With a shorter episode count for season 7 (and an undetermined amount for season 8), Game of Thrones has started to gear toward wrap-up mode. While season 6 had a few lingering threads left to tackle from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, season 7 is a complete mystery. We don’t have a major cliffhanger to debate like we did after Jon Snow’s death at the end of season 5. It was a series of setups moving the major players into place for what happens next. Jon is the King in the North, Cersei Lannister is on the Iron Throne, and Daenerys sailing across the Narrow Sea.
So what is next? HBO and Game of Thrones are notoriously tight-lipped during the off-season, so we probably won’t get too many announcements until closer to the season premiere this summer. They’ve only made one casting announcement so far, and they’ve released about three seconds of footage. But as fans have seen in previous years, there’s still plenty to pick apart and analyze from small nuggets slipping out from the Game of Thrones set. On those, we can begin to piece together what to expect for the season ahead.
Game of Thrones season 7 release date
After premiering in the spring for six seasons, Game of Thrones will debut a little later than usual to take advantage of the weather. An exact release date hasn’t been announced yet, but it will tentatively premiere in summer 2017.
Game of Thrones season 7 trailer
HBO has yet to release a full trailer, but it debuted a few seconds of footage featuring Jon, Sansa, and Arya in its annual showcase of shows, films, and documentaries.
A post appeared on Reddit in November that claimed to reveal every plot point in Game of Thrones’ seventh season. The person who posted it soon deleted the post and their Reddit account entirely, but it spread online and entertainment sites soon picked it up.
A similar leak occurred before season 6 that later turned out to be inaccurate, so some fans started doubting the contents of this leak, and guessed it might be a combination of information that emerged set reports and wish fulfillment. For now, we can take these leaks with a grain of salt.
- Samwell Tarly and Gilly discover proof that Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark married in secret (after he annulled his first marriage), and Jon’s true name is “Aegon.”
- Sansa and Arya will reunite, but not without some tricks from Littlefinger, who tries to pin the estranged sisters against each other.
- One of Daenerys’ dragons will die and will be resurrected by the Night King.
Confirmed locations and directors
While most of Game of Thrones is being kept under wraps, the show shared a handy guide in December 2016 for fans looking for officially released information about what they need to know. It shared some of the countries—and in Spain’s case, cities—that will stand in for Westeros and Essos.
- Northern Ireland
Also included are the official list of directors. Some fans have been able to discern who’s directing what from on-set sightings, but Game of Thrones has yet to commit which directors are taking on which episodes.
- Alan Taylor
- Mark Mylod
- Jeremy Podeswa
- Mat Shakman
Jim Broadbent was cast in August 2016 for what is being called a “significant” role. We haven’t learned much since then, but speculation is rampant about which character Broadbent might play. Will we finally meet Howland Reed after all this time, or will he show up as someone new? Both Archmaester Marwyn or Archmaester Walgrave have been thrown out as possibilities likely to show up alongside Samwell Tarly at the Citadel in Oldtown.
UFC star Conor McGregor is also set to join the cast, but it sounds like it’ll be a special cameo similar to how Game of Thrones has featured musicians in minor roles in past seasons; one musician claimed to have made an important appearance on the show (potential spoiler), but it seems unlikely. Freddie Stroma, who showed up as Sam’s younger brother Dickon last season, is being recast due to scheduling. And according to David Bradley’s official résumé, he’ll be back for season 7 despite Walder Frey meeting a gruesome death at the end of season 6. (For the record, he is definitely dead.) Question is, will he be a corpse, appear in a flashback, or be part of Arya Stark‘s rotating collection of faces?
Prediction: Gendry returns
In later seasons of Game of Thrones, we’ve seen many characters like the Hound and Benjen Stark make their triumphant return to Westeros after being out of the spotlight or missing for years. With few characters still waiting in the wings, Game of Thrones is finally letting us know the answer to one of the show’s lingering: Where the hell is Gendry?
Spoiler: Jon Snow meets Daenerys Targaryen
After six seasons of dancing around each other, two dragons will finally meet.
First reported back in October, both Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke were spotted filming together along with many of their allies helping out or watching from afar. We don’t hear what they say—and we don’t even know if this is the exact moment they meet or if that occurs in a different scene—but finally, Jon and Dany are together!
We also don’t know the motivation behind such a meeting, which appeared to take place in Dragonstone. Has Jon sought Dany out because he learned of the dragonglass located on Dragonstone that’s vital to killing White Walkers? Or has Dany reached out to the lords of Westeros in hopes that some of them may join her cause? And can Jon convince her of the bigger threats looming north of the Wall? Luckily Tyrion, who Jon last saw in season 1, might be able to ease any tensions that arise.
At the end of season 6, Jon doesn’t know the truth about his parents, and Dany has no reason to think that Jon might be her only other living relative. (So far, the show hasn’t introduced the idea that Rhaegar Targaryen’s second child with Elia Martell, Aegon, may not have died at the hands of the Mountain.) Would the show have Jon and Dany get together in an accidental case of incest?