*Warning: This article contains speculation on what may happen in Game of Thrones Season 7. Spoiler-phobes — look away now.*
Events in Game of Thrones are heating up to such unimaginable temperatures, a diamond would melt in the cauldron of expectation like butter spread on freshly toasted bread. With only two condensed seasons to go, from now on, every episode will purposefully stride closer to the conclusion of the fantasy epic.
Although each stand alone episode of the hit adaptation of George R. R. Martin's series of novels is enjoyable in its own right, there have been a number of slow-burn storylines that finally burst into flames in the last season, suggesting that Game of Thrones Season 7 will be wildfire from the very beginning.
This does pose certain problems, though; the final two #GameOfThrones seasons contain only seven episodes each, three less than usual. While it's admirable showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss are sticking to their word on not unnecessarily stretching out the story, it will dramatically change the structure and pacing of the show — the result of which may not be to everyone's taste.
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'Game Of Thrones' Season 7 May End With A 'Huge Cliffhanger'?
In an interview with Time Out, #MaisieWilliams, who plays the resilient #AryaStark in the show, said Season 7 may end on "a huge cliffhanger" — a comment that will send chills down the spine of any Walking Dead fans. She explained:
"It’s just kind of tumbling now. We’ve come to the climax and it’s rolling down to the end… I really felt like at the end of last season everything was set up for how it was going to end. Every character came to a little junction in their lives. Now we’re all going to crash down together to however this show ends.”
For those who have read the books or simply enjoy speculating on what will come next, this won't be a surprise. With so much to cram into the final 14 episodes, it'll be difficult for the show to not end on a cliffhanger. And there is precedent; White-Walker-destroying fan favorite #JonSnow was brutally stabbed to death by the Night's Watch in a ruthless betrayal at the end of Season 5. However, much to the surprise of no one, he returned from the dead at the beginning of Season 6.
But the question is whether HBO opt for an acceptable level of obscurity, or instead choose an excessively tantalizing low-blow in the same manner of The Walking Dead, which was heavily criticized for ending its sixth season in the midst of a crucial scene, when the show's leading characters were in severe peril.
What Could The Cliffhanger Be?
With #CerseiLannister's evil lust for power rewarding her with the crown, Arya Stark's training with the Faceless Men helping her enact revenge, Jon Snow's newfound support helping him become the new King of the North, and Daenerys and Tyrion's partnership leading them toward Westeros, all of the key characters are finally edging closer to each other, and closer to the ultimate conclusion of Game of Thrones.
The big theme for Season 7 will be the influx of the White Walkers, as winter finally arrives and the undead invade. The need to film during the cold, dark winter months was responsible for the delay in release, so viewers are guaranteed that a significant part of the story will focus on the threat from the Night King and his frosty minions.
A possible cliffhanger could tease the defining moment when all of those involved in the fight for the Iron Throne realize their mission is insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Picture Jon Snow, Cersei, Daenerys, Tyrion, Arya, Jaime and Sansa, all in the same room, suddenly hit with the knowledge-bomb that they need to stick together to survive.
Away from the overarching threat of White Walkers, there are also many possibilities and meetings that could result in a tense season finale. *Another spoiler alert* from leaked onset photographs, we know that Jon and Dany will finally share scenes together. The pair may form a bond, and state their desire to wrest power from Cersei, shortly before the credits role.
There's also Bran; his ability to enter the minds of animals and humans reached a chilling climax last season, when it was revealed he could not only enter minds, but also transport back in time and influence events — evidenced by the gut-wrenching "hold the door!" reveal.
Will Cersei Meet Her Demise At The End Of Season 7?
On the subject of Cersei (Lena Headey), there is strong speculation that the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms will meet her demise in Season 7. As the character everyone loves-to-hate, her final scenes will be some of the most iconic in Game of Thrones history. This alone could provide the cliffhanger, especially if the identity of the killer remains a secret. After all, potential killers include Jaime, Arya, Jon Snow, Tyrion and more.
Whatever happens, Williams confirmed there is a prize in store for the select few who manage to make it to the end without being brutally slaughtered: A matching tattoo. She added:
"We’re all waiting to see if we do make it. I was lucky enough to be in season one, even the pilot episode. If I do make it to season eight I will get it. It would be rude not to!"
What cliffhanger do you predict in Game of Thrones Season 7?