Game of Thrones is back with its penultimate season, and you know what that means: It's time to look into the flames to answer your burning questions from the Season 7 premiere, "Dragonstone." There's a lot to unpack, from Jon Snow and Sansa Stark's power struggle in the North to Samwell Tarly's education of sorts at the Citadel to Bran Stark's ominous vision of the future, so grab a snack, preferably a rabbit from the Lannister camp, and let's get started.
Will Jon Snow make his father and brother's same mistakes?HBO
A huge point of contention between Jon Snow, King in the North, and Sansa Stark, Lady of Winterfell, in this episode is how best to deal with the Umbers and Karstarks, two houses who violated their ancestral oaths to House Stark and fought alongside Ramsay Bolton in the Battle for Winterfell. The Umbers, in particular, are directly responsible for Rickon Stark's death, seeing as they're the ones who handed him over to Ramsay and killed poor Shaggydog. (For that alone, the punishment should be exile.)
Sansa suggests giving the strongholds of the Umbers and Karstarks away to those who loyally fought with House Stark, but Jon refuses. He believes a unified North is the best plan of attack against the looming threat of the White Walkers. Per Jon's logic, Alys Karstark and Ned Umber, the children of Houses Karstark and Umber, should not be held accountable for their fathers and brothers' past mistakes. That's all noble and good, but isn't that the kind of thinking that got Ned and Robb killed? Sansa thinks so — and she has a point. There should be rewards for loyalty and punishments for treason. That's Ruling 101.
Jon knows how lead, but does he know how to rule? I'd argue that, no, he does not. He's too empathetic, whereas Sansa has spent years learning from the most tactical masterminds in Westeros. She knows that in order to win the game, you can't always play by the rules — and that applies to Cersei Lannister and the Night's King. Jon would be wise to listen to her.
Is Sansa stealing from Cersei's playbook?HBO
One of the more chilling scenes in the Season 7 premiere is when Jon receives a raven from Cersei telling him to bend the knee or suffer the consequences. Jon plans to ignore the Queen's threat, to which Sansa says, "You're the military man, but I know her. If you're her enemy, she'll never stop until she’s destroyed you. Everyone who's ever crossed her she's found a way to murder."
"You almost sound as if you admire her," Jon replies. "I learned a great deal from her," Sansa says.
Sansa has come a long way since her days as a sheltered teen who naively believed in the system. She's been hardened by life's cruelties, and now she's taking notes from a ruthless woman known for obliterating her enemies. Let's see what Sansa's learned from Cersei: cunning, ambition, and cynicism. For Cersei, anyone who isn't a Lannister is an enemy, and in Season 7, Sansa has adopted a similar stance. Anyone who isn't Jon, or Brienne of Tarth, who has sworn an oath to protect her, is a threat — and she holds them at arm's length.
Was that Wun-Wun in Bran's vision?HBO
Every time Bran has one of his visions, it creates a time bridge, connecting present Bran to a different point in time, past or future. When Bran sees the Night's King and his horde of wights marching in the wind and snow, he's actually watching a bleak vision of the future unfold. Wun-Wun and his one, frosty eye give it away. Wun-Wun died at Winterfell, so in order for him to join the Night's King's undead army, the White Walkers have to be south of The Wall at the time of the vision. Since Bran got himself marked by the Night's King last season, he sealed The Wall's fate in the Season 7 premiere by passing through and thereby breaking its magic barrier. Thanks, Bran. You just invited the White Walkers into Westeros.
What does Daenerys do next?HBO
Daenerys Targaryen is finally home. But what's her next move? In the promo for next week, we see Daenerys standing alongside two of her allies, Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand, in the strategy room at Dragonstone. So she's assembling her forces. Seeing as we've seen Daenerys's army in battle at what appears to be Casterly Rock, perhaps her next plan of action will be sending a message to Cersei by launching an attack at the Lannisters' ancestral home. What could possibly go wrong?
Will Jon Snow go to Dragonstone for the dragonglass?HBO
Samwell Tarly is putting in work to become a maester of the Citadel, and though it's not always glamorous, he does occasionally sneak into the restricted area of the library when no one is looking. In doing so, Sam has discovered that there's a mountain of dragonglass hidden underneath Dragonstone castle.
He sent a raven back to Jon with the information, so now we know what brings Jon Snow to Dragonstone. Dragonglass is one of the three known properties capable of killing White Walkers (along with Valyrian Steel and dragonfire), and if there's a massive quantity of it just sitting there at Dragonstone, Jon Snow is 100 percent going to ask Daenerys if he and the North can mine it for the forthcoming war against the White Walkers. The Mother of Dragons has been so preoccupied with the Iron Throne that she's been really out of the loop on the whole "army of the frozen dead coming to kill everyone" thing. In return, Daenerys will probably ask for the North's loyalty to her cause.
But here's the more important question: Will Jon Snow finally crack a smile at the sight of Drogon?
Is The Hound actually Azor Ahai?HBO
Azor Ahai is a messianic, Christ-like figure in the religion of The Lord of Light. Thanks to Melisandre, we know that he or she is destined to be the savior of Westeros. Could that person be The Hound? We now know that Sandor Clegane can read the flames — having been burned at a young age — and as the legend dictates, The Prince That Was Promised, or Azor Ahai, will be "reborn amidst salt and smoke." Technically, The Hound has been reborn of both, having survived the smoke as a child and the salt in the Battle of Blackwater. The Hound's fear of fire (and his distrust of religion in general) may have been foreshadowing his heroic destiny all along. Now all we need is a vision of him wielding Lightbringer, the flaming sword of Azor Ahai.
Whatever happens, it's extremely likely that The Hound will get a chance to see his ominous vision come to life in a future episode this season. Jon Snow asked Tormund and the Freefolk to guard Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, a place where "The Wall meets the sea," just like The Hound saw in the flames. If Beric Dondarrion and the Brotherhood are headed there, and Tormund and his men are headed there, along with the Night's King and his horde of wights, the season's next big ice battle is assuredly brewing.
Is dragonglass the cure for Greyscale?HBO
According to Sam's stolen book from the restricted area of the Citadel, it could be. Thanks to an eagle-eyed fan, we know that on the page opposite the one about Dragonstone's mountain of dragonglass, there's a paragraph that seemingly suggests eating dragonglass may cure greyscale. The logic kinda checks out, seeing as Shireen was living at Dragonstone when her own greyscale was cured. Here's hoping Sam can get Jorah Mormont some dragonglass in Oldtown before it's too late.
So who is Euron "Salt Daddy" Greyjoy going to capture and bring to Cersei as his "priceless gift?"HBO
He's going to go after someone who has personally wronged dear Cersei, and something tells me that person is Ellaria Sand. But how does Ellaria get from Dragonstone to being captured by Euron? He wouldn't be so stupid as to try and attack Daenerys's army on land. He wants a sea battle — and the only way to travel to and from Dragonstone is by sea. Might Ellaria be captured on her way back from Dragonstone? Yes. Absolutely yes. There's no way this is going to end well for Ellaria. After all, we know that at some point in Season 7 there's going to be a sea battle "bigger" than the Battle of Blackwater.
Is Cersei really crazy enough to send 1,000 men to the North during winter to take on Jon Snow?HBO
Of course she is. That doesn't mean she'll do it, though. But she probably won't be happy to hear that the King in the North and Daenerys Targaryen are hanging out without her. Cersei would burn the entirety of King's Landing to the ground before she let anyone near the Iron Throne, especially a Targaryen. Or Ned Stark's bastard. (Remember, the only one who knows Jon Snow's real identity is Bran Stark — and he just got to the The Wall.) Centuries ago, Aegon Targaryen brought fire and blood to the Seven Kingdoms. Something tells me Cersei would do the same. Hello, Mad Queen.
What does Littlefinger want?HBO
It's pretty obvious that Littlefinger is only on his own side. His impassioned plea to Sansa by the heart tree at the end of last season, and his continued harassment, is just part of his master plan. A man of low birth, Littlefinger is thirsty for power — and he thinks a marriage to Sansa Stark is the way to acquire it. So what does Littlefinger want? Deep down, all he wants is to sit on the Iron Throne, and with Sansa at his side, they could be a fearsome power couple. Chances are, he's going to be the wedge that breaks Jon and Sansa's apart this season. But Sansa knows how Littlefinger's seedy little mind works, and this time around, she's already a few steps ahead.