HBO's Game of Thrones probably has the biggest set of characters on any TV show ever and, while the variety of Westerosi and Essossi people helps keep things interesting, it can also make for a real challenge to know who everybody is and their whereabouts. For three seasons now, fans have been wondering about the fate of one particular blacksmith, who took off on a rowing boat never to be seen again. It just so happens that the title cards for Game of Thrones Season 7 might actually foreshadow where the Baratheon bastard, Gendry has been since Season 3.
As always, if you're not caught up with Game of Thrones, or simply don't wish to be spoiled by heavy speculation, this is your turnback point.
Who's Gendry Again?
The first time we meet Gendry, he's working for a blacksmith in Flea Bottom back in Season 1. The then Hand of the King, Eddard Stark pays the boy a visit — following in the footsteps of the previous Hand, Jon Arryn — and Lord Stark is quick to realize the resemblance Gendry bears to King Robert Baratheon. Since then, Gendry has survived King Joffrey Baratheon's bastard-killing spree, being sold off to the Night's Watch and a Red Priestess, and escaped being the sacrificial lamb for the Lord of Light.
The last we saw of King Robert Baratheon's bastard, he was escaping Dragonstone with the aid of Ser Davos Seaworth. Gendry was put on a boat and told to row (and not fall off), and that's presumably what he's been doing all along. We were offered no explanation of his whereabouts or even if he survived by himself — until Game of Thrones Season 7 opening credits rolled, that is.
What About The Credits?
Let's take a moment to acknowledge that the opening sequence of #GameofThrones is constantly filled with #EasterEggs for the show, changing on an episode-to-episode basis to depict locations and the fate of the houses of Westeros. Many will remember when, for last season's finale, the flayed man of the Boltons finally gave way to the Stark direwolf atop the tower at Winterfell. The episode hadn't even started, and fans were already graced with that delightful bit of info.
Last season, Cersei lost her last child, Tommen, and took the throne for herself after blowing up half of King's Landing to destroy her enemies. While Robert Baratheon was king, Cersei was a Baratheon queen; now that all her 'Baratheon' children are dead, when she took the throne she did so as a Lannister, not a Baratheon. Proof of this is how she's replaced all the banners in King's Landing, and the sigil above the Iron Throne, with the Lannister lion.
But, although Cersei is now "Queen of the Seven Kingdoms" (or three, if you count like Jaime Lannister), she has no control over the opening credits of Game of Thrones. And so, after seven seasons, three Baratheon kings and now a Lannister queen, the sigil atop of King's Landing remains the Baratheon stag.
What Does It Mean?
Well, for starters it clearly means that this stag sigil was kept on purpose; no Game of Thrones fan would ever consider the possibility that creators David and Dan would allow for such a crude mistake on the show. So, yeah, the Baratheon stag still represents King's Landing — for whatever reason that is.
Now, one possible explanation could be that the producers want to make Cersei's claim to the throne illegitimate. They want fans to know that she took something without any right to it, and that there'll be consequences for that. So, let's take the safe approach and admit this could be simply a statement on how Cersei is no real queen at all.
Another angle (far more interesting than the first) is the fact that the stag remains in King's Landing because a Baratheon is still in King's Landing. Logistically, it makes total sense for Gendry to have rowed out of Dragonstone into King's Landing after Ser Davos rescued him. To be honest, it's the one distance that any normal person could row for and still make it out alive and well. Not to make this a spoilery post, but there have been some rumors that Gendry returned to the safety of Flea Bottom — a place Cersei hardly goes to — and hide right under the nose of those who wish him dead.
Now, for the icing on the theory cake, some fans have long speculated that Gendry might be Cersei's first born son. Back in Season 1, she talked to Catelyn Stark about having lost her child early on her marriage. He was black haired, looking just like Robert, and Cersei "never saw him again, never visited the crypt." Gendry fits all those characteristics, and if this turns out to be true, it would explain the stag remaining in the titles. Gendry would be a legitimate Baratheon — the only legitimate child of King Robert — and so he would be King of the Seven Kingdoms in the end.
One way or another, there will be an explanation for the opening sequence for King's Landing not changing with the seasons, even though Cersei is now on the throne. Whether this is some clever foreshadowing that Gendry will be the King of Westeros when all this is over, or if it's just to dispute Cersei's claim to the throne, we'll have to wait and find out.
Which is your explanation to the leftover stag atop King's Landing in the opening of Game of Thrones? Do you have a theory of your own? Share it in the comments below!