Even though Game of Thrones trades on the moral ambiguity of its cast — the idea that even the best people can make grave mistakes — there’s no question that certain characters stand out as more heroic than others.
For instance, everyone expects greatness from Jon Snow (Kit Harington), what with the fact that he recently conquered an enemy no greater than death itself. Likewise with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), finally set to make landfall in Westeros for the first time in Thrones history, with an army of fan-favorite forces to boot. However this whole story ends, it’s a strong bet that Jon and Dany will play instrumental roles in pulling the Seven Kingdoms’ collective feet out of the proverbial fire — or bitter cold boil, as it were.
Those two central figures aside, Thrones is littered with characters who have the potential for true acts of heroism — folks who haven’t fully lived up to that potential yet, or haven’t in quite some time, but are poised to step up with moments of greatness as season seven pushes forward. Here are the folks we’re hoping to step up their hero game in the coming season, some more likely than others:
1. Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan)
Her brother Theon (Alfie Allen) already enjoyed a hero moment at the end of season five and into the beginning of season six, when he liberated Sansa (Sophie Turner) from the Bolton-controlled Winterfell. Season seven could see Theon’s sister stepping up the plate in a similar regard, perhaps even on a larger scale. She’s in charge of the Greyjoy fleet, at least as it pertains to Daenerys’ army, and she has at least one ocean-dwelling monster to worry about as the show moves forward: Uncle Euron (Pilou Asbaek), the snarling stranger who crowned himself king of the Iron Islands. In trailers for season seven, we’ve seen violent scenes set in fiery ocean settings, suggesting a Battle of the Greyjoys. Whether a sacrifice play or an outright strategic master play, Yara’s time to show her prowess as a navy commander and supreme Iron Islands warrior looks to be at hand this season.
2. The Sand Snakes
Ever since their introduction in season five, the Sand Snakes have been a source of derision, not fully accepted by the masses of Game of Thrones fans. Perhaps that’s set to change in season seven, now that their poisoned fangs are pointed in the right direction — or, at least, are pointed in the same direction as ever before, but with new backing and energy in the form of Dorne’s alliance with House Targaryen. Everyone keeps clamoring for a Cleganebowl between brothers Sandor and Gregor, but what about this possibility: “Sand Snake Mountain,” in which the late Oberyn Martell’s daughters challenge the zombified Mountain in a direct attempt at vengeance? Of course, the odds are not in their favor, but a direct attack on the Lannisters’ single most physically imposing asset would be a heck of a way to earn some character redemption.
3. The Hound (Rory McCann)
Sand Snakes aside, the person we really want to see taking on the Mountain is his brother. Thankfully, we’re in position for exactly that, given the fact that Sandor Clegane returned to the fold in season six. He’s now riding alongside the Brotherhood Without Banners, making his way north to grind his axe against the true enemy facing Westeros: the White Walkers. Hard to imagine exactly how his sword crosses path with the Mountain during that journey, but if the Hound’s trajectory sees him facing his fears of fire by taking down monsters made of ice, before he gets his shot at his undead brother, we’ll all be very happy campers indeed.
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