[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Game of Thrones ahead.]
The first photos from Game of Thrones season 7's penultimate episode, "Beyond the Wall", are here. With last Sunday's "Eastwatch", Game of Thrones suddenly re-adjusted the stakes of its seventh season. While the previous four hours had dealt with the budding conflict between the forces led by the Lannisters and those loyal to Daenerys Targaryen, "Eastwatch" contained a sudden reset: the Targaryen side of the conflict is seeking a temporary alliance with their foes, so that both sides can join together against the approaching White Walkers.
As a result, "Eastwatch" ended with a coterie led by Jon Snow - along with Tormund Giantsbane, the returning Gendry, Jorah Mormont, The Hound and other members of the Brotherhood Without Banners - traveling North of the Wall, in order to capture a wight and prove the existence of the White Walker threat to Queen Cersei. Now, with the weekly release of photos from the next episode, fans who have chosen not to view the leaked sixth episode are getting a new look at what we’ll be seen past the wall.
HBO’s press photos from “Beyond the Wall,” next Sunday’s sixth and penultimate episode of Game of Thrones season 7, give us a look at what we’ll be seeing in the battle to come. Separate from the battle up north, we get a much warmer-looking image of Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys sitting by the fire, most likely still at Dragonstone. North of the Wall, wildling leader Tormund Giantsbane looks ready for battle, though possibly with a hint of fear in his eyes. Jon Snow, beyond the Wall for the first time since his adventures with Ygritte several seasons ago, is shown walking with his team here, including Tormund, Jorah, Thoros of Myr and Gendry.
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Jorah Mormont, another man who hasn't been this far North in quite awhile, stands alone in these "Beyond the Wall" images. Jon is also shown here with Beric Donderrion, another man who has been brought back from the dead by the Lord of Light. There's also a beautiful shot Tyrion and Daenarys walking the grounds at Dragonstone, situated between two dragons. Meanwhile, at Winterfell, sisters Sansa and Arya Stark confer, possibly about Littlefinger's machinations in last week's episode. Finally, another photo shows Sansa reading a letter, possibly the one from last week, alongside Brienne of Tarth.
Missing from the photos is any reference to the Lannisters or King's Landing; there's also no hint of Euron Greyjoy, who's been on the sidelines for a couple of weeks now. However, we do know we're likely getting a humans/White Walkers battle, as well as movement towards the endgame of the season - and, with just two episodes to go this year and nine overall, the series. Can showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wrap up their story in a satisfactory manner, in the limited time remaining?
Game of Thrones' "Beyond the Wall" airs Sunday night at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO and its streaming channels.