Game of Thrones Season 7 is only a few weeks away, so you know what that means: It’s time to start speculating over every bit of news, no matter how small. That being said, a batch of new photos from the forthcoming seventh season hit the internet over the weekend — thanks to HBO’s international distributors — and there are a lot of small details to be mined from them, including a first look at the return of Beric Dondarrion.
The last time we saw Beric, he had offered Sandor Clegane (the Hound) a place in the Brotherhood Without Banners. They appeared to be headed North to stop the “cold winds” from rising — and a recently released photo of the Hound, surrounded by snow and draped in a fur cape, seems to confirm their arrival in the North.
Does this new Beric photo mean the Brotherhood will find themselves in Winterfell in Season 7? It would be nice to see Sansa and the Hound reunited again, as they haven’t seen each other since Season 2, when Sansa declined the Hound’s offer to take her to Winterfell. (It wasn’t Sansa’s wisest move, but she’s grown up a lot since then.)
As for Jon Snow, the newly anointed King in the North, it looks like he and Ser Davos, along with some bannermen, will be headed on a journey, but it’s unclear where. Are they scouting? Perhaps Beric and the Brotherhood meet up with Jon and Davos along the way. Or are they on a mission to form an alliance of some sort in preparation for the war to come with the Night’s King? If that’s the case, then surely news of Daenerys Targaryen’s arrival in Westeros has traveled to the North.
Speaking of Daenerys, the Mother of Dragons has finally made it to Westeros, and judging from these photos, her first stop is Dragonstone, the ancestral seat of House Targaryen — you know, the one given to Stannis Baratheon by his late brother King Robert as a thank-you gift for his valor in Robert’s Rebellion. Daenerys has claimed her birthright, but she still has her heart set on ruling Westeros.
Dany’s three-headed dragon pin — the sigil of House Targaryen — is also pretty cool.
Meanwhile, Queen Cersei of House Lannister, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, is back to her old tricks: enjoying a glass of wine while undoubtedly manipulating her brother-lover into doing her dirty work for her. While it’s unclear what Cersei and Jaime are talking about in this photo, it might have something to do with the fact that the Lannisters have burned all of their bridges (some quite literally) and have zero allies left in the game.
Think about it: Hightower is against them, the North is against them, Dorne is out for blood, and new enemies from the East (Daenerys Targaryen and her army of Unsullied and dragons) have just landed on the shores of Westeros. The Lannisters are kinda fucked. But knowing Cersei, she always has a card to play — even if it’s batshit crazy.
And then there’s Bran Stark, who appears to be having a rough time without Hodor around to carry him everywhere. (Poor Meera.) This photo of Bran literally tells us nothing about what’s to come in Season 7 other than his ass is still in the snow, which means he’s still in the North. This isn’t surprising. The last time we saw Bran and Meera, they were on the other side of the Wall after a key assist from half-dead Uncle Benjen, who had to leave them there because of the magic that prohibits the dead from passing through the Wall.
Last, but certainly not least, good ol’ Samwell Tarly is reading books at the Citadel in Oldtown. What is he reading, exactly? It’s hard to say, but it’s probably something about the Long Night and Valyrian steel. #TheMoreYouKnow.
The seventh season of Game of Thrones premieres Sunday, July 16.