In the South
Jaime Lannister (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau): “At the end of Season 6, of course, he returns to King’s Landing and he finds out that his sister has gone rogue and claimed the throne for herself,” said Coster-Waldau. “I think his state of mind is right then shock. I think that’s what you see in his face like, ‘How the hell did this happen?’ But clearly he has to deal with that situation, but also the family is very isolated in Westeros. It’s a very dangerous time, and I think he has to find out how his sister is, how her mind is working. He’s tried to do a lot of good, tried to make the right decisions, but nothing seems to go the way he wants it to.”
Bronn (Jerome Flynn): The mercenary-turned-knight has stuck with Jaime these days because he’s been promised a life of domestic bliss complete with land and a wife. “I think he’s probably actually quite excited by the disruption in King’s Landing and how everything’s happened and crumbling,” said Flynn. “He knows that he’s a useful man to have around and he’s going to hold Jaime to his word ’till he gets the castle and the wife that he deserves and needs.”
Bronn has been in an interesting position since he once protected Tyrion, whom Jaime now hates with a passion since Tyrion had killed their father. With Tyrion acting as Daenerys’ Hand of the Queen, the two Lannister brothers are working for opposing sides, which could make things difficult for Bronn.
“I don’t know if he has feelings of loyalty, but I think he has empathy for the family situation more than he did,” said Flynn. “For Jaime now I think there’s some empathy, but there’s a fondness for Tyrion. It will be interesting to see, you know, if he’s in a battle situation and he has to choose between the two. It could be a difficult one.”
Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma): Ellaria killed her brother-in-law Prince Doran (Alexander Siddig) in order to rule Dorne. “This season I think she’s still in mourning for her love, her one true love,” said Varma. “And I think she started to get a taste for power. Last season you saw her killing off her brother-in-law, and she’s learning — I suppose it’s like bloodlust isn’t it? Once you’ve killed and you’ve smelt that blood, you want more. And so I think she’s on that trajectory and she’s feeling more and more powerful and heady with it.”
She’s also set up two new alliances with Daenerys — sending her Dornish ships — and with Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), promising her revenge for Cersei killing off the Martell family last season. “She has no choice but to become strategic,” said Varma. “I don’t think it sits that well with her. She’s too sort of hot-headed to answer to anyone really.”
Samwell Tarly (John Bradley): By the end of last season, Sam arrived in Old Town to learn to be a maester. Not only does the Night’s Watch need a new resident maester, but in Sam’s studies, he may run across more information on dragonglass, which is the one substance known to be able to kill the White Walkers and their undead wights.
“It’s really exciting. You get the impression that it’s the pinnacle of everything he’s worked to achieve in his life, really,” said Bradley. “He’s finally in a place where everything he loves and he’s passionate about is accepted and isn’t derided and he isn’t told it’s worthless. He’s among like-minded people for the first time… He’s there to do a job. He’s there to fight the same battle as Jon Snow and everybody else, but the Citadel, as far as Sam’s concerned, is his battleground. So not only has he found a place that he’s accepted and comfortable in a kind of family unit for the first time without judgment, but he’s also found a place where he feels he can make the most difference.”
Gilly (Hannah Murray): Accompanying Sam is Gilly, who’ s come a long way from the poor wilding girl who was forced into an incestuous relationship with her father. “I feel like Gilly’s gotten happier and happier the further south they’ve gotten,” said Murray. “I feel like each move is taking them further away from her origins and has been a really significant step for her. It’s amazing to her to be somewhere she never even dreamed existed, let alone she would get to be there. I think she feels more confident.”
Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie): Last we saw Brienne, she was in a rowboat waving farewell to Jaime at Riverrun. According to photos released by HBO, it looks like she and her squire Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman) have made their way back north.
“We will find Brienne restored to where she should be,” said Christie. “What I’m enjoying about Brienne of Tarth’s storyline is that it’s about what happens when something you conceive as being ultimate ends, what happens after that? I think that that’s when one’s personality starts to really grow and you start to question everything that you feel the world has been made of, so she’s actually moving into a new era.
She also seems to be preparing Podrick better for war. “There’s been a grudging respect and relationship that’s formed there,” said Christie. “He has actually saved her life a couple of times, and so she now respects him, she trusts him, and she is going to install him with as much power as possible. In the same way that she was marginalized and she wasn’t given the skills that she wanted and the opportunities, he has been as well because he seemed somehow lacking or incapable, but she’s going to empower him.”
Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen): Daenerys freed Jorah to go out in the world to seek a treatment for his greyscale and then return to her service once he was cured. “He’s on a mission,” said Glen. “I think that she fueled his desire, I think he becomes a fairly lost soul without her belief in him. So, you know, she’s definitely given him energy to try and sort himself out and find his cure. But the odds are stacked against him, so we’ll just have to see.”
“Game of Thrones” premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.