‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 7 Spoilers: The War Of The Five Kings, Version Two

cersei
The Queen HBO

By the end of Game of Thrones season 6, some major and long-standing plotlines have finally been resolved. The Starks have reclaimed the North and Arya will return to her family. The Iron Islands have a new king. Cersei’s trial is over, with shocking results. And, most importantly of all, the Night’s King is coming to Westeros with an army of the dead and Daenerys is coming to Westeros with an army of barbarians. It feels like a totally different world than the one of three seasons ago. But one thing’s the same: the War of the Five Kings is about to begin. Again.

War Of The Five Kings, Now With Queens

cersei
The Queen Photo: HBO

When George R. R. Martin originally thought up A Song of Ice and Fire, he thought it would be three books; later, it became two trilogies before expanding to the current seven-book plan. Structurally, Winds of Winter was going to be the third book in the original plan, and the second to last in the six-book plan. That’s why there’s a certain parallelism with the situation going into Game of Thrones season 7 with the events of Game of Thrones season 2. Season 1 and season 6 were both about a tenuous peace, with mostly small-scale conflicts (the Battle of Winterfell being the main exception). In season 2 and the upcoming season 7, open war is breaking out. And both times, it was a war between five monarchs.

In the first War of the Five Kings, in Clash of Kings, the combatants really were all men (and boys): King Joffrey Baratheon held the Iron Throne and defended it from King Renly Baratheon and King Stannis Baratheon, who sought to usurp it, while King Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands and King Robb Stark of the North sought independence and vengeance for past wrongs. All five kings are now dead, although Joffrey’s faction won. But why am I telling you that? You know that part already!

Game of Thrones season 7 brings us a new War of the Five Kings—this one featuring queens. Here are our combatants: Queen Cersei of House Lannister, who seized the Iron Throne by force despite having no claim to it at all; King Jon Snow, King in the North; King Euron Greyjoy of the Iron Islands; Queen Daenerys of House Targaryen; and the Night’s King, lord of the White Walkers and the dead.

Two of those monarchs make this battle utterly different than the one before—Daenerys and the Night’s King. Both are invaders, coming with fire and blood and ice and death, respectively. Neither will be much welcome, although Daenerys will certainly have allies. And both are destined to face off against each other.

Like the first War of the Five Kings, there is much violence ahead. A second Battle of the Blackwater is coming and a second invasion of the North from beyond the Wall (technically, Mance Rayder wasn’t one of the five kings in the first war—but his plans still made an impact). Like Stannis in the first war, Queen Cersei seems to have no chance at all—a tenuous base of support and widespread unpopularity with basically everyone. This time, at last, King’s Landing may fall.

And this time, the war will end differently—at least, let’s hope so. The Night’s King is unlike the others. And it’s hard to see the Seven Kingdoms ever defeating him if they don’t unite against their supernatural enemy. Daenerys had better hurry, and bring the other kings to heel—or put them to death.

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