The Long Game of Thrones Journey That Ends in 2017

The Internet is dark and full of spoilers.
By  · Published on December 30th, 2016

The Internet is dark and full of spoilers.

Winter is here. Only it took its sweet time, so we’re stuck waiting even longer to catch up with the characters we love to hate and hate to love (because we should really know better than to get attached, but alas). There are a lot of reasons to look forward to returning to Westeros – in a sense, this penultimate season is the last to be truly and fully looked forward to, because the final season will carry the weight of being the Final Season, a prospect as off-putting as it is exciting.

One very specific reason to look forward to Season 7 is something that some fans have been waiting for longer than Sherlock fans waited for Season 4: rumors and photos taken on set confirm that Gendry is finally coming back.

For those of you going, “wait, who?,” think back to when Joffrey was still the most despicable bastard in Westeros and Sansa still thought marrying Tyrion was as bad as it could get. Before Arya left for Braavos or travelled with Sandor, she spent the better part of 2 seasons in the company of a black-haired blacksmith’s apprentice, Gendry – the bastard son of Robert Baratheon. He intended to stay with the Brotherhood without Banners (the remaining members were reintroduced briefly in Season 6 along with seemingly everyone else but Gendry), but was instead sold off to Melisandre, who used his “king’s blood” for nefarious purposes and intended to ritually burn him at the stake – and definitely would have, if not for everybody’s favorite knight in onion armor, who put him on a rowboat. At the end of season 3.

Game of Thrones has put a lot of people on boats. The show really seems to like majestic shots of people sailing away into the unknown, and leaving that mystery hanging for a few scenes or even a few episodes. But not – except in the case of Gendry, of course – three whole seasons. Gendry’s path on the show veered considerably from his path in the books, particularly towards the end, which seemed to point to him becoming a larger presence in the show (after all, why go to the trouble of saving him?). Instead, he disappeared.

Notice the concern on Brienne’s face—someone clearly told her about what happened to Gendry
He might not be the most memorable character, but he is actually incredibly important – even more so now than he was when he rowed away into the unknown, because he is the last Baratheon left. Daenerys might bemoan being the last of her family line, but the fact of the matter is that House Baratheon is now in even worse shape than House Targaryen. Not even Cersei’s pseudo-“Baratheon” children are left, meaning Gendry is, by every measure, the only living Baratheon. As such, he has a claim to Dragonstone, the Stormlands, and, arguably, the Iron Throne. Since his character has veered from his A Song of Ice and Fire path (and the show has reached completely uncharted territory anyway), there are numerous intriguing possibilities for his character in Season 7. For Gendry fans, wondering how his return will affect the various machinations taking place in Westeros is a much more enjoyable question to ponder than wondering if he will return at all.

Traveling from set spoilers into the realm of pure fan speculation, another long-lost character who has the potential to make an appearance is Quaithe, the mysterious masked woman from Asshai who has a few blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearances in Season 2, in which she gives Jorah some enigmatic warnings regarding Daenerys’s future.

She is also the only character on the show to have alluded to possessing some genuine knowledge of Greyscale (specifically how to prevent it – which, of course, isn’t the same as treatment, but it’s far more promising than any other prospect). Since Jorah seems to be ready to switch from his Ser Sadface setting to Jorah the Explorer mode in search of a Greyscale cure, Quaithe seems like a promising (and likely) starting place for his quest.

Season 7 is set to be one of many long-awaited returns, meetings, and reunions – happy or otherwise. For now we’re stuck speculating, but there is one thing that’s certain: Winter is here in Westeros, and summer can’t come soon enough.

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Ciara Wardlow is a human being who writes about movies and other things. Sometimes she tries to be funny on Twitter.