HBO has finally announced that Game of Thrones Season 7 will premiere on July 16, 2017. The announcement was done via a Facebook Live video, in which fans tuned in to literally watch a block of ice melt — via fire, naturally — to reveal the date beneath. Hilariously, the stream crashed fifteen minutes into the process, but eventually the final date came out. After all the ice finally melted away, HBO and the Game of Thrones Facebook page directly confirmed the mid-summer start.
The end of Season 6 left every character at a crossroads. Jon Snow was crowned King in the North — and his supposed half-brother Bran Stark has learned that Jon’s true parents are Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. Sansa was reunited with Jon and triumphantly fed Ramsay Bolton to his own dogs, but Littlefinger was still scheming from the shadows. Daenerys finally set sail for Westeros after six seasons of build up. She named Tyrion Lannister as her Hand of the Queen, and he’ll be in for a nasty shock in Season 7 to find his hated sister Cersei Lannister sitting on the Iron Throne.
Trouble brews on the horizon in Season 7. The Tyrell family — which Cersei mostly wiped out with wildfire in the Season 6 finale — seeks revenge, Theon and Yara Greyjoy’s uncle, Euron, seeks to murder them and marry Daenerys, and Sam Tarly will doubtlessly uncover life-changing information about Jon’s parents, Valyrian steel and White Walkers, or Greyscale at the Cidtadel.
The Hound returned from the dead after a two-season absence and joined the Brotherhood Without Banners. And for the first time since Season 5, Arya has also returned to Westeros after finding mixed success at assassin school in Braavos.
The gimmicky way HBO revealed the start date suggests that the upcoming season really will be a battle between ice (the Starks or the White Walkers) and fire (Dany and her dragons). The official poster, which came out the day before, also hints at this theme.
Season 7, which will be the penultimate season, will also be shorter than prior seasons with just seven episodes.