Half the fun of watching Game of Thrones is diving down the rabbit hole of crazy theories. Ser Pounce will win the Iron Throne in the end? Sure, why not. Ned Stark is somehow still alive? Bring it on.
Because George R.R. Martin takes so damn long to finish a book and because fans of his intricate world have a lot of imagination, to be a fan of Game of Thrones is to help fill in the story’s holes as you wait for it to continue. It isn’t a passive viewing experience.
While some theories are straight-up insane, others end up being 100% correct. For example, many fans thought Jon Snow’s long lost uncle Benjen wasn’t really dead and would eventually return. And in Season 6, the show made that theory canon. And of course, fans guessed for years that Jon’s real parents were not Ned Stark and a random tavern woman but Ned’s dead sister Lyanna Stark and Daenerys’s dead brother Rhaegar Targaryen. Season 6 confirmed this, too..
So, now that fan theories often become canon, here are seven theories to keep an eye out for — because they could actually end up happening.
1. Tyrion is a secret Targaryen
There’s a long running theory that Tyrion is secretly a Targaryen. That’s partly why Tywin Lannister hated him so much, because The Mad King raped Joanna Lannister. The show seemed to nod to it in Season 6, when Tyrion had a moment with Dany’s dragons. If it intends to confirm it, Season 7 will see Tyrion by Daenerys Targaryen’s side in Westeros, sabotaging his sister Queen Cersei. That would be the time.
2. Varys is a merman
Ok, this seems like an improbable theory but Season 7 could make it happen. There’s a surprising amount of evidence for the mysterious Master of Whispers to be a Merling, which is the Westerosi version of a mermaid or merman. Varys has had a shadowy agenda for six seasons now. If his real goal is ever going to come out in a surprising merman-fueled twist, there’s no better time than the show’s penultimate season.
3. Jaime will kill Cersei
At the beginning of Season 5, Game of Thrones featured its first flashback when a teenage Cersei visited a witch called Maggy The Frog. Maggy prophesized the death of Cersei’s children with the eerie words “gold will be their crown and gold their shrouds.” She also said she’d be queen for a time until she was usurped by someone younger and more beautiful. Although this part didn’t make it into the show, in the books she says that Cersei will die at the hands of the Valonquar, which translates to “little brother.” While Tyrion is the obvious choice, many theorize that it will be Jaime. As the younger twin, he’s technically her “little” brother, he would be a Kingslayer twice-over, and it would brim with poetic tragedy. It’s hard to believe Cersei will keep the Iron Throne for more than one season, so Season 7 would be the time.
4. Rhaegar Targaryen’s harp is secretly at Winterfell
Something is brewing in the Winterfell crypts. The statue of Lyanna Stark — who is Jon Snow’s real mother — is there, and many theorize that his father Rhaegar Targaryen’s harp is concealed in it. The Season 7 trailer shows Littlefinger and Jon having a fight in the crypts — perhaps about this very subject. If Jon found it, it would help confirm his birthright more solidly than Bran Stark telling him “I saw it in a magic dream but I swear it’s true!” Seeing as how one Season 7 photo shows Jon in the Winterfell crypts, if this theory is true Season 7 is the one to clarify it.
5. Every “Bran Stark” is actually the same guy
Game of Thrones Season 6 set an intriguing precedent for Bran Stark’s time travel capabilities. He accidentally scrambled Hodor’s mind in the past, which led to the gentle giant’s limited vocabulary in the current time line. But as the Three-eyed Raven told Bran, he can’t change anything even as he jumps around in time. It could be more than a coincidence or a sense of family legacy, then, that several of Bran’s ancestors are also named Bran. Bran and his ancestor Bran the Builder — who helped build Winterfell and the Wall — could be revealed to be the same guy.
6. Sandor and Gregor Clegane will have the most epic fight
The above image, which is from the Season 7 trailer, looks like the recently returned Sandor Clegane aka The Hound facing off against someone taller with a sword, right? The only person taller is his brother Gregor Clegane, aka The Mountain. There’s a beloved Game of Thrones fan theory that the Clegane brothers will face off in an epic fight known as Cleganebowl. This doesn’t bode anything particularly deep or important for the story besides seeing two giant men smash things. But that might be why it’s one of the most popular theories. Sandor Clegane looks like he’ll join Jon’s side in Season 7. With The Mountain in Cersei’s pocket, it’s a perfect scenario for Cleganebowl.
7. Jon Snow is Azor Ahai
Azor Ahai is a legendary hero who saved the world from darkness hundreds of years before the events of the show. He’s supposed to be reborn to save the world from the Long Night once again — and considering the fact that Jon Snow was “reborn” in Season 6, it’s hardly a long-shot to say he’s the most likely contender to be Azor Ahai reborn. Since Sam and Gilly are reading about Azor Ahai in a Season 7 photo and Jon will be traveling with the flaming-sword wielding Beric Dondarrion, this is one theory that could very well pan out.
Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres July 16 on HBO.