, a man named “Bran the Builder” constructed the wall thousands of years ago with the help of the children of the forest, giants, and others. Will Bran Stark, who is friends with the children of the forest and can travel back in time, turn out to be the legendary Bran the Builder?
The Night King
Who is this evil man with the face seemingly carved out of jagged ice and piercing steely blue eyes? We have yet to learn his true purpose and the purpose of the roaming undead army of White Walkers.
Rumor has it that Gendry will be returning, at long last, to the series, after sailing away in a tiny rowboat way back in Season 3. Gendry sailed off to avoid the clutches of Melisandre, leaving fans wondering what happened to the valiant blacksmith.
This article has been written by Jeremy Pewter.