As HBO's epic fantasy series approaches its endgame, each viewer has their own idea for how the saga should end. But even with all the various fan theories floating around, there are still certain Game Of Thrones Season 7 events that it seems like everyone is crossing their fingers for. Whether it be the deaths of some villainous characters or a few long-awaited triumphs for more beloved figures, every fan is waiting with bated breath to see if the penultimate season will play out as they hope… or, more likely, whether it will leave us all reeling from shock and sobbing in despair.
Personally, there are plenty of things that I hope don't happen in Season 7. I know many people will be cheering Cersei's inevitable demise; but she's been such a fascinating villain for six seasons, I'd like to see her make it to the show's swan song. I also hope that no more adorable direwolves die, and I hope that feisty little Lyanna Mormont doesn't kick the bucket in some horribly brutal sort of way. (Or in any sort of way, for that matter.)
But here are 11 things that I think every Thrones fan can agree should happen in Season 7:
1. The Starks Reunite
Just the sight of two Starks together again — two who had never even exchanged words onscreen before, no less — was enough to make the fandom weep with joy last season. Now that Arya is back in Westeros and Bran is on his way to Winterfell from the Three-Eyed Raven, can we please get all four surviving members of the family back in one place? And no close calls, cruelly killing one of them off right before they reach their siblings, either. (I know you too well, Game Of Thrones…)
2. Jon Learns The Truth
In the Season 6 finale, viewers learned the truth: Jon Snow isn't really Ned Stark's bastard, but actually the son of Ned's sister Lyanna and the crown prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Now Bran just has to get back to Winterfell before something stops him so he can deliver the news to his half-brother (correction: cousin). Maybe then Jon can bridge the gap between two of Westeros' most important families, and become the literal "ice" and "fire" of the saga's title.
3. Brienne & Tormund Get Together
OK, so I know that this show is mostly all about gloom and doom and death and dragons and prophecies and secret ancestries… but how about a little love every once in a while? Tormund Giantsbane and Brienne the Beauty emerged as the show's most unlikely couple, and it would warm a million shipper's hearts if these two finally consummated their hilarious flirtation in Season 7.
4. Sansa Kills Littlefinger
Hey hey, ho ho, Petyr Baelish has got to go! It's been said that Littlefinger would be happy to burn the Seven Kingdoms to the ground if it meant he got to rule over the ashes… and somebody better put a stop to him before that statement becomes prophecy. There are plenty of people who it would be satisfying to watch do the deed — Varys, for instance — but no one deserves it more than Sansa, to avenge herself against the man who sold her to her rapist.
5. Gendry Returns
Jon is heard talking in the latest Season 7 trailer to someone whose family has long been an ally of the Starks… and there's no family the Starks are closer to than the Baratheons. With Robert's too (illegitimate) sons dead, could his handsome bastard Gendry be next in line for the Iron Throne… and Cersei's biggest challenger? (At least until Dany arrives from Essos, that is.)
6. Jon & Dany Meet
Speaking of Dany's impending arrival, many fans are clamoring to finally see the show's two biggest protagonists meet face-to-face for the first time. While popular fan theory states that Jon and Dany will fall in love and rule the Seven Kingdoms together, there's reason to believe their initial meet-cute might not be as cordial as all that. Dany's shown herself to have no love for any of the royal families of Westeros, and when she begins her conquest, she may view the Starks as just another enemy to dispense with.
7. Arya & Melisandre Meet (Again)
Way back in Season 3, Arya and Melisandre crossed paths when the Red Priestess came to the Brotherhood Without Banners to fetch Gendry for her leech-burning purposes. As she looked into the young assassin's eyes, Mel promised that their paths would cross again. But with the red woman back on Dragonstone (according to the trailers) and Arya heading north to Winterfell, when and where will this encounter take place? And what will happen when it does?
8. A Dragon Dies
Imagine how tragic it will be to watch one of Dany's three dragons bite the dust. I hate to say this "needs" to happen… but honestly, it kind of does, in order for the final season to have any stakes. From what we've seen, pretty much nothing can stand in the way of a full-grown dragon; and given that fire melts ice, it's hard to see how the war against the White Walkers will be anything but a cakewalk. Showing that the dragons can be killed and removing one of the biggest weapons from the table before Season 8 would be a terrific cliffhanger.
9. The Wall Falls
Another event that would raise the stakes before Season 8 would be the collapse of the Wall — aka the only thing standing between the White Walkers and the rest of Westeros. While the books have referenced a magical horn that may be capable of bringing it down, the shows have yet to include it in any way. Maybe it will have something to do with the mark that the Night King left on Bran, instead, and as soon as the youngest surviving Stark crosses underneath the Wall… the magic breaks and the whole thing crumbles.
It's the most-anticipated fight in Thrones history. Fans have long salivated over the idea of watching brothers Sandor and Gregor Clegane — aka the Hound and the Mountain, two of the mightiest fighters in Westeros — face off once and for all. It's hard to imagine the scenario that would lead up to this epic brawl… but if the Season 7 trailers are any indication, it may be time to GET HYPE.
11. Lady Stoneheart
OK, so this one's a bit of a running joke at this point. But leave it to Game Of Thrones to wait until fans have been convinced that Lady Stoneheart is never happening… only to surprise them all by bringing Catelyn Stark back from the dead at the last possible moment.
With of these highly-anticipated events will actually end up happening? Find out soon, when Game Of Thrones Season 7 premieres on July 16.