Spoilers for Game of Thrones season 7 episode 5, ‘Eastwatch’, follow.
In the fifth episode of Game of Thrones‘ seventh season, a rag-tag group of men overcame their differences to band together against a bigger enemy, in the process drawing comparisons to everything from the Avengers to Lord of the Rings‘ Fellowship and DC’s Suicide Squad. But while most of the viewing public was focusing on making memes, Reddit was coming up with a compelling new theory about the group.
It won’t have escaped Thrones fans’ attention that there are seven men in the group, and that a faith exists in Westeros called the Faith of the Seven (or, as Ned Stark would call them, the New Gods). Northerners don’t put much stock in the New Gods – they pray instead to the ‘Old Gods’, at the heart trees Bran loves so much – but down in the south, the Seven are the ruling religion. And fans think each of the seven New Gods corresponds to one man in Thrones‘ suicide squad – which may suggest they’re not on a doomed mission after all. Let’s take a look at each god and the warrior they’re paired with, then what it could all mean…
1. The Father
Suicide-squad mascot: Beric Dondarrion – who’s always talking about justice. In the books, for example, he told The Hound: “Six score of us set out to bring the king’s justice to your brother [The Mountain]”.
2. The Mother
Suicide-squad mascot: Thoros – who has brought Beric back to life many times. He says in the show: “The lords of Westeros want to burn the countryside. We’re trying to save it.”
3. The Maiden
Suicide-squad mascot: Jon Snow – the most pure-hearted dude in the show. As Melisandre notes in the books, “The only gods he worshipped were honor and duty.”
4. The Crone
Suicide-squad mascot: Jorah Mormont – Daenerys’ most trusted advisor. Jorah’s always banging on about his wealth of experience: “There are ghosts everywhere,” he says at one point. “We carry them with us wherever we go.”
5. The Warrior
Represents: Strength in battle
Provides: Courage and victory
Suicide-squad mascot: Tormund Giantsbane – a killing machine. In the books, Jon says Tormund “seemed to me the sort of man who would make a good friend and a bad enemy.” Oh, and his nickname is Giantsbane.
6. The Smith
Provides: Strength for work
Suicide-squad mascot: Gendry – who is quite literally a smith. His old master said: “Those hands of his, those hands were made for hammers. He had such promise, I took him on without a fee.”
7. The Stranger
Represents: Death, the unknown
Provides: A good death
Suicide-squad mascot: The Hound – Thrones‘ misunderstood death-dealer, whose horse is called Stranger. “The world is built by killers,” he told Sansa in season 2, “so you better get used to looking at them.”
What does it all mean?
Keep your eyes open and you’ll see the number seven everywhere in Westeros – enough times to make you think there’s some larger, magical significance to the number. The Wall is 700 foot tall; there are seven kingdoms in Westeros; seven men in the Kingsguard; Bran was crippled aged 7, when he began his transition to Three-Eyed Raven status; many more seven-related things have been listed by Redditor Bardour.
Most significantly of all, there are always seven arms on the spirals we keep seeing in the spiral-based magic performed by the Children of the Forest – y’know, the stuff that caused this whole White Walker mess.
— Yash (@commentatorship) August 7, 2017
Reddit’s Bardour suggests the seven-pointed star of the Faith is a “protective or counteracting symbol”, and in the book of the Seven – also called The Seven-Pointed Star – it says: “Spirits, Wights, and Wraiths cannot harm a pious man so long as he is armored in his faith.”
Are the Seven gods going to help Jon, Gendry, Thoros, Beric, Sandor, Tormund and Jorah? Will we learn more next week about how the number seven affects the magic of the Children of the Forest? Let us know what you reckon of the theory and its implications in the comments.