Season 7 of Game of Thrones will premiere on July 16, as foretold through ice and fire. Although that might seem as far away as the most distant corner of Essos, Winter will come before you know it. And with it will come a lot of loose ends that Season 6 left up in the air. Here are the most pressing questions that the seven-episode, penultimate season needs to answer.
1. How will Jon Snow find out about his real parents?
At the end of Season 6, Bran Stark was finally able to follow young Ned into the Tower of Joy in his visions. There, he saw his aunt Lyanna Stark give birth to a baby boy. The camera immediately cut to Jon Snow, confirming the long-running fan theory that Ned Stark was not Jon’s father but rather his uncle. Jon’s true parents are Lyanna Stark and Daenerys’s deceased older brother Rhaegar Targaryen. Ned passed Jon off as his bastard in order to protect him from people who would doubtlessly harm him, as he has a legitimate claim to the Iron Throne. However, Bran can hardly tell Jon, “I know who your real parents are because I saw it while tripping magical balls!”
How will this information be relayed to Jon in Season 7? It’s possible his newly returned, not-quite-dead Uncle Benjen can tell him.
2. Really, what’s the deal with Greyscale?
Greyscale — the deadly disease that eventually turns one into a Stone Man — has been referenced with increasing frequency as Game of Thrones has continued. First poor Shireen suffered from it, now Jorah has it, and Daenerys has instructed him to find a cure. Clearly, it has some larger plot significance. What is it?
3. What face will Tyrion make when he learns Cersei is Queen?
This development is too juicy for the show not to linger on. Tyrion and Cersei have always hated each other, and now Tyrion comes as the hand of the queen who seeks to usurp Cersei. Deliciously, he doesn’t even know that’s what he’s doing, because although he hates the present establishment, he couldn’t have possibly predicted his sister would have the throne. How will he react?
4. What will Arya’s reunion with any Stark siblings look like?
Although the Stark siblings have been divided since Season 1, Season 6 finally started bringing them together again. Sansa and Jon’s touching reunion was one of the highlights of the season. Arya’s been off in assassin school in Braavos, but now that she’s back in Westeros, it stands to reason she’s due for a reunion. How will her siblings react to the cold-blooded killer she’s become?
5. What role do Red Priests have to play in the wars to come?
Like Greyscale, Red Priests have only gained prominence as the show has proceeded. They’ve also been treated with increased credibility. For a time, the show seemed to take a skeptical stance on their powers, but between Thoros of Myr, Melisandre, and the priestess Kinvara, they have all displayed definitive and impressive powers. Particularly now that Jon has banished Melisandre, and she’ll probably encounter Thoros in her Season 7 travels. What role will the Lord of Light play in the wars to come?
6. What is Varys really doing?
Varys has been pulling the strings from the shadows for six seasons now. Several fan theories say his endgame is the one to look out for. Because Season 7 is the penultimate season, it’s very possible his larger goal will come to light. Just what does the Master of Whisperers really want?
## 7. Will the Hound fight The Mountain?
Finally, the most pressing question: When will Cleganebowl happen? Will the legendary fight and most endearing fan theory about the Clegane brothers having a showdown finally come to fruition?
Game of Thrones Season 7 will premiere on July 16.Photos via HBO, HBO