The 'Game Of Thrones' Season 7 Cast Provides Clues Of What's To Come

If you didn't already believe that Game of Thrones is currently one of the best shows on television, then Sunday night's game-changing episode of "Battle of the Bastards" undoubtedly forced you to see reason. This series doesn't just tell a story — it fully immerses you into its fantasy world. And now that Season 6 is about to come to a close (*sobs*), it's time to start drawing our focus to the Game of Thrones Season 7 cast for clues of what's to come. So which characters can we expect to see return to the show next season? While it's true that nothing has officially been announced (considering we don't know what will happen during next Sunday's finale), the best piece of advice I can give out is to follow the money trail.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a few prominent Game of Thrones stars are set to nab sizable pay raises for the yet-to-be-announced eighth (and possibly final) season, including the likes of Peter Dinklage (who plays Tyrion Lannister), Kit Harington (who plays Jon Snow), Lena Headey (who plays Cersei Lannister), Emilia Clarke (who plays Daenerys Targaryen), and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (who plays Jaime Lannister). They're expected to earn up to around $500,000 per episode in Season 7, which will presumably continue on into Season 8, making them among the highest-paid actors on cable TV. Though, given the raw acting talents they each bring to the table, I can't deny that it's well deserved.

Now, I know what you're thinking — but Kelly, what does a Season 8 pay raise have to do with Season 7? And to that, I say it's simple. If these stars are already finalizing negotiations for an eighth season, then chances are they're going to be sticking around throughout all the seventh season, thereby indicating that none of them will be killed. Of course, it'd be naive to think of this clue as an outright guarantee. The writers still have the power to write any of them out of the show anytime they wish.

That being said, contract negotiations and hefty pay bumps also feel like an unspoken promise, implying that they'll be around for a while and deserve the appropriate compensation. Should we still be worried about these characters? Absolutely. But should we be as worried about them as other non-pay bump stars? Definitely not.

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As of now, the contracts for some of the other actors, such as Sophie Turner (who plays Sansa Stark), Maisie Williams (who plays Arya Stark), and Natalie Dormer (who plays Margaery Tyrell), have yet to be announced, though they too saw significant pay increases, with an option for Season 7, during their last negotiations back in October 2014. So odds are they'll at least be getting some amount of screen time next year. But that still leaves the fate of many others up in the air. Will we see Littlefinger or Varys or Yara in Season 7? A big part of me wants to say yes, but until we know how the final portion of Season 6 plays out, I'm afraid it's almost impossible to tell at this point. Let's just hope that, much like the battle between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton, good will prevail over evil once more.

Images: Helen Sloan/HBO; Macall B. Polay/HBO; Giphy