Filming is currently underway for Game of Thrones' hotly anticipated though truncated seventh season, which means new rumors and theories about what could happen next are cropping up. Earlier we learned some interesting information about a filming location Daenerys may visit, and last week a couple of key actors were spotted arriving in Belfast, implying they too could appear in season 7.
And while it's certainly possible for actors to arrive in a city where a television series they previously held prominent roles on is filming without necessarily confirming their return to said show and role - it's also just as possible the opposite is true. After all, Rory McCann (The Hound), Natalia Tena (Osha), and Art Parkinson (Rickon) were all spotted arriving in Belfast around the time Game of Thrones began filming season 6, and though they all claimed they were only visiting - surprise! - each returned to the series that season. The same could be said of actors Richard Dormer (Beric Dondarrian) and Paul Kaye (Thoros of Myr), having also returned to their roles after being away for multiple seasons.
So when an eagle-eyed fan snaps a photo of Gendry actor, Joe Dempsie sneaking through the Belfast airport, it seems all but a done deal that season 7 will see his character stop rowing and come ashore. Then again, Dempsie is a free man and can travel where he pleases, so who knows! But if Gendry is returning to Game of Thrones in season 7, here is how we think it'll happen.
Book Gendry vs. Show Gendry
First off, as with most things Game of Thrones, let's look at how the show differs from the books when it comes to Gendry. On the show, we last saw Gendry in a rowboat, keeping the coast on his left, and hoping to eventually land in King's Landing. He was escaping with the help of Ser Davos from the Lady Melisandre, who wanted to sacrifice him and his king's blood to the red god, R'hllor. In the books, Gendry doesn't leave the Brotherhood Without Banners, choosing instead to remain as their blacksmith (which was his plan on the show, too, until Beric and Melisandre struck that deal). He's even knighted by Beric with the title Ser Gendry, knight of the hollow hill.
Gendry then comes back into the story when Brienne and Podrick are on their quest to find Sansa Stark and stop off at the Inn at the Crossroads. There, he is again working as a blacksmith and comes to Brienne's aid when she's fighting with the remaining Brave Companions. Afterwards, Gendry reveals himself to be a member of the Brotherhood, currently under new management (read: Lady Stoneheart), and he and his brothers-in-arms capture Brienne and Podrick.
From then on the books don't provide any more information about Gendry, but we can guess that Gendry will continue to play a role in whatever happens between the Brotherhood, Lady Stoneheart, and Brienne. As for the television show, it has significantly altered this particular storyline and the narratives of characters involved - implying that if Gendry appears in season 7, it'll have little to do with where readers left off with the character in the books.
Part of the changes made to Gendry's character on Game of Thrones came out of the necessity for the series to combine elements of multiple characters into one. In his case, Gendry became to the go-to character to represent all of King Robert Baratheon's many bastards. Granted, Gendry was the only one of Robert's bastards to survive Joffrey's murder spree on the show, but the books still retained a few others - most significantly, Edric Storm, an acknowledged bastard of Robert's who lived a life of relative comfort back at Storm's End.
Much of what occurs to Gendry during the third season - specifically, the time when he's a prisoner of Melisandre and his blood is leeched to enact a curse - is what actually happens to Edric in the novels. Ser Davos was also fearful of Melisandre burning the boy alive, so like Gendry, he sends him away to safety. However, instead of sticking Edric in a rowboat and wishing him luck, Davos assigns several nobles to guard the boy and ferry him across the Narrow Sea to the free cities.
Edric is barely mentioned again and isn't likely to have much of a role to play later on in the novels, but Gendry almost certainly will. On Game of Thrones, Gendry is the only surviving Baratheon - legitimate or not - and were anyone in Westeros interested in deposing Cersei and placing another stag on the throne, Gendry's their man. Plus, unlike in the books, Game of Thrones made Gendry aware of his parentage, making it possible he could even use his royal lineage to his advantage (assuming it can be proven). Whether or not that means Gendry is interested in a royal life is tough to say, but that noble blood in his veins could at the very least come in handy if and when he's reunited with Arya. After all, Robert had wanted to marry his son to one of Ned's daughters.
Gendry's Role in The War to Come
Yet, while having Gendry reunite and possibly rekindle that budding romance with Arya would be fun and all, that purpose alone doesn't really warrant bringing him back at this stage of the game. Same goes for Gendry laying any claim to ruling - with only two seasons to go, it makes more sense to whittle down the number of regents with claims to the Iron Throne than add to it. So where does this leave Gendry? What sort of role could he play in the coming war?
Well, if there's one thing Gendry knows how to do it's bend and form hot metal into helms, shields, and swords. Remember that sweet bull helmet he carried around in season 2? Yeah, he made that. Gendry is a blacksmith by trade, having served as an apprentice to master blacksmith, Tobho Mott before being discovered by Ned Stark. It's a skill that, at least in the books, Beric and the Brotherhood certainly appreciated, recognizing the importance of being able to repair and craft new armaments for their merry band. The Night's Watch, too, would have benefited greatly from a man like Gendry had he ever made it north.
But their loss could be the realm's gain. See, Mott wasn't just any blacksmith, he was one of the very few blacksmiths trained in forging Valyrian steel - and it's doubtful we need explain why that's important. Gendry potentially having the know-how to work with Valyrian steel could be a real turning point in the war against the White Walkers, if only there was someone who knew Valyrian steel was such game-changer.
Oh wait, there is! Sam, recently arrived in Oldtown, is not only familiar with material that can kill White Walkers (dragon glass), currently has a Valyrian steel sword with him (his family's sword, Heartsbane), and a massive library at his disposal with which to research the hell out of this. Even if Sam doesn't know for certain that Valyrian steel is in fact the dragon steel he read about back at The Wall, he will soon. (He's a bright boy, that Sam.) All he'll need is someone with experience or at least some knowledge of working with the rare metal.
That's where Gendry comes in. We don't know for sure where he went after setting out in that rowboat, but perhaps Gendry really did just keep rowing - all the way around to Oldtown. If so, then won't Sam be lucky to find someone local who can work with Valyrian steel. And maybe that's too convenient, but with only about 13 hours left of Game of Thrones, they could definitely use a little convenience. Especially if it pays off with a character audiences haven't seen in years returning to play such a pivotal role.
What do you think of Gendry making a triumphant return in Game of Thrones season 7? Does it seem likely after his being absent for so long? Will he return to romance Arya? Lay claim to the Iron Throne? Forge the Valyrian steel swords that will save the realm? All three!? Hit us with your theories about how and why Gendry could return to Game of Thrones in the comments!
Game of Thrones season 7 is expected to air Summer 2017.