Now that “Game of Thrones” has returned, the premiere has provided far more context for the upcoming episode descriptions than we’ve had before. Add that to the preview of Sunday’s upcoming episode, and you have many clues that add up to some intriguing conclusions.
[Editor’s Note: It should be noted that the following is all speculation without any insider knowledge. Nevertheless, on the off-chance that some of these predictions come true, they could constitute spoilers for those who would rather, like Jon Snow, “know nothing.”]
As a reminder, here are the official descriptions from HBO for Episodes 2 and 3:
Episode 2: “Stormborn”
Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) receives an unexpected visitor. Jon (Kit Harington) faces a revolt. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) plans the conquest of Westeros.
Episode 3: “The Queen’s Justice”
Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) holds court. Cersei (Lena Headey) returns a gift. Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) learns from his mistakes.
And finally, the Episode 2 sneak peek, which aired Sunday after the premiere:
Let’s break it down:
1. Daenerys Receives an Unexpected Visitor
This visitor could be a number of people, but since the sneak peek shows that her allies — Varys (Conleth Hill), Ellaria (Indira Varma) and Olenna (Diana Rigg) — are already there in the Dragonstone war room, they’re hardly unexpected.
Instead our money is on Melisandre, the Red Woman (Carice Van Houten), who could be seen looking down at those iconic Dragonstone steps in the first trailer for this season around the 58-second mark. This makes sense, since she had been there before with the late Stannis. Now that she’s pro-Jon Snow (Kit Harington), maybe she’ll be dropping in a good word about his abilities.
It’ll be interesting to see what state of mind Melisandre is in. Although she was massively wrong about Stannis and burning his daughter alive, she was able to resurrect Jon Snow, which should have reaffirmed her faith in her abilities and the Red God. While she once thought Stannis was the reborn Azor Ahai of prophesy, Daenerys fits the profile better (she was reborn from fire when a red comet flew, woke dragons from stone, and she lives on Dragonstone).
2. Jon Faces a Revolt
Last we saw Sam (John Bradley), he was going to send Jon a raven about finding a mountain of dragonglass — the only substance known to kill White Walkers — on Dragonstone. Naturally, this means that at some point Jon will have to meet with Dany in order to get the dragonglass, since we doubt he’ll try to take it by force from a lady who owns dragons, and that’s not his style anyway.
The revolt could come in many forms. Sansa (Sophie Turner) of course hasn’t been thrilled with his leadership so far, despite the kind words she said to him in the premiere. In her mind, he’s far too trusting and needs to be more ruthless. Also, that bannerman in the sneak peek who declares, “A Targaryen cannot be trusted!” pretty much sums up the North’s feelings about that family. Can’t Jon just have people listen to him for once before dipping in the polls?
Aside: It’s hilarious how that sentence, “A Targaryen can’t be trusted!” then cuts immediately to Jon standing there, unaware that he (allegedly) has Targaryen blood in him. How much would they riot then? Or would it all be fine since he’s also part Stark and would have a claim to the throne? (Well, he would if he weren’t a bastard.)
3. Tyrion Plans the Conquest of Westeros
Honestly, we’re not sure how much of a tactician Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is when it comes to warfare, so maybe this is referring to a more political strategy. But if he is planning something more aggressive, then he might be butting heads with Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan), who can be seen in the preview wanting to hit King’s Landing hard. This brings us to…
4. Euron’s Gift
In trying to win Cersei’s (Lena Headey) hand and kingdom in marriage, Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) promised to fetch her a “gift.” While it’s possible he could give her an object such as Dragonbinder, a horn that enslaves dragons, that was something seen in the books only so far. Besides, that doesn’t seem to fit his style, which is less subtle and more brutal.
The most obvious courting gift that she’d want would be Tyrion’s head or Tyrion with head still attached. She still believes that he killed her beloved son Joffrey, and of course he actually did kill their father. But while we’re talking about those who have taken her children away from her, let’s not forget that Ellaria Sand and her Sand Snakes were behind poisoning her daughter Myrcella. And although Tommen committed suicide, Cersei is just twisted enough with grief and madness that we could see her blaming the Tyrell family for luring her son away from her. The most obvious opponent there would be Olenna, who has also sided with Daenerys. it seems almost any of Dany’s allies could make for a good gift for Cersei.
In a related note…
5. Cersei Returns a Gift
The word “return” could mean many things, but somehow, we don’t think that merely giving Euron his gift back is what this is referring to since that is far too mundane for “Game of Thrones.” We have few guesses as to what this means.
First, if Euron gave her a live person, she could use this person as a prisoner exchange or leverage. If Enron gives her a a body part (like Tyrion’s head), Cersei could “return” that gift to Daenerys as a threat and show of power. Or, Cersei could return the favor to Euron and give him one of his most-hated enemies. She could also just mete out death to people, paying the gift forward. Finally, she could return his gift in kind with more bloodshed by killing him and taking over his fleet. This seems fitting with how the world works.
6. “The Queen’s Justice”
The title of the episode plus the line, “Daenerys holds court,” could hint that Dany may be passing judgment on someone or seeing visitors in an official capacity. We’re really hoping that this means she and Jon Snow will finally meet.
But wait! Cersei is also queen, and her justice sounds a lot more sinister. If she is indeed killing someone, that could fit with both the idea of justice and returning a gift.
7. Jaime Learns From His Mistakes
This line has us stumped (not supposed to be a reference to his lack of one hand but we’ll take it). Really, Jaime’s (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) one true mistake has been to put trust in his sister all of these years. She “cheated” on him with their cousin, her actions pushed Tommen to suicide, and of course she basically followed through on Mad King Aerys’ scheme to “burn them all.” Jaime stopped that king by killing him. When will he finally stop loving his sister blindly?
8. Arya’s Reunion(s)
The preview trailer for the second episode makes it seem like Arya (Maisie Williams) will meet her direwolf Nymeria again, and it won’t be a warm and fuzzy reunion. Well, maybe fuzzy since Nymeria is furry, but you get the idea. As fun as it may be to see Arya exacting vengeance throughout the land, she seems to be enjoying killing too much. She’s not the girl that Nymeria once knew.
Naturally, we’re hoping to see some Stark reunions soon, but another person that she could cross paths with is Melisandre. If the red priestess is at Dragonstone, that’s not very far from King’s Landing, where Arya is headed to kill Cersei. Maybe Melisandre could hitch a ride on an Ironborn or Dornish boat. One of the reasons why we think this may happen is what went down the last time they met. Arya was upset with Melisandre for taking Gendry (Joe Dempsie) for her weird bastard leech ritual, but the priestess looked into Arya’s eyes and predicted that she would kill a lot of people. And then before she left, she said they’d see each other again.
9. Tyene’s Fight
In the split second before we see Sansa in the preview, we see a blur of a person, presumably a woman by the sound of it, fighting with daggers. The dark hair makes it appear to be Tyene (Rasabell Laurenti Sellers), one of the Sand Snakes. The Great War may not have started yet, but it looks like some sort of attack is happening in this episode.
What are some of your best guesses about what’s coming?
“Game of Thrones” airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.