We are all excited for Game of Thrones season seven. The (probably) penultimate season of the hit HBO series is coming a whole three months later than normal and will have less episodes than the previous six seasons. This is also the second season that is veering from the path of A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series upon which the television series is based. With no books to dictate what is going to happen and how, the writers have “gone rogue”, so to speak, and are writing their own storyline--so there’s really no telling what’s going to happen.
Until this week, we’ve only had blurry photos sneakily snapped during filming or spoilers from questionable sources (and considering the “leaked spoilers” that made their way onto Reddit in seasons past, it’s better not to trust those). Recently, however, 15 high-quality images from this upcoming season were leaked online, and the internet is losing its mind. Granted, there’s nothing super spoilery about any of them, so it’s possible they may have been a careful marketing move to generate interest (keep in mind that The Last Jedi trailer was recently released--possible competition?), but they’re still the closest look we’re going to get until a full-length trailer is released. Since we’ve got time on our hands before our questions are answered, let’s take a look at the images and see what we can glean.
As we already said, the images aren’t super spoilery, but we still advise you to exercise caution when reading and sharing.
15 Long Live the Queen
At the end of last season, we saw Cersei crowning herself Queen of Westeros. With all the Baratheons (including the children she was passing off as Baratheons) dead, there technically isn’t a legitimate heir to the throne--so Cersei is taking it for herself. Obviously we have no idea when in the season this image was taken, but it’s safe to say that at least when season 7 opens, Cersei is still ruling the seven kingdoms. In season 6, Jaime came home just in time to see his sister crowned, and despite his dubiously surprised face then, it looks as if he’s supporting her now. Maybe now that their children are dead, he’s decided to support her claim to the throne.
Jaime’s also still rocking the Lannister armor, a clear indication that he’s set aside the white cloak of the Kingsguard.
14 Lyanna Mormont
Truth be told, this image might as well be a still from the end of season 6. When we were first introduced to the formidable Lady Lyanna, she seemed unimpressed with Jon and Sansa’s efforts to rally the Stark bannermen. Thanks to the quick thinking of Westeros’s favorite dad, Davos Seaworth, Lyanna soon agreed to throw in her lot with the Starks and overthrow the Boltons. Earlier in the show, Stannis received a raven from Lyanna that said “Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, and his name is Stark”. Lyanna’s loyalty to Robb clearly runs deep, because at the end of season 6, she nominated Jon King in the North. Robb did plan to name Jon his heir (having believed at the time that Bran and Rickon were dead), and it’s touching that Lyanna remembered that.
It looks like Lyanna is still staying at Winterfell and playing an active role with the new Stark regime.
13 Davos Seaworth
Davos has proven to be a vital part of the Stark/Snow King in the North campaign. Stannis’s former right hand man, “the Onion Knight” is loyal to a fault. After Stannis met a grisly end in season 5, Davos was left to fend for himself. After throwing in his lot with Jon, Davos has found his purpose again--serving a man he believes is fit to be king. Best of all, Jon is (at least to everyone’s knowledge) a bastard, someone who truly understands the plight of the common folk. Davos has been an invaluable source of support and counsel for Jon.
While the image featured above gives away literally nothing except for the fact that at some point, Davos will be sitting at a table, it’s worth pointing out that the hearth behind him looks very similar to the hearth of Winterfell. It’s safe to say that Davos is probably continuing his role of counselor--perhaps he’s even serving as Jon’s Hand.
12 Sam and Gilly
When we last left Westeros’s cutest couple, they had just arrived in the Citadel so that Sam could earn his maester’s chain. Sam appears to be a novice in this image, judging by his plain white robe (not, as it is important to note, the black of a brother of the Night’s Watch). Gilly is at his side, which is interesting because at the end of season 6, the maester who received them told them that women were not allowed inside. Maybe women are allowed in certain parts? Or maybe Sam snuck his girlfriend into the Citadel. That rapscallion.
Of course, if Sam did sneak in Gilly, we have to wonder: where is Little Sam? And why isn’t he in this picture? Maybe there’s a daycare for the Citadel?
Gilly appears to be pursuing her love of reading--we’re willing to bet she’ll accidentally stumble upon interesting information. Maybe the cure to greyscale? Or Jon’s true parentage, perhaps?
11 Bran and Meera
We’re not really sure what to make of this picture. When last we left Bran and Meera, they had been escorted to the heart tree near the Wall by Benjen Stark. We assumed that they would have gone straight to the wall after Bran touched the heart tree and saw the truth of Jon’s parentage, but they don’t look particularly safe or happy in this picture. In fact, they look worried, as if they haven’t yet made it to the Wall. Or they did, but didn’t like what they found. Considering that the Wall has been left in Dolorous Edd Tollett’s capable hands, we can’t imagine what would scare them away from the Wall. Maybe they’ve already passed through the Wall and are on their way to Winterfell. If that’s the case, then Bran is almost definitely going to tell Jon that he’s actually a Targaryen, which will change everything.
10 Tormund and Brienne
Probably one of our favorite stills, this one shows that Tormund is still in active pursuit of Brienne--or at the very least, is exchanging words with her. Tormund’s crush started out as just a passing joke, but it’s quickly gained popularity among fans. Game of Thrones has been pretty good about fan service in the past (if a little trollish about it at times), so hopefully we’ll get to see more of Tormund’s infatuation with Brienne the Beauty--and maybe, just maybe, we’ll get to see those feelings requited.
All joking aside, what’s interesting about this still is that it appears to be in Winterfell. We know from earlier leaked photos that Jon heads south--either to Dragonstone or King’s Landing--at some point during the season. So either this scene takes place before he leaves, or it takes place after--which means that Jon has left Tormund at Winterfell, ostensibly to keep an eye on Sansa.
9 Little--oh, no
Unfortunately, it looks like season 7 will not, in fact, begin with Petyr Baelish’s violent demise. I guess fan service only goes so far.
At the end of season 6, Littlefinger was trying to convince Sansa to become Queen in the North. When the Northerners hailed Jon as King in the North, Sansa’s eyes met Littlefinger’s, their expressions unreadable. From the looks of this still, Littlefinger is still attempting to whisper in Sansa’s ear--and judging from the frosty look on her face, she wants nothing to do with him. Their attention is on something in the courtyard--most likely Jon, but we can’t say for sure. One thing seems clear from their body language: Sansa is mentally plotting ways to kill him.
Also worth noting is the seriously bad wig on Sophie Turner’s head. The wigs have never been fantastic on this show, but seriously? This is the best you could do?
8 The Hound
Fans everywhere were stunned and thrilled when it was revealed that Sandor Clegane was actually alive and well--not, as season 4 had led us to believe, lying dead somewhere in the Vale. The Hound had a sort of born again experience; after being left for dead by Arya, the Hound was found by a priest of the seven with a very “anything goes” mentality. Without the restraints he’d been living with his entire life, Sandor began to discover a newer, gentler side to himself.
Unfortunately, that inner peace was destroyed when bandits killed everyone in the community that had adopted Sandor. His path crossed with that of the Brotherhood Without Banners, also known as Westeros’s most irresponsible babysitters. It’s just possible that they’re going to run into Arya Stark again, as she’s also in the Riverlands (having just killed Walder Frey). Maybe if we’re lucky, they’ll run into Hot Pie and Gendry, too.
7 King Jon
At the close of last season, we saw Jon being named King in the North by an assembly of Northmen. We also saw that he is not, as he believed, the bastard son of Ned Stark, but is the offspring of Rhaegar Targaryen’s ill-fated affair with Lyanna Stark. Jon has always been one of the key players in Game of Thrones, and that’s certainly not changing anytime soon. As King in the North and one of two remaining Targaryens in the world, not to mention one of the only people who knows what the white walkers are capable of, Jon’s got a lot on his plate this season. Will his loyalties stay with House Stark, or will they lean more on the Targaryen side of things?
In this image, Jon is wearing the furs that Sansa undoubtedly made for him, and he looks to be in some kind of tunnel--Winterfell, or possibly Dragonstone?
6 Arya Stark
Arya shocked us all at the end of last season. Initially, we thought her last scene was going to be of her telling off Jaqen (or, a man who looks like Jaqen?) and leaving Braavos. It was to all of our great surprise, then, when the serving maid at the Twins took off her face to reveal Arya, who revealed that she had baked two of Walder Frey’s sons into his pies before she cut his throat.
Presumably Arya is going to head up North to find what’s left of her family, but her story may not be finished in the Riverlands. She looks like she’s in a tavern of some kind--perhaps she’s about to meet up with the Brotherhood and the Hound? Maybe she’s wandered into the inn where Hot Pie works. Maybe she’s even going to reunite with Gendry! Whatever it is, we hope that it’s only a quick stop before she arrives in Winterfell.
At the end of season 6, we saw Daenerys do something we began to think was impossible: we saw her sailing for Westeros. The Mother of Dragons has been dreaming about returning to Westeros for the entire series, to the point where fans began to joke that it would never happen. But Daenerys surprised us all in the season finale when she got on a ship with an army of Ironborn, Dothraki, and Unsullied (and, of course, her ever-present dragons). The big question is, of course, where Daenerys is going to go. One would think she’d head straight for King’s Landing and strike where the iron is hot, but the room behind her in this picture doesn’t look like the Red Keep--at least, not a chamber that we’ve seen yet. There’s a lot of speculation that Daenerys heads to Dragonstone first--possibly this picture was taken there? Or maybe she’s in the dragonpit in King’s Landing--a location we haven’t seen yet but has been confirmed to be shown this season.
Varys is put in an interesting position this season. King Robert’s Master of Whisperers, Varys is a Lyseni eunuch who had a terrifying encounter with sorcery early in his life. Though Varys’s loyalties were hard to place for a while, we now know that it was a long-con to get the Targaryens back on the throne--at least, for now. Some have speculated that Varys is a Blackfyre--a cadet branch of the Targaryens who tried to put one of their own on the iron throne several times. It’s possible that Varys is, indeed, working to put a Blackfyre on the throne, but it’s more likely that he really is just loyal to the Targaryens.
In this image, Varys is wearing what looks like a thick robe lined with fur. It probably doesn’t get cold enough in King’s Landing or Dragonstone to merit fur, so it’s possible that Varys is going to travel north after arriving in Westeros.
The Naathi scribe has been one of Daenerys’s closest friends and advisors since she freed her in season 3. The last time we saw Missandei was on a ship, standing, as always, by Daenerys’s side. Missandei will likely continue her role of serving the Breaker of Chains now that they are in Westeros, and her ability to communicate in multiple languages will almost certainly prove useful.
It’s hard to tell where Missandei is standing in this still--it could be almost anywhere. The balcony on which she’s standing vaguely resembles the balcony in the council chambers of Dragonstone, and since we have pretty good reason to believe Daenerys is landing there, that would make sense. Missandei is also wearing an interesting pen--three dragons overlaid in an infinite loop, which is a cool twist on the Targaryen sigil as well as a nod to Daenerys’s own dragons.
Everyone’s favorite Lannister is certainly in an interesting position this season. Wrongly sentenced to death for poisoning his nephew, Tyrion was smuggled out of King’s Landing in season 4 and taken overseas to the house of Illyrio Mopatis--the same man who sheltered Daenerys and Viserys during their exile. After an interesting detour with Jorah Mormont, Tyrion ended up in the service of Daenerys Targaryen, the last surviving member of a family Tyrion’s father sought to destroy. The two struck an unlikely alliance, and now Tyrion is on his way back to Westeros as Daenerys’s Hand of the Queen. This will undoubtedly be awkward if and when they run into Cersei, who believes Tyrion killed her son and will someday kill her. And maybe, Tyrion just will.
It’s hard to tell where Tyrion is or what is going on, but it’s good to know that he’s still Hand and still rocking that beard.
1 The Squad
This group shot shows Daenerys and her trusted circle of friends and advisors standing...somewhere. We can’t really be sure where they are or what’s going on, but judging by the limited view and the way they’re all looking at something in front of them, Dragonstone is a pretty safe bet. Typically reserved for the heir to the iron throne (much like the heir to the English throne is often styled the Prince of Wales, the heir to the iron throne is known as the Prince or Princess of Dragonstone), the island fortress has been abandoned since Stannis moved his armies North. It is also the castle built by the Targaryens who fled Old Valyria, which means it was the birthplace of Aegon the Conqueror. Ironically enough, it was also the birthplace of Daenerys.
Everyone in this shot is decked out for the cold weather, exchanging their flowing robes for sturdy long-sleeved leathers. Winter has truly come.