Looking Ahead in the Great Game
There will likely be some family reunions, though not all of them will be heartwarming.
By Shiloh McKinnon, Reed College
I’ll admit it.
I stopped watching “Game of Thrones” for a year. Between the pressures of school, the misogyny of the show and the inability to easily access HBO, tracking down the episodes just wasn’t worth the effort. But, “Game of Thrones” is an important part of popular culture nowadays, and one can only avoid spoilers for so long, so when I went home for week over the summer, I decided to catch up.
Let me tell you, for everything that Season 5 and the early part of Season 6 lacked, the latter half more than made up for it. From political intrigue, to just desserts, to the most beautiful battle scene I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness, by the time Season 6 ended I was ready for more.
Here are the things I’m most excited about in Season 7.
1. The Mountain vs. The Hound
So Season 6 ends with a scene that seems completely different from the epic mayhem we’ve been witnessing for the past couple of episodes. The shot begins with a sleepy medieval village, the kind you’d be more likely to find in a Disney movie than “Game of Thrones.” It definitely doesn’t feel like the kind of place you’d find The Hound.
And yet, there he is, and more importantly, here is where his motivation for the next season comes in. We as an audience have learned by now that no one is allowed to have nice things, but the Hound has to get the message. Now that his peaceful life has been so brutally taken from him though, he’s ready for vengeance. Which, from a viewer’s perspective, means that his face off against his brother is coming.
The Hound has a vendetta, the Mountain has a job, and the viewers have an epic fight in store. We know that the Mountain has difficulty against faster and cleverer opponents (rip Oberyn) and we also have the knowledge that each brother has defeated the other at one point, so at least as far as predictions go, the fight could go either way. Clever fury against supernatural strength and brutality? Honestly, I don’t have a prediction for who’s going to win that one, all I know is that it will be awesome and it probably won’t end well for anyone involved.
2. Arya and Sansa’s Reunion
The Stark girls have been through so much. Arya and Sansa may have been at each others’ throats the last time they were together, but they’re both grown and developed immensely since then.
Arya has had to learn responsibility, patience and fighting skills, while Sansa was exposed to the ins and outs of Westerosi politics in the worst ways possible.
Each has spent the last four seasons believing that they are the last Stark left, a heavy burden that did nothing to ease their individual emotional distress.
Arya and Sansa have certainly had their differences, and I’m sure there are still hurt feelings between the two, but at the end of the day, they’re still sisters, and even more, they’re still Starks. I can’t predict exactly how their relationship will develop in the last two seasons, but I’m hoping to see the girls finally able to talk to someone they can trust, as well as apply their unique skills to the situation at hand. I would also love to see Arya and Lyanna have a conversation or two.
3. The Sand Snakes
Ah, the Sand Snakes. Ellaria’s motivations are every bit as compelling as Oberyn’s, but she has a subtlety Oberyn himself lacked. Ellaria smiles while shoving a knife into her king’s stomach and kills Circe’s daughter with a kiss.
She’s the definition of politics in the world of “Game of Thrones,” and I’m really excited to see what she does as all the political systems she’s so used to gaming collapse. Ellaria will either adapt amazingly well, using her Sand Snakes for infiltration and destruction, or she will find someone to politically game, possibly some of the women coming in from across the sea.
Either way, she’s in a position that promises to be important next season, and I’m ready to see what she does with that. And of course, Varys is with her, which is going to make for a fantastic, not to mention very witty, dynamic.
4. Cersei’s Arc Ending
Cersei isn’t going to last very long in her new position. Her children are dead, her city is in flames, her brother may or may not abandon her… honestly, it’s looking like her story is wrapping up.
The only question now is how it does that. Daenerys is on her way with her army and dragons, but it takes a long time to cross the sea, Daenerys is more likely to get a dramatic showdown with Jamie, he is, after all, the man who killed her father, which means that Cersei’s doom will have to come from a different quarter.
Jamie? Arya? Tyrion?
I’m not sure there’s anyone in Westeros who likes Cersei at this point, and all of her allies have either buried their heads in the sand or were killed by her own hand. Not a great position to be in. All that said though, with the odds so stacked against her, I doubt Cersei Lannister will be going down without a fight. However that happens, it promises to be spectacular.
5. NOT More Bran
I know Bran’s whole waarg thing is really important to the plot, and specifically that his revelation about John’s heritage is a super big deal, but I just don’t care about him.
Bran’s plot has always been more of the hand-wavey fantasy magic part of the series, and while I can tolerate that when is comes to Melisandre because she brings up moral conflicts, Bran’s scenes are confusing at best and boring at worst. I anticipate there will be more of him in the seasons to come, but I’m not looking forward to it.