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“Stark men don’t fare well when they travel south.”
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) offered these words of advice to his old friend Jon Snow (Kit Harington) just a few episodes ago on Game of Thrones, when the King in the North first arrived in Dragonstone to seek an alliance with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). By all accounts, the visit actually went quite well. Jon successfully came to an agreement with the Dragon Queen on how to use the dragonglass of Dragonstone, became closer with Daenerys than either one of them anticipated and even enjoyed a face-to-face with one of the Khaleesi’s fire-breathing children. Considering how things worked out for the last two Stark men to leave Winterfell for the southern parts of Westeros, Jon walks away from this visit with his head still intact — in other words, call it a win.
But how will this Stark man fare when he travels back north? At the end of last week’s episode “Eastwatch,” Jon returned to the land of winter and marched out into the bitter cold beyond the Wall alongside other soldiers Gendry of Flea Bottom (Joe Dempsie), Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer), Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye) and the Hound (Rory McCann). Their mission: Track down the White Walkers, capture a wight, bring it back to King’s Landing and convince both Daenerys and Cersei (Lena Headey) to hit pause on their war and focus on the greater threat facing mankind.
Is it a foolish and ill-conceived mission? Absolutely. Is it a mission that’s going to fuel one of the single most epic episodes in Game of Thrones history? Absolutely. Before the season seven premiere, trailers for the year ahead featured several scenes with Jon and his allies slugging it out with the Army of the Dead in a stone-cold winter backdrop. Indeed, Beric Dondarrion illuminating his sword with a bright, blazing fire became an immediately indelible image, one that Thrones fans have been waiting to see play out on the series ever since. Now, we’re at the edge of that moment, based on the trailer for tonight’s “Beyond the Wall.” It’s the penultimate episode of the season, which is almost always the place where the year’s greatest Game of Thrones action takes place. Given the lineup of characters who are on Jon’s deadly mission, we’re expecting nothing short of the season’s most breathtaking sequence — a tall order, given we’ve already experienced the Loot Train Battle.
Over the next few hours, Thrones fans are advised to send good vibes toward the seven soldiers at the heart of this coming episode. The odds are stacked against these men, with multiple casualties all but guaranteed. We’ve listed our own predictions for who will survive the episode, with our most out-there theory centering on Jon Snow dying once again, only to return to life moments later. It’s an admittedly kooky theory, but it’s one we’ve been championing since before the season, so we’re sticking to it until proven otherwise. If we’re wrong, no harm no foul, with the exception of the other characters likely to die in his place. But if we’re right — if winter comes and claims Jon Snow — don’t forget who warned you first.
Watch the video below for the Game of Thrones cast’s preview of season seven’s battles.
Follow THR.com/GameOfThrones all season long for news, interviews, theories and more.
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