If you aren't ready for HBO's big Sunday premiere, you will be after this. I've got 10 Game of Thrones Season 7 clues from the books to whet your appetite for more murderous fun with the Targaryens, Starks, Lannisters, and Greyjoys. The HBO series surpassed the books' narrative at the end of Season 5, but that doesn't mean George R.R. Martin's novels have no comment on the show's next chapter.
Spoiler warning: Major spoilers for both Game of Thrones and the A Song of Ice and Fire novels ahead. If you aren't caught up on either the show or the books, you could be walking into ruinous territory by reading past this point. You have been warned.
The Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere is right around the corner, which means the ASOIAF fan community is scouring HBO trailers, the books, and interviews with the show's cast and crew for hints as to what will happen in the next round of episodes. So far, they've come up with some amazing fan theories, from Arya finally killing Littlefinger to Nymeria leading a wolf army into the North.
HBO's Game of Thrones television series has diverged from Martin's novels since the beginning, but that doesn't mean the books don't have clues to give about Season 7. Game of Thrones showrunners have condensed and reshaped Martin's original material over the course of the series, so it's safe to say that something from the ASOIAF books will show up this season.
Check out the 10 Game of Thrones Season 7 clues from the books I've picked out for you to enjoy below, and share your favorite fan theories with me on Twitter!
1The Cleganebowl Will (Finally) Happen
The long-running fan theory known as "Cleganebowl" stipulates that Sandor Clegane — A.K.A. "The Hound" — will face off against Gregor Clegane — A.K.A. "The Mountain," A.K.A. "Robert Strong" — in a trial by combat between Cersei and the Faith of the Seven. With both brothers shown to be anything but dead on the show, Cleganebowl fans were certain it would go down in Season 6. Then King Tommen outlawed trial by combat and Cersei blew up the Sept, so that ship appeared to have sailed.
That doesn't mean the Cleganebowl couldn't happen in another form, however, nor does it mean that the final showdown between these dueling brothers won't happen in The Winds of Winter or A Dream of Spring. The Season 7 trailer above offers a brief glimpse of what appears to be the Hound raising his sword against someone — presumably his brother — in the Dragonpits outside of King's Landing.
Is the Cleganebowl on for Season 7? It's plausible, but this one could really go either way.
2Euron Greyjoy Will Ride A Dragon — Or Be Roasted By It
When Season 6 left off, Euron Greyjoy had ordered the Ironborn to begin rebuilding the fleet to pursue his brother's children and take over Westeros. If Euron reaches Mereen, where Yara and Theon have made a pact with the Mother of Dragons, there's a chance that ASOIAF fans may get to see his prized possession, the horn called Dragonbinder, put to the test.
In the books, Euron uses this horn — which can allegedly control dragons — to argue for his kingship at the Kingsmoot. Dragonbinder has never been put to the test with a real dragon, however, and Mereen would give him the perfect chance to try it out.
If Dragonbinder doesn't work for Euron, there's still an ASOIAF clue for Game of Thrones Season 7. In Martin's novels, Dany's dragons roast Quentyn Martell after his unsuccessful marriage proposal to her. Euron has professed his intention to woo Daenerys, so it seems plausible that we may see him either ride a dragon, or be burned alive by one, in Season 7.
3Lady Stoneheart Will Finally Appear
In the books, Catelyn Stark "survives" the Red Wedding to become Lady Stoneheart, an undead creature who commands the Brotherhood without Banners and is bent on avenging her dead husband and children by eradicating the Lannisters. Catelyn has not appeared in Game of Thrones since her untimely death, but the return of the Brotherhood — now joined by Sandor Clegane — has opened the door for the Eleventh Hour debut of Lady Stoneheart in Season 7.
4Samwell Tarly Will Learn Targaryen Secrets
When Sam travels to the Citadel in A Feast for Crows, he's joined by the ailing Maester Aemon — Daenerys' great-great-uncle — who dies en route. Before his death, Aemon asks Sam to tell him the rumors about Daenerys' exploits, and comes to the conclusion that she is Azor Ahai, A.K.A. The Prince Who Was Promised.
It's entirely possible that Sam will learn which of the Game of Thrones cast is Azor Ahai through his studies at the Citadel in Season 7. He'll probably also find out about all the Secret Targaryens, including the now-confirmed Jon Snow and — maybe? — a certain royal dwarf.
5Jon Will Romance Arya And Daenerys
This really nice fan theory from the ASOIAF subreddit lays out a path by which Arya Stark could become Jon Snow's Queen in the North, something this writer has been pulling for since she became a true believer in the R + L = J + M fan theory. But, in an interesting twist, there's also evidence to suggest that Jon will have two queens: one of ice (Arya) and one of fire (Daenerys).
The Jon-Daenerys-Arya love triangle gets more interesting when it's combined with the longstanding theory that Jon is Azor Ahai. In the books, The Prince Who Was Promised killed his first wife in order to forge a sword that could protect Westeros. According to legend, Azor Ahai will wield that sword — Lightbringer, a flame blade — to defeat "the cold breath of darkness," A.K.A. the White Walkers.
Will Jon marry Daenerys, only to kill her and marry Arya? That almost certainly won't happen in Season 7, but we could see the setup begin when Game of Thrones returns on Sunday.
6Tyrion Will Be Revealed As A Secret Targaryen
In the books, Tyrion's hair is paler than that of his brother and sister, closer to the silver locks the Targaryens are known for. His father, Tywin Lannister, served as Hand to the Mad King, who was long rumored to have had a love affair with Tyrion's mother, Joanna. After Tyrion was born and knowledge of his physical differences made public, the Mad King called the baby a karmic retribution for Tywin's hubris. Proponents of the Tyrion Targaryen fan theory interpret this to mean that the Mad King fathered a child with Joanna in order to punish her husband.
Tying in with the Samwell Tarly theory above, and supported by a brief glimpse of Tyrion with Dany's dragons in the trailer, it's possible Game of Thrones Season 7 will confirm that Tyrion Lannister is actually Daenerys' half-brother.
7Gendry The Bull Will Return
Robert Baratheon's bastard hasn't been seen since the end of Game of Thrones Season 6, when Davos Seaworth put him out to sea to escape Melisandre's plan to burn him for the Lord of Light. In the books, however, Gendry the Bull never rows to King's Landing to flee the Red Woman. Instead, he joins the Brotherhood without Banners, which — as we established above — returned during Season 6 and will likely play some sort of role in Season 7. Being the most prominent blacksmith in the series, it's theorized that someone will put his talents to use forging Valyrian steel.
Will Gendry return for the next round of Game of Thrones episodes? Actor Joe Dempsie was spotted deplaning in Belfast, where Season 7 was shooting, back in September, which makes the lost rower's return more likely than not.
8Coldhands Will Show Up To Protect Bran Stark
Last season, Bran Stark received the Night King's mark, connecting the young nobleman to the White Walkers in a particularly terrible way. Bran's respite from pursuit ended soon after, as the Night King's forces attacked the Three-Eyed Raven's cave. Some fans have theorized that bearing the Night King's mark will make it impossible for Bran to escape the White Walkers on the other side of the Wall, and that his crossing that fabled barrier will be the one mistake that allows the White Walkers to descend upon Westeros.
Regardless of when or how the White Walkers end up in the Seven Kingdoms, Bran will be chased by the Night King until one of them dies. With that being the case, Game of Thrones Season 7 is primed to introduce a character not previously seen on the show: Coldhands.
In the books, Coldhands is the mysterious undead man who leads Bran, Meera, Jojen, and Hodor — R.I.P. — to the Three-Eyed Raven, protecting them from the White Walkers along the way. A popular fan theory once held that Coldhands was Bran's uncle, Benjen Stark, but George R.R. Martin reportedly debunked that claim in correspondence with his editor.
So, will Coldhands show up for Season 7? If he doesn't appear now, it's likely he never will.
9Another Targaryen Will Attempt To Take The Iron Throne
Remember when Oberyn Martell fought the Mountain to avenge the death of his sister Elia and her children? As it turns out, Elia's son Aegon may have survived the assault, having been secreted away by Varys. A young man claiming to be Aegon turns up in A Dance with Dragons, but some characters aren't convinced he is the young son of Elia and Rhaegar Targaryen.
Aegon Targaryen has not yet appeared in Game of Thrones, but — like Coldhands above — this would be the perfect time to introduce him into the HBO series.
10Jaime Lannister Will Kill "Mad Queen" Cersei
When she was a young girl, Cersei Lannister received three prophecies from Maggy the Frog, one of which said that the "valonqar" — High Valyrian for "little brother" — would one day choke her to death. Cersei interpreted the prophecy to mean that Tyrion would kill her, but another possible interpretation has Jaime as her murderer. After all, Jaime is a few minutes younger than Cersei, making him her little brother, if only by a technicality. Jaime became the "Kingslayer" when he killed Aerys II, the Mad King, and there's reason to suspect that he will also slay his sister-lover after she becomes the Mad Queen.
The Game of Thrones Season 7 trailer shows Cersei and Jaime standing on top of a large map of Westeros, and their locations are . . . interesting. Cersei stands over an area of the continent known as the Neck, and Jaime is off to her right, near a place called the Fingers.
Will Jaime's fingers meet Cersei's neck in Season 7? This, by far, is the most likely clue from the ASOIAF books to come true when Game of Thrones returns.