'Game of Thrones': A Look at the High-Stakes Battle to Come in Season 7

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) looks to be involved in the conflict, but who will she meet on the battlefield?
Courtesy of HBO

If you thought Jon Snow (Kit Harington) slugging it out with Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) was the peak of the Game of Thrones action, just wait for season seven.

Whispered teases about a major upcoming battle scene are littered throughout a recent Time Magazine cover story, which chronicles the minutiae involved in bringing Game of Thrones to life. In writing about a day on the HBO series' Belfast set, author Daniel D'Addario describes "a battle whose sheer scope, even before being cut together with the show's typical brio, dazzled me." While the specifics of the soldiers on the battlefield and even the battlefield itself remain under wraps, D'Addario offers this promise: "Thrones has been promising this clash all along, and when the time comes, the internet will melt."

The article stops short of confirming any other details, though it's hard not to start connecting some dots. For instance, so much of the feature focuses on Emilia Clarke's work as Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, and the fact that she spent 16 days filming on top of a mechanical rig meant to represent one of her increasingly ferocious dragons. As D'Addario puts it: "The battle for Westeros may be won or lost on the back of a lime green mechanical bull."

"We knew it would be a mechanical bull," co-showrunner Dan Weiss tells Time about Dany's dragons' increasing size. "We didn't know it would be 40 feet in the air and six degrees of motion with cameras that swirl."

At the very least, then, it sounds as if the Mother of Dragons and at least one of her fire-breathing associates are involved in the battle that "Thrones has been promising … all along." Which is a loaded description, of course, as there are several Dany-centric clashes that have been virtually promised since the show's earliest days, including but not limited to:

1. A Clash of Queens: Both Daenerys and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) are at the height of their power, and based on the trailers for season seven, we already know the dragons and lions will meet each other on the battlefield. The latest trailer shows Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) riding a horse through a scorched field, strongly suggesting that the Kingslayer will see House Targaryen's unique form of firepower up close and personal. Watch that moment in the video below:

2. Dance of the Dragons: Most fans expect that Dany and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) will align their forces against the White Walkers in season seven, but as is often the case in superhero team-ups, it's not out of the question that these two Targaryens could initially target one another. Lord Snow finding out that he's a secret Targaryen thanks to sustaining a steady stream of dragon fire to the face, and living to tell the tale, would be one way to get him on the R+L=J train.

3. Ice versus Fire: The likeliest scenario of the three is that Dany and her dragons are getting ready to wage war against the Night King and his White Walker forces. Talk about clashes that have been promised since the very beginning of Game of Thrones, and frankly well before the show ever existed. After all, George R.R. Martin's novel series is called "A Song of Ice and Fire," and there's no freezer-burn quite like pitting ice zombies against fire-breathing behemoths. 

Frankly, all three of those battles are likely to take place before Game of Thrones closes shop, if not in the season ahead — and all three would likely give the Battle of the Bastards a run for its money in terms of sheer size and scope. But no matter what the battle involves, and whenever it takes place, it's also worth noting this aside from VFX supervisor Joe Bauer: "At first we had a season with one big event, then we had a season with two big events, now we have a season where every episode is a big event."

Translation: just like winter, action is coming — and lots of it — when Thrones returns July 16.

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