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“When the snows falls, and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” – Sansa Stark

The epic seventh season of Game of Thrones is only a few days away. Has there been a show, at least in recent history, that’s had this much hype surrounding it? Has a show hit a peak as high as this? Game of Thrones will go down as the greatest show in the history of television when it’s all said and done. Fans know there are two season left – 13 episodes in all. We already know that most of these episodes are going to approach, or exceed, one hour in length. The season seven finale is listed at around 80 minutes, which is practically a feature length film. So, what can fans expect this season? Let’s explore the world of Westeros and where we left off at the end of season six.

King’s Landing

The last time we saw the capital, Cersei Lannister used hidden caches of wildfire underneath the Great Sept of Baelor to explode the holiest site in Westeros, and surrounding city blocks, into total obliteration. She avoided her own trial, and in the ensuing explosion, managed to kill the High Sparrow, the Faith Militant, and the entire Tyrell family. When King Tommen looked out to see his the explosion, which ultimately cost him his wife, Queen Margaery, he took his own life by jumping out of a window in the Red Keep. Cersei now sits on the Iron Throne, in total control…for now.

The North

I’ll lump Winterfell, the Wall, and north of the Wall into one category. Jon Snow is back in Winterfell with his sister (or not?), Sansa, after defeating the Bolton’s in the Battle of Winterfell. Snow’s army of wildlings and other northern families were on the verge of extinction had it not been for the Knights of the Vale, who came to the rescue at the last possible moment. The Knights of the Vale broke the Bolton siege lines, destroyed their army, and cleared a path for Jon to retake the family seat.

Jon Snow’s true parentage was basically revealed in season six during one of Bran’s visions at the Tower of Joy. Ned, who found his dying sister Lyanna in childbirth, is not Jon’s father. Jon’s parents are Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, which makes him Daenerys’ nephew. Interesting if you think about it. How this plays out this season is one of the things I’m looking forward to the most.

North of the Wall, Bran and Meera were just rescued from some white walkers by his uncle, Benjen Stark, who we hadn’t seen since early in season one. Benjen takes Bran and Meera almost to the Wall, and in a season seven trailer, we see the two of the them at the gates about to enter Castle Black.

The Stark’s are incredibly close to full fledged family reunion. All four of them are in the North – the fourth being Arya – who we last saw at the Twins where she killed another person on her list, Walder Frey. The Twins is located in the Riverlands, which isn’t too far from Winterfell and the rest of the North. Will Arya continue riding north to Winterfell?

Beyond the Wall, the army of the dead is coming. We saw the Night King grab Bran’s arm in one of his visions, which enabled them to cross into the giant weirwood tree and kill the Three-Eyed Raven, Hodor, and the Children of the Forest. If Bran goes south of the Wall, this leads me to believe the white walkers will be able to pass through the Wall and the magic that was built within it.

We can’t forget about Melisandre. The powerful priestess of the Lord of Light was evicted from Castle Black by Jon Snow after Davos Seaworth told Jon that Melisandre burned Shireen Baratheon, Stannis’ daughter, at the stake in hopes of using blood magic to rescue the Baratheon army. Jon was having none of it. So he told her to leave. Where do you think Melisandre will go? Read my predictions below.

Across the Narrow Sea

Daenerys Targaryen is sailing for Westeros. From the trailers, we know she’s going to land on her ancestral home of Dragonstone, the seat of House Targaryen. She has a fleet of ships, a massive Dothraki khalasar, and an army of Unsullied. Oh, and three dragons. In other words, she has everything she needs to take the Seven Kingdoms. Maybe her most lethal weapon is Tyrion Lannister. She made Tyrion her “hand” in the season six finale.

We can’t forget about the Theon Greyjoy and his sister, Yara. We last saw them meeting with Daenerys, offering the Greyjoy fleet of ships she needs to sail back to Westeros. In return, Daenerys promised the Greyjoy’s full control of the Iron Islands if she’s able to successfully take back the Iron Throne. The siblings fled the islands from their uncle, Euron. He won the “Kingsmoot,” and was essentially elected the ruler of the Iron Islands. Season six ended with Euron commanding his men to build a massive fleet. There’s reason to believe he’s going to wind up in King’s Landing, possibly attempting to make some sort a pact with Cersei.

Season Seven Predictions

We are well beyond the end of the books, the source material for which Game of Thrones is based. From here on out, all we have left are theories and predictions. Here are a few things I believe will happen this season, in no particular order.

Cersei will sit on the Iron Throne at the end of this season. I don’t see who will overtake her. I don’t believe Daenerys will take King’s Landing yet, if at all. If she does, it will be in the show’s final season.

One of the Stark children will die. It won’t be Bran. He’s too important to the overall story with this warging capabilities. Sansa is vulnerable, but with Brienne of Tarth protecting her, she won’t die either. I predict it’ll be Arya.

Gendry returns. This isn’t so much a prediction as it is a known fact. The bastard son of Robert Baratheon will return this season. What role will he play?

Jon Snow will finally learn who his true parents are, but who will tell him? Littlefinger knows. So does Bran. So does Howland Reed, who was at the Tower of Joy with Ned. He’s also Meera’s father. Maybe we meet finally get to meet Howland. I cannot wait for this scene.

Littlefinger dies. His time is coming. I just don’t know when, but I feel like it’ll be soon. He’s the pupper master of this entire show. Will Jon kill him? Brienne?

Melisandre will meet Daenerys at Dragonstone. She was evicted from Castle Black by Jon. Where else would she go but to meet the person who is prophesied for greatness? Priests and priestesses in Volantis were declaring Daenerys is the true queen in season six. Melisandre is powerful, and she’s on a mission to find the Queen of the Andals.

“Game of Thrones” begins Sunday, July 16 at 9 pm on HBO.

Marc is a lifelong resident of Beaver County. A 2001 graduate of Center High School and 2005 graduate of Point Park University, Marc is employed by the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School and officiates high school and college football. Follow Marc on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram @marcgrando