If you’re like me, the weekend came early on Thursday when this Season 7 teaser popped up all over my social media networks at about 4pm EST:
We’ve known for a while that Season 7 would come a bit later than the usual early spring of previous seasons. But an early July release is a dream beyond dream. As those of us who have been following the books for years (or even decades!) can vouch, speculation and wait can make you as crazy as the Mad King.
But the promise of seven episodes (rather than the usual ten) does make us a little nervous. However, don’t get too scared. In the first season, no minute was ever wasted. But as the show became closer to catching up with the books, we were inundated with filler episodes in between large, earth-shattering moments. Pairing the coming season down to seven episodes makes it feel like the coming of winter will be swift but merciless, with little room to dillydally with hooker exposition and chatter about beetles.
So, what can we look forward to with these seven episodes?
As usual, there are the usual cast announcements as well. I’m mostly excited about Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent (who you might remember from Moulin Rouge, Iris, and the later Harry Potter films) because, hey, Jim Broadbent is going to be in Game of Thrones.
Returning is, of course, the usual cast– those who have made it all the way to season seven alive (or alive by the most generous of definitions, in the case of a select few). And we’re sure that you’ll be pleased to know that fan-favorite Bella Ramsey is back, too. No, not a long-lost sister of Ramsey Bolton. Twelve-year-old Bella played Lady Lyanna Mormont last season. Hopefully her favorable reception equal more screen time this season.
Long-time fans will also be delighted to know that Joe Dempsie is rumored to be involved again this season as well. Gendry was last seen being put on board a boat to… somewhere… by our favorite onion knight, Ser Davos. It seemed for a while that Gendry, King Robert Baratheon’s only known bastard (in the show) had had his plot line abandoned. But recent shots from the set seem to say otherwise.
One thing this teaser promises? War. The sigils of the houses have been used as metaphor since the very first episode (if you didn’t catch the irony of a buck’s antler killing Mama Direwolf, don’t worry, my sweet summer child). Now, we see them, seemingly made from stone, locked in a heated battle. But at the end of the teaser, we find out– it’s not stone.
It’s ash. The only war that matters, says Jon Snow to an unknown audience, isn’t the one here. Where’s here? Our bet is that it’s not the Wall.
And those cheering on a Targaryen victory, remember that the dragons are also apart of this ash. Daenerys seems to know it herself:
“Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell. They’re all just spokes on a wheel. This one’s on top, then that one’s on top, and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground.”
Will our one, true khaleesi, Daenerys, join the endless wheel? Or will her dragons be the only thing that can push back the cold of the Others?
Of course, we can keep speculating until the White Walkers come home. For better or worse, we’ll know on July 16th.