The seventh season of Game of Thrones is coming as steadily as Winter. Although the show’s prominence in pop culture has rendered it notoriously secretive, there’s still a Citadel’s worth of information about what its future plot holds in store. In the realm of superficial details, Season 7 will be the show’s penultimate season, and it will be an abbreviated seven episodes instead of the standard ten. Here’s a deep dive into what else you need to know.

New and Returning Minor Characters

Harry Potter’s Jim Broadbent will appear in five out of the seven episodes as Maester Marwyn, a character Sam Tarly encounters at the Citadel. This is his first appearance on the show. In the books, Marwyn is well traveled and has a particular interest in the supernatural and dragons. As Broadbent shot his scenes in Belfast, it’s unlikely he’ll encounter Daenerys’s dragons just yet. But this bodes well for him believing Sam’s information about the existence of White Walkers — unlike Sam’s family in Season 6.

Mark Gatiss’s Iron Bank representative, Tycho Nestoris, will also appear in two Season 7 episodes. He was last seen in Season 4, where he was unimpressed by Stannis, and in Season 5 when he was even less impressed by Mace Tyrell. Although his home base is Braavos, he’ll come to King’s Landing. This means that Cersei’s downfall might not come through Daenerys or Jon Snow but from the debt the crown owes to the Iron Bank. It would be a hell of an ending for the Mad Queen to be vanquished by bureaucracy.

If you don’t want spoilers on another returning character, skip to the next section. Still here? Gendry Waters, Arya’s old traveling companion who hasn’t been seen since he took off in a row boat in Season 3, is returning at last after one of the show’s longest absences. His return could mean anything, from a challenge to Cersei, Jon, and Daenery’s claim to the throne — as he’s got Baratheon blood — or simply that Arya has a friend again.

The only character missing for longer than Gendry is Arya’s direwolf, Nymeria, who was last seen in Season 1. She, too, is rumored to have a long awaited reappearance in Season 7.

Character Meet-Ups

Daenerys and Jon have been spotted together at Dragonstone, the Targaryen ancestral stronghold that Stannis previously used as a home base. After each has spent six seasons as the most isolated characters on opposite ends of the Earth, the newly revealed aunt and nephew will finally come face to face.

A whopping seventeen major characters will also share a scene, which is surely the most in the show’s history. The characters are as follows: Jon Snow, Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, Missandei, Jorah, Bronn, Davos, Varys, Theon Greyjoy, Euron Greyjoy, Qyburn, Podrick, Brienne, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, and Gregor Clegane (aka the reanimated zombie version of the Mountain). That’s right, the Clegane brothers will be breathing the same air. Cleganebowl hype never dies.

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Cersei Lannister in 'Game of Thrones' Season 7
Queen Cersei Lannister in 'Game of Thrones' Season 7 

According to a reported Season 7 plot leak, Daenerys and Jon will also have sex, and Arya and Sansa will be reunited. Bran will also return to Winterfell by the third episode, according to a fan on Reddit.

Battles

According to that same plot leak, Season 7 will bring the wall down. It sure is foreshadowed on the Season 7 poster. In a battle beyond the Wall, with Jon’s forces, The Night’s King will allegedly kill Dany’s dragon Viserion and re-animate him into an ice dragon. Additionally, the Lannister forces will sack Tyrell stronghold Highgarden, and Jon and Cersei will come face to face with a wight in the Dragonpit at King’s Landing. Meanwhile, Euron Greyjoy will wreak havoc with the Sand Snakes.

Locations

Season 7 will deliver at least three major book locations that will appear onscreen for the first time: the Dragonpit in King’s Landing, the Tyrell ancestral home of Highgarden, and most intriguingly, the Lannister ancestral home of Casterly Rock. While Casterly Rock has been referenced a copious amount of times, this majestic-looking fortress has not yet been seen.


Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres on July 16, 2017.

This article was last updated on April 13, 2017.

Photos via HBO 

Lauren's writing has appeared on The Huffington Post, Page Views at The New York Daily News, and 20SomethingReads at The Book Report Network. She has also interned at The Overlook Press and Cosmopolitan. A Dartmouth grad, she lives in Brooklyn.