Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire.
So many collision courses were set up in Game of Thrones season six, it's impossible to predict the outcomes of all of them. But one thing we do know is that most of the squabbling over the Iron Throne is going to have to resolve itself in time for the larger war to come. Is Cersei a usurper? Yes. Should someone else rule? Yes. Can someone else take the power away from her, perhaps via forces attacking on all sides (Jon from the North, Dany from the South)? Possibly. If season seven continues the tradition of circling back to the source material, finding plots that can still be relevant, while mixing up the timeline, we might find that there are more clues in George R.R. Martin's works about where the story is headed next year. Here are our best guesses as to what we can expect.
Winter is here, along with famine.
The white raven from the Citadel has arrived, and so the famous Stark words have come true. But what does winter in Westeros mean when the country has been ravaged by war and insurrection? Back in season two, Tyrion predicted that "half the city will starve when winter comes," partly because the city was already starving. Remember the riot from season two? The peasants didn't have enough to eat, and so they risked open rebellion. The question we should have been asking, though, was why there was not enough: The Tyrells had cut off food delivery, and then, after a more formal alliance was struck, restored the supply once again, providing a hundred wagons a day of wheat, barley, and apples, plus even more provisions for the troops. Now that the Lannister-Tyrell alliance is dead (along with Mace, Margaery, and Loras), the Queen of Thorns will likely make good on her previous threat to once again stop sending crops to the capital. "Everyone here will starve, and I will make sure the hungry know who is to blame," she told the High Sparrow at the time. Only this time, the blame will lie with Cersei.
Cersei and Jaime will finally break up.
It's been a long time coming. In the books, Jaime discovers that Cersei cheated on him with their cousin Lancel, and it not only sours him against further twincest, but he also refuses to come to her aid. He doesn't seem to have that knowledge yet in the TV version, but considering that Cersei confessed to her affair with Lancel — that's why she did her walk of shame — someone is bound to mention it to him, assuming he already knows. Then there's the issue of her committing mass murder via wildfire, the same act that Jaime had tried to prevent when he killed the Mad King. That’s probably a deal breaker. The ominous look they give each other during her coronation seems to say, "We need to talk ..."
Euron Greyjoy will get his fleet.
After Yara and Theon stole the best ships of the Greyjoy fleet, Euron instructed the remaining Ironborn to build him a thousand ships. It might take a while, and maybe they don't have enough wood for quite such a large order, but he will get enough to start raiding. Cersei might be opposed to alliances, but she's going to have to find a way to either stop him or team up so that she has a naval force to deal with Dany's approaching armada. And who knows? Perhaps Cersei and Euron are actually soulmates.
Team Dany will run into some difficulties.
How long do you think the ever-expanding Team Dany will stay intact once Tyrion discovers that the Sand Snakes murdered his niece, Myrcella, the one he entrusted to Dorne to keep her safe? Or if he discovers that Olenna Tyrell helped frame him for the murder of Joffrey? He's probably not going to be too happy about either of those.
Then there's the other consideration — how much of Dany conquering Westeros involves asking people to give up their culture and economies (the Iron Islands, the Dothraki), while at the same time granting supposed independence (the Iron Islands, Dorne)? How will Dany feel about the North wanting to remain separate as well? Will she impose her will on them, or will she make a deal with each area that they can govern themselves? Will she dispose of feudalism altogether and institute a democracy, "so the people can choose their own leaders," as she's allowing Meereen to do? And if she hopes to make alliances via marriage, who's making up the list of Westeros' most eligible bachelors for her?
Arya’s rampage will continue.
Now that Arya's back in Westeros and crossing names off her kill list, she might hunt down other folks believed to have either wronged her or her family. One of the (former) names on her list? Melisandre, who claimed to see a future for the two of them: "I see a darkness in you. And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes ... eyes you'll shut forever. We will meet again." The question is, if they cross paths, will Arya still have a grudge against Mel for taking away Gendry or be open to a team-up? Also kicking around the Riverlands are Brienne, Pod, the Hound, and the Brotherhood Without Banners; Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr were also on Arya's list at one point. Does the Hound still count, since she left him for dead?
Jaqen H’ghar will be back.
The first rule of Assassin Club is you don't talk about Assassin Club — which is what makes it hard for us to know everything about how they operate. But we do know from the books that the Faceless Men have unfinished business unrelated to Arya, so we haven't seen the last of Jaqen H'ghar (if that's even really him at this point?). The House of Black and White cohorts aren't just hired out for little murders, such as the ones Arya was asked to commit (insurance agents, actresses). They’re also sometimes tasked with big murders, ones that could involve toppling a kingdom — although that's much more expensive. And sometimes, because their methods involve becoming a part of their target's world undetected, they insinuate themselves into various societies.
Sam will make some huge discoveries.
The look of sheer wonder Sam had upon encountering the Citadel library is just the beginning. Bran got to study at Weirwood U, Arya at Assassin School, and now it's Sam's turn to get scholarly in his quest to find ways to fight the Army of the Dead. He should also make a few new acquaintances, including a couple of novices (one from the Tyrell family, one who might be one of Oberyn's bastards), and a rebellious Archmaester named Marwyn the Mage, perhaps the only one at the Citadel to approve of Qyburn's methods. While at the Citadel, Sam should learn a lot more about dragonglass, including glass candles — obsidian candles that operate like the Palantir from Lord of the Rings to help people see and communicate half a world away. Sam's understanding of the world should really explode when he hears about a conspiracy against magic — that the anti-magic maesters of Westeros may have had something to do with dragons dying out. And he might start to rethink the seemingly benevolent men assigned to various noble households, and how they're the gatekeepers of information in this world.
The Wall will crack.
For six seasons now, the high lords have played their games as White Walkers approached Westeros, never quite entering. Eventually, the various human factions are going to have to finally realize what the larger threat is, probably right as the White Walkers and their Army of the Dead come crashing through the Wall. How will that happen? Bran's mark from the Night's King might be one way, as it acts both as a GPS and a key, a way to undo magical protection spells like the ones that were blocking the entrance to the Three-Eyed Raven's cave. So what happens once Bran goes through the Wall? Is that what the Night's King has been waiting for all along?