Game of Thrones returns Sunday night, and the only people who know for sure what will happen in season seven are on HBO’s payroll (and silence can be bought). Recently, however, the network released the titles and descriptions of the first three episodes, and based on that information it might just be possible to wildly speculate predict a few things that could easily happen in the coming weeks. So, going episode by episode, clue by clue, and using all the facts available, here are the best theories:
“Jon organizes the defense of the North.”
Having recently been proclaimed King in the North, Jon’s next major task is going to be convincing everyone who survived the Battle of the Bastards that the real danger exists beyond the Wall. Expect more scenes of John struggling to convince people of a danger so blatantly obvious yet impossibly daunting that they’d rather believe it simply doesn’t exist (like climate change, if it could raise the dead).
“Cersei tries to even the odds.”
An alliance with Euron is all but guaranteed, since House Greyjoy is the only remaining Great House that hasn’t rewritten its motto to “Revenge against the Lannisters.” Remaining might be a bit nearsighted, though, given that the Iron Islands are divided in loyalty between Euron and Yara, but for now Euron is the only ally Cersei could possibly enlist.
Alternatively, Cersei could make plans to plunder the relatively free-for-the-taking wealth of Highgarden, considering that the last remaining Tyrell wears a coif and is pushing 80. That would even the odds, too.
“Daenerys comes home.”
Not a lot of mystery in this one given that the trailers have plainly shown Dany’s return to Dragonstone, her birthplace and ancestral home (and the title of the episode).
“Daenerys receives an unexpected visitor.”
Like the secret that Jon Snow would be returning to life in season six, the secret that Jon will finally meet his aunt (and, um, rumored love interest) never stood a chance. Leaked set photos revealed the two sharing a scene, so the new King in the North might make his first royal visit as quickly as episode two. However, as the storylines and—more importantly—timelines converge, Jon would probably have to make use of Varys’s teleporter in order to make the long trip from Winterfell to Dragonstone this early in the season.
Option B: the trailers make clear that, following her banishment from the North, Melisandre returned to the island of Dragonstone, formerly occupied by her late lord, Stannis Baratheon. Her devotion to the Baratheon ruler could prove troublesome for the Red Priestess, though; Dany likely will not take kindly to the mistress of the man who seized the Targaryen stronghold.
“Jon faces a revolt.”
Chaos is a ladder, and Littlefinger will doubtlessly cause some chaos at Winterfell between Sansa and Jon. The Northern houses might also rebel if Jon decides to cast lots with Daenerys, since it wasn’t that long ago that her father, the Mad King, killed Ned Stark’s father and brother.
“Tyrion plans the conquest of Westeros.”
At long last, Tyrion will be able to combine his tactical brilliance with his deep and justifiable hatred for his sister.
The Queen’s Justice
“Daenerys holds court.”
If Jon turns out not to be the “unexpected visitor” in the previous episode, then perhaps Jon and his advisers will parley with Dany under more formal circumstances later on in episode three. But the episode’s title also evokes a familiar phrase, “the king’s justice,” which has been used throughout in reference to executions. This most likely means, for her first royal decree in her homeland, Dany will make an example of Melisandre to other supporters of the Usurper.
“Cersei returns a gift.”
If Dany doesn’t execute anyone, then Cersei might. There are several options: Olenna Tyrell for her role in Joffrey’s death (via poison contained in a necklace gifted to Sansa), or any one of the Sand Snakes and/or their mother Ellaria, whom Euron might gift to Cersei as a gesture of good faith in their new alliance. Odds are good that the gift is a person; back in the season five episode “The Gift,” Tyrion declared himself the titular gift to Dany, and it would come as no surprise if Cersei were to return the head of a Sand Snake as a warning to Dorne.
“Jaime learns from his mistakes.”
The Kingslayer has made plenty of mistakes over the years, and any one of them could catch up with him now. Unless Bran wargs into The Mountain to push Jaime from a window, this could mean anything.
Want to find out what happens for sure? Season 7 of Game of Thrones premieres Sunday, July 16 at 9pm ET on HBO.