The last time we knowingly saw The First Sword of Braavos was season one when he was hired by Ned Stark to teach his youngest daughter, Arya, to sword fight. During one of their many lessons and after Ned was arrested for treason, Lannister men and the doomed Ser Meryn Trant barge in to collect Arya, which both Syrio and Arya refuse to let happen. The guards swarm Syrio and he fights them all off — except for Ser Meryn Trant — with just a wooden sword. The final moments we see of Syrio are him battling Ser Meryn with a broken wooden sword denying Arya’s plea to run with a slick, “The First Sword of Braavos does not run.” If there’s one thing we know for sure, Game of Thrones doesn’t shy away from a gruesome (and sometimes pointless) murder, so why not show Ser Meryn slaying Syrio? As The Hound points out in season four, Ser Meryn wasn’t particularly that great of a fighter: “Any boy whore with a sword could beat three Meryn Trants.” Perhaps Syrio’s not dead, as Arya believes. And, perhaps, we’ve already seen him since that fateful day — he is from the city where Arya learns of the Many-Faced God.
Nymeria and Ghost
It’s hard to recall what happened to all of the Stark kids’ direwolves — mostly, it’s safe to assume they’re dead. With Summer, Grey Wind, Shaggy Dog and Lady officially out of the picture, that leaves just two wolves left: Nymeria and Ghost. The last time we saw Ghost was at the side of his master, Jon, as they triumphed over Ramsay and returned to Winterfell. But, the last time we saw Arya’s wolf, Nymeria, was way back in season one. Cersei called for the wolf’s execution after she protected her master against Joffrey’s hateful ways. To save her from certain death, Arya demanded Nymeria leave, causing Sansa’s wolf, Lady, to be killed in her place. It’s fair to expect to see the remaining wolves reunite with their masters this season. It’s been said on many occassions season seven in the season of reunions (with death probably not far behind to ruin those happy moments). A TIME reporter was given exclusive access to the set in which he says he saw wolves on-set, which were described as skinny and mangy — two descriptors that would fit a wolf living on its own in the wild.
It’s been three seasons since we last saw Gendry, whose whereabouts are quite important but currently unknown. With all of Cersei’s children dead and gone, and Stannis’ line wiped out as well, there’s only one person that could stake a Baratheon claim to the Iron Throne: Gendry, the bastard of Robert Baratheon — one of the only ones not to be murdered early on. We last see Gendry rowing away in a boat for King’s Landing after he’s sold by the Brotherhood Without Banners to Melisandre, leached by the red priestess, and imprisoned. Ser Davos, being the kind soul he is, sets him free. With the rest of House Baratheon extinct, Gendry is the only one who could lay claim to the throne, threatening Cersei’s reign as she currently sits on the Iron Throne.
There’s been little secret around Sandor Clegane’s return to Game of Thrones. The Hound had been M.I.A. for a while after he lost a battle to Brienne of Tarth and shattered his femur in season four. To speed up the agony of dying, he begged Arya to show him a mercy by killing him — something she had promised herself to do with her little list — but she denied him and left him to fend for himself in the mountains not far from The Vale. Similar to Syrio Forel, we never saw The Hound die, so it was safe to assume he’d be back eventually. He made his return in season six after Septon Ray (Ian McShane) discovered him and nursed him back to health. The Brotherhood without Banners shows up and slaughters the entire village, causing The Hound to go on a deadly hunt for the men responsible, during which he finds what he’s looking for but also runs into Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, who were already in the process of hanging the murderers. After little convincing, Beric convinces The Hound to join them as they trek north to aid in the fight against the coming winter and the White Walkers.
Catelyn Stark is a controversial subject amongst fans. No one could forget the violent Red Wedding where she, along with her son Robb and his new pregnant wife, were viciously murdered — Catelyn had her throat cut, which is not something you come back from. But, in the books (BOOK SPOILERS AHEAD), Catelyn does survive and she finds herself in the company of the Brotherhood, set on hunting down every Lannister, Frey and Bolton she can find and slaughtering them just as they did her family. This rebirthed version of the Stark matriarch is known as Lady Stoneheart. It’s been said by the showrunners she will not find her way into the series but considering they’ve hinted at a lot of reunions this season and they also lied about Jon Snow actually being dead, it’s an unlikely but exciting possibility.
Beric Dondarrion + Thoros of Myr
Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr are two of the most important secondary characters on the show: they showed us a man could be brought back to life, Beric formed the Brotherhood Without Banners and, as we’ve seen in the season 7 trailers, he can light a sword on fire (also known as Lightbringer), which set many fans down a blazing path of theories that name him the Azor Ahai, or, at the very least, place him battling alongside The One Who Was Promised — a title both Jon and Daenerys have been named by different Red Priestesses — giving the opportunity for him to pass Lightbringer on to the one who can wield it.
Things have been in a downward slump for Jorah since Daenerys discovered he was originally sent to her by Varys and the Lannisters to spy on her — an unforgivable betrayal in her eyes. But, Jorah refused to accept his fate and set out to bring Tyrion to his Queen as an olive branch of sorts. Along the way, the two men were ambushed by Stonemen — men who have been overcome by Greyscale — and Jorah was infected. After literally battling for her forgiveness and saving her life, Dany starts to warm up to Jorah again, but when she discovers he is infected with Greyscale, she demands he go and find a cure for himself. It’s safe to assume we will see Jorah again, though it could be only to see his demise. But, more likely, we’ll see him find some sort of cure — Princess Shireen was cured before her horrible father, Stannis, set her on fire — and be by Dany’s side where he belongs as she rides into King’s Landing to take the Iron Throne.
While taking up residency as Dany’s lover and part of her counsel, Daario finds himself more or less losing both titles when she commands him and the Second Sons to stay in Meereen to keep the peace while she sets sail for Westeros. It’s unlike Daario to sit on the sidelines but it’s also unlike him to disobey his queen, so what will he do? It’s fair to say we haven’t seen the last of him. We’ve seen what the winter is bringing and they’re going to need all the men they can find, which will include Daario and the Second Sons.
Everyone’s favorite sharp-tongued grandma was left in quite a fit of rage at the end of season six. After denying Cersei’s plea to unite and fight back against the powerful Faith Militant — something Lady Olenna vehemently reminded the Queen Mother was her fault to begin with — she returns to Highgarden before the High Sparrow has her locked away, too. In her absence, Cersei does what she’s been promising to do all along: she burns the city to the ground, killing Lady Olenna’s son, Mace, and her two grandchildren, Loras and Queen Margaery (which then causes Tommen to swan dive out of a tower window). Lady Olenna accepts Ellaria Sand’s invitation to Dorne, where she meets up with Varys, who helps convince her Daenerys is the way to exact vengeance and justice on Cersei. We see the Tyrell’s fleet, The Reach, traveling alongside Dany’s as she sets out for Westeros, though it’s unclear if Lady Olenna is on one of those ships or not. It’s hard to imagine a woman of her fire declining to join in on the potential death of Cersei, especially since she’s not interested in survival, she’s interested in revenge.
And so, the love/hate affair with the Red Priestess continues. Melisandre has been a huge catalyst for how the fight for the throne has taken shape, including her misguided information that led to the entire Baratheon line — except for Gendry — going extinct and bringing Jon Snow back to life. But, in season six, she loses all of her newly discovered clout with Jon and Ser Davos after they discover she had Princess Shireen burned at the stake. For this, Jon exiles her from the North and, with her head hung low, she rides for the south, presumably towards King’s Landing. Now that she’s convinced Jon is The Prince Who Was Promised, could it be we find her groveling for forgiveness much like Jorah did with Dany? Could it be she heads to King’s Landing to spy on Cersei? It’s unclear what role she’s meant to play in the battle that is coming but it’s safe to bet it won’t be a small one.
As annoying as he is, Robin Arryn’s role in the battle to come has proven to be pretty significant. In season six, Petyr Baelish played a significant role in easily manipulating the Lord of The Vale, convincing him to send his army north to help defend Sansa against House Bolton in The Battle of The Bastards — a vital move that led to a Stark victory. Now, it would make sense that Petyr would stay alongside Robin to continue nudging him to do exactly what he wants, or murder the boy and frame it as an accident (like he did his mother, Lysa), or it could be that Robin catches on to Petyr’s intentions and sends him flying, which could impact the rising tension Petyr started to stir up between Jon and Sansa at the end of the season six.
Lyanna Mormont quickly became everyone’s favorite little badass in season six when she became the first to call Jon the new King of The North, declaring her indifference to Jon being a bastard, which led to others following in line to support him for the impending Battle of The Bastards. Though she’s quite young, the head of House Mormont is not afraid of war and has already declared to back Jon because of his bloodline (and been confirmed to appear in season 7), so it’s almost certain we’ll see her again for the battle to come, rallying troops to take on the White Walkers and the Wights.
Season 7 of Game of Thrones premieres July 16 at 9pm ET on HBO.