Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire.
So many characters died in season six of Game of Thrones, while so many others were seemingly discarded in a form of exile: Daario, to run the city of Meereen; Melisandre, ordered to go south; Benjen, who can't cross the Wall. As we head into season seven, this is understandable — the ever-sprawling show needs to trim down to the essentials and focus on the endgame. Still, we might get a few new characters, or spend a little more time with some folks we've just started to get to know. Here are a few of them:
The Citadel. Sam's gone off to Maester U, and a lot of what he needs to learn will come from other people. Sam could meet other novices, including Leo Tyrell, one of the Tyrell cousins, whose character might be changed somewhat given how much of his family was just wiped out. In the books, Leo is nicknamed "Lazy Leo," acts like a spoiled brat, and is generally disliked by his fellow students. Alleras, who is nicknamed the Sphinx, is much more likable, if more mysterious, and could take an interest in Sam's arrival. (Alleras might also be a woman passing as a man, given the Citadel's gender-discrimination policies — the prevailing theory is that he/she is actually Sarella Sand, Oberyn's daughter.) One of the other novices who might greet Sam could be Pate, who starts off a little down on his luck and desperate for money. Without giving too much away, let's just say his desperation could turn him into someone dangerous. But perhaps the most crucial character Sam could meet at the Citadel is an against-the-grain maester named Marwyn, who is the equivalent of the cranky professor who drinks with his students during office hours and tells them the way the world really works. In this case, that involves the magical underpinnings of Westeros. Prepare to have your mind blown, Sam.
The Tarlys. Don't tell us Sam Tarly went all the way home to Horn Hill, and we'll never see any of the other Tarlys again? Not if Randyll Tarly is worth his mettle. The son he disinherited just stole his ancestral sword — his priceless, spell-forged, impossible-to-replace sword. Surely he's going to want that back? That is, of course, if he's not preoccupied with his primary function as a seasoned battle commander. The Tarlys are sworn to the Tyrells, so it's possible he'll join Olenna Tyrell (and any other surviving Tyrells) as part of Team Dany. Or perhaps he'll be called upon to defend nearby Oldtown, should it come under siege. In the meantime, as Dany hunts for Westeros's most eligible bachelors, Randyll could offer up his son Rickon (played by Freddie Stroma, a.k.a. suitor Adam Cromwell on the first season of UnREAL, so he's got some experience in that department).
Euron Greyjoy. Making a thousand ships takes time, but once he has his fleet, Euron is going to make up for lost time. The show could give him his book plot, which means he might start raiding the coasts of Westeros, causing trouble for Cersei Lannister (unless she makes him an ally).
Littlefinger's brothel. Now that the High Sparrow's reign of religious restrictions is over, this particular establishment should be up and running again. If Olyvar was not at the Sept for Loras' trial, he could continue running it in Littlefinger's absence — or someone else could step up to the plate. Someone has to help Marei get paid for her last session with Pycelle — it's not supposed to be charity work!
The Iron Bank. The show has already established that the Iron Bank will not tolerate defaults, and it’s time we see some consequences of the Lannisters not paying their debts. One of the emissaries of the Iron Bank is bound to show up and demand that the crown make good on a portion of what it owes — and who better than Tycho Nestoris? We don't need a return trip to Braavos for this — in the books, he travels to Westeros for negotiations.
The direwolves. Direwolves and dragons are expensive, as far as CGI is concerned. But Dany is getting a lot of dragon time, and the Starks are getting short shrift. Where was Ghost when Jon Snow became King in the North, and Jon was declared "the white wolf"? And now that Arya is in the Riverlands once more, will she be reunited with Nymeria? In the books, Nymeria's become the leader of a pack of hundreds of wolves — which could be quite useful to Arya as she continues to slash names off her kill list.
The Mormonts. We can't get enough Lyanna Mormont, and one can only hope this littlest of Northern ladies sticks around to give us sass all season long. But there's another reason to bring her back — so we can have a family reunion of sorts with Lady Lyanna and her cousin Jorah Mormont, should he ever return to Westeros. But first, he's got to be cured of greyscale, or at least stem its spread, per Dany's marching orders. How can he do this? Season seven could see the return of Quaithe of the Shadow, who originally warned him about the protection people need to sail the Smoking Sea past old Valyria (where he was infected by the Stone Men). She might know a thing or two about containing contagion, among other things that will be useful to Team Dany. In the books, she appears in visions to give cryptic warnings, so it appears she knows more than she's telling. Bonus: We've never seen her face, so the part would be easy to recast, should the original actress be unavailable.
The Reeds. We've spent quality time with Jojen and Meera, and glimpsed their dad Howland in a flashback, but it's about time we see what Howland is up to in the present. What has he been up to all this time? As one of the only living survivors of the events at the Tower of Joy, he can confirm or corroborate Jon's parentage more than a vision can. But either through Bran's visions or Howland's memory, we may need one more flashback, to establish whether or not Jon was a child of rape or of love. Might we suggest the tourney of Harrenhal, when Lyanna protected and defended Howland Reed, possibly earning Rhaegar's respect and admiration of her?
The Last Baratheon. Gendry, if ever there were a time to stop rowing, it would be now.