HBO has released the titles and descriptions of the first three episodes of Game of Thrones Season 7 — and it spells trouble for Jon Snow, the newly minted King in the North. Of course, it also spells trouble for Queen Cersei Lannister. But when you rise to power by blowing up a large chunk of the population, that’s to be expected. As Cersei herself once told Ned Stark back in Season 1, “when you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.”
Now, the descriptions of just three episodes doesn’t sound like a lot. But since Game of Thrones Season 7 is shorter than the previous ten-episode seasons at just seven episodes, three episodes comprises nearly half the season. Their descriptions are almost laughably cryptic as is customary for Game of Thrones. Recall that the Season 6 episode description for “The Door” said “Bran learns a great deal.”
Nevertheless, there’s still a wealth of information to be gleaned from these cryptic descriptions.
1. Episode title: “Dragonstone”
Official summary: “Jon (Kit Harington) organizes the defense of the North. Cersei (Lena Headey) tries to even the odds. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) comes home.”
What it means: From the title and the description of Daenerys’s segment — not to mention the shots in the Season 7 trailer — it’s clear that Daenerys will be landing in Westeros in the very first episode. Specifically, at Dragonstone. Onscreen in previous seasons, Dragonstone was Stannis Baratheon’s base. It was also where poor Gendry last appeared in Season 3 before his ill-fated longest rowing trip ever.
But historically, it’s also an ancient Targaryen stronghold. Dany arriving is therefore a homecoming of sorts. Meanwhile, Cersei wants to “even the odds” because she’s probably heard about Jon Snow’s ascension as King in the North and Daenerys landing in Westeros. It’s hard to come quietly when you’re accompanied by giant fucking dragons.
2: Episode title: “Stormborn”
Official summary: “Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) receives an unexpected visitor. Jon (Kit Harington) faces a revolt. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) plans the conquest of Westeros.”
What it means: From the Season 7 trailer, we know that Jon and Petyr Baelish are getting into a scuffle in the Winterfell crypts. So while “revolt” could be a random Bannerman or a lingering Bolton loyalist, it’s likely that this refers to resistance from Baelish or even Sansa Stark.
From the trailer, we also know that Daenerys’s Unsullied forces will breach the walls of Lannister family stronghold Casterly Rock. Although it’s been mentioned a lot, Season 7 will be its first appearance onscreen. The trailer shows Grey Worm in the water, suggesting an infiltration through the sewers. This would certainly count as Tyrion planning the “conquest” of Westeros, as Casterly Rock can’t be taken without his intel.
As for Daenerys’s “unexpected visitor,” there are a number of characters it could be. Melisadre is shown at Dragonstone in the trailer so she’ll likely meet Dany at some point. Gendry could turn up again. Theon and Yara’s uncle Euron Greyjoy could catch up to Daenerys with his marriage proposal. While the episode title theoretically refers to Daenerys Stormborn, recall that one of Euron Greyjoy’s first lines in Season 6 was “I am the storm, the first and the last.” The Season 7 trailer shows a fiery ship battle involving Euron, Yara, and Theon. The title “Stormborn” could suggest it’s happening in this episode.
3. Episode title: “The Queen’s Justice”
Official summary: “Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) holds court. Cersei (Lena Headey) returns a gift. Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) learns from his mistakes.”
What it means: At the moment, the person most likely to present Cersei with a gift is Euron Greyjoy. At the end of Season 6, he was looking to woo either Cersei or Daenerys to get power, and Euron actor Pilou Asbæk has implied that Euron will be a potential love interest for Cersei. Alternately, it could be a malicious “dick in a box” type gift, but neither Jon nor Daenerys would be petty enough to send something of that nature. Arya or perhaps Sansa are the only current players who would.
Meanwhile, Jaime’s biggest mistake is indisputably his love for Cersei. He’s previously been blind to her capacity for malice. Season 6 ended with Jaime shooting the newly minted Queen a very uneasy glance. Perhaps he’ll break free from his sister and lover once and for all and live a long happy life with Brienne. That’s probable, right?
The fact that Arya, Bran, and Sansa are absent from the episode descriptions is also very telling. Since the episode summaries are as vague as possible, it means that any detail about their plotlines is too spoiler-filled. The obvious suggestion is that Arya and Bran will both return to Winterfell for an epic, long-awaited Stark reunion within the first three episodes.
Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres July 16 on HBO.