2017/2018 English Premier League Preview

The 2017/2018 English Premier League season kicks off today! From the south coast, to Wales, to Merseyside, to the Northwest, to the Northeast, to the Midlands, to the capital of England, and even to Yorkshire, 20 clubs will compete for one of football’s greatest prizes.

Who will come out on top? Here is a breakdown of all twenty clubs.

ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB

Arsenal supporters believe that their team should contend for the Premier League title every season. However, the Gunners have not won the title since 2003/2004 and finished outside of the top four last season for the first time under manager Arsene Wenger. Provided he can get a strong enough squad to work with, Wenger can definitely get Arsenal back into the title race.

The potential title hopes would all but evaporate if the transfer rumors surrounding Alexis Sánchez are true. The Chilean forward has been, by far, the club’s best player since arriving in 2014/2015. The Gunners must do everything they can to keep Sánchez and avoid taking a tremendous step in the wrong direction.

They did bring in striker Alexandre Lacazette to become the main goal scorer. Every Premier League title contender needs a player who can put up 20 or more goals in a season, and Lacazette has the potential to do that right away.

But even if Arsenal were to keep Sánchez and get 20 goals from Lacazette, it will still be tough to contend for the title considering the improvements made by both Manchester clubs and Liverpool as well. If Arsenal miss out on the top four again, Wenger will likely be shown the door.

ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL CLUB BOURNEMOUTH

After a top-half finish in just their second Premier League season, Bournemouth have proved that they truly belong in the top flight.

Instead of quantity, manager Eddie Howe opted for quality in the transfer window. The Cherries made permanent moves for Chelsea’s Nathan Ake, who enjoyed a successful loan spell with the club last season, and Asmir Begovic. Bournemouth also brought back Jermaine Defoe, who led Sunderland in scoring in the last two seasons. The 34-year-old striker also scored 10 goals in 10 games for the Cherries back in 2000/2001. One of his teammates from that team? Eddie Howe.

Bournemouth forged a successful attack last season, but struggled at times on defense. With Manchester City and Arsenal looming in their first four matches, the Cherries will find out how much help they still need at the back.

BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION FOOTBALL CLUB

Brighton are back in England’s top flight for the first time in 34 years after knocking on the door of the Premier League in four of the last five seasons, and what a journey it has been for the Seagulls.

In 1996/1997, Brighton needed one point against Hereford to stay in the Football League. They did get the draw, but unfortunately, the sale of the Goldstone Ground in Hove meant that the Seagulls would be forced to play their home matches 70 miles away at the grounds of Gillingham. After two seasons, Brighton returned home to play at Withdean Stadium, an old athletic complex with a 8,850-seat capacity. In October 2005, the supporters and board of directors received planning permission to build the now-30,750 seat Falmer Stadium, a.k.a the Amex, which opened in December 2011.

As for squad, manager Chris Hughton has done a fantastic job of building a team that plays together. However, they will likely be underdogs in almost every match simply because of the talent gap and lack of Premier League experience. While avoiding relegation is the goal, both players and supporters should take everything in and just enjoy this season.

The battle has just begun, but Brighton have already won the war.

BURNLEY FOOTBALL CLUB

Burnley, led by manager Sean Dyche, defied expectations and avoided relegation for the first time in club history. They picked up 33 of their 40 points at their home venue of Turf Moor, a foundation the Clarets will need to build on to stay in the Premier League.

With defender Michael Keane sold to Everton in the summer, Burnley have brought in Phil Bardsley, Charlie Taylor, and Jack Cork as defensive reinforcements. Striker Jonathan Walters should also offer firepower to an attack that scored just 39 goals last season. But even with those additions, Dyche’s squad is only at 25 players, so more additions are likely.

CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB

After their 3-0 loss at Arsenal in late September, no one expected Chelsea to then rip off 13 straight wins. After that loss, the Blues did not drop points in consecutive matches for the rest of the season and clinched the Premier League title with two matches remaining.

The squad is still loaded with talent at every position and made some great signings in summer, such as striker Alvaro Morata. In 26 league appearances for Real Madrid, the 24-year-old scored 15 goals, the second-most of any player on the club. It will be interesting to see how he copes to the Premier League. The quicker he can adapt, the better it will be for the entire team.

With that being said, losing Diego Costa, who is spending time in Brazil at the moment, will be a huge blow for Chelsea. On top of Eden Hazard’s ankle injury that will keep him out for a few weeks, Chelsea have some big holes to fill in their starting XI right away. In the meantime, players like Michy Batshuayi, Pedro and Willian will need to step up.

Chelsea are the defending champions. The pressure will be on to show that they can do it again.

CRYSTAL PALACE FOOTBALL CLUB

Crystal Palace secured Premier League safety last season thanks to Sam Allardyce, but his resignation just two days after the season threw the club into turmoil. To replace him, chairman Steve Parish opted for Frank de Boer, who won the Dutch League title four years in a row at Ajax. However, his most recent spell at Inter Milan lasted just 85 days.

As just the second foreigner ever to manage Crystal Palace, de Boer has looked to bring a more international flair to the pitch. However, attempts to play a more attractive style last season ultimately ended in a relegation battle and Alan Pardew’s sacking in December. Expect de Boer to carry out a more pragmatic approach to gradual improvement, as opposed to constantly switching the styles of football and going from zero to one hundred in a short time span.

de Boer’s early transfer activity was especially revealing. Chelsea’s 21-year-old loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek and 20-year-old star Dutch defender Jairo Riedewald are both young players that de Boer can shape to fit his style of football.

EVERTON FOOTBALL CLUB

Everton’s seventh-place finished under manager Ronald Koeman suggests that the club on the rise. There is no denying that the loss of prolific striker Romelu Lukaku was a huge blow, but that void was filled by seven new signings, headlined by the return of Wayne Rooney.

Last season’s reliance on Lukaku was obvious. Behind his 25 goals, the next-highest scorer was Ross Barkley with just five goals. Koeman’s mission will be to build a squad which provides a threat from all angles.

The Toffees spent big money on goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, Dutch attacking midfielder Davy Klaasen, and defender Michael Keane. With spending already at unprecedented levels, Everton have made it clear that they want to crack the top six this season. If they can overtake Liverpool and prove themselves as the top dog on Merseyside, then it could be a huge first step towards a very bright future.

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL CLUB

Last season, Huddersfield jumped up 14 spots in the Championship table to fifth place and went on to defeat Reading in the Playoff final to seal promotion to the top flight for the first time in 45 years.

Manager David Wagner deserves a ton of credit for transforming the Terriers from top to bottom. Expect a lot of passion on the sideline, similar to fellow German manager and good friend Jurgen Klopp. As the former manager of Borussia Dortmund II, Wagner worked with Klopp for four seasons before taking over Huddersfield in 2015/2016. In those two seasons, Wagner has emphasized a high-intensity, counterattacking style of football that should transition well into the Premier League.

The signings that Huddersfield have made show that they intend to stay in the Premier League. The Terriers signed Montpellier striker Steven Mounie, who scored one less goal in Ligue 1 than Monaco superstar Kylian Mpabbe last season, as well as FC Copenhagen captain Mathias Jorgensen. Add them to Aaron Mooy and Christopher Schindler, and Huddersfield may give some top teams a scare this season.

Of course, survival is the mission for Huddersfield this season.

LEICESTER CITY FOOTBALL CLUB

Now freed from the pressure of being champions and no European football to drain their resources, Leicester City enter this season with optimism. Manager Craig Shakespeare saved the club from relegation, winning seven of their last 13 matches after the sacking of Claudio Ranieri. Shakespeare will aim to make his own mark on the squad, but he will likely have to do it without star midfielder Riyad Mahrez.

Shakespeare’s first signing as permanent manager was Hull City’s promising defender Harry Maguire. The 24-year-old will offer fresh blood for an aging backline, providing competition for the likes of Robert Huth and captain Wes Morgan. Up front, the arrival of striker Kelechi Iheanacho adds firepower to the first-team squad. Deprived of first-team starts last season, the 20-year-old should relish the prospect of regular football.

LIVERPOOL FOOTBALL CLUB

Compared to where Liverpool were 18 months ago, the club is way ahead of schedule. Last season, manager Jurgen Klopp got the Reds back in the Champions League for the first time since 2009.

Now, the focus will be on maintaining their top four status and solidifying the squad, especially at the back. Expect Liverpool to only bring in players that will improve the first team, as opposed to signing players in bulk for the sake of expanding the squad. For instance, new signing Mohamad Salah should go straight into the starting XI and compete with the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane every week.

Another concern with this Liverpool squad is their lack of a twenty-goal striker similar to the likes of Aguero, Kane, Lukaku, and Sánchez. It will be interesting to see if a player like Firmino can step up and have that type of impact for Liverpool.

The Reds played well in the preseason, winning the Asia Trophy and defeating Bayern Munich, 3-0, at the Allianz Arena. With the improvements of the other top clubs combined with the grind of Champions League football this season, keeping hold of their place in the top four will be a tough task for Liverpool.

MANCHESTER CITY FOOTBALL CLUB

Expectations were high among Manchester City supporters when manager Pep Guardiola arrived last summer. However, problems with the fullbacks and goalkeepers ultimately led to a disappointing third-place finish.

This summer, the club has brought in players that will not only help their defense, but also play the style of football that Guardiola wants to play. Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy will stretch the field and offer speed down the flanks. If Vincent Kompany can stay healthy, City will be better defensively in terms of organization and experience.

One of the most exciting players to watch out for this season will be forward Gabriel Jesus. The 20-year-old Brazilian hit the ground running in limited action last season, scoring seven goals in ten league matches. Now entering his first full season, Jesus has the potential to become one of the best players in the Premier League.

Based on the money Guardiola has spent since his arrival, City should win the title. Not only is the squad extremely talented, but manager is arguably the best in the world. For Guardiola to keep that reputation, he must win the Premier League within the next two seasons.

MANCHESTER UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB

Considering that he has coached Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, manager Jose Mourinho is running out of clubs to prove himself. Unlike last season, the Portuguese will have less excuses because he now has a side that better fits his style of play as opposed to the mish mash of players from last season.

Goal-scoring was a problem at times for United last season, but striker Romelu Lukaku could be the solution. Mourinho’s better teams often feature a big, powerful target man to lead the attack such as Didier Drogba. Lukaku can hold the ball up and occupy two to three opposing defenders. He’s young, hungry, and most importantly, a proven goal scorer in the Premier League.

But perhaps United’s most important signing this summer was midfielder Nemanja Matic. The 29-year-old Serbian midfielder has played under Mourinho at Chelsea and gives United strength, stature and protection in front of the backline. Over the last three to four seasons, there have been few defensive midfielders in the Premier League as good as Matic.

Mourinho will need to unleash his tactical genius this season and propel United back into the title hunt. If he does not win the Premier League or Champions League at United, his run will ultimately go down as a failure.

NEWCASTLE UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB

The famous black and white of Newcastle is back in England’s top flight. The passion and pride of the club was restored last season under manager Rafa Benitez. The Spaniard brought a stringent level of professionalism into the dressing room and made sure to let the supporters know that both the manager and players care about playing for Newcastle United.

The relationship between Benitez and owner Mike Ashley seemed strong last season, but Benitez has not been shy about his frustration of not sealing players early in the transfer window. Ashley must give Benitez the control and the money he promised at the end of last season to prevent another trip back down to the Championship.

One of the main areas of concern for Newcastle is the attacking midfield. During Jonjo Shelvey’s five-game suspension last season, the Magpies struggled mightily, losing to the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn Rovers. The 25-year-old is so important to the squad that without him, the team have trouble creating scoring chances. Benitez could use another creative midfielder to create chances should Shelvey suffer an injury or suspension.

But when Newcastle did create chances, they had some trouble scoring goals. Dwight Gayle did score 23 goals in 32 appearances last season, but the Magpies struggled finishing in the box when he was out. Adding another striker, specifically a physical target man who can finish in the box, would go a long way to preventing another relegation fight this season.

Realistically, Newcastle should expect to finished around the 13-15 range for the next year or two, with an eye on the top ten. If last season was any indication, the top ten is not that difficult to break into as long as the club can be consistent. Looking at the big picture, if Benitez does stay on board and Ashley gives him the money he promised, Newcastle should return to their glory days within the next five years.

SWANSEA CITY ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL CLUB

It’s a shame that Swansea City will likely have to move on from star midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, who appears likely to join Everton in the near future. While the sale could go upwards of 50 million pounds, it’s still a huge loss for the Swans.

Manager Paul Clement unloaded sixteen players over the summer, including Borja Baston and Jack Cork, possibly to keep Sigurdsson. Among the new additions are midfielder Roque Mesa and Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham, who knows Clement from his time in the youth ranks at Stamford Bridge. The Swans would be wise to add some more attacking options if Sigurdsson does leave.

SOUTHAMPTON FOOTBALL CLUB

For months, the big story surrounding Southampton has been the situation surrounding Virgil Van Dijk. The defender wants out, but the club seem unwilling to sell him.

New manager Mauricio Pelligrino replaces Claude Puel, who led the Saints to an eighth-place finish and EFL Cup Final last season. The only notable signing for Southampton was Poland U-21 defender Jan Bednarek from Lech Poznan. Time will tell whether he will replace or play with Van Dijk.

The Saints scored just 41 goals in 38 league matches, so it will be nice to have Charlie Austin and Manolo Gabiaddini full healthy this season. Pelligrino has played both players together in preseason to carry out a more attack-minded style of football.

STOKE CITY FOOTBALL CLUB

Last season was a disappointment for manager Mark Hughes and Stoke City. After three consecutive top half finishes, the Potters finished in 13th place last season, picking up just two wins in their last 11 matches.

Only the bottom five teams scored fewer goals than Stoke last season, so Hughes will need to address their goalscoring woes. In the meantime, Stoke added experience in the form of midfielder Darren Fletcher and defensive energy in Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma.

Stoke took eight games to record their first league win last season, so Stoke will look to hit the ground running this season.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FOOTBALL CLUB

Tottenham were the most exciting team to watch in the Premier League last season. After a sixteen-point improvement, which would have won them the title in 2015/2016, Spurs are more hungry than ever to achieve Premier League glory.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino has done a fantastic job in his two years at the helm of bringing young players such as Harry Kane and Danny Rose through the system and turning them into valuable players. While Spurs have yet to make any signings, chairman Daniel Levy tends to wait until the last few weeks of the transfer window to conduct his business. They could certainly use a quality striker behind Harry Kane if he goes down with an injury.

Spurs also sold Kyle Walker, which is not that big of a loss compared to past Tottenham players such as Gareth Bale and Luca Modric. That’s no slight to Walker, but with Kieran Trippier ready to step in, Tottenham should not lose much at right back, if anything at all.

The biggest concern for Spurs will be adapting to playing their home matches at Wembley Stadium. Every player has dreamed about playing at Wembley, so visiting teams will definitely raise their level of play against Spurs over the next two seasons. It will be interesting to see whether Spurs can do the same.

If Tottenham do not start winning major trophies in the near future, the supporters will begin to question the club’s direction, similar to what fans are doing now at Arsenal.

WATFORD FOOTBALL CLUB

Another season, another new manager for Watford. Marco Silva is the eighth appointed manager since the Pozzo family bought the team in 2012. The Portuguese impressed last season at Hull City, but their heroic turnaround was not enough to save them from relegation. This year, Silva will have another challenging season ahead of him.

Striker Troy Deeney will miss the first one or two games due to a groin injury. so don’t be surprised if Brazilian wonderkid Richarlison sees time during Deeney’s absence. As for other signings, Kiko Femenia, Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah are all expected to get playing time this season.

WEST BROMWICH ALBION FOOTBALL CLUB

Last season, West Brom finished in the top half for just the second time in club history, but that highlight was matches by lowlights. The Baggies ended last season on a nine-match winless streak, and to make matters worse, the club has brought in little reinforcements to make sure that the streak will not continue into this season. Outside of forward Jay Rodriguez and Egyptian international Ahmed Hegazi, West Brom have not spent the money to further improve the squad under manager Tony Pulis.

Despite the disappointing finish to last season, the Baggies proved that they are one of the more dogged, driven teams in the Premier League. They will have to operate under that state of mind once again they hope to finish in the top half.

WEST HAM UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB

In their first season at the London Stadium, the bright future of West Ham seemed to have dissipated, with the team winning just seven home matches. Manager Slaven Bilic will hope new signings such as Marko Arnautovic, Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta will help the Hammers improve not just their home form, but last season’s tenth-place finish as well.

Last season, West Ham forwards scored just 15 goals between them, which means all eyes will be on striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez to rectify that problem. The “Little Pea” averaged about one goal every three matches during his time at Manchester United from 2010 to 2014. If he can buck West Ham’s trend of underperforming strikers, West Ham have the talent to return to the top seven for the second time in three seasons.

Of course, as fate has it, Chicharito’s first game back in the Premier League will be at Old Trafford against Manchester United.

2017/2018 English Premier Table

1. Chelsea
2. Tottenham Hotspur
3. Manchester City
4. Manchester United
5. Liverpool
6. Arsenal
7. Everton
8. West Ham United
9. Bournemouth
10. West Bromwich Albion
11. Leicester City
12. Southampton
13. Crystal Palace
14. Swansea City
15. Newcastle United
16. Stoke City
17. Burnley
18. Brighton and Hove Albion
19. Watford
20. Huddersfield Town

Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 4 Recap

*READ MY GOT SEASON 7 EPISODE 3 RECAP HERE*

*SPOILERS FROM THE SHOW AND THE A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE BOOKS WILL BE DISCUSSED IN THIS POST! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!*

Although this episode was the shortest of the season so far, there were so many big reveals. Of course, I will get to the battle, but before I begin, I must address…

…the leak. So if you didn’t hear, two separate groups hacked HBO over the past week. The first group attacked HBO in the United States and claimed to have acquired 1.5 terabytes of information, ranging from scripts to other Game of Thrones content. The second group hacked HBO’s India affiliate and released an episode that had been given to them before the premiere date. In other words, the big HBO hack in the U.S. had nothing to do with the real leak of episode 4. When it comes to leaks on the Internet, I always heed the words of Ser Bronn of the Blackwater…

…back away…and back away some more. Just don’t look at any articles or spoilers. Don’t ruin the show for yourself. Otherwise, one may feel tempted to harm an innocent squire. Speaking of which…

1. …Bronn is back! Queen of Thorns give you one last prick in the balls before saying goodbye? Jerome Flynn-Bronn is arguably the best actor-character match of the entire show. Anyway, Bronn wants a castle, but Jaime says he’ll have his choice when the war is over. After all…

2. the Lannisters always pay- Alright fine, I won’t say it. Tycho Nestoris, a.k.a. Rihanna, is very impressed that Cersei will be paying off her debt so quickly. It’s only fair that the Iron Bank then extend a helping hand in Cersei’s current ventures. However, the Queen is already one step ahead, as she had Qyburn contact…

3. …the Golden Company! A Song of Ice and Fire readers should be very familiar with this army of sellswords. It seems unlikely that the show will introduce some of the book’s main characters from the Golden Company, but that doesn’t mean the group won’t play a big role in at least one of the next three episodes. Rihanna does mention that the Golden Company has helped the Iron Bank “recover significant sums from parties who had fallen into deep arrears.” Cersei would love for them to…

4. recover some things that belong to me. As Cersei and Rihanna were talking, the camera did overlook the North, which makes me think Cersei could use the Golden Company to not only attack Winterfell, but to bring back “that murdering whore Sansa” as well. Meanwhile…

5. …Littlefinger stay bein’ Littlefinger. He presents Bran with the dagger used in the attempt to take his life back in Season 1. Why did he do this? I have no idea. Anyway, Littlefinger brings up the current chaos of the world, to which Bran says…

6. CHAOS IS A LADDER. One of the best lines of the episode. Unlike his father, Bran is not a Stark with a “quick temper and slow mind.” He knows what Littlefinger has done in the past, but before he can go any further…

7. …Meera walks in. Although she doesn’t want to leave Bran, she feels that she needs to return to her family. Bran agrees he no longer needs her, but all he can muster up is, “Thank you.” Meera becomes pissed because many died to protect him and she risked her life as well. She realizes that the old Bran died in the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave. In other words…

8. …he isn’t really Bran Stark anymore. He is the Three-Eyed Raven now. As a result, it’s difficult for him to express emotions and feel like his former self. It’s almost as if he’s a human computer or a robot, especially considering how he has talked this season. Meanwhile, outside of Winterfell…

9. …Arya is home! The scene with the two young guards was very similar to the scene back in Season 1 when Arya was trying to get back into King’s Landing. The whole point was to show how much her home has changed since she left. She eventually gets away from the guards, who report back to Sansa. Once she hears that she asked for Ser Rodrik and Maester Luwin, Sansa knows exactly where to look…

10. …the crypts! This Stark reunion was much happier than I thought it would be. Maybe I looked too much into the tension between the sisters back in Season 1. Anyway, Sansa tells Arya that Bran is also home, but also gives her look as if to say, “Something is wrong.” You know what’s wrong?

11. The pacing of this show. Once again, I recommend reading last week’s recap for my complete thoughts on this topic, but this Stark reunion seems so rushed. Isn’t it convenient that all three Stark children are back in Winterfell within an episode of each other? I believe that if the show was given more time, this reunion, as well as many other events, could have been so much better. Hopefully, this was not George R.R. Martin’s plan for a Stark reunion in the books, if there would be one at all. I get the feeling that this was all David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, though. Anyway, back to the episode…

12. Bran gives Arya the dagger. This would explain why Arya had the dagger in all the Season 7 preview pictures. This also raises two questions: a) does Bran know that Arya will use the dagger to kill someone, a.k.a. Littlefinger? and b) why didn’t Bran tell Arya and Sansa about Littlefinger betraying Ned? There is not a lot of clarity with this situation, so hopefully next week’s episode answers the questions about the dagger. Meanwhile…

13. …Dany and Missandei discuss “many things.” Notice how the camera cut to Jon right after Dany said that? *wink wink*

14. Jon shows them the dragonglass cave. Not only did the cave have mountains of dragonglass, but it also contained carvings and drawings of the Children of the Forest and the First Men uniting “against their common enemy.” Dany seems convinced, and agrees to fight for the North…

15. …if Jon bends the knee. If you read last week’s recap, you know that I was not a fan of Dany wanting Jon to bend the knee. However, I’m starting to come around to Dany’s way of thinking because this is an opportunity for Jon to learn from the mistakes of others. This is reminiscent of Jon trying to convince Mance Rayder to bend the knee to Stannis in Season 5, but the leader of the Wildlings refused and died as a result. Isn’t their survival more important than your pride? Not only was that the line Jon used on Mance, but that was the exact line Dany used on Jon in this episode.

16. Tyrion keeps screwing up. While Tyrion is very smart politically, history has shown that he is not good at military strategy. Dany rightfully snaps at her hand and tells him, “Perhaps you don’t want to hurt [your family] after all.” Dany once again considers flying her dragons straight to the Red Keep, but instead asks Jon’s advice. Like Tyrion, Jon believe that melting cities and burning castles would make her no different from those that came before. At the same time, Dany does need to unleash her dragons on something, which I’ll get to in a moment. Back in Winterfell…

17. …Arya and Brienne face off! This was so awesome to watch. I got flashbacks to one of my favorite characters, Syrio Forel, in Season 1. Remember, child, this is not the dance of the Westeros we are learning… The knight’s dance, hacking and hammering. This is the Braavo’s dance… the water dance. It is swift and sudden. Overhead on a balcony, Littlefinger and Sansa watch Arya and Brienne fight to a stalemate. Sansa seems a bit uneasy about Arya’s ability to fight, which makes me think she knows that the list Arya made was not a joke. As for Littlefinger, he always has that stupid look on his face, so I have no idea what he was thinking. Meanwhile…

18. …Jon thinks Dany has a “good heart.” According to David Benioff, they are “starting to be attracted to each other.” I would be shocked if those feelings did not continue to blossom for the rest of the season. Anyway, Jon and Ser Davos talk with Missandei about Jon’s parentage, until…

19. …Theon returns and comes face-to-face with Jon. He has tried to avoid this confrontation since Season 2. It’s why Theon chose to stay in Winterfell and fight against the Boltons as opposed to taking the Black for his crimes. Theon knew Jon would kill him, but he did save Sansa’s life. What you did for her is the only reason I’m not killing you. Theon wants Dany’s help saving Yara from his uncle Euron. However, the queen is away at the moment. We’re almost there, don’t worry.

20. Rickon! By far, the best moment of the episode. I have watched Bronn laugh at his name too many times. Bronn’s smile is quickly wiped off his face because…

21. …HERE COME THE DOTHRAKI! In Season 1, Robert Baratheon said, “Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field.” Well, it seems that Jaime is a fool. The Lannisters were already going to get crushed, but just to seal the deal…

22. …HERE COMES DROGON! At that point, Jaime should have taken Bronn’s advice and booked it back to King’s Landing. But for some reason, he didn’t want to abandon his army. Jaime gets saved by Rickon(?) at the last second, while Bronn reaches Qyburn’s scorpion and shoots the first spear into the Dothraki opponent following him.

23. I’ll be honest… I was rooting for Bronn. I just could not help myself. Bronn is such an amazing character that I was cheering for him to take down not just a dragon, but Dany as well. He does indeed hit Drogon, but it doesn’t do much damage and Bronn barely avoids the dragon’s flames. I really thought Bronn was going to die in that moment. Speaking of which, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

24. …Jaime charges at Dany and Drogon. It is worth noting that Jaime was trying to kill Dany, not Drogon. It does not make what he did any less stupid, but I think I understand what was going through his mind. Watching all of those men burn around him is the exact thing Jaime prevented by killing the Mad King. He wanted to save lives, which is what he thought he would do by charging at Dany, who was standing inches away from a dragon. I thought Jaime was dead meat, until…

25. BRONN WITH THE CHASEDOWN BLOCK! What a moment! Jaime is then shown floating towards the bottom of the river as the episode fades to black. I would expect someone to pull Jaime out, but I’m not sure who that person could be.

Here’s what to expect for next week’s episode, titled “Eastwatch”:

1. The Lannister army will bend the knee. This is how the “Field of Fire” ended back during Aegon’s Conquest. It will be interesting to see whether Jaime, Bronn, and the Tarlys are part of this surrender. If that is the case, I imagine Tyrion will want Bronn and Jaime spared…

2. …which could cause some tension between Dany and Tyrion. Varys says, “You need to find a way to make her listen.” Whatever they are talking about, Tyrion will have to convince Dany to do something that she does not want to do. Once again, I think Dany will question Tyrion’s loyalties.

3. Jon comes face-to-face with Drogon! I think Jon will get preferential treatment from the dragons. I’ll leave it at that.

4. Dany will decide her next move. I assume Jon must have received a raven about Bran’s return to Winterfell, because he is talking about Bran seeing the Night King marching towards Eastwatch. But will that same raven also include information about his true parentage? What about Arya’s return?

5. Where are… the Brotherhood Without Banners? Gendry? Ser Jorah? Grey Worm? Euron? With three episodes left in the season, we’re going to have to get updates about these characters at some point. Will the Brotherhood go straight to Eastwatch or stop at Winterfell? Is Gendry still rowing? Will Jorah make it back to Dany? Did Grey Worm make it out of Casterly Rock, or did Euron capture him?

Let me know what you think about the episode in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131! As always, thanks for reading!

Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 3 Recap

*READ MY GOT SEASON 7 EPISODE 2 RECAP HERE*

*SPOILERS FROM THE SHOW AND THE “A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE” BOOKS WILL BE DISCUSSED IN THIS POST! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!*

While this episode was, once again, very exciting, it did expose the show’s biggest flaw. I’ll get to that later in the post, though.

Shall we begin?

1. Jon Snow and Ser Davos arrive at Dragonstone. Tyrion and Missandei greet them on the beach and walk them up to the castle. Tyrion mentions that Stark men don’t fare well when they travel south…

2. …but Jon is not a Stark. Notice how Rhaegal flew over Jon after he said that? *wink wink* Meanwhile…

3. …Melisandre is off to Volantis. Varys suggests that she is not safe in Westeros, but she says that she will return. I have to die in this strange country. Just like you. I still hope we find out more about the voice Varys heard in the flames, as that could have something to do with his eventual death. Anyway, back in the castle…

4. …Jon and Daenerys finally meet! I loved the introductions of both characters. Missandei ripped off 20 seconds of titles in a majestic, potent tone, while Ser Davos, in his Flea Bottom accent, simply says, “This is Jon Snow… he’s King in the North.” Dany and Jon debate the oath of loyalty sworn by Torrhen Stark, the last King in the North, during Aegon’s Conquest. Jon refuses to bend the knee and instead, asks for help in fighting the Army of the Dead. Not only is Dany a bit skeptical, but she remains focused on ruling the Seven Kingdoms. In other words…

5. …Dany remains focused on ruling a graveyard. Like I mentioned in last week’s recap, Jon is at a disadvantage because he has no proof of what he saw beyond-the-Wall. Ser Davos tries to convince Dany that she and Jon are not that different when it comes to destiny and people believing in them. He mentions that Jon took a knife in the heart for his people, but Jon stops him short of revealing his resurrection. Despite Tyrion’s efforts, Jon still refuses to bend the knee, which Dany views as an act of open rebellion. Before she can go any further, Varys interrupts with news of the sea battle from the last episode and dismisses Jon and Ser Davos. From there, the Spider assumes that Ellaria, the Sand Snakes and the Greyjoys are dead or captured. However…

6. …Theon is still alive. One of the Ironborn ships that escaped the battle hauls Theon on board. He tells them that he tried to save Yara, but they don’t believe him. As the last remaining Greyjoy, Theon is going to have to step up and become a leader if he has any hope of turning this around. Speaking of Greyjoys…

7. …Euron is basking in the glory, and I love it! Everything this guy says is hilarious! I have to be honest. This is making me hard. Did you see little Theon’s face before he jumped overboard? Oh no! What a twat. I love this guy! But as for Ellaria and Tyene…

8. …they got what they deserve. All that was missing on that walk to the Red Keep was Septa Unella and that “shame” bell. Ellaria spits towards Cersei, which she might as well do because she was going to die regardless. Might as well get it all out, right? After Cersei accepts the gift…

9. …Euron continues to taunt Jaime. A finger in the bum? We don’t deserve such a great villain. In all seriousness, Euron and Jaime will boil over at some point. Speaking of which…

10. …the Queen finally gets justice. To be fair, I did like my idea of a Rickard/Brandon Stark redux, but this works too. Cersei got to stunt on a helpless Ellaria and poison Tyene the same way she poisoned Myrcella. As I predicted, Tyene’s last words were “Mama!” Shout out to Indira Varma (Ellaria) and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers (Tyene), as both did a fantastic job on the close-up shots in this scene.

11. Tycho Nestoris is back! The Iron Bank had to come back into play because as Tyrion said in Season 3, “…they always get their gold back.” Unfortunately, they will not get back some of their gold due to the end of slavery in Slaver’s Bay a.k.a. the Bay of Dragons. Cersei was smart to point this out, and it seems that she managed to convince the Iron Bank to invest in her cause. This is another big loss for Dany, and speaking of losses…

12. …more Jon and Tyrion! These two are great together, especially in this moment because they are both “brooding” over their failures. Tyrion tells Jon that Dany “protects people from monsters,” just as Jon did when he let the wildlings south of the Wall. He also tells him to ask for something more reasonable…

13. …like dragonglass. Tyrion convinces Dany to let Jon mine the dragonglass, as it might help create a new alliance. However, they did stop short of talking about Jon “taking a knife in the heart for his people.” I would be shocked if that was not revisited at some point this season. It’s also unknown if Dany believes that Army of the Dead and the Night King are real. Nevertheless, she lets Jon mine the dragonglass anyway, which helps the north tremendously. Speaking of which…

14. …ugh… Sansa is in charge. I’ll admit, the leather on the armor was a good call. But still, this has bad idea written all over it for one reason, and one reason only…

15. …Littlefinger a.k.a. Phil Jackson. Don’t fight in the north, or the south. Fight every battle, everywhere, always, in your mind. Everyone is you enemy. Everyone is your friend. Every possible series of events is happening all at once. Live that way, and nothing will surprise you. Everything that happens will be something that you’ve seen before. That sounded like a Phil Jackson/Zen Master-like pep talk from the 2000 NBA Finals. Earlier in the scene, Littlefinger also seemed intrigued at Maester Wolkan’s comment about Maester Luwin keeping copies of every raven scroll. I assume that will be very important in the next couple of episodes, as Littlefinger is bound to get his hands on information that he should not own. Maybe he’ll find out something about Jon’s birth? But as for the Phil Jackson speech, that last line is very important because…

16. …Bran is back in Winterfell! This was another fantastic reunion, but you can’t help but notice Bran’s stone-cold expression when Sansa embraces him. That continues in the godswood when he is trying to explain what being the “Three-Eyed Raven” means. On top of talking like a robot, Bran brings up Sansa’s wedding night in Season 5, which makes her uneasy and forces her to leave. Everything that happens will be something that you’ve seen before. I imagine she’ll have to talk to someone about this, and I really hope it isn’t Littlefinger. Meanwhile, at the Citadel…

17. …the greyscale is gone! Ser Jorah does still have some nasty-looking skin, but its way better than what it was before. Samwell and Jorah leave on, “Perhaps our paths will cross again,” which likely means that they will meet again. That evening…

18. …Archmaester Ebrose grills Samwell. It’s easy to forget that Samwell could have gotten infected with greyscale and endangered everyone at the Citadel. When Ebrose asked how he succeeded at such a meticulous procedure, Samwell basically goes to his signature, “I read it in a book,” line. His reward for saving a man’s life? Copying manuscripts and old scrolls. While it seems like a raw deal on the surface, I assume that Samwell will discover something important while doing this tedious task. Meanwhile…

19. …Dorne is descending into chaos. They didn’t show Varys saying this in the episode, but it is in the official synopsis on HBO’s website. With no important characters in that region, it’s unlikely that we’ll re-visit Dorne again. As for the attack on Casterly Rock…

20. Grey Worm and the Unsullied succeed! I loved the call backs during this scene. Remember when Tyrion told Varys about rebuilding the sewers in Season 2? Well, Grey Worm and his men used a secret passage to invade from the inside and take the Rock. I especially loved when Tyrion said, “…as a good friend of mine once said, ‘give me 10 good men… and I’ll impregnate the bitch.'” You may remember that friend from Season 1. Unfortunately for Grey Worm, though…

21. …Jaime was one step ahead. He knew that without the gold, Casterly Rock was worthless. So he let the Unsullied take the Rock and had Euron burn their ships so they would be forced to march all the way across Westeros. Jaime learned from his mistake in Season 1 against Robb at Whispering Wood and took most of his forces to take Highgarden…

22. …where Olenna awaited her fate. This was, easily, the best scene of the episode. As always, Diana Rigg’s performance was absolutely spot-on. Like the champion her character is, Olenna gets the last word and admits that she was the one who killed Joffrey. In the moment, it was really exciting, but now that I think about it, how does this information really change things? It won’t turn Jaime against Cersei, because he and his sister still hate Tyrion for killing their father. Could it change the way Cersei views Sansa? Granted, the show may not intend for this information to change events or characters in Season 7, but it was still awesome to see Olenna play her last card and go out like a champ. It also shows how revenge is dangerous to those who seek it. Ellaria and Olenna both wanted revenge for the deaths of their loved ones, and both paid the price in this episode.

23. Okay… now to GoT’s biggest flaw. The show is going way too fast at the moment. To be fair, with ten episodes remaining in the series, they have to go fast. But as a fan and reader of A Song of Ice and Fire, I can’t help but wonder how some of the events that occurred in this episode would look if the show had more time. Granted, this complaint of mine harkens back to Season 5 when the show passed the books in terms of the timeline. For instance, would the show have included characters like Arianne Martell, Jon Connington and Victarion Greyjoy if they were given more time? I would think so. As for this episode, Jon and Dany at Dragonstone could probably take up four to six episodes in a normal Game of Thrones season. However, it looks like it will only take two episodes. Does the show kill off Ellaria and Olenna in a different way? It seems like they kind of just sent them to the naughty corner to die. To me, it seems like they’re cutting corners and maybe with more time, they could have fleshed out both death scenes a bit more. After all, we didn’t see either of them actually die. As for Jaime, one minute he is in bed with Cersei, and the next he’s in the Reach about to invade Highgarden. One minute, Euron is in King’s Landing, and the next he’s sailed all the way around the bottom of Westeros in less than one episode to attack Dany’s fleet at Casterly Rock. The show is going too fast, but again, you can’t really blame them. I just can’t help but think about how much better the show would be if David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wanted to take more time. But of course, they have to go work on that stupid “Confederate” show, because that’s a good idea, right?

Anyway, enough of my ranting. Here’s what to expect for next week:

1. The Field of Fire Redux! I talked about this in my Season 7 preview. Here is the promo picture on HBO’s website for Episode 4, titled “The Spoils of War”:

(HBO)

Keep in mind that they didn’t show any scenes from the sea battle in the episode two promo. There’s nothing in this week’s promo that would suggest a huge battle, so if that is any indication, I think it’s safe to say that Dany will heed Olenna’s words and unleash her dragons.

2. Jon and Dany explore the dragonglass mountain. If they’re going to take the time to show us the dragonglass mountain, I would have to think that there is another important object that they will discover. Maybe the Targaryens already crafted dragonglass weapons? What about Valyrian steel? Who knows, but something other than dragonglass is down there.

3. Is Theon on the shores of Dragonstone? I would think that’s where his men would go. If that is the case, I would love to see what Jon does if he sees Theon. Will he kill him, or will Dany, who is in need of allies at the moment, protect him?

4. Arya is almost home! She can see, and maybe even smell, Winterfell. Just keep going, Arya!

5. Where is the Brotherhood Without Banners? What about Gendry and the Night’s Watch? We haven’t seen Beric, Thoros, the Hound, Edd or Tormund since Episode 1, and Gendry is still out there somewhere. I would think episode four or five is when we will receive an update on the status of these characters. After all, the Night King continues to march toward Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. It seems like that will be the last big action set piece of Season 7, and something that the show will continue to build towards. Again, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Let me know what you think about the episode in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131! As always, thanks for reading!

Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 2 Recap

*READ MY GOT SEASON 7 EPISODE 1 RECAP HERE*

*SPOILERS FROM THE SHOW AND THE “A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE” BOOKS WILL BE DISCUSSED IN THIS POST! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!*

Gods, what an episode.

Shall we begin?

1. Daenerys Stormborn vs. Varys! I discussed this in my recap of episode one. This is a conversation that I have waited for since the first season. To be fair, Dany absolutely had to question the loyalty of Varys, since he did send the order to have her killed by the wine merchant in Season 1. On the other hand, Varys did what he had to do to stay alive and carry out his plans. Not to mention, him and Illyrio essentially funded the Targaryen restoration. I believe Varys will stay loyal to Dany because if he doesn’t…

2. …Dany will burn him alive. This has “Mad King” written all over it. Of course, that is not a road that one should travel down. Speaking of burning people alive…

3. Melisandre is back. As you may have read in my character predictions, I am not a fan of a person who burns innocent people alive, let alone a little girl. Nonetheless, Melisandre does tell Dany that the Long Night is coming and only the “prince who was promised” can save them. Obviously, Dany is not a “prince.” However, as many fans have speculated for years…

4. …”Azor Ahai” is genderless! Missandei informs Dany that “prince” is genderless in High Valyrian, and could refer to a prince or princess. This is huge information because Melisandre then states that she believes Dany has “a role to play, as does another.” Who could she possibly be talking about?

5. THE KING IN THE NORTH! This is the first time that Dany has ever heard of Jon Snow. Having befriended Jon way back in Season 1, Tyrion believes that the King in the North could make a valuable ally. So Dany invites Jon to Dragonstone to bend the knee.

6. Yeah… right. Jon is not worried about who will rule Westeros after this war. Not to mention, the idea of traveling to a place with the Unsullied, a Dothraki horde and three dragons seems a bit dangerous. Jon and Sansa are correct on that part, but Ser Davos does bring up a good point.

7. Fire kills wights. This is Game of Thrones planting the seed, maybe for future episodes? We shall see.

8. Meanwhile, Cersei has gone full #fakenews. No, Dany’s dragons did not burn and eat the masters of Slaver’s Bay. It’s clearly a fear tactic to unite the lords of Westeros against the Mad King’s daughter. One of the lords Cersei summoned to King’s Landing was Randyll Tarly, and knowing this…

9. …Jaime makes his move. Knowing that House Tarly has influence over the other houses of the Reach, Jaime wants Randyll to become his “ranking general in the wars to come.” It seems like Randyll is ready to decline, but Jaime then pulls out the “foreign invaders” card and hangs the “Warden of the South” title to sweeten the deal. Knowing how Randyll treated a foreigner last season, it makes sense that him and his son, Rickon(?), will accept Jaime’s offer to fight on his side. Speaking of Tarlys…

10. …Samwell might as well give up on Ser Friendzone. That greyscale looked awful. Archmaester Ebrose gives Jorah 10 to 20 years to live, but six months until his mind is overtaken. He kindly gives Jorah one day before shipping him off to Valyria to live with the Stone Men, which I do not think will happen. But speaking of Valyria…

11. Cersei now has the weapon to take down dragons. It was awesome to see some of the skulls of old Targaryen dragons, especially Aegon the Conqueror’s dragon, Balerion the Dread. Qyburn points out that dragons are vulnerable, as shown by Drogon’s wounds suffered at the Great Pit of Daznak. He then reveals a huge scorpion loaded with a steel-headed bolt, which then cracks the skull of Balerion the Dread. This could be a huge problem for Dany, moreso than…

12. …her Westerosi allies. Yara Greyjoy, Ellaria Sand and Olenna Tyrell all want revenge, so of course they believe that attacking King’s Landing is the right move. They are not looking at the big picture, which is what Dany and Tyrion are doing. Instead of foolishly attacking the capital and potentially killing innocents, Tyrion suggests surrounding King’s Landing by using the Dornish/Greyjoy fleet as well as the Tyrell forces. Meanwhile, Grey Worm and the Unsullied will assault Casterly Rock and take it. Everyone agrees to the plan, but Olenna gives Dany some advice.

13. You’re a dragon. Be a dragon. I imagine this is similar advice that Margaery received from Olenna around the time she married Renly Baratheon. You’re a rose. Be a rose. That would explain Margaery’s benevolent, cunning demeanor hidden underneath all of her innocent beauty. As Olenna explains, she has outlived all the “clever men” because she’s ignored them. She tells Daenerys to ignore Tyrion and unleash her inner dragon. I love Lady Olenna, but I don’t know if that is the wisest advice for an aspiring queen of Westeros.

14. I JUST WANT HAPPINESS FOR GREY WORM AND MISSANDEI! Grey Worm’s speech was absolutely beautiful and Missandei reciprocates those strong feelings with a kiss. Whatever happens after that is none of my concern. I just want happiness for them. That’s it.

15. Did you catch the “A Song of Ice and Fire” foreshadowing? Archmaester Ebrose says, I’m not writing a chronicle of the wars after the death of King Robert I so it can sit on a shelf unread. What? You don’t like the title? What would you call it? Samwell responds, Possibly something a bit more poetic? *wink wink* Anyway, Samwell asks Ebrose about a past procedure on advanced greyscale, but the Archmaester says it is too dangerous. So what does Samwell do?

16. He tries it on Jorah anyway. Samwell felt obligated to attempt the procedure, being that Jorah is his former lord commander’s son. Unfortunately, Samwell had to peel away Jorah’s infected skin, which looked so disgusting and painful. That transition into the pie was so cruel, and speaking of pies…

17. …HOT PIE IS BACK! He asks his old friend, Arry (a.k.a. Arya) if Brienne of Tarth ever found her and what eventually happened to her after that. Arya’s reaction is a repeat of what she did last week when the Lannister soldiers asked why she was going to King’s Landing. It’s almost as if she’s drinking to keep hold of her “faceless man” persona and stay focused on exacting revenge on all of her enemies. It doesn’t stay that way for long, as Hot Pie tells her that Jon Snow took Winterfell from the Boltons. After hearing that…

18. …Arya begins traveling north! A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I’m going home. Go Arya! Run and never look back!

19. Jon receives Samwell’s dragon glass raven. He uses that as leverage to tell his northern lords that he must accept Tyrion’s invitation to Dragonstone. Of course…

20. …Sansa is a whiny little girl. Once again, Sansa is not using her brain. You want to know why their grandfather, Rickard Stark, accepted the Mad King’s invitation to King’s Landing? Because his daughter was supposedly “taken” by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and the Mad King imprisoned his son. What was he supposed to do, sit in Winterfell and do nothing about it?

21. Jon Snow is on an island. Of course, “Bronze” Yohn Royce, Robett Glover and Lyanna Mormont all agree with Sansa. You know why Robb marched south? Because the Lannisters killed his father and held his sister, the same sister who is against going south, as a hostage. Again, was Robb supposed to sit in Winterfell and do nothing? Sansa, Littlefinger, and the rest of the northern lords have never seen the army of the dead. They have never killed a White Walker. They have never seen the Night King. Only Jon knows what they are up against, so trying to convince the others to fight his war is tough when they don’t know what they’re up against. Thankfully, Jon ignores their pleas and decides to go to Dragonstone anyway, but he leaves…

22. …Sansa in charge of the north. This is one of the worst ideas in Game of Thrones history. This screams Littlefinger persuading Sansa to fight his war and marching South to take the Iron Throne. One way or another, Sansa will screw up all of Jon’s plans, likely by taking the knights of the Vale south to fight in a different war. This is not going to end well for anyone…

23. …especially Littlefinger. It was obvious that Littlefinger would say something to drive Jon into grabbing him by the throat. I did not think that it would be, I love Sansa, as I did her mother. It seems a bit bold of Littlefinger to tell Jon, off all people, his feelings for Sansa. Jon leaves Littlefinger with, Touch my sister and I’ll kill you myself. I have no doubt that he will, but will Littlefinger heed this warning? I highly doubt it. Anyway, Jon and Ser Davos leave Winterfell and ride off to White Harbor. Hopefully, they don’t run into…

24. …NYMERIA! In the books, there were many hints that Nymeria was “a she-wolf of monstrous size,” leading a pack of wolves in and around the Riverlands. Well, this moment between Arya and Nymeria basically confirms that theory. Arya asks her direwolf to return to Winterfell with her, but Nymeria steps back into the woods with her pack. Arya reacts by saying…

25. That’s not you. To be clear, that is Nymeria. According to D.B. Weiss, the quote is a direct reference to Season 1 when Arya’s father, Ned, was telling her about her future life of as a lady of a castle who marries a noble lord and wears pretty dresses. Arya’s response? “That’s not me.” Arya is not domesticated, so it makes sense that Nymeria wouldn’t be either. Arya would have done the same thing if she was in Nymeria’s shoes. Props to Maisie Williams as well. The change of expressions on her face after Nymeria walks away was absolutely brilliant.

25. Sea battle time! As soon as I saw the Greyjoy ships, I knew the sea battle was coming up. But before we get to that, I must say…

26. I hate the Sand Snakes. However, do take note of Obarra and Nym mocking Tyene when they say “Mama!” Okay, now that I got that out-of-the-way, let’s get to it!

27. GO EURON GO! This guy an absolute beast. The entrance he made when the kracken head came down on Yara’s ship was one of the greatest things I have ever seen. Right from the start, it’s clear that he has the numbers and the firepower to pull this off this attack. Euron instantly became one of the my favorite characters…

28. …WHEN HE KILLED TWO SAND SNAKES! WITH THEIR OWN WEAPONS! This calls for a celebratory song.

29. The Sand Snakes were the worst thing to ever happen to Game of Thrones. Should’ve casted Arianne Martell from the beginning, but I digress. From there, Euron’s men capture Ellaria and Tyene, confirming that they will be the “gift” given to Cersei in the next episode. I’ll get to that in a moment. Meanwhile…

30. Uncle Euron wants a kiss. Easily the funniest line of the entire episode. He eventually overpowers Yara and calls over Theon to save his sister. But in typical Theon Greyjoy fashion…

31. …he panics and jumps overboard. To be fair, you can’t blame Theon for running from the situation. For one, he was probably going to die if he tried to attack Euron. Granted, he did bail on his only sibling, which is not a good look, but keep in mind all that Theon has gone through. This was very similar to when Yara tried to rescue him from the Dreadfort in Season 3. Theon denied her, knowing that Ramsay would continue to torture him and potentially kill him if he decided to escape. Theon just can’t, suddenly, forget what happened to him when he was Reek. That will stay with him for the rest of his life. Seeing Euron’s sadistic face combined with all the carnage around him, it’s perfectly understandable that Theon would panic and run. Also, shout out to Pilou Asbæk for his incredible psychotic laugh after Theon jumped overboard.

Here’s what to expect for next week:

1. Euron brings the “gift” to Cersei. Again, the gift will be Ellaria and Tyene. Who knows what Euron will do to Yara, but let’s focus on the Sand Snakes.

2. Expect a repeat of Rickard and Brandon Stark. As I mentioned before, the Mad King summoned Rickard to King’s Landing to answer for the crimes of his son, Brandon. He then demanded a trial by combat, expecting to fight one of the Kingsguard. However, the Mad King chose “fire” as his champion. He had Rickard suspended in the throne room while two pyromancers lit a fire beneath him. Brandon, with a noose tied around his neck and a sword just out of his reach, watched his father burn to death. As he reached for the sword to save his dying father, Brandon strangled himself and died. I think something like this will happen to Ellaria and Tyene next week. How heartbreaking would it be for Tyene to watch her mother burn alive as she screams out for her, similar to how Obara and Nym were mocking her before the sea battle? It also sets up nicely because…

3. …it would advance Bronn’s storyline. Remember when Tyene told Bronn, “Maybe I’ll come visit you?” There is a big crowd in the throne room for Euron’s arrival, so I think Bronn will be there when Euron presents Ellaria and Tyene to Cersei. If things play out like a repeat of Rickard and Brandon Stark, I can’t imagine Bronn will take that very well. Granted, the trailers show that he will fight alongside Jaime later in the season, but watching someone like Tyene die in such a cruel way would have to place some doubts in Bronn’s mind as to whether is he fighting for the right side.

4. The Unsullied attack Casterly Rock! I actually think this will be a relatively easy victory for the Unsullied. Once this happens, I think Cersei will send Jaime to take back their home. Like Robb said in Season 2, “How can I call myself king if I can’t hold my own castle?” Roose Bolton’s response? “You are a king, and that means you don’t have to do everything yourself.”

5. Jaime and Randyll Tarly will capture Highgarden. If the Dornish fall, it only makes sense for Highgarden to fall as well. Not only would this provide food and livestock for the Lannisters, but this would also foil Tyrion’s plan of attacking King’s Landing with a Westerosi army. As a result, Dany will have to take the Iron Throne with her foreign army, which will play to the advantage of Cersei. After all, who wants to fight alongside a Dothraki horde?

6. The King in the North meets the Mother of Dragons. This is the meeting everybody wants to see. Read my Season 7 preview for my thoughts on this matter.

Let me know what you think about the episode in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131! As always, thanks for reading!

Game of Thrones Season 7: Weeks Ahead Comic Con Preview

*READ MY GOT SEASON 7 PREVIEW HERE*

*READ MY GOT SEASON 7 EPISODE 1 RECAP HERE*

God bless Comic Con. New Game of Thrones trailer. Let’s go.

(I already discussed some of the preview shots, like Jon strangling Littlefinger, in the two posts above, so check those out for my thoughts on those situations.)

(HBO)

1. House Tarly aligns with the Lannisters. Yup, that’s Samwell’s father, Randyll, and brother, Dickon, in the throne room with Cersei. I previously talked about Randyll in my character predictions, but silly me, I thought he would align with Daenerys since Horn Hill is a vassel house of the Tyrells. House Tarly is probably aligning with Cersei because the Targaryens failed Randyll during Robert’s Rebellion. It makes sense, but it’s worth noting that Randyll has a history of ending up on the losing side.

2. Jon wants Dany’s dragonfire. I assume Jon received Samwell’s raven from the Citadel about the dragon glass mountain below Dragonstone. Not to mention, Dany has three dragons that could prove very useful against the army of the dead. However, as “Bronze” Yohn Royce points out, “A Targaryen cannot be trusted.” He lived during Robert’s Rebellion, as did many of the northern lords, so it’s understandable why they would be wary of the Mad King’s daughter.

(HBO)

3. Melisandre and Varys! I can’t wait to see this conversation! Back in Season 3, Varys told the story of his castration by a sorcerer and how he heard a voice in the flames as his “parts” burned in the fire. But the sorcerer called and a voice answered, and ever since that day, I have hated magic and all those who practice it. But you can see why I was eager to aid in your fight against Stannis and his red priestess. A symbolic revenge of sorts. In addition, the red priestess from last season, Kinvara, also seemed to know more about what Varys heard in the flames. Maybe Melisandre knows more about that voice as well. Whatever they talk about, I’m sure it will make for a fascinating conversation.

(HBO)

4. Jon and Ser Davos go to Dragonstone. I know it was widely assumed, but this shot is just confirmation. That is clearly Jon and Ser Davos being escorted up to the castle by the Dothraki.

(HBO)

5. Melisandre believes Dany has a role to play. Melisandre knows Jon is the “prince that was promised” and she knows about the threat looming beyond-the-Wall. Now seeing Dany and her dragons, I think Melisandre is starting to connect the dots in terms of who will play an important role in defeating the Night King. Obviously, the big task for Melisandre, as well as Jon and Ser Davos, will be convincing Dany and her advisors that defeating the Night King is more important than claiming the Iron Throne. Considering Dany’s ambitions as well as the goals of her close allies, I imagine that it will be difficult.

Let me know what you think about the new preview in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131! As always, thanks for reading!

Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 1 Recap

*CLICK HERE TO READ MY GAME OF THRONES SEASON 7 PREDICTIONS*

Coming off two of the most action-packed episodes in history of the show, this episode was a bit more laid back. For the most part, it just focused on the aftermath of “Winds of Winter.” I wouldn’t say it exceeded my expectations, but there were still some great moments.

Here we go…

1. Winter came for House Frey. I’ll be honest, I thought the cold open was a flashback of some sort, but once I saw the poison wine, I knew that Walder Frey was actually Arya. Props to David Bradley, the actor that portrayed Lord Frey, because as the speech went on, you could start to see those subtle changes in his character that eventually led to the unveiling of Arya. It was a wonderful cold open, but all of it was soon quickly overshadowed by…

2. …DEAD GIANT WIGHTS! The CG work on this scene was spectacular. The whole time, you could see a faint shadow of the Night King, which then quickly turns into a winter storm masking the movements of the army of the dead. #itsawrap for Westeros. The Night King is coming…

3. …and Bran knows it. They finally make it to the Wall and Bran showcases his newfound knowledge to Lord Commander Dolorous Edd by rattling of the history of his character. He then allow the strangers in and you know Meera had to have been like, “Thank the gods I don’t have to drag that damn sled anymore.” But yeah, it’s a matter of time before the Night’s Watch falls to the Night King. After all, the Wall and the Night’s Watch are the first line of defense against the dead…

4. …and Jon Snow knows that. As expected, Jon is all-in on fighting the Night King. He informs the lords about dragon glass and sends the free folk to man the abandoned Night’s Watch castles along the Wall, with Tormund at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. Both were good moves on Jon’s part, but of course…

5. …Sansa has to try to ruin everything. Sansa is mad that Jon is letting the Umbers and Karstarks keep their lands despite aligning with Ramsay. She thinks that they should give their castles to new families who supported Jon from the beginning. Keep in mind… the Umbers have always had a deep hatred for wildlings, the people Jon had just let through the wall at the time. Not to mention, Sansa’s brother, Robb, the previous King in the North, executed Rickard Karstark. Of course both families were going to side with the Boltons. Jon listening to any advice from Sansa has “bad idea” written all over it. Besides…

6. …she admires Cersei. I learned a great deal from her. Yeah, about flowering and loving fewer people and using what’s between the legs as a weapon. Speaking of which…

7. …Cersei has gone off the deep end. It’s clear they’re trying to plant seeds of a rift between Cersei and Jaime, as shown by their discussion over dynasties and Tommen’s suicide. He can tell that she wants to grieve, but Cersei knows that will weaken her and start a downward spiral. Unfortunately, that spiral seems to have already begun. The Lannisters have no more allies after the death of the Freys and Jaime knows that they need help to win this war. So what does Cersei do?

8. SHE ALIGNS WITH EURON CROW’S EYE! Props to Pilou Asbæk, the actor who portrays Euron, because he not only came with the college jock outfit, but he came with the jokes! The thought of a Cersei/Euron alliance should scare the seven hells out of everyone in Westeros. After all, these are the two craziest, insane rulers in the Seven Kingdoms…

9. …and Jaime knows that. Obviously, he disapproves of Euron. The look on his face when Euron said, “So here I am, with a thousand ships and two hands,” was priceless! This dynamic could be a problem while also further expediting the rift between Cersei and Jaime this season. However, he could come around to this alliance…

10. …when Euron brings back that “gift.” My guess is that he brings back the Sand Snakes and Ellaria Sand, the same person who sent a “gift” to Cersei back in Season 5 and killed her daughter, Myrcella. Maybe Euron brings back a Greyjoy or two for his enjoyment as well. Either way, I sense some sort of repeat of the “Mad King/Rickard Stark” situation that started Robert’s Rebellion.

11. Poor Samwell Tarly. That montage was easily the funniest part of the episode. It all eventually set up Sam’s interest in the gated section of restricted books, which he thinks possesses valuable information on the White Walkers. Unfortunately, no maester believes Samwell…

12. …except for Archmaester Ebrose. It appears that Jim Broadbent is #TeamWall, which likely means that the Wall will not save everyone from the Night King and the army of the dead. So with no other option, Samwell takes a maester’s key and steals books from the restricted area. He had to do it.

13. I hate Littlefinger. You know what he wants, Brienne? The governor’s chair at the Maryland state house.

14. ED SHEERAN! I think when this is all over, Sheeran and Bronn need to put on a concert for all of Westeros. Of course, it will have to take place after…

15. …Arya kills the queen. It appears Arya is sticking to her list after all. I have absolutely no idea how she will kill Cersei, but speaking of that list…

16. …I love the Brotherhood Without Banners. In my opinion, there is no trio on the entire show more charismatic and funny than Sandor Clegane, Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr. The Brotherhood took shelter at the same farmhouse that the Hound and Arya stayed at before stealing the father’s silver. After seeing the skeletons of that man and his daughter, the Hound feels guilty, something he’s really never experience before. The only way he knows how to cope with this is to bury their bodies, which just shows how much his characters has changed. The Hound has always hated religion, as shown when he stumbles through the prayer for the father and his daughter, but he can’t deny the truth of what he has seen. He saw Thoros raise Beric from the dead and now…

17. …he saw the army of the dead in the flames! The Hound literally sees the Night King and company traveling to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. He has a bigger role to play and I can’t wait for the show to explore his character more this season.

18. Samwell (finally) remembered Dragonstone. He knew dragon glass could kill White Walkers, but to my surprise, he forgot that Stannis told him that there was mountains of it at Dragonstone. Of course, he has to tell Jon right away. Too bad he can’t tell Jon about…

19. SER FRIENDZONE! Ser Jorah is at the Citadel, and boy, that greyscale looks awful. How did he get there? Did he go there willingly? Did someone else capture him and bring him there? I’m sure we’ll find out in future episodes. Anyway, Jorah, of course, wants an update on the whereabouts of Daenerys Stormborn. Unfortunately, Samwell doesn’t have one, but I’m sure he will soon because…

20. Daenerys is home! By far the best scene of the episode. The shots of Dragonstone, the dragons, the walk-up to the castle, the throne room, the map table… everything was spectacular. What made this scene great as well was eliminating dialogue. Even loquacious Tyrion Lannister did not say a word because he, along with Grey Worm, Missandei and Varys, wanted Dany to experience this for herself. She’s home! This is the moment we have waited for since the first episode. Also, that had to have been the easiest paycheck those actors have ever gotten.

21. “Shall we begin?” Yes. We. Shall.

Things to expect for next week:

1. Everyone will make plans. News of Dany landing at Dragonstone will spread quickly across the Seven Kingdoms. By the end of next week’s episode, I’m sure each group will have a rough plan of their next move. Jon Snow and Ser Davos will likely head to Dragonstone, while Dany and Cersei will have their battle plans ready.

2. I think I saw a quick shot of the Sand Snakes. Gods, I hate the Sand Snakes. Please kill them off next week. Thank you.

3. That’s not Nymeria… right? It seems so out of character for Game of Thrones to show a huge reunion in the preview for next week’s episode. That seems too easy.

3 Ladies and gentlemen… Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand! Where else are you going to find Balon Greyjoy’s daughter getting it on with the Red Viper’s paramour?

4. Daenerys and Varys. This is a conversation that I have waited to see for a very long time. Varys and his pal, Illyrio, are the two people who have funded this whole Targaryen restoration. Yet, Varys has attempted to assassinate Dany in the past, and she knows this. However, Tyrion does say that Varys had to do it to stay alive and has done thing that he did not need to do to protect Daenerys. I can’t wait to see these two interact, as I’m sure we’ll gain even more insight on why Varys has done these things.

5. Jon strangling Littlefinger! I hope he chops off Littlefinger’s head and sends it to Baltimore City Hall.

Let me know what you think about the episode in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131! As always, thanks for reading!

Game of Thrones Returns Tonight! What to Expect In Season 7

HBO’s Game of Thrones returns tonight at 9 p.m. ET for its seventh season! Over the past three months, I’ve made predictions for every main character and creature on the show. You can find all of those posts below.

Part I: Robin Arryn, Jaqen H’ghar
Part II: Euron Greyjoy, Daario Naharis, Eddison “Edd” Tollett
Part III: Melisandre, Ser Jorah Mormont, Gendry
Part IV: Bran Stark, Meera Reed, Benjen Stark, The Night King
Part V: Samwell Tarly, Gilly and Little Sam, Randyll Tarly
Part VI: Jon Snow, Ser Davos Seaworth, Sansa Stark, Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, Tormund Giantsbane, Wyman Manderly, Robett Glover, Cley Cerwyn, Lyanna Mormont, “Bronze” Yohn Royce
Part VII: Ellaria Sand, The Sand Snakes, Olenna Tyrell
Part VIII: Drogon, Rhaegal, Viserion, Ghost
Part IX: Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Varys, Missandei, Grey Worm, Theon Greyjoy, Yara Greyjoy
Part X: Arya Stark, Brienne of Tarth, Podrick Payne, The Hound, Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, Edmure Tully
Part XI: Queen Cersei Lannister, Ser Jaime Lannister, The Mountain, Qyburn, Bronn

So now that I’ve touched on each character, it’s time to predict the potential plot points of Season 7 by drawing information from the two trailers.

TRAILER #1 (from May 24)

TRAILER #2 (from June 21)

So here’s what you should expect this season on Game of Thrones:

Daenerys Returning Home to Dragonstone!

(HBO)

I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms… and I will.

This is what we’ve been waiting for since Season 1. Daenerys will return to her ancestral home while also building a wall around Cersei and King’s Landing. In the first trailer, we see Dany sitting on the throne ready to receive someone. Could it be…

Melisandre Also Returning to Dragonstone!

(HBO)

Why is Melisandre at Dragonstone? It could be that it’s a familiar place and she had nowhere else to go. I’m sure we’ll find out early, likely in the first episode.

A Greyjoy Sea Battle!

(HBO)

Towards the end of the second trailer, we see a quick shot of Euron Greyjoy attacking one of Theon and Yara’s soldiers. It’s hard to predict who will come out on top in this battle, but later in the second trailer, we see a person that looks like Theon kneeling down in the sand. There is also two quick shots of Euron’s fleet riding towards King’s Landing, so maybe he captured Yara and brought her to Cersei for a potential alliance?

The Return of the Flaming Sword!

(HBO)

By far, the best shot of the two trailers.

Ser Davos and Jon Snow Plead Their Case To Daenerys

(HBO)

If we don’t put aside our enmities and band together, we will die. And then it doesn’t matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne.

For centuries, our families fought together against their common enemy. Despite their differences. Together. We need to the same if we are gonna survive. ‘Cause the enemy is real. It’s always been real.

We know Jon and Davos are all about taking down the Night King and the White Walkers. Based on the color of the background behind Davos in the shot above, it looks like he’s in the Dragonstone throne room. With that being said, I predict that Jon and Davos will travel to Dragonstone to try to convince Dany to work together to stop the White Walkers. From there, I assume Dany would want Jon to swear fealty to her as ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, to which Jon will likely decline, or something along those lines. Whatever happens there, Dany will shrug off the “White Walker” situation and turn her focus back to taking the Iron Throne.

Jon Snow Strangling Littlefinger!

(HBO)

By far, the most exciting shot of the first trailer. Based on his conversation and facial expressions to Sansa in the Season 6 finale, Littlefinger is not a supporter of Jon Snow as the King in the North. From the background, it looks like this is taking place in the crypts of Winterfell. It makes sense for Jon to go down there, but why is Littlefinger there? What would make Jon strangle Littlefinger? It’s worth noting that this is also a mirror image of Ned strangling Littlefinger back in Season 1. My guess is that Littlefinger says something like, “You’re not Ned Stark’s son. You don’t have the claim you think you do.” We’ll see what happens from there.

Grey Worm and Missandei…Getting it On?

(HBO)

Look, I just want happiness for them. I won’t ask questions.

The Unsullied Attacking Casterly Rock!

(HBO)

Based on the color of the stone and the Lannister symbols all around, we can assume that the Unsullied are infiltrating Casterly Rock, the ancestral home of the Lannisters. From the looks of it, the Unsullied will gain the upper hand. It would be great to see Tyrion take back the castle that his rightfully his while also leaving his siblings with nowhere to run.

Bran and Meera Making It To the Wall!

(HBO)

Will they stay at the Wall or will they travel south to Winterfell? Between the two trailers, there are very few shots of Bran and Meera, which makes me believe that Bran will play a pivotal role at some point.

Arya Traveling… Somewhere

(HBO)

If you look to Arya’s left, there is frost on the ground, so it’s safe to assume that: a) she is traveling north or b) winter has reached the Riverlands, which is where we last saw her. Like Bran, there is very little footage of Arya in the two trailers. It seems like the show is trying to keep her next destination a secret. Could she be heading back to Winterfell?

The Field of Fire II

Enemies to the east. Enemies to the west. Enemies to the south. Enemies to the North. Whatever stands in our way… we will defeat it…

(HBO)

HISTORY LESSON! The “Field of Fire” was a major battle that took place during Aegon I Targaryen’s (a.k.a. Aegon the Conquerer) conquest of Westeros. The battle took place in the northern part of the Reach. Opposing Aegon and his sisters, Rhaenys and Visenya, were the 55,000 men of Loren I Lannister and Mern IX Gardener, then-King of the Reach. They had roughly five times as many men as the Targaryens, whose army mostly consisted of soldiers from the Riverlands. To make it up for their lack of numbers, Aegon and his sisters took to the air with their three dragons, Balerion, Meraxes and Vhaegar, and set the dry field aflame on all sides. About 4,000 men burned to death, including King Gardner and his entire family. In the end, Loren bent the knee to Aegon and named him Warden of the West.

Okay… so how does that apply to the present day? Well, Dany obviously has the dragons to burn the field aflame, which it looks Drogon does pretty easily. It’s unknown who will join which side and how many soldiers each side has, but it will be interesting to see if this battle results in another Lannister bending the knee to a Targaryen. Also, what is Jaime charging at? He’s not that stupid to charge at a dragon, right?

Jon Snow and Others Traveling Beyond-the-Wall

The Great War… is here.

(HBO)

We see Jon Snow, Beric Dondarrion, and a tall figure, likely the Hound, surrounded by wights. There’s also shots of Jon and Tormund running away from something, a group of twelve men in a circle, and Jon fighting a White Walker. The two trailers make it clear that Jon and group of people will travel beyond the Wall to embark on some mission. What could that mission be?

Samwell Tarly Playing A Very, Very Important Role

Two trailers. ZERO shots of Samwell Tarly, who is at the Citadel training to become a maester. This leads me to believe that he does something pivotal to help Jon Snow’s effort to take down the Night King. I mean, he can’t just sit there and read for the entire season, right?

Jon Snow Becoming “The Last Hero”

(HBO)

When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.

HISTORY LESSON #2! I’ll let Old Nan tell you about this one:

*taken from George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones*

Now these were the days before the Andals came, and long before the women fled across the narrow sea from the cities of the Rhoyne, and the hundred kingdoms of those times were the kingdoms of the First Men, who had taken those lands from the children of the forest. Yet here and there in the fastness of the woods, the children still lived in their wooden cities and hollow hills, and the faces in the trees kept watch. So as cold and death filled the earth, the last hero determined to seek out the children, in the hopes that their ancient magics could win back what the armies of men had lost. He set out into the dead lands with a sword, a horse, a dog, and a dozen companions. For years he searched until he despaired of ever finding the children of the forest in their secret cities. One by one his friends died, and his horse, and finally even his dog, and his sword froze so hard the blade snapped when he tried to use it. And the Others smelled the hot blood in him and came silent on his trail, stalking him with packs of pale white spiders big as hounds…

This expedition took place during the Long Night and it’s unknown whether “the Last Hero” as any connection with Azor Ahai, a person who saves the world from darkness in legends of Essos. Shortly after this expedition, the Night’s Watch formed and went on to win the Battle of the Dawn. In the process, the generation-long winter came to an end and the “Others” retreated, possibly to the Land of Always Winter, which we get a glimpse of in Season 4. As for Old Nan’s story, let’s break down the key parts:

“…the last hero determined to seek out the children.” – In other words, someone (Samwell? Bran?) told Jon Snow about the children of the forest creating the White Walkers.

“…their ancient magics could win back what the armies of men had lost.” – This motivates Jon to embark on a mission north of the Wall to try to find the children so he can learn how to stop the Night King and save the world from inevitable death. That would be fantasy literature 101: creating the thing that is everyone’s undoing and finding a way to stop it.

“…a sword, a horse, a dog, and a dozen companions.” – Based on the details of the second trailer, it seems like the sword represents Beric and the dog represents the Hound. As for the horse, we see a figure, possibly Jon, riding a horse in retreat. We also see exactly twelve companions in the bird’s-eye view of the circle of men in the blizzard.

“One by one his friends died, and his horse, and finally even his dog, and his sword froze so hard the blade snapped when he tried to use it.” – Well, this is bad for everyone that goes on this mission with Jon. It seems like Beric will die, the Hound will die, and the horse carrying Jon will die. Like the last shot of the second trailer shows, Jon will be the last survivor. The last hero.

My only question? Where did all of that fire behind the army of wights come from? It couldn’t have all come from Beric’s sword, right? Could it be the children of the forest and those fireballs? Or… wait for it… does Dany finally see the light and ride north with Drogon to save Jon from the army of the dead?

Okay, I’m going to stop writing before this turns into a never-ending post.

I will be writing recaps for each episode of Season 7, so stay tuned for the first one tomorrow morning. Let me know what your predictions are for GoT Season 7 in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131! As always, thanks for reading!

Game of Thrones Season 7 Character Predictions: Part XI

*READ PART X OF MY GOT S7 CHARACTER PREDICTIONS HERE*

HBO’s Game of Thrones returns for its seventh season on July 16, 2017 (ONE MORE WEEK!). The season will be seven episodes long and each episode will have an extra 20-30 minutes of content to meet the usual 10 hours per season. Every Sunday leading up to the season premiere, I will be posting my Season 7 character predictions.

This week, I will make predictions for those now in King’s Landing.

KING’S LANDING

Queen Cersei Lannister

When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground. -Cersei Lannister, Season 1 Episode 7, “You Win Or You Die”

Not only did Cersei win the Game of Thrones last season, but she became the first woman in the history of Westeros to become the Queen of the Andals and Protector of the Seven Kingdoms.

Yet, it’s a foregone conclusion that her reign will likely be short. There are so many possibilities about how it could go down:

1. She could go down fighting against Daenerys Targaryen and her army.

2. She could kill herself before being taken by the “Dragon Queen”, similar to how she almost poisoned Tommen in Season 2 during the Battle of the Blackwater.

3. Her little brother, Tyrion Lannister, could fulfill the Valonqar prophecy and “choke the life” from Cersei.

4. Her twin brother, Jaime, could slay the “Mad Queen” the same way he slew the “Mad King” so many years before.

5. Arya Stark could swoop in out of nowhere and cross another name off her list.

Cersei’s death is inevitable. At this point, it’s just a matter of how and when.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: ZERO percent

Ser Jaime Lannister

There are no men like me. Only me. – Ser Jaime Lannister, Season 1 Episode 10, “Fire and Blood”

No character on Game of Thrones has a more complicated future than Jaime Lannister. In the Season 6 finale, he returned to King’s Landing to find the Sept of Baelor destroyed by wildfire. Jaime then walked into the throne room and watched Cersei’s coronation with a look of dread on his face.

Based on that information, you would think Jaime would be appalled at his sister’s actions. After all, she did exactly what the “Mad King” would have done had Jaime not intervened. Not to mention, her actions led to death of their son, King Tommen “Baratheon.”

But remember, this is Jaime Lannister we’re talking about. He may seem like a good man around the likes of Brienne of Tarth, but he is not above throwing children from towers or threatening to catapult them into castles. The only thing that keeps him going is his love for Cersei.

As I stated above, Cersei will die in Season 7. That doesn’t necessarily mean Jaime will die alongside her, Romeo-and-Juliet style. The show would be wise to explore the emotional fallout that comes from her death. Perhaps he will escape King’s Landing and wander the countryside, or maybe Brienne of Tarth will save his life in some form. Down the line, I would love to see him reunite with Bran Stark, the new Three-Eyed Raven, once he finds out how he fell from that tower.

There’s a chance Jaime could die in Season 7, but I’d put my money on him making it to Season 8.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 70 percent

Ser Gregor Clegane

I’d be a bloody fool if he didn’t frighten me. He’s freakish big and freakish strong. And quicker than you’d expect for a man of that size. -Bronn, Season 4 Episode 7, “Mockingbird”

Even before Qyburn turned the Mountain into a walking zombie in golden armor, the Mountain was invincible. To think, Oberyn Martell could have put him down once and for all.

I see three potential outcomes for the Mountain this season:

1. He could do a fantastic job of defending Cersei right until Dany and her dragons reign fire upon King’s Landing. Drogon lands on top of him and bites him in half.

2. Qyburn could control the Mountain to help him escape the city once he see that all hope is lost for Cersei.

3. The Mountain dies in the most epic fight in Game of Thrones history: Cleganebowl!

The show will not have much use for the Mountain after Cersei’s inevitable downfall. I’d put my money on options one or three.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 25 percent

Qyburn

The Citadel stripped me of it. They found some of my… experiments… too bold. -Qyburn, Season 3 Episode 5, “Kissed by Fire”

Qyburn is an interesting case.

Right now, his loyalty lies with Cersei, but how loyal is he? In other words, would he stand by Cersei until his last breath or flee if his side is losing? I’d lean towards the latter.

Just like Tywin Lannister at the end of Robert’s Rebellion, Qyburn could swear allegiance to the side who will win and keep him alive. Personally, I’d love to see him make it to the end. His pursuit of knowledge is a bit extreme, but he has essentially championed modern medicine in Game of Thrones. Who knows, that knowledge could come in handy against the White Walkers.

It all depends on Qyburn’s motives. He doesn’t seem like a man to stay loyal when there is no personal gain. Not to mention, his usefulness to Cersei will run out at some point.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 50 percent

Bronn

Jaime Fookin Lannister. -Bronn, Season 5 Episode 2, “The House of Black and White”

Once again, Bronn is another interesting case.

The foul-mouthed mercenary has survived far longer than anyone could have guessed when the series began. Right now, he fights for the Lannisters, which does not bode well for his safety. On the other hand, Bronn has demonstrated that he is one of the most savvy characters on the show.

While not important to the show’s overall narrative, Bronn is still a beloved character among Game of Thrones fans. That love is clear by his placement in the Dorne and Riverrun storylines, which he was not a part of in the books.

Season 7 will likely be a bloodbath. That being said, I just don’t see Bronn even getting hurt, let alone dying. Like declining to fight the Mountain for Tyrion in Season 4, there’s no way that Bronn would charge into a no-win situation. If Dany and her dragons come marching with an army, expect Bronn to escape and maybe even rejoin Tyrion, his former employer.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 90 percent

Let me know what your predictions are for GoT Season 7 in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131

Game of Thrones Season 7 Character Predictions: Part X

*READ PART IX OF MY GOT S7 CHARACTER PREDICTIONS HERE*

HBO’s Game of Thrones returns for its seventh season on July 16, 2017. The season will be seven episodes long and each episode will have an extra 20-30 minutes of content to meet the usual 10 hours per season. Every Sunday leading up to the season premiere, I will be posting my Season 7 character predictions.

This week, I will make predictions for those now in the Riverlands.

THE RIVERLANDS

Arya Stark

A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I’m going home. -Arya Stark, Season 6 Episode 8, “No One”

Why spend two seasons with Arya in Braavos just to see her die a quick death after returning home? It just doesn’t make sense for her character. For one, she still has a list and the skillset of a Faceless Man.

One thing I will keep an eye on going forward is a potential reunion with Gendry. In A Game of Thrones, the first book of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, Arya’s father, Eddard Stark, compares her to his sister, Lyanna Stark. Remember, she was originally betrothed to Robert Baratheon before being taken by Rhaegar Targaryen during Robert’s Rebellion.

Gendry, as we learned in Season 1, is the bastard son of King Robert Baratheon. Ned also compared some of his features to that of King Robert in A Game of Thrones. How great would it if Arya and Gendry formed the relationship that Lyanna and Robert never had?

Anyway, Arya is safe.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 100 percent

Brienne of Tarth

All my life men like you’ve sneered at me, and all my life I’ve been knocking men like you into the dust. -Brienne of Tarth, Season 2 Episode 8, “The Prince of Winterfell”

All Brienne of Tarth has ever wanted is to protect a royal personage she truly believes in. She swore her sword to Renly Baratheon in Season 2 and watched him die, and swore her sword to Lady Catelyn Stark but wasn’t around to protect her when she died. Not to mention, she failed to see Sansa Stark’s candle in the tower in Season 5.

But despite her many setbacks, Brienne finally completed a quest last season. She swore an oath of fealty to Sansa after saving her from pursuing Bolton men. But much to her dismay, Brienne went to Riverrun by orders of Sansa, once again being forced to trust others to protect her royal personage.

We last saw Brienne rowing away from Riverrun and waving goodbye to her forbidden other, Ser Jaime Lannister. She’s likely on her way back to Sansa at Winterfell. Brienne has made it known that she is ready to “give her life for Sansa’s if need be,” and as her sworn shield, she will likely stay off the battlefield.

But if Brienne were to die, her attraction to Jaime will likely be her downfall. But hopefully, Tormund will have something to say about that.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 90 percent

Podrick Payne

There has never lived a more loyal squire. -Tyrion Lannister, Season 4 Episode 3, “Breaker of Chains”

Siri’s favorite character!

After spending the better part of three seasons pouring wine for Tyrion Lannister, Podrick is now learning to fight thanks to Brienne’s daily lessons. Not to mention, he’s kind, extremely loyal, smart, and apparently has a way with women.

I will be very sad if Podrick dies this season. With that being said, I just don’t see it.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 90 percent

Sandor “The Hound” Clegane

You didn’t know me back in my time. You don’t know the things I’ve done. -The Hound, Season 6 Episode 7, “The Broken Man”

After being left for dead at the end of Season 4, Sandor Clegane made his return last season, living in arguably the most peaceful community in all of Westeros. Unfortunately, the Hound’s peace did not last long, as rogue members of the Brotherhood Without Banners destroyed the settlement. In other words, those three men made a very big mistake.

After killing the perpetrators, the real Brotherhood offer the Hound a chance to join them and fight the “cold winds rising in the north.” It’s likely that the Brotherhood will join up with Jon Snow, the new King in the North, to fight the White Walkers. As Beric says in Season 6 Episode 8, “You can still help a lot more than you’ve harmed, Clegane. It’s not too late for you.” This makes it sound as if the Hound will be a key soldier in the war against the White Walkers, which should decrease his chances of surviving this season.

But why bring the Hound back just to kill him off a few episodes later? Not to mention, he’s had one of the most fascinating character arcs on the entire show. As Brother Ray told the Hound last season, “The gods aren’t done with you yet.”

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 95 percent

Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr

That’s what we are: ghosts. Waiting for you in the dark. You can’t see us, but we see you. No matter whose cloak you wear: Lannister, Stark, Baratheon, you prey on the weak, the Brotherhood Without Banners will hunt you down. -Beric Dondarrion, Season 3 Episode 4, “And Now His Watch Is Ended”

It’s common knowledge that Beric does not have a great track record of staying alive. He’s died six times, and has only come back because Thoros was right there to invoke the Lord of Light’s blessing over his corpse. It’s safe to say that Beric and Thoros are a package deal when it comes to death.

Overall, Beric and Thoros are really interesting characters who will surely get more airtime in Season 7. As for second chances, they are bound to run out sooner than later, especially with only 13 episodes left in the series.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 40 percent

Edmure Tully

Tell me, I want to know. I truly do. How do you live with yourself? All of us have to believe that we’re decent, don’t we? You have to sleep at night. How do you tell yourself that you’re decent after everything that you’ve done? -Edmure Tully, Season 6 Episode 8, “No One”

How can you not feel bad for Edmure? He’s a horrible archer, spent his wedding night in a dungeon, and turned the soldiers of House Tully against his uncle, Brynden “Blackfish” Tully, by orders of Jaime. As of the Season 6 finale, Edmure has returned to his prison cell because Walder Frey believed that killing his son-in-law “would not be right.”

Well, Walder Frey is dead, so will circumstances change in Edmure’s favor?

Westeros is a place where, under the right circumstances, former pawns can make huge power grabs. Edmure is the rightful Lord of Riverrun and House Tully, and has the support of the Tully army. He showed that he is capable militarily back in Season 1, and it’s likely that his experience as Walder Frey’s prisoner have taught him a lesson about making bone-headed moves in the high-stakes Game of Thrones.

It’s entirely possible that Edmure could escape his captivity. From there, he could try to rally Tully loyalists in the Riverlands or take up Jaime on his offer to live out his days in Casterly Rock in the company of his wife, Roslin Frey, and their newborn son.

But without any exceptional talents, it’s very possible that Edmure could die in Season 7. But with chaos still to come, there could be opportunities for him to enter the great Game of Thrones. Will he take advantage of the situation?

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 50 percent

Let me know what your predictions are for GoT Season 7 in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131

Game of Thrones Season 7 Character Predictions: Part IX

*READ PART VIII OF MY GOT S7 CHARACTER PREDICTIONS HERE*

HBO’s Game of Thrones returns for its seventh season on July 16, 2017. The season will be seven episodes long and each episode will have an extra 20-30 minutes of content to meet the usual 10 hours per season. Every Sunday leading up to the season premiere, I will be posting my Season 7 character predictions.

This week, I will make predictions for those now crossing the Narrow Sea and heading to Westeros.

CROSSING THE NARROW SEA

Tyrion Lannister

I’m guilty of a far more monstrous crime: I’m guilty of being a dwarf! -Tyrion Lannister, Season 4 Episode 6, “The Laws of Gods and Men”

If you look at it from a Game of Thrones dwarf perspective, it’s amazing that Tyrion Lannister is still alive. It’s obvious that Tyrion has a bigger role to play, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s immune to death.

No, I don’t think we’re going to see that death in Season 7. But remember, Tyrion killed his father, Tywin, back in Season 4. No matter how big of a jerk Tywin was to his son, Tyrion is now a “kinslayer.” The taboo of Westeros states that any person who kills a member of his own family is dubbed a “kinslayer” and cursed forever. Whether he is “cursed forever” remains to be seen.

Right now, Tyrion’s goal is to return to King’s Landing and help Daenerys Targaryen take the Iron Throne. That means returning to the scene of his kinslaying – King’s Landing. His siblings, Cersei and Jaime Lannister, have made it well-known that they will make their little brother pay for what he did to their father. But even if Tyrion somehow survives that conflict, there’s still a war with the White Walkers looming on the horizon.

Ultimately, there’s just too much for “the Imp” left to do. Not to mention, his great strategic mind could be an asset against the White Walkers. Tyrion’s death could be in the cards, but not until Season 8.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 95 percent

Daenerys Targaryen

I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms… and I will.Daenerys Targaryen

I mean, really? Come on now.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 100 percent

Varys

Storms come and go, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling. -Varys, Season 2 Episode 2, “The Night Lands”

Speaking of fish and paddling, Varys is now sailing into battle with the rest of Dany’s fleet. It’s certainly seems dangerous, but when have we ever seen anything surprise Varys? He has powerful allies in Houses Martell (or the ones who killed the Martells), Targaryen and Tyrell. Not to mention, Dany has three dragons.

Like Tyrion, I also think Varys has a role to play in the endgame. For one, we still don’t know what he heard in those flames when he was cut “root and stem.” Maybe those words could be revealed in Season 7. Not to mention, they could give more of a glimpse into what Varys could have planned. Because he always has something planned.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 95 percent

Missandei

Not long enough to understand. -Missandei, Season 6 Episode 4, “Book of the Stranger”

Since Missandei first appeared in Season 3, her role has been to translate the languages of Essos for Dany as well as advise her on the culture and politics of the land. To this point, she has been highly useful. However, Dany is sailing for Westeros, a land that Missandei knows very little about.

In terms of her survival chances, look no further than the character of Ser Barristan Selmy. His purpose was to advise Dany about Westeros, but the writers knew that Tyrion would fulfill that role later in Season 5. As a result, one of the greatest knights in history would be killed off by the Sons of the Harpy in the first half of the season, shortly before Tyrion arrived. Selmy’s death was one of the few mistakes the show has made to this point, but that’s a rant for another time.

The point is that Missandei’s function, combined with an unclear narrative, has just about run its course. With more and more battles still to come, the writers will be looking for ways to make this story stand out. As tough as it would be to watch, killing Missandei would do that. While she is a big character, she’s not a character of great importance like Tyrion or Dany.

As for how she could die – who really knows at this point? Maybe she could get caught in the line of fire in a sea battle with Euron Greyjoy. My advice? Stay close to those dragons, Missandei.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 25 percent

Grey Worm

‘Grey Worm’ gives this one pride. It is a lucky name. The name this one was born with was cursed. That was the name he had when he was taken as a slave. But Grey Worm is the name this one had the day Daenerys Stormborn set him free. -Grey Worm, Season 3 Episode 5, Kissed By Fire

Grey Worm also joined up with Dany in Season 3, when the Unsullied nominated him as their leader. Since then, he’s helped her take Yunkai and Meereen, defended her regime against the Sons of the Harpy, and battled the Masters during the Battle of Meereen. Now, he’s headed to Westeros to face brand new enemies.

Although the Unsullied are quite talented and disciplined, they have never faced armored knights of the kind that Cersei and Jaime will likely send against them. In addition, they are of little use on water, which could be a problem if Euron attacks at sea.

Like his lover, Missandei, killing Grey Worm would definitely lend some emotional punch to Season 7. At this point in Game of Thrones, anyone can die at any moment. The Unsullied are the best fighting force in the world, but like Dany’s dragons, they’re not invincible. There’s a lot more fighting to come.

On the other hand, Grey Worm is one of the best fighters on the show. If Dany is smart, she will use the Unsullied wisely and pick her spots to attack. For instance, it would not be smart to send them out to kill knights in close quarters in an urban environment, like in Season 5 against the Sons of the Harpy.

However you look at it, Grey Worm will be in the line of fire, which only decreases his odds of making it out of this season.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 40 percent

Theon Greyjoy

Your name is Theon Greyjoy, last surviving son of Balon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands, do you hear me? -Sansa Stark, Season 5 Episode 7, “The Gift”

As a boy, Theon was a hostage of Lord Eddard Stark and raised at Winterfell with the other Stark children. He never truly fit in, but when he returned to the Iron Islands in Season 2, he didn’t fit in there either. His father scorned him and his sister, Yara, ridiculed him. While trying to prove himself a true Ironborn at Winterfell, he was captured by Ramsay Bolton and mercilessly tortured for the better part of three seasons.

Last season, he once again returned home to the Iron Islands, and once again, Yara ridiculed him for his weakness. That moment cemented Theon’s new humble approach to life, as he gave up his claim to the Salt Throne to his sister. Now, as her chief adviser, he is sailing a large contingent of ships in support of Dany.

But even all of that still doesn’t excuse the terrible things Theon did to get to where he is now. He betrayed Robb Stark, he murdered two innocent boys, and wrongfully executed Ser Rodrik Cassel. He still has a price to pay, and that price is death, likely at the hands of Uncle Euron.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 10 percent

Yara Greyjoy

And she is your rightful ruler. Those of you that have sailed under her, and there are many of you here, you know what she is! She is a reaver! She is a warrior! She is Ironborn! We will find no better leader! This is our queen! -Theon Greyjoy, Season 6 Episode 6, “The Door”

I’m really torn on Yara.

On one hand, she would be a decent ruler of the Iron Islands. However, Euron is out to kill her and Theon. Is it possible that Euron could capture one or both of them?

Under that circumstance, it would not make sense for Theon to get captured and tortured by the next most evil person on the show outside of Ramsay. So it very well could be Yara, and it could end in another unnecessary death caused by Theon.

CHANCES OF SURVIVAL: 10 percent

Let me know what your predictions are for GoT Season 7 in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131