The promo for the second episode of Game Of Thrones' seventh season has fans freaking out about the impending reunion of Arya Stark and her beloved direwolf, Nymeria. But what if the promo spoiled this particular development to mask another, equally exciting return? Gendry is returning to Game Of Thrones sometime during Season 7, which actor Joe Dempsie confirmed when he showed up to the red carpet of the season's world premiere on July 12. He was mum on exactly when viewers could expect to see Robert Baratheon's handsome bastard resurface… but if the title of Episode 2 is any indication, Gendry could make his triumphant return even sooner than expected.
The followup to the Season 7 premiere is titled, "Stormborn" — which is a pretty clear reference to the Mother of Dragons, who is often referred to as "Daenerys Stormborn" due to the fact that she was born during one of the most powerful and destructive storms in Westerosi history. But most great Game Of Thrones titles have dual meanings. Think of the Season 4 finale "The Children," which not only emphasized the younger generation of characters coming into its own, but also introduced the literal Children of the Forest; or even the Season 7 premiere, "Dragonstone," which referred to Dany's arrival in Westeros, but also Sam's game-changing discovery that the island contains vast amounts of dragonglass, and therefore will be a key factor in the Great War.
So what else could "Stormborn" refer to besides Daenerys? Well, that's where Gendry comes in. In Westeros, bastards who are born to noble lords and recognized (if not legitimized) by them, earn a surname that denotes the region they're from: Snow in the North, Stone in the Vale, Rivers in the Riverlands, Hill in the Westerlands, Flowers in the Reach, Pyke on the Iron Islands, Sand in Dorne, Waters in the Crownlands, and Storm in the Stormlands.
Now, since Robert never recognized Gendry as his bastard, Gendry never received a surname — and even if he did, it probably would have been Waters, since he grew up in King's Landing. But the show's version of Gendry took on the role of another bastard in the books. In George R.R. Martin's story, Gendry was never taken to Dragonstone and used for Melisandre's blood magic; that was a totally separate bastard named Edric Storm, whom the show combined with Gendry for expediency's sake. So "Storm" could be a subtle reference to Gendry's counterpart Edric Storm for savvy book readers.
Even more promisingly, there's the fact that the noble houses of the Stormlands — including the Baratheons, who used to rule the region from the impregnable castle Storm's End — are often referred to as the "storm lords." Given that he's Robert Baratheon's son, Gendry was literally "born of a storm."
So could Gendry be making his first appearance since he rowed away from Dragonstone in the Season 3 finale in July 23's "Stormborn"? Given that there's been very little indication of his return in the show's promo or episode descriptions, and zero reference to the character on the show itself, an abrupt reappearance in the second episode may seem sudden — but when you consider the fact that there's only a measly six episodes left this season, Gendry really should return sooner rather than later if the character is going to have any significant impact on the plot.
Whether he returns in Episode 2 or a bit later, what impact will Gendry have on the story moving forward? As the last remaining offspring of the late king Robert Baratheon, he might be the only person who could destabilize Cersei's claim to the Iron Throne… which might come in handy for anyone looking to seize the throne for himself — or herself, more accurately.
After all, when Daenerys sailed to Westeros, she left her paramour Daario Naharis behind in Meereen, because she knew she needed to leave herself open to a marriage alliance that would help her consolidate support within the Seven Kingdoms. For years, fans have assumed that the series (both onscreen and on the page) was working towards a marriage between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen — a literal marriage of ice and fire. But that particular development has seemed so obvious for so long now, that it feels almost certain that a twist is in store… and there's no choice of husband that would be more politically advantageous to Dany than the son of the Usurper himself.
By marrying Gendry, Daenerys would unite both Targaryen supporters and those still loyal to the Baratheon regime in one fell swoop — leaving the Lannisters with precious little support. It might previously have seemed like a stretch to imagine Dany allying with the House that overthrew her father's reign; but the enemy of my enemy is your friend, and Gendry of course had nothing to with Robert's Rebellion anyway.
In any case, Dany could certainly do worse for a husband…
Will Gendry make his triumphant return in "Stormborn"? Could he be the "unexpected visitor" who Daenerys receives in Episode 2's vague description? Will the handsome bastard and the fierce dragon queen find common cause through marriage? Hopefully Game Of Thrones won't leave fans hanging on Gendry's fate for too much longer.