HBO wasted little time releasing the second trailer for the highly anticipated season 7. In fact, this one came just a little over a month after the first was released. The one thing that really stands out here is the sheer amount of footage we’re provided with. This was certainly not what I was expecting. First off, season 7 will only contain 7 episodes making it the shortest season to date (even though the final two episodes will run 79 minutes and 89 minutes respectively, practically making them short films). On top of that, this has to be the season most shrouded in mystery. We are now past anything in the books and entering uncharted territory. That’s why speculation of what’s to come is at a fever pitch and this trailer just poured a ton of gas on this fire, and the cold winds are rising. Let’s dig in.
I’m not going to go through the trailer step by step considering it’s already been out for a bit and the internet is flooded with overviews. Instead, I’d like to address the parts that really stuck out to me and like always, offer some insight and prediction. Now I’m certainly not saying these predictions will be accurate, but I will be referencing several behind the scenes leaks and rumors. Therefor, if you really want to go into next season with a blank slate I should probably warn of possible spoilers. In this first part I’m going to discuss Winterfell and the northern realm.
The opening shot of Sansa walking through the Godswood at Winterfell is interesting. She has a look of uncertainty mixed with what could be guilt as she seemingly want’s to look back, but can’t quite bring herself to do so. Littlefinger speaks over this shot leading us to believe it’s Sansa he’s addressing. However, it strikes me as a strange conversation for him to have with Sansa as he speaks of battles in all directions. Many believe Littlefinger will attempt to manipulate Sansa into taking power of Winterfell, allowing him to rule through her just as he does with Sweet Robin Arryn and The Vale. I also believe this and perhaps Sansa begins down this path or at least gives it serious consideration. However, there’s a major problem in Littlefinger’s scheme that’s shown to us in this trailer.
That problem comes in the form of Bran Stark. Early in the trailer we see he and Meera in front of the gate located in The Wall leading us to believe they’re heading back south. This is confirmed later with the shot above of Bran sitting in a wheelchair in what certainly appears to be The Godswood at Winterfell. This puts a huge wrench in Littlefinger’s scheming. He may be able to convince people that Sansa’s the rightful heir to Winterfell over Jon (more on that in a moment) but there’s simply no arguing that Bran outranks her since he’s the eldest living male of Ned and Catelyn. The question is when does Bran arrive in Winterfell? There’s one more aspect to all this and that’s obviously Jon Snow.
This clip from the first trailer shows an angry King in the North slamming Littlefinger against a wall. If you notice, they’re obviously in the crypts of Winterfell, a location that plays major significance to our story. Now Jon’s reason for this could be a great number of things. I’ve never even met Littlefinger and I’d like to choke the guy. However, I have a theory as to why. Back in season 5, Sansa and Littlefinger are in the crypts talking about Sansa’s aunt Lyanna. Sansa tells the old story about Rhaegar kidnapping and raping Lyanna and as she does so, Littlefinger gives her a look worth a thousand words; a look that says she is mistaken and he knows it. I believe Littlefinger knows the truth about Jon’s true parentage, or at the very least has a suspicion. Given his incredible ability to know what’s going on everywhere at anytime, it would almost be surprising if he didn’t. This could upset Jon who lived is whole life believing Ned to be his father. It could also weaken his newfound power amongst the north if it’s discovered his father was actually a Targaryen.
The second episode, named “Stormborn”, says in its description that “Jon faces a revolt”. I don’t think many of us find this surprising. This revolt could come from many places, including Littlefinger and The Vale, Northerners still unwilling to fight alongside wildings, and possibly fallout from punishments issued by Jon to those who fought against him in The Battle of the Bastards. Since I think we’re going to get Alys Karstark this season, is it possible that Jon will run into trouble with House Karstark just as Robb did? It was Alys’ uncle who stood with Ramsey and Smalljon Umber. It could even be the revelation of Jon’s true parentage. Nonetheless, I believe Jon will look elsewhere for support. In fact, we know this to be true since at some point he goes to Dragonstone as well as meets up with The Brotherhood Without Banners. We’ll get more into that later.
As far as Littlefinger goes, I don’t believe he’ll survive this season. Like I said, I think he’ll be able to manipulate Sansa to an extent but his house of cards are on shaky ground already. Bronze Yohn Royce, one of the most powerful lords of The Vale, has been fostering Robin Arryn. Early in season 6 Littlefinger proves his power over the boy by nearly convincing him to execute Royce when he stepped out of line. If you look closely at one of the shots you’ll spot Royce seated in the great hall of Winterfell. That leads me to believe Robin is there, too. As much power as Littlefinger has over the boy, there’s one who may have more: Sansa.
If Sansa can turn Robin against Littlefinger than he loses all his support from The Vale. So what might turn Sansa against Littlefinger? Well, there’s a man who’s been conspicuously absent in both trailers who knows about Littlefinger’s treachery against Ned Stark: Varys. Varys also knows that it was Littlefinger who played a major role in the death of Jon Arryn, former lord of The Vale. This would be rather upsetting information to the lords and knights of The Vale currently at Winterfell, not to mention Jon Arryn’s son, Robin. And we know Varys would love to take his old nemesis down. Sansa needs a strong story arc this season. Too long has she played the naïve little girl or the victim. I believe this is the season she finally breaks that mold and comes into her own. She’ll eventually use all that Littlefinger taught her about the game against him and take him down. Another small note is we see Brienne and Podrick at Winterfell. Brienne has sworn allegiance to Sansa and may be and important ally at some point.
So bottom line is I believe the Winterfell story arc will primarily belong to Sansa. She will not be fighting beyond The Wall or in the south. She’ll be fighting to make difficult decisions and I believe she’ll stumble but eventually prevail as we’ve wanted her to for so long. Bran may end up Lord of Winterfell by season’s end but that probably won’t matter much either way. I believe Bran, like Jon, have far bigger roles to play. As for Jon, I think he’ll only be at Winterfell for two maybe three episodes considering what we know about him being at Dragonstone, Beyond the Wall, and King’s Landing. Yes, King’s Landing.
I’ll get into that and more in Part 2. Thanks so much for reading and feedback is always welcome.