(Spoiler warning: This article discusses plot and character details up to and including the Season 6 finale, and things revealed in official Season 7 trailers.)
To help you get caught up before Sunday’s Season 7 premiere, here’s a roundup of the sides each of our major players have chosen and what to expect from them going forward.
Jon Snow: Team Stark
Jon Snow has come a long way from being left for dead after getting stabbed by his own men. The Stark bastard is now King in the North, officially, and was finally revealed to be the son of Lyanna Stark and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen in the Season 6 finale. It’s still unclear when anyone onscreen will find out this information, though Bran Stark’s imminent arrival at the Wall could give him a chance to share what he learned in a vision sooner rather than later.
Sansa Stark: Team Stark
Sansa finally made it home to Winterfell, a very different young woman than the naive girl who left so many years ago. Now a shrewd political strategist in her own right, she was instrumental in winning the Battle of the Bastards in Season 6, a fact that should not escape the notice of her older brother/cousin Jon. He’s now King in the North, but she just may be the best politician in the family.
Littlefinger: Team Stark
Littlefinger is really more Team Sansa than anything, or rather, Team Littlefinger, though he certainly seems fixated on Catelyn Stark’s daughter in creepy ways. Luckily for Sansa, she knows he’s an asset to her, at least for now. But how long will it be before Lord Baelish makes another move to advance himself?
Brienne and Podrick: Team Stark
After making a promise to Catelyn Stark to protect her children, Brienne was finally able to track down Sansa and has indeed made the pledge to protect her. Now she and her squire are on the side of the North in the impending battle, though her first priority will be Sansa, at all costs.
Tormund and the Free Folk: Team Stark
From “You know nothing, Jon Snow” to uniting the Night’s Watch with the Free Folk, the Stark bastard really has done wonders for relations between the people who live on opposite sides of the Wall. It’s no surprise then that Tormund, a key leader of the wildlings – perhaps now the leader after the death of Mance Rayder – has come to view Jon Snow as a friend and a worthy leader for his people to follow.
Daenerys Targaryen: Team Targaryen
After six long seasons, Daenerys finally set sail for Westeros in the Season 6 finale, with thousands of ships and soldiers following her quest to reclaim the Iron Throne. And as the Season 7 trailers have already revealed, the last remaining Targaryen will make it home to Draonstone at long last.
Theon and Yara Greyjoy: Team Targaryen
The newly reunited Greyjoy siblings finally found common ground and something they agreed on: They didn’t want to live in the Iron Islands under the rule of their murderous uncle Euron, so they fled their home and made it to Daenerys to offer up an alliance first. The pact between Dany and Yara – as Theon stayed back and out of it – is one of the most satisfying feminist moments on a show previously criticized for its treatment of women, not to mention the Greyjoys are responsible for that badass shot of Dany crossing the Narrow Sea on hundreds of ships.
Tyrion Lannister: Team Targaryen
There’s kinda the sense that this must be the right team to join if Tyrion is on it, right? The black sheep of the Lannister clan has clawed and strategized his way into a newly powerful position, as Dany asked him to be her Hand in the Season 6 finale. Now, he’s by the Dragon Queen’s side as she sails to Westeros, ready to face his estranged remaining family members.
Varys, the Martells and the Tyrells: Team Targaryen
With one trip to Dorne, Varys was able to swing two more major alliances Dany’s way, as he brought news of the death of Margary Tyrell to her grandmother, Olenna, and Ellaria Sands also pledged the support of House Martell. Sigils of both Lannister-hating houses can be seen as part of the Targaryen fleet heading towards Westerors in the Season 6 finale.
Cersei and Jamie: Team Lannister
Cersei Lannister was never going to stand trial for her perceived sins. Only Margary Tyrell realized this, and too late, in the Season 6 finale, when the Sept of Baelor was destroyed, along with everyone in it. Cersei was then free to finally claim the Iron Throne for herself, rather than rule from the shadows as one of her children sat upon it. Jamie arrived just in time to see his sister’s coronation, but the Lannisters know they still have a long ways to go before they rest. After all, the past three members of their family to sit atop the Iron Throne have died while in office.
Arya Stark: Lone Wolf
Well, she’s obviously Team Stark, but Arya’s doing her own thing for now. It took years of growing up, traveling to far away lands and tons of assassin training, but in the Season 6 finale, Arya finally began her true quest of taking vengeance on those who murdered her family – well, those still alive anyway. Using her new powers of impersonating other people from the Many-Faced God, Arya forsook her new duty to only kill those she’s assigned to and left Braavos to track down that list of enemies she swore to vanquish. She started with Walder Fray, responsible for the horrific “Red Wedding” we’re still all traumatized by, slitting his throat the way his men did to Arya’s mother Catelyn. And she’s still got a long list left…
Euron Greyjoy: Wild Card
He rebuffed throwing his lot in with Daenerys Targaryen, like his niece and nephew did, and vowed to build his own army, with sailing to claim Westeros for himself on his mind. And while all signs point to a desire to team up with – and marry – Cersei Lannister, we doubt this will be an easy alliance to come by. One of them will make a move at some point, making this one of the most interesting and potentially explosive relationships to watch this season.
Bran Stark: On Some Other Level Entirely
While the Season 7 trailers preview Bran’s arrival at the Wall, signaling a reunion with Sansa and Jon imminently, the new Third-Eyed Raven is on his own mission, having visions and encounters with the Night King on an astral level. Yeah. Bran’s on some other journey altogether.
Game of Thrones premieres Sunday, July 16 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
Linda Ge | TV Editor