Winter is here. Well, almost.
Game of Thrones season 7 is just a few months away. Get ready for the fantasy epic’s seventh series with this in-depth guide: we’ve got trailers, spoilers, release date information and all the latest casting news, plus we ask the biggest questions surrounding the storylines of the show’s key characters. Don’t worry, we’ll flag proper spoiler territory when we get there – and this page will continue to be updated as more information is revealed.
What’s the latest?
- Maisie Williams is reportedly shooting scenes with wolves in Canada.
- Bastille have spoken to NME about the rumours of them shooting a cameo for season 7.
- UFC fighter Conor McGregor has also been rumoured to feature in season 7.
- Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, has revealed whether or not her character will be alive in season 8.
- Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen, has wrapped filming on season 7 in Belfast.
- Since September 2016, Game of Thrones has shot on location in countries like Spain, Northern Ireland, Croatia and Iceland.
- The season’s four directors include one newbie, Matt Shakman, known for Fargo and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
- Multiple cast members have been added, including Jim Broadbent, Megan Parkinson and Tom Hopper.
When is season 7 out?
HBO has hinted it’s sometime in summer 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.”
Has the actual release date been leaked?
On January 21 it was noticed that IMDb had listed the air date for the first episode of season 7 as June 25, 2017. That is a Sunday, so it would fit with Game of Thrones‘ normal slot. But HBO has neither confirmed or denied that this is the right date.
Have we seen a trailer?
Yes – kind of.
On December 4, HBO released a preview for 2017. This included three shots from season 7 of Game of Thrones – all Starks. This didn’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:
How many episodes will there be?
There’ll be seven in season 7, and an as-yet unconfirmed number in season 8.
In June 2016 we found out there’d be seven episodes in season 7. The number of episodes in season 8 remains unconfirmed.
In January 2017, Liam Cunningham (Ser Davos Seaworth) said there would be just six episodes in season 8. But HBO boss Casey Bloys later said that the number of episodes in the final season of the series is still uncertain.
“[The showrunners] are still figuring out the shape of the season, what they want to do,” Bloys said. “I’ll take as many as they want to do. If they give me eight, I’ll want 10. But it’s really up to them. They’ll let me know.”
Game of Thrones season 7: how long will the episodes be?
Fans think each episode will be far longer than the normal 50 minutes.
Though there are only seven episodes in the new series, it’s rumoured they’ll be much longer. 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.”
The show’s producers have yet to say anything official about the length of episodes in season 7.
Is anyone joining the cast for season 7?
Yes – loads of people.
1. 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.
2: Jim Broadbent
Broadbent (Harry Potter, The Iron Lady) is joining the cast in a “significant” role for the next set of episodes. Given that the show has now gone far beyond where the books currently stand, it’s impossible to tell who he’ll be playing. Fans think he might play the hitherto-unseen Archmaester of Old Town, where Samwell Tarly has just arrived to train as a Maester.
3: Bastille (rumoured)
Musicians do cameos in Game of Thrones all the time. In the past, Coldplay‘s Will Champion, Sigur Rós, Mastodon, Snow Patrol‘s Gary Lightbody, and Of Monsters and Men have featured. 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.
4: 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.
5 & 6: 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”.
7: Joseph Quinn
8: 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
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 saying about season 7?
On January 17, Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) told Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw that the new season is “exciting”. She’d previously told fans via Twitter to “start preparing yourselves now” because “shit gets real” in the new series.
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?
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:
beSpeaking 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?
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.