Game of Thrones Season 7 Preview: Winter Is Coming… Still

(Photo Courtesy of Game of Thrones Facebook Page/Sloan-HBO)

Three “television enthusiasts,” the dynamic brother-sister duo of Marci and Rusty Buehler and Zac Hirschbeck, watch Game of Thrones each Sunday night and exchange their thoughts on the show’s happenings.

With the first episode of Season 7 looming on Sunday, Marci, Rusty, and Zac discuss all that has happened, and all that will happen in the episodes to come.

Zac: In the words of famed Parks and Recreation character Ben Wyatt (and some character at some point on the actual show), “When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.” While I may not actually be blowing my political enemies to bits through chemical warfare, or squishing skulls in fight-to-the-death scenarios, or riding around on my three dragon-children, I do feel I’m winning the Game of Thrones this week. And that’s because the Season 7 premiere is now just days away.

Admittedly, I had forgotten a bit about Westeros and its never-ending collection of characters during its long spell on the sidelines. However, seeing as it is now the only television show that I still watch live, I’m very excited to see what the writers (and George R.R. Martin, kind of) have in store for us in the penultimate season of Game of Thrones.

Before we share our thoughts on what may take place this season, let me briefly try and jog everybody’s memory as to what transpired down the stretch in Season 6…

– After being resurrected by Melisandre, Jon Snow became “The King in the North.” With a significant assist from his half-sister Sansa, Jon reclaimed Winterfell by defeating Ramsay Bolton in the memorable “Battle of the Bastards.” Although Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish may prove troublesome to the relationship between the half-siblings, the North seems aligned (which includes the wildlings and our favorite little lady ruler Lyanna Mormont) ahead of the inevitable battle against the White Walkers.

Bran Stark narrowly avoided death at the hands of the Night King and his collection of icy death zombies. R.I.P. Hodor. Bran, along with Meera and “Good Zombie” Benjen Stark are headed back to the Wall in search of safety. The magical Stark is also believed to be carrying the long-speculated secret of Jon Snow’s parents (R+L=J).

– Following her lengthy journey to become a faceless assassin, Arya Stark has departed Braavos (with the blessing of her faceless mentor Jaqen H’ghar) and already put her killin’ skillz to use by murdering Walder Frey and Co. and avenging her family.

– “The Hound” resurfaced, and after briefly joining an Ian McShane-led religious community, returned to his violent ways and joined forces with Beric Dondarrion (the guy with the eye patch who has been brought back from the dead a lot) and the Brotherhood.

– Following an unsuccessful trip to request the wartime assistance of “The Blackfish,” Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne sailed away from Riverrun as Jamie Lannister waved goodbye to his former beloved sidekick.

– The Greyjoy’s continue to endure a family squabble. Upon a very brief introduction to the show, Euron Greyjoy swiftly assassinated his father, assumed the “Salt Throne,” and declared war on his niece (Yara) and genital-less nephew (Theon) before they escaped to join the Mother of Dragons. With Ramsay Bolton now out of the picture, apparently Euron will assume the role of the show’s most despicable villain.

– At King’s Landing, Cersei has ascended to the Iron Throne after seeing her wildfire-inspired plot wipe out the High Sparrow and Queen Margaery Tyrell among several others. Though she is now childless (King Tommen committed suicide after the death of Margaery), Cersei will (temporarily?) rule over the Seven Kingdoms alongside her brother-lover Jaime, her doctor-magician Qyburn, and her mountain-turned-bodyguard Ser Robert Strong.

– Lastly, Daenerys Targaryen looks ready to (FINALLY!) sail to Westeros and make good upon the claim that she’s made for several seasons. Although she’ll likely make the trip without two of her most trusted aides (Daario Naharis and Jorah Mormont), the M.O.D. has formed quite the army. In addition to her new Dothraki forces, who she assumed control of in Season 6, Daenerys will be backed by Grey Worm and the Unsullied, Yara and Theon’s fleet of ships, what’s left of the House Tyrell, and the badass ladies of Dorne (Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes). Additionally, Daenerys will continue to have the support of Missandei, Varys, Tyrion Lannister, and her three dragons. Never sleep on the dragons.

So many names! And so many places!

Marci! Rusty! While I’d encourage you both to revisit any of the happenings I mentioned above (or happenings that I failed to mention), I’m more interested to read where you both think we’re headed this coming season.

Who and what are you excited to see? Do you have any thoughts on where the show might take us on Sunday? And what about your long-term hopes and predictions?

Marci: Zac, thank you for the stupendous recap of last season! I really needed the refresher, as there are so many moving pieces in the GAME. OF. THRONES. that it’s sometimes hard for my little pea brain to keep up.

I am so excited for Sunday that I made my officemate download Snapchat and give me his phone so I could unlock a secret filter that turned me into a White Walker.

MarciWhiteWalker

Being a White Walker was pretty wild! It was cold, and I could actually feel my heart turn to ice, but I felt very powerful. I would highly recommend anyone try it themselves if they’re interested.

While I’m very excited to watch this season unfold, I do have some BOLD PREDICTIONS / HIGH HOPES for the episodes to come. Here they are:

  • Arya & The Hound reunite at some point, reigniting their amazing chemistry and working together to kill someone.
  • Lyanna Mormont throws some more shade like the badass she is.
  • Cersei drinks copious amounts of wine (okay, okay, not so much of a bold prediction – but I gotta pad my stats a bit).
  • Samwell reads every single book in that goddamn library and makes something of himself after all these years.

But in all seriousness, there are mainly two things I’m really excited to watch unfold.

THE STARK FAMILY REUNION

I hope hope hope that we see Arya run into Jon Snow/Sansa, and it would be even more amazing if Bran gets in on that action. After so many seasons of this show watching the Stark children on their various journeys, it will be so emotionally satisfying to see them reunite, especially since they probably all figure that one another is dead.

DANY AND CERSEI FACEOFF

I’m not sure if it’s going to shake out like this, but I’d love to see Dany make it to King’s Landing and go to battle against Cersei and her cohorts – especially if Tyrion is with Dany and the Dragons when they roll (slash fly) into town.

I know these things likely wouldn’t happen until the end of the season / series, but I’m very much looking forward to them / hope they happen.

Rusty, what are your predictions for the upcoming season?

Rusty: It’s like Christmas Eve, you guys! Zac, I am in the same boat as you – this is the only show that I watch live anymore, because you can’t not! It’s so hard to make bold predictions here because we are now off George R.R. Martin blueprint. And, I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. HBO has confirmed that there are only 13 episodes left – 7 this season, and 6 the following season. We gotta cook through a lot of the intricacies of this story in a finite amount of time. As a viewer, you felt that narrative urgency in the last episode of season 6, when Cersei blew up about 3 seasons worth of secondary characters in the first 20 minutes. Then, Dany finally got her ass on a boat to Westeros. That would have been, like, the entirety of season 2!

For me, the biggest question for season 7 is when the White Walkers are going to come into play. They will no doubt disrupt ‘The Great Game’, but what are the implications there?

My first bold prediction is that the White Walkers will successfully overtake the North, pushing Jon and Sansa south, and perhaps taking out his entire army. Jon is the show’s perennial sufferer – I mean, he literally DIED. And not in the ironic “oh my god, do you die” kind of way, like when you’re reacting to a cute flounce top or something. More of a literal, stabbed-multiple-times-by-your-sworn-protectors kind of death. He’s gotta feel the heat in season 7! I also don’t think Littlefinger will make it out of this season alive. Sansa’s getting too smart for him, and frankly, I don’t think he is a relevant enough key player within the story for Benioff and Weiss to hang on to.

If Jon’s army is driven South, it puts all of our main characters in a nice little geographic pressure cooker, doesn’t it? If that’s the case, will Cersei be killed off by whomever eventually ascends King’s Landing? Or, will she figure out a way to escape?

Secondly, I am worried that I’m going to be severely underwhelmed by the Euron stuff. I didn’t really care about the dude last season! Also, it stressed me out that in order to sit on the salt throne you have to essentially drown? How is that a valid way to successfully choose a ruler? What about foreign policy?? Economic prowess?? “Oh, this dude held his breath for over a minute and played tea party underwater. That will work!” My only hope is that Yara doesn’t die this season, because she’s the most interesting Greyjoy right now. I lost a lot of interest in Theon when he lost his little Theon. I actually take back my earlier statement about Jon being the one who has suffered the most. Theon had it pretty bad there for a while. But no one suffers better than Kit Harington, because he possesses a pout that lasts FOR DAYS.

This is sort of a sidebar, but did you happen to catch Kit Harrington’s ‘audition reel’ for Game of Thrones? I was really excited to watch this (again, pout FOR DAYS) but I thought it was just really lazy and poorly executed? What do you guys think?

My last big prediction, before I turn it back over to Zac, is this: When Bran inevitably wargs into one of Dany’s dragons in order to go torch the Night’s King, how metal is the soundtrack going to be? Like an Iron Maiden kind of vibe? Or are we going to go full Rammstein?

Zac: Marci, are you still a White Walker? Is that permanent?? And what is the “Snapchat”?!?

I too am hopeful that the writers will use the final 13 episodes to reunite some of our favorite characters. I think a Stark reunion, minus Ned, Cat, Robb (with two b’s) and the more recently deceased Rickon, would certainly be enjoyable. It’s hard to see the show not taking advantage of a moment (being a reunion between Jon, Arya, Bran, Sansa) that’s been building since Season 1. Likewise, The Hound and Arya reclaiming their GOT Tag-Team Championships (WWE Name – “The Hounds of Justice”) would be fun. Also, when considering moments that have been building throughout the show’s trajectory, The Hound is going to fight his brother (The Mountain/Ser Robert Strong) at some point, right? I’m not sure if I’m prepared for the copious amounts of violence that would result from that messy duel.

Rusty, I also am not too geeked to watch what horrendous acts Euron Greyjoy might commit this coming season. I’m not exactly sure how Euron could top Ramsay Bolton, and I really don’t care to see how he attempts to do so. I suppose that the Greyjoy feud could spice up the pending battle at King’s Landing if Euron aligns with Cersei, but I’m not sure that the “War of the Queens” fire really needs any additional kindling. Likewise, I was equally unenthused by Kit Harrington’s comedic chops on Kimmel. However, Harrington’s turn as Charles Poole on HBO’s mockumentary “7 Days in Hell” was amusing enough to still have me believe in Harrington’s ability to do funny acting things (other than pouting). As far as Bragon’s (do you guys see what I did there?) entrance music, I have five nominations (in no particular order)… 1. The Classics 2. It’s probably too slow, but it’s Bruce Springsteen and, well, fire. 3. You can’t go wrong with a little “Sandstorm.” 4. Perhaps this fits better for when Daenerys rides into town on her dragon, but I think it could still play here. 5. I really like the band Royal Blood.

Although I think could nominate approximately 20 more songs (I’m currently pondering a career change), let me briefly share two more thoughts that tend to piggyback off of things you both said.

In the final 13 episodes, I think we’re headed for two GOT-deciding battles.

First, as you spoke to Marci, I think we’ll find this season setting the stage for Cersei’s Super Team vs. Daenerys’ Super Team at King’s Landing. I think we’ll ultimately see Jon Snow (perhaps after he learns about his genes) and his forces join the M.O.D., and coupled with Daenerys’ already impressive supporting cast, I’ll be incredibly surprised if they don’t claim the Iron Throne together.

However, seeing as positive emotions always come and go very quickly on this show, I think their celebration will be short-lived. As you spoke to Rusty, the White Walkers have long been the biggest threat to humanity within Westeros. If I had to guess, I think this epic story concludes with Jon/Daenerys (and all of their friends and family) taking on the White Walkers. Though I’d like think the heroes would win that final battle, I wouldn’t necessarily put it past this show to have the White Walkers conquer the fictional world that’s captivated us for the better part of the past decade. Time will tell.

Take us home in this Season 7 “preview” Marci and Rusty!

Do you agree that a Daenerys/Jon Snow Super Team seems destined for the throne? Who would you want on your Super Team? And do Weiss and Benioff really have the stones to craft a demoralizing White Walker triumph to conclude the show?

Cersei:Jaime

(Photo Courtesy of Game of Thrones Facebook Page/Sloan-HBO)

Marci: Great song choices for the Dragon entrance music! I’m partial to Sandstorm, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Also Zac, if you enjoyed the ‘7 Days in Hell’ mockumentary, then I’m guessing you will also enjoy the newly released ‘Tour De Pharmacy,’ which is basically the same premise but with the sport of cycling. And it’s hilarious.

I pretty much agree with all of the predictions you guys have made, I’m guessing that all our big players will come together and in my mind a perfect final ending would be a 1, 2, 3 knockout:

  1. Dany arrives to King’s Landing first and takes out Cersei & co.
  2. Jon shows up and him & Dany + all their family and friends combine forces.
  3. White Walkers are here BUT Bran worgs into the Dragon and saves the day

Like you guys, I’d be perfectly cool if episode 1 of this season had a casual throwaway line mentioning that Euron & all the others in the Greyjoy plot had been accidentally blown up in a dragon training exercise. BYE FELECIAS!

I guess that’s all I really have to say before the big premiere on Sunday. Rusty, any final thoughts?

Rusty: With all the Andy Samberg love, I think it’s appropriate to share what he’ll probably look like while watching Sunday’s premiere:

Also, gosh Zac, it’d be super depressing if the White Walkers ended up taking over Westeros at the end of Season 8. It’d be worse than that Sopranos ending! But, I do feel that the eventual series finale will have to be bittersweet in some ways. We love all of these characters, and it’s impossible for them all to have a happy ending.

Catch you all next week! The takes will be hotter than Hot Pie’s… pies?

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