Everything You Need to Know for ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 – Daily Beast
Last year’s lightning-paced Season 6 established the three major forces in the clashes ahead: Newly crowned King in the North Jon Snow and his motley army of wildlings and Northerners, the (totally Mad) Queen of the Seven Kingdoms Cersei Lannister, and Mother of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen who, believe it or not, will finally touch down in Westeros this year to reclaim the Iron Throne.
With the sadistic Ramsay Bolton now dog chow, there’s also a new Big Bad on the map: Yara and Theon Greyjoy’s egomaniacal uncle Euron. Not to mention the Night King and his legions of White Walkers and wights who, thanks to Bran, are now a hair’s width away from bringing the Wall tumbling down and unleashing a wintry apocalypse on everybody.
We’ll go deeper with predictions and fan theories for what’s to come in Season 7 (the first episode airs this Sunday, July 16) in a post coming later this week. But for now, let’s put our hand on a weirwood tree, close our eyes, and gaze into the past to remember what’s already happened, who’s on what side, who’s the most vulnerable, and every single plot point you’ll need to remember for Game of Thrones’ penultimate season.
(And yes, for the record, Gendry is still on that boat.)
Cersei Lannister Was Crowned the Mad Queen
With a sip of red wine, the Queen Mother went nuclear at the end of last season, executing all her King’s Landing tormentors and insubordinates in a stunningly orchestrated (and perversely beautiful) demolition of King Aerys II’s wildfire under the Sept of Baelor. But as Cersei’s plots so often do, this one partially backfired and led to the suicide of her only surviving son. Young King Tommen walked himself out a window, unable to go on without his beloved Queen Margaery. She perished with her brother Loras, the High Sparrow, the Faith Militant, Cersei’s traitorous cousin Lancel, and Hand of the King Kevan Lannister in a burst of green flames—leaving Cersei herself to finally ascend to the Iron Throne.
The Mad Queen’s most redeeming quality as an adult has been a boundless love of her children, as Tyrion once said. No more offspring means no fucks left to give. Cersei’s twin brother/lover Jaime meanwhile spent more time last season reluctantly away from Cersei, a situation that continued to allow him some necessary perspective on their toxic relationship. (To be fair, most humans are disappointing compared to Brienne of Tarth.) The grim look on Jaime’s face as his petty, ruthless sister’s new crown touched her head said it all: Gods help us.
Olenna Tyrell meanwhile, understandably peeved at the queen for blowing up her grandkids, forged a new alliance with fellow Cersei-haters Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes down in Dorne, thanks to some facilitating by Varys. Bad news for Cersei is good news for would-be Westerosi queen Daenerys Targaryen, and Varys is Team Dany all the way.
Brienne of Tarth Said Her Final Goodbye to Jaime
Sansa Stark sent the Maid of Tarth and her loyal, well-hung squire Pod south to Riverrun, the ancestral home of Catelyn Stark’s uncle Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully. The mission was to enlist his army’s help in taking Winterfell back from Ramsay Bolton. But by the time Brienne arrived, her BFF/unspoken soulmate Jaime had already swooped in to stop the Tullys from doing any such thing. The Lannisters had recently gifted Riverrun to the Freys as a reward for their Red Wedding treachery. Which as Brienne points out, is rude. She pleads with Jaime to go against his sister’s orders and leave, doing what he knows is right (“I know there is honor in you, I’ve seen it”). But the best she can do is broker a deal to allow the Tullys and their army to leave unharmed if they surrender.
That didn’t happen either, though. The famously stubborn Blackfish refused to leave the home he was sworn to protect and resolved to die in battle rather than break his oath. Even oathkeeper-in-chief Brienne thought that was dumb. She points out to him that he should live to make himself useful instead: “Don’t die for pride when you can fight for your blood [in the North].” No dice. Defeated, Brienne sailed away in a boat with Pod and shot one last longing look at Jaime, who raised his golden right hand in goodbye. Sob.
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Two Starks Reunited, But One Was Lost
In the most unexpected, meteoric political rise this side of Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow went from being a corpse to being declared King in the North in just ten episodes. Melisandre used the Lord of Light’s magic to revive the bastard apparently just too pretty to die. He then executed the Night’s Watch mutineers who betrayed him and resigned as Lord Commander, leaving loyal pal Dolorous Edd with the gig instead.
Technically freed from his oath to keep watch until death, Jon left Castle Black to reunite with Sansa and lead the siege against Ramsay Bolton to retake their family’s home, Winterfell. The Battle of the Bastards came at a cost: Ramsay cruelly sent little Rickon Stark running across the field, only to shoot him down at big brother Jon’s feet; Wun-Wun the giant (the last giant in the Seven Kingdoms!) also died in battle.
Maybe if Sansa had given Jon a heads-up about her alliance with the conniving Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, who now commands the Knights of the Vale, Wun-Wun would still be alive. Instead she rode onto the field with the Knights behind her in a belated surprise, helping turn the tide of battle in the Starks’ favor and eventually feeding her ex-husband/serial rapist to his dogs. Fine. But Littlefinger, whose long-con attempt to take the Iron Throne for himself now hinges on bringing Sansa along as his barely-legal bride (vomit), is already at work sowing discord between her and her half-brother.