Winter is here. Well, almost.
Game of Thrones season 7 is just a couple of months away. Get ready for the fantasy epic’s seventh series with this in-depth guide: we’ve got trailers, release date info, all the latest casting news, a few well-signposted spoilers – plus, we ask the biggest questions surrounding the storylines of the show’s key characters. This page will continue to be updated as more Game of Thrones info is revealed…
What’s the latest?
- Game of Thrones season 7 will start in July.
- John Bradley (Samwell Tarly) has teased that he survives season 7.
- 15 new official photos from the set of the new season have been released by HBO.
- Multiple trailers have been released.
- Mark Gatiss has confirmed he will return as Tycho Nestoris, from Braavos’ Iron Bank.
- Dragons will be ‘the size of 747s’ in the new series, says new director Matt Shakman.
- Ed Sheeran will perform a cameo role in season 7 – as will Mastodon‘s Brent Hinds.
- Maisie Williams has reportedly shot scenes with wolves in Canada.
- Bastille and UFC fighter Conor McGregor have denied rumours they are featuring in season 7.
- Several cast members have been added, including Jim Broadbent, Megan Parkinson and Tom Hopper.
- Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, has revealed whether or not her character will be alive in season 8.
- Season 8 will consist of just 6 episodes.
When is season 7 out?
July 16, 2017.
Previous seasons have started in March or April, but in July 2016 showrunners David Benioff and Daniel Weiss said, “We’re starting a bit later because at the end of this season, winter is here – and that means that sunny weather doesn’t really serve our purposes any more.”
The show will air in the USA three months later than normal, on July 16, 2017. UK viewers will be able to catch the episode twice on July 17, 2017 on Sky Atlantic (and NOW TV): it’s airing once at 2am and once at 9pm.
Have we seen a trailer?
Yes – three.
The newest, and meatiest, is basically about walking. It features Cersei, Jon Snow and Daenerys walking to their respective thrones. At the end, the condensation of Cersei’s breath turns into the Night King’s eye, and it’s proper scary.
The next-oldest trailer doesn’t feature any live-action footage. But it does feature a load of dialogue, set to slowly crumbling GoT house sigils. More menacing is the spiral-shaped corpse circle at the end of the clip, one we’ve seen before in footage of Children of the Forest. What it suggests is that all the Westerosi houses will have to work together to face the threat of the White Walkers – or they will destroy one another.
The oldest trailer features about three seconds of footage, as part of a roundup of HBO’s forthcoming 2017. It was released on December 4, 2016, and features three shots from season 7, all Starks. This doesn’t reveal much at all, except perhaps that there’s more snow in Westeros, and Arya’s hair is a bit longer. You can see the shots about a minute into the clip below:
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How many episodes will there be?
There’ll be seven in season 7, and six in season 8.
In June 2016 we found out there’d be seven episodes in season 7. On March 12, the number of episodes in season 8 was confirmed: six.
Game of Thrones season 7: how long will the episodes be?
Probably about 69 minutes, on average.
Though there are only seven episodes in the new series, it’s rumoured they’ll be much longer than normal. Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) says: “We only have seven episodes this time, but we’re shooting for just as long, so there’s just as much content.”
Is anyone joining the cast for season 7?
Yes – loads of people.
1. Ed Sheeran
On March 12 it was revealed that Sheeran had filmed a cameo role – supposedly a gesture by the show’s creators for Sheeran fan Maisie Williams (Arya Stark). Showrunner David Benioff said: “For years we were trying to get [him] on the show to surprise Maisie [Williams] and this year we finally did it.”
Sheeran has since explained what he does in the show: he plays (surprise, surprise) a musician. “I just do a scene with Maisie,” he’s said. “I sing a song and then she goes, ‘Oh, that’s a nice song.’” He’s also revealed: “I don’t die,” and added, “I’m only in it for like five minutes.”
2. Tom Hopper
Known for his roles as Billy Bones in Black Sails and Sir Percival in Merlin, Hopper is taking over the role of Dickon Tarly. Freddie Stroma, known for his portrayal of Cormac McLaggen in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, played the character in season six, but commitments on ABC show Time After Time mean he’s unable to return to the part.
Dickon Tarly is Samwell’s younger brother. Unlike Samwell, Dickon is an excellent swordsman and hunter.
3: Jim Broadbent
Broadbent (Harry Potter, The Iron Lady) is joining the cast as an Archmaester. He’s said he’ll appear in five episodes, with “one major scene in each episode”. The role has been described as “significant”.
4: Bastille (rumoured)
A source for fan site Watchers on the Wall reported that Bastille filmed a cameo on January 19, dressed as wildlings, but when we asked the band about it at the VO5 NME Awards on February 15, frontman Dan Smith said it was “just a studio tour,” adding: “We’ll see. We’ll see. When the episodes come out and we’re nowhere near them it’ll be like a fart in the wind. But yeah, we’re big fans of the show.” Watch the band’s full reaction in the clip below.
5: Conor McGregor (rumoured)
Another person who’s denied involvement is UFC fighter Conor McGregor. In December UFC president Dana White said McGregor would be in season 7 and a Watchers On The Wall source confirmed he would play a pirate on Euron Greyjoy’s ship, the Silence. But, then, speaking to the Good Times Network in late January, McGregor emphatically denied any knowledge of this. He said: “I don’t know where that came from, but I’ve never been in contact with nobody from Game of Thrones about starring in Game of fucking Thrones!” Does the boxer protest too much, d’you think? Check out his minute-long denial in the video below, starting around the 30-second mark.
6 & 7: Brendan Morrissey & Rory Dignam
At the end of November, Irish actors Morrissey (below left) and Dignam (below right) were added to the cast. Morrissey’s CV says he will play ‘Fray’s Lord’ in one of Jeremy Podeswa’s episodes. Dignam’s role is currently unknown but his agent’s website calls it a “nice little supporting role”.
8: Joseph Quinn
9: Paul Ward
The Penny Dreadful actor has also joined the cast, but his character’s name is unknown at the moment. You can see Ward on the right in the below picture.
10. Philip O’Sullivan
The Irish actor played Bishop Edmund in Vikings, and he’s set to play a Citadel Maester – according to his agency, The Agency.
11. Brendan Cowell
This Aussie actor starred in The Borgias and The Slap. He’s been listed by his agency, Hamilton Hodell, as a character called ‘Harrag Ironborn’. The character will appear in multiple episodes, as Cowell’s CV lists the part as being under ‘various’ directors.
Who is Harrag? Well, bookreaders may remember a couple of other Harrags from the books – both Ironborn – but this is likely to be a completely new character, as both those Harrags are dead at this point in the storyline. He’ll presumably be one of Euron’s cronies – but time will tell.
12. Megan Parkinson
This actor most recently appeared at Christmas time in the BBC’s To Walk Invisible: the Brontë Sisters. (She played Martha Brown.) Her agency Independent Talent has added Game of Thrones to her CV, listing her as Alys Karstark under various directors – suggesting she’ll be in multiple episodes. Watchers on the Wall reported that she’d been sighted on set back in October.
Alys Karstark is a book character – her father Lord Rickard Karstark is killed in the book (and show) by Robb Stark, after Karstark kills Stark’s young Lannister prisoners. Alys Karstark later meets Jon Snow in the book, and asks for his help – but we don’t yet know exactly what role she’ll play in the series.
13. Noah Syndergaard
The New York Mets’ baseball player told the New York Post, that he’d filmed his cameo in Spain, back in November. “They just know that I’m a fan and they invited me to do that. I couldn’t say no,” he said.
14. Mastodon frontman Brent Hinds
Brent Hinds did a cameo in season 5 of the show with the rest of his band, who all played resurrected wildlings at Hardhome. But Hinds wanted more, returning to set to pick up the wildling mantle once more for season 7. “This time,” he told The Jasta Show, “I had my broken leg and they were like, ‘You’re doing the best zombie walk – we want you to come right towards the camera. I want you to drag this axe behind you.’ I’m like a reborn, come-to-life wildling turning into a White Walker.” Check out a picture of Hinds’ last appearance in the picture below, where he’s standing second from right.
Game of Thrones season 7: who’s directing?
There are four directors for the next season – mainly series veterans, and all of them men.
Who: Jeremy Podeswa
Episodes: 1 and 7.
Directing experience: Boardwalk Empire, The Tudors, Queer as Folk.
Most memorable Thrones episode: Home, in which Jon Snow wakes up from death.
Who: Mark Mylod
Episodes: 2 and 3.
Directing experience: Entourage, The Royle Family, Shameless (UK and US).
Most memorable Thrones episode: No One, in which Arya and the Waif have their final faceoff.
Who: Matt Shakman
Episodes: 4 and 5.
Directing experience: Mostly TV, including House, The Good Wife, FX’s Fargo and a whole lot of cult sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Most memorable Thrones episode: N/A – there’s no Thrones on his resumé yet.
Who: Alan Taylor
Directing experience: Thor: The Dark World, Terminator Genisys, Sex and the City.
Most memorable Thrones episode: Valar Morghulis, in which Daenerys seals her suitor Xaro Xhoan Daxos inside a Qarth vault, and Arya discovers the powers of the Faceless Men.
What are the Game of Thrones cast and crew saying about season 7?
Speaking to the Walking The Dog podcast, John Bradley (Samwell Tarly) has said of his character: “The thing about Sam… If he’s still around at this stage, you do suspect that there is gonna be a point to keeping him around.” Many fans are taking this as a hint that he’ll survive into season 8.
On March 16 new director Matt Shakman told Entertainment Weekly: “The dragons this year are the size of [Boeing] 747s. Drogon is the biggest of the bunch — his flame is 30-feet in diameter.” A Boeing 747 is 76m long and 60m wide so – pretty big.
In December, her on-screen sister, Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) told Entertainment Weekly: “What overall excites me about this season is that main characters are coming together and it feels like things are ramping up. It’s really exciting and all feels like it’s coming to a big conclusion.” In February, at the BAFTAs, Turner revealed that her character will be appearing in season 8 of Game of Thrones. “We’re about to start shooting the next X-Men, we’ve just finished shooting Season 7 of Thrones, and I’ve got a couple of movies to do before X-Men starts. And then we go on to Season 8.”
On February 15 at the VO5 NME Awards, Isaac Hempstead-Wright told NME: “It’s epic – it’s coming together now. There’s no hiding that. It’s all starting to explode, story-lines are melding, but it’s going to be massive, it’s going to be good.”
Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) has promised “another battle that’s epic” in the new season. while Kit Harington (Jon Snow) expects it to be “very dark before it gets better.” He’s also said,“I feel like one of the safest people on Thrones now.”
Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) has said that if her character redeemed herself in the new season, “that would ruin it.” She also recently responded to a fan asking how season 7 would be saying, “FUCKING superb.” Which is good.
**MAJOR SPOILER ALERT – SET INFORMATION BELOW**
If you’re not a fan of spoilers, we’d advise you to stop reading here, because this is where the major spoilers live.
What have we learned from the set?
Several set photos have leaked
These are the most recent leaks. In order, fans think they show rooms from Winterfell and Casterly Rock, Euron Greyjoy’s ship, and finally wildlings vs white walkers.
Arya’s direwolf Nymeria could make her return in season 7
On February 17, Maisie Williams was spotted in Calgary, Canada by fans. Meanwhile, North American company Instinct Animals for Film has shared images of their wolves to their (private) Instagram. They’ve used the suggestive hashtag #winteriscoming: that means these wolves are probably involved with Game of Thrones. In the tweet below, the one on the right is clearly Jon Snow’s Ghost – but the one on the left? That could be Arya’s direwolf Nymeria.
In the books, Arya has ‘wolf dreams’, in which her direwolf Nymeria has taken leadership of a vast group of wolves which roams the Riverlands causing havoc. Now in the show Arya is there – at the Twins – so it’s looking like she might get to reunite with Nymeria. We last saw the direwolf as a pup, being chased off by Arya herself in season one (Nymeria had bitten Joffrey and was facing death). If Nymeria shows up, hopefully she’ll last a little longer than Rickon’s and Bran’s did in season 6.
Gendry is back – but as part of the Brotherhood without Banners?
In season 3, Joe Dempsie’s character, Gendry, was rowing a boat from Dragonstone to the mainland. He’s been seen on season 7 sets in Northern Ireland, Spain and Iceland.
The fact he’s been at so many suggests he’ll be playing a pretty important role in the new series – and it’s worth noting that Gendry is the last known Baratheon heir now, following the death of Stannis and his family.
In this Instagram post, Dempsie is hanging out in Iceland with Paul Kaye, who plays Brotherhood without Banners man Thoros of Myr. This fits with George R.R. Martin’s books, where Gendry joins the Brotherhood without Banners.
The Iceland setting suggests that The Brotherhood without Banners have travelled north to battle White Walkers. Also spotted in Iceland at the time were Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Iain Glen (Jorah), Kristofer Hivju (Tormund), and Rory McCann (The Hound) – as reported by WOTW. Are they forming some kind of supergroup?
Daenerys and Jon Snow meet for the first time
Yes, there’s visual evidence for this meeting of ice and fire. Several pictures taken in October 2016 in Zumaia, Spain, showed Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) and Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) filming on the Game of Thrones set, surrounded by Dothraki – and it looks like they’re all buddies, which is nice. Other photos on location showed Varys, Davos and Missandei there too.
Jon Snow has a fight with Theon Greyjoy
This was from the same location as the above picture. The ‘fight’ isn’t as serious as it sounds – in this shot Theon looks more like wheedling sidekick who’s committed a minor transgression than someone who’s about to get it in the neck.
Ser Jorah Mormont finds a greyscale cure
The last words Daenerys said to Jorah in season six were: “You swore to obey my commands for the rest of your life. Well I command you to heal yourself, and then return to me.” He’s returned to her, so unless he’s breaking his word again, it looks like he’ll find a cure for his greyscale.
Most of the show’s main characters will appear in a scene together
In October we learned that 17 of the show’s main characters had been spotted together in the Spanish town of Seville, near a location that has been earmarked by fansite Watchers on the Wall as the books’ Dragonpit. The real-life location is Italica, an ancient Roman amphitheatre near Seville, and the fictional Dragonpit it will represent is a bit of lore from the books: a huge arena, now in ruins, where the Targaryens used to keep their dragons before the family was ousted from Westeros.
Seville residents reported sightings of the actors behind Cersei Lannister, Ser Jaime Lannister, Maester Qyburn, Ser Gregor Clegane, Ser Bronn of the Blackwater, King Euron Greyjoy, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, Ser Jorah Mormont, Missandei, Varys, Theon Greyjoy, Jon Snow, Ser Davos Seaworth, Brienne of Tarth, Podrick Payne and Sandor Clegane. Below you can get a glimpse of what Italica looks like.
Lyanna Mormont is back!
Fan-favourite Bella Ramsay (Lyanna Mormont) will be in the new series too – she’s been hanging out on set with Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane).
Game of Thrones season 7: what storylines might we see?
1. Sansa Stark will clash with Jon Snow:
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly recently, Sansa actor Sophie Turner said, “She’s seemingly in control for the first time – and it really suits her. She’s kind of having a bit of a power trip. But she’s also becoming more insecure, because there are threats to the power that she holds.”
In December, Turner also told The Wrap something rather alarming about Sansa and Jon Snow. She began by saying they were “a perfect sort of collaboration because he’s the military man and she’s the politician. Together they’re quite a strong team as long as they listen to each other, and that’s their problem; they don’t quite work well together yet… I think she probably would like to be Queen of the North on her own.” Could the Starks be at each other’s throats in season 7? The below photo from the new season seems to suggest Sansa and Littlefinger are plotting something…
2. The White Walkers want to bring down The Wall
The White Walkers’ absence was one of the only significant omissions of the season six finale. The last time we saw them was when Bran was fleeing from the Three Eyed Raven’s lair, and Hodor died – at which point it looked like Bran had been cursed by the Night King. The assumption currently is that the Wall is going to come down – when Jon Snow left Dolorous Edd in charge as Lord Commander, he told him “Don’t knock it down while I’m gone” and Dolorous Edd replied, “I’ll do my best.”
A few things could cause the rupture of the Wall: perhaps the Night King will wield some kind of weapon to bring it down, or perhaps the brand he placed on Bran’s hand during his vision might counteract the magic of the Wall when they go back through the Wall – after all, it’s the same mark that broke the protections to the Three Eyed Raven’s cave.
3. The Horn of Joramun and ‘Dragonbinder’ will come into play
Below is the proposed cover of George R.R. Martin’s next book. It’s got a horn on it – an item that suggests one of two things because in the books, there are currently two significant horns at play.
In the books, Euron Greyjoy has a dragon horn, ‘Dragonbinder’, which he’s given to his book-only brother Victarion to take to Meereen – it has the power to enslave dragons, of which Daenerys has three.
Then there’s the Horn of Winter/Horn of Joramun, a mythical and enormous horn that can destroy the Wall. In the books Mance Rayder supposedly finds this horn and brings it to break the Wall down so the wildlings can pass – but after Melisandre burns it, Tormund reveals they never found the real horn, and the one Mance had was a fake.
Either way, the horn on the cover of The Winds of Winter is clearly important to the story of book six, and will probably help set events in motion for season 7 of the show too.
4. Daenerys’ dragons will find riders
Many fans believe Jon Snow is a future dragon rider, especially now it’s been confirmed that Lyanna is Jon Snow’s mother and – presumably – Rhaegar Targaryen is his father. This, confusingly, makes him Daenerys’ nephew, and that relationship may give him the same ease with dragons that Daenerys has.
There’s also a fan theory that Tyrion, like Jon Snow, is also part-Targaryen, and if this is true, then his calm interaction with Dany’s dragons in episode two of season six would make a whole lot more sense.
5. Queen Cersei will face death
It looks like Jaime Lannister may kill Cersei, even though he’s the Queen’s brother and fathered three children by her. The death of their last surviving child, King Tommen, was Cersei’s fault, and her seeming lack of remorse could be what pushes Jaime to murder. Other theories suggest it could be The Hound who kills Cersei – or even Arya Stark, who has Cersei on her list. Speaking of which…
6. Arya will wear Walder Frey’s face and tick more names off her list
Back in Braavos, Arya told Lady Crane that she wanted to go west of Westeros to explore. After Lady Crane got done in and Arya killed the Waif, it looks like her plans have changed – or that she’s taking a little detour for now: in the final episode of season six, Arya popped up at the Twins to assassinate Walder Frey.
Thanks to the agency looking after actor David Bradley (United Agents), we’ve learned that he will be appearing in the seventh season: they’ve updated his CV to include season seven. Most fans assume this means Arya will wear Walder Frey’s face to get access to more Frey enemies, and possibly some of the other members of her list:
Who might be next? Well, she might head to the Riverlands to kill Melisandre, Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr – all supporters of the Lord of Light and all people who betrayed her mate Gendry – and then down to King’s Landing to take care of the rest: Cersei Lannister, Ilyn Payne and The Mountain.
7. The Hound may fight his zombie brother, The Mountain
Hopefully Cleganebowl – the much-hyped fan hypothesis that he will fight his brother, Gregor Clegane (aka The Mountain) in an epic battle – will finally happen.
8. Melisandre will return to the Brotherhood Without Banners
Banished by Jon Snow – after it was revealed Melisandre had burnt Shireen alive – it’s likely this is where the mysterious priestess is heading. They’re all believers in the Lord of Light, and it’d be convenient for them all to be in one place if Arya’s going to come and murder them all…
9. The Sand Snakes die, and Euron kidnaps a Greyjoy
Fansite Watchers On The Wall says the Spanish location of Cácares is, like Dubrovnik in Croatia, being used for King’s Landing for season 7. The actors behind Ellaria and Tyene Sand have been spotted together there, minus the actors behind the remaining two Sand Snakes, Obara and Nymeria.
The same site therefore speculates that all the Sand Snakes will meet their end in the new series. They had already reported that Euron Greyjoy (Theon’s uncle) is on team Cersei and will attack Dany’s fleet, kidnapping a Greyjoy and a Sand Snake or two, killing the other(s). Because only the actors behind Ellaria and Tyene have been spotted on location in the King’s Landing locations, WotW reasons that this is the pair that survived Euron’s attack. Rumour has it that they’ll be paraded through the streets as Euron’s captives, then killed by Cersei as revenge for killing her daughter Myrcella.
As for the Greyjoy kidnapped by Euron, it looks like it’ll be Yara, given that we’ve already seen Theon alive and well on a beach with Jon Snow. There’s also the matter of actor Gemma Whelan’s hospitalisation in September, which fans have speculated is related to a sea-battle with her on-screen uncle Euron.