In the final episode of “Game of Thrones” this season, history will be made one way or another.
For the first time during her reign, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) has deigned to hold court to meet with her biggest rivals: Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington), the leaders whose respective Houses are represented in the episode’s title, “The Dragon and the Wolf.”
While Jon and Dany have seen the White Walkers and their army of the dead up close and personal, they have yet to convince Cersei to put aside her power-hungry ways and call a detente in order to focus their combined forces up North to defeat their common enemy. Because most people in Westeros still believe the White Walkers, whom they’ve dubbed The Others, and wights are the stuff of fairy tales, Jon Snow went on a wight-fetching mission in last week’s episode in which our heroes lost two important members of their team. Despite the losses, a wight was obtained, so it remains to be seen how peppy the zombie is when he’s brought down South and unveiled for Cersei. Meanwhile, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) has remained at Winterfell even though she was also invited to the parley while she represented Jon in the North during his prolonged absence. She sent Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) instead.
Here’s a look at the photos HBO released from the finale and what they could mean for the fate of Westeros:
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It appears that part of the action takes place back at Casterly Rock, the ancestral hold of House Lannister, and its familiar battlements. Or is that Highgarden? Daenerys’ Unsullied infiltrated Casterly Rock a while back, but their victory was too easy since Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) were actually sacking Highgarden for its riches to pay the Iron Bank.
This show of force looks worrisome. Could the castle be under attack again?
Meanwhile, back at the Red Keep, Cersei is back at her map of conquest, but this time she’s cradling her belly. After her news that she was expecting Jaime’s baby, she appears to be focused on the possibilities of another Lannister child born of incest. According to the prophecy that Maggy (Jodhi May) had told her though, she would only have three children. Since all three of Cersei’s kids have already perished, in order for the prophecy to come true, Cersei or her unborn child would have to die soon.
Cersei holding court with Jaime by her side. Winter has not yet touched King’s Landing, although her wardrobe does appear to be intended for cooler temperatures. While there are many guards at the ready, it’s not clear if the Mountain is one of them.
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Jon Snow, who had metaphorically bent the knee to Daenerys in the last episode, have arrived to parley. But where is Daenerys? She doesn’t appear in any of these photos nor in the trailer for the finale either. Her conspicuous absence must mean some sort of stealth move. Perhaps she’s up North to fetch Viserion, but it’s not like her to not face off with another queen if she gets a chance.
Oh, it’s Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), whom we haven’t seen in a while, not since he also landed at Dragonstone having failed at Blackwater and lost his sister Yara (Gemma Whelan) to his uncle Euron (Pilou Asbaek). In the trailer we see that Theon has joined Jon Snow and the rest to meet with Cersei. It’s likely that Euron is still hanging around, which would make for an intriguing family reunion.
Sansa should be rightfully pensive. After her run-in with Arya (Maisie Williams) in the last episode, the two Stark sisters can’t be on comfortable terms. But Sansa can’t let that distract her since she’s still leading Winterfell in Jon’s continued absence. Hopefully they can put their differences aside so that one of them doesn’t end up dead.
No, the show hasn’t forgotten about Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright), who arrived at Winterfell to creep everyone out with his Three-Eyed Raven way of seeing the world. He’s still holding onto that secret about Jon’s mother though, so perhaps this photo is an indicator that he’s ready to tell Jon the truth.
The “Game of Thrones” finale airs Sunday, Aug. 27 at 9 p.m. on HBO and will run for and extended 79 minutes and 43 seconds.