UPDATE: Now that the epic seventh season of Game of Thrones is over (and the looooooooong wait for Season Eight begins), we wanted to see if any of our predictions came true. The original article was published in June 2016, so over a year before Season Seven actually aired. We’ll follow up each old prediction with a new recap about how close we were to getting things right.
Fair Warning: Major Season Seven Spoilers Below!!!
Original article below:
With George R.R. Martin’s next book, The Winds of Winter, unlikely to release before next spring, it’s more difficult than ever to predict what the next season of Game of Thrones has in store. At this point, we know the general outline of what’s going to happen — Daenerys is going to invade Westeros from the south; the White Walkers are going to invade from the north; a war of ice and fire will commence — but trying to plot out specifics is a fool’s errand, to say the least. However, considering we have about a ten month wait until Game of Thrones returns, there’s no time like the present to start thinking about what may happen next, with the following ten predictions representing our best guesses as to what’s in store in season seven.
10. A Full Stark Reunion
With Bran on his way south of the Wall and Arya ostensibly headed to Winterfell now that she’s single-handedly wiped out the Freys, a full-on Stark family reunion is looking like a matter of when, not if. Unfortunately, like any other happy Game of Thrones moment, the joys of the most tragic family in Westeros seeing each other again after spending years apart are sure to be short-lived. Bran will arrive with news that will turn the family upside down and Arya’s kind of a lunatic at this point, so it’s hard to see her staying put while there are still people out there that need to be Needled.
Then again, perhaps cooler heads will prevail and the four remaining Starks will form a Westeros version of the Fantastic Four, as Bran Stark actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright suggested in a recent interview. Either way, it will be interesting to see this family actually interact with one another again; especially Jon and Arya, who arguably had the closest bond of all the Starks. Just wait until Jon hears how many people Arya has killed with the sword he gave her!
Were we right?: Nailed it. Mostly. The Starks did all return to Winterfell, although Jon and Arya failed to cross paths (so far). The trio of Sansa, Bran, and Arya have managed to keep the North together while Jon is off sleeping with his aunt, plus they dispatched Littlefinger in the Season Seven finale. As an added “Stark Reunion” bonus, Jon and Theon Greyjoy finally had their moment together after Theon betrayed the Starks, the family who raised him.
9. Jon Snow Will Discover His True Parentage
Season six ended with the long-awaited reveal of who Jon Snow’s real parents are and as pretty much every fan had already figured out, Jon is indeed the love child of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Unfortunately, Jon is currently ignorant of this information, believing himself to still be the illegitimate son of Ned Stark. As already mentioned, a Stark reunion is bound to happen soon enough, especially since Bran is the one who made the discovery about Jon’s parents in the first place and is probably eager to tell him about it.
The real question is how Jon will react to this startling revelation. Will he renounce his title as King in the North or hold onto it on the grounds that he’s still technically just as much a Stark as he was before? Perhaps Jon will even want to make a play for the Iron Throne, since as Rhaegar’s son, he now technically has a better claim than even Daenerys. One thing’s for sure though: once the news of Jon’s parentage becomes public knowledge, it’s going to shake up the power dynamics of the Seven Kingdoms in a major way.
Were we right?: Wrong. Although it’s still coming, since the scene with Bran and Sam in the season finale made is crystal clear that Jon was actually the legitimate son of Rhaegar, and his real name is Aegon Targeryen. That also makes him the rightful heir to the Iron Throne (if you ignore Robert’s Rebellion, which was built entirely on the lie that Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna Stark). Bran insists Jon must know the truth, which is awkward because he was busying committing incest with Daenerys at the same time. This will almost certainly happen in Season Eight now, it’s just a question of how Jon will react.
8. Sansa Will Outplay Littlefinger
Sansa is arguably one of the most difficult characters to get a read on going into next season and for good reason. Sansa’s transition from meek victim to hardened power player has been nothing short of a revelation and one of the most exciting character arcs in all of Game of Thrones, which also means that there is a bit of unpredictability to her personality these days. Right now, she’s faced with the dilemma of standing by her “brother” Jon — even though she has more of a claim on the north than he does — or marrying Littlefinger and making a play for the Iron Throne together.
Although the show is trying to convince us that Sansa is leaning more towards the latter choice, it’s also important to remember that Littlefinger was the one who enabled Ramsay Bolton’s abuse of Sansa to happen and this is not something the new colder, harder Sansa will be so quick to forget … or forgive. Sansa will play Littlefinger’s game up to a point, but will emerge the victor and probably plunge a knife in her creepy would-be suitor for good measure while she’s at it.
Were we right?: Nailed it. After a confusing build up that appeared to show the Stark sisters ready to murder each other, it was revealed that the whole thing was a trap to lure Littlefinger. Presumably, Bran provided the key information to Sansa about Littlefinger’s meddling, which included betraying Ned Stark and getting him executed. Then Arya, the cute little murder monster that she is, finished the job for good, ending the story of one of the game’s best players. Just goes to show you that one small misstep can ruin everything for you in Game of Thrones.
7. Arya Will Encounter Melisandre And Nymeria
Arya Stark got one step closer to total revenge by killing Walder Frey in the season six finale and although she’s likely not done crossing off names from her list yet, she will probably head to Winterfell first before finishing her gruesome task. Not so coincidentally, Melisandre, one of Arya’s targets, is currently travelling away from Winterfell, and the two could end up encountering one another on the road. Whether or not Arya kills her is more difficult to say, but I’d wager that she doesn’t, since Melisandre has quite a bit of information about Arya’s family that she is not yet privy to, which may convince her to spare the Red Woman’s life.
Additionally, look for a more pleasing reunion between Arya and her direwolf Nymeria. Nymeria hasn’t been seen since very early in the first season, but we know that she is (most likely) the alpha of a formidable wolf pack based in the Riverlands. This reunion needs to happen, since why even bother dropping hints about Nymeria still being alive if she’s never seen or heard from again?
Were we right?: Half right. Arya and Melisandre still haven’t met again, since the Red Woman traveled with Jon to Dragonstone early in Season Seven and then (apparently) took off for Essos. Arya did have a bittersweet reunion with Nymeria, though, in her travels from The Twins to Winterfell. As a deadly wolf pack surrounded her campsite, it was revealed that the alpha wolf was actually Arya’s old direwolf. Unfortunately, the reunion was short-lived, as Arya realized that Nymeria lived a very different life now — “That’s not you.”
6. Jaime Will Be Forced To Choose Between Cersei and Tyrion
With his sister / lover Cersei now established as the “Mad” Queen of Westeros and his younger brother Tyrion on his way back to Westeros as Daenerys Targaryen’s most trusted adviser, Jaime Lannister could be in for his biggest crisis of conscience yet. Although Jaime is for all intents and purposes still committed to his sister and the Lannister cause, one would hope that Jaime is sensible enough to realize that both parties are sinking ships at this point. Cersei, and by extension the Lannister’s reign, will only last so long, what with opposition about to come from all sides.
The troubled look that Jaime gives Cersei in the season six finale suggests that he is not fully supportive of his sister or her actions and a time will come when he’ll have to decide between his beloved, but cruel sister and his much more sensible brother whom he’s always had a soft spot for. Personally, my money is on Jaime not only siding with Tyrion but being the one who eventually puts an end to Cersei’s reign of terror once and for all; after all, he’s already known as the Kingslayer, so Queenslayer is not much of a stretch.
Were we right?: Ummm, kind of? Season Seven ended with Jaime deciding to honor his pledge to ride North and fight the army of the dead alongside the Stark and Targeryen forces. Unfortunately, the Lannister armies didn’t go with him, as Cersei revealed that she lied about helping out with The Great War. It feels like this is the final break-up for Cersei and Jaime, despite her allegedly carrying their (fourth) child. It’s unclear whether Jaime will pledge allegiance to Tyrion or his Queen, which is why we say this prediction is only half-right. For now.
5. Gendry Will Return
One can dream, right? Look, as much as Gendry’s ridiculously long absence has become a running joke in the Game of Thrones fan community (so many boat memes), he’s still an important character; even more so now with another war for the Iron Throne on the horizon. While it would be ridiculous to think that Gendry would just row on up to King’s Landing and make a claim for the throne, the fact is that he is the only living Baratheon heir left, which gives him a legitimate claim. Perhaps the Brotherhood Without Banners will encounter him and prop him up as the rightful heir or maybe he’ll even team up with Arya again. Whatever the case, Gendry is still alive, as his status is still listed as such on the official Game of Thrones Wikia and therefore, the belief that he will one day return has not died either.
Were we right?: Boom, nailed it! Turns out Gendry was simply working as an anonymous blacksmith in King’s Landing this whole time! He gets recruited to Jon’s cause by his old pal Davos Seaworth, and plays a valuable part in the mission North of the Wall. If Gendry doesn’t get that raven sent, Jon and his buddies freeze to death on that rock. Or get murdered by thousands of zombies. Both are bad ways to go.
4. One of Dany’s Dragons Will Die
The early part of season seven is going to bring Daenerys Targaryen into conflict with Euron Greyjoy, as he is arguably the most significant naval threat standing between her and an all-out invasion of Westeros (plus, she kind of promised Yara and Theon Greyjoy that she would deal with him). Euron has mostly been all talk during his brief time on the show so far, but we’ll almost surely get to see why they call him Euron Crow’s Eye next season as he brings the full weight of his naval warfare experience down on the Mother of Dragons.
And while there’s little doubt that Daenerys will emerge the victor, her victory won’t come without some significant casualties on her side. Chief among them will be one of Dany’s dragons, most likely Rhaegal or Viserion, as this would not only present a crushing emotional hurdle for Dany to overcome, but would also represent a satisfying power check. Dany spent pretty much all of last season blowing through all of her enemies with relative ease and losing one of her dragons would be a humbling experience to prove that, while she may be formidable, Daenerys Targaryen is definitely not invincible.
Were we right?: Ding ding ding! Right again. Early on in Season Seven, it seemed that Cersei and Qyburn, the mad genius Hand of the Queen, had developed a solution for getting rid of the biggest threat in the war between the Lannisters and the Targeryens. His giant cross-bow did manage to slightly injure one of the dragons, but it was the Night King who actually made this prediction come true when he gouged Viserion with an ice spear. Of course, that dragon was raised from the depths of a frozen lake and turned into a wight, dramatically changing the balance of power in the wars to come.
3. We’ll Get To See The Other Targaryens in Flashbacks
Season six brought flashbacks to Game of Thrones in a big way thanks to Bran Stark’s ability to send his consciousness through time (and even influence it in certain ways). One of the more intriguing flashes that we saw was of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen. whom we see giving the order to burn King’s Landing prior to his death at the hands of Jaime Lannister. In season seven, it’s possible that we’ll see more of the Mad King, but it’s even more likely that we’ll be seeing his son Rhaegar Targaryen in action for the first time. Rhaegar was recently revealed to be Jon Snow’s biological father and it would be strange if this information was revealed without ever actually seeing Rhaegar, especially since the actual dynamics of his relationship with Lyanna Stark remain a mystery (remember: everyone thinks Rhaegar raped her, but there is surely more to the story than that).
Were we right?: Correct, even if it was really short. We didn’t see more of the Mad King, but we did a brief glimpse of the legitimate marriage between Rhaegar and Lyanna and another bit from the Tower of Joy, where a dying Lyanna tells a young Ned Stark that the baby’s name is Aegon Targeryen. She makes Ned promise to protect the infant, which he does by telling everyone it’s his bastard.
2. Sam Will Do Something Important
Despite easily being the cutest Game of Thrones couple ever, Sam and Gilly’s scenes largely felt like a waste of time in season six, with the only key moments being Sam’s theft of his father’s Valyrian greatsword and his arrival at the Maester’s Citadel in Oldtown (and that Gilly cleans up surprisingly well). Fortunately, Game of Thrones looks to be playing the long game with these two, as it would just be bad storytelling if Sam’s journey to the Citadel ends up going nowhere.
Sam will use what he learns in the Citadel library to do something very important next season, with his discoveries likely to play a vital role in the war to come with the White Walkers. It’s also important not to forget that Sam’s dad Randall Tarly is surely incredibly pissed off at his son for taking his sword, but given the rate at which sons successfully kill their fathers in this show, Samwell should do just fine when his not-so-proud papa comes knocking.
Were we right?: Yes and yes and yes again. Not only did Sam discover that Dragonstone sits on a mountain of dragon glass, he also cured Jorah’s greyscale, and provided a key bit of information to Bran about the Jon’s true bloodline, revealing that he wasn’t Rhaegar’s bastard (Jon Sand just sounds wrong), but the rightful heir to the throne. Go Sam!
1. The Wall Will Fall
The timetable of the White Walker invasion of Westeros is a bit difficult to gauge, as it seemed as if we were going to get to see them breach the Wall in the season six finale (the title of the episode is “The Winds of Winter,” after all). However, it looks like we’ll still have to wait a bit for the Night’s King to make his big move, which leads me to believe that at the very least, we’ll see the White Walkers enter Westeros proper at some point in season seven.
It’s been speculated that Bran Stark will be the key to the Wall coming down and allowing them to pass, as it’s possible that the brand the Night’s King gave him could break the magic spell that helps hold the Wall in place. With the expectation that there are only 13 episodes of Game of Thrones left, period, the “War of the Dawn” may begin in season seven after all so as to not jam it all into season eight, but even if it doesn’t, we’ll at least see the White Walkers bring down the only structure currently keeping them at bay.
Were we right?: Wall is down. Well, at least a big enough section for the Night King and his army of the dead to get through, after undead Viserion torched the wall at Eastwatch with blue flame (and killed a bunch of wildlings and a few Night’s Watchmen in the process). The Great War, the one between the living and the dead, is truly the only war that will matter in Season Eight.
Summary: Turns out we did a pretty good job at predicting the events of Season Seven, well over a year before it even hit HBO! We’re scoring ourselves an 8 out of 10, getting No. 9 wrong and taking partial credit for No. 6 and 7. Stay tuned for our predictions for Season Eight. Hopefully, we’re just as accurate!