In the season seven premiere, HBO's Game of Thrones rightfully focused on the leaders of the three factions currently in positions of power throughout Westeros: Jon Snow (Kit Harington) in the North, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) in King's Landing and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) just east in Dragonstone.
Expect all three to remain center stage in the next episode, "Stormborn." But thanks to trailers and photos, we should also expect a rise to power for three of our other favorite wheelers-and-dealers: Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), Varys (Conleth Hill) and Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen), all of whom know a thing or two about whispering sweet (and sinister) nothings into royal ears.
Let's start up north. Littlefinger is outside of his comfort zone. His attempts to reconnect with Sansa (Sophie Turner) are not going over well. He does not want to see Jon Snow in charge, certainly not if he can instill Sansa in a position of power. But if she's not receptive to his ideas, how is Littlefinger going to shift the landscape in the North? It looks like he's going to go straight to the top of the ladder, taking on Jon in the crypts of Winterfell.
It won't be the first time King Snow and Littlefinger have occupied the same space, but it certainly looks like the first time they're going to exchange direct words. Based on earlier season seven trailers, we know that whatever Littlefinger tells Jon, our fearless King in the North isn't likely to respond well, at least not at first. Do we think Littlefinger is going to be the guy who tells Jon about his true origin as a Targaryen? If so, it gives renewed meaning to the episode title, "Stormborn."
Shifting focus to where the storm was born, we turn to Dragonstone, and we turn to Varys. While it's nice to see the Master of Whispers has gone all in on the Mother of Dragons, it's well past time we see him let his Targaryen freak flag fly. Thankfully, we know he's going to have at least one important interaction in the episode, potentially his first direct scene with Daenerys, if you can believe it.
What's more, the Comic-Con trailer revealed that Melisandre (Carice van Houten) is on her way to Dragonstone. If that's happening in this week's episode, you can bet on Varys and the Red Woman exchanging a few words, given that the two were seen together on the outskirts of Dragonstone in a previous trailer. Seeing as Varys isn't exactly the most comfortable person in the room when magic gets involved, his interactions with the Red Priestess of Asshai should be something to look forward to indeed.
Finally, there's Tyrion. He has yet to say a single word in season seven. Expect that to change in the very near future. In the trailer for "Stormborn," Tyrion stands in the middle of the Dragonstone war room, as Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) bellows about going after King's Landing. Expect the Hand of the Queen to have some thoughts on the matter.
Additionally, if Melisandre comes to Dragonstone tonight and offers her scorching hot take that Dany needs to cross paths with Jon Snow, Tyrion is the best person in the room to evaluate the characters of both the Dragon Queen and the King in the North. He's always been one of the best power brokers on the show; now, with only 12 episodes remaining, Tyrion could very well serve as the man who helps the story's most important alliance come together.
Alternately, Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) could make good on his threat to steal a "gift" for Cersei, and snatch Tyrion as soon as the next installment. In any case, expect Tyrion to have a bigger second episode than he enjoyed in the premiere, as if anything else is possible.
Watch the Comic-Con trailer in the player below.
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