Game of Thrones: the 10 burning questions that must be answered

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Will Arya kill Cersei? Is Samwell the saviour of Westeros? And just how big will Gendrys biceps be? As season seven of the TV sensation starts, here are the pressing issues that cannot go unresolved

One of the great things about Game of Thrones beyond the dragons, the penultimate episode set-pieces and the work it provides for half the actors in the UK is that it keeps its storylines spinning.

With season seven starting this week, we know the main threads of the grand story are about to weave together. Daenerys Targaryen and her assembled army and navy are heading for Kings Landing. There, she will find Cersei Lannister as the unchallenged occupant of the Iron Throne, albeit one a little short on allies (mainly because shes killed them all). In the North, Jon Snow has been crowned king, with Wildlings and noble houses alike falling behind him.

Yes there has been interminable plodding at points: Aryas journey through the woods of Westeros seemed to go on forever, ditto Danis pacification of Meereen. But largely the story that has taken us to this point of narrative convergence has pulled off the rare feat of being both compelling and convincing.

With just 13 episodes of this global sensation left to air, the tension is real and there are still several important issues awaiting resolution. Here is a quick romp through 10 of them. Such are my expectations for this drama that I demand all of them to be tied up tight, like Stanniss daughter on a pyre (too soon?).

1. Which alliances will be formed?

Sleep with your brother, no problem, but kill your dad and youre a pariah. Photograph: HBO

It seems, lets say, unlikely that the assembled Targaryen forces will form a pact with the Lannisters. First theres the whole King Slaying thing, then the fact that Tyrion is the only Lannister whose intra-familial actions have been deemed de trop (sleep with your brother, no problem, but kill your dad and youre a pariah). The bigger question is whether the hordes of Essos will band with the brigades from the North. Will the Targaryens and the Starks see each other as allies or rivals?

2. Will the White Walkers storm the Wall?

Winter is here, we know that, but the greatest battle of all has yet to begin. That fight is between the living and the dead and the dead are those blue blokes who were originally created by some tree children but then went astray (Im fuzzy on the finer points to be honest). The key question is where the battle will begin. If the Walkers want to crunch some lovely humans theyll need to get to the other side of the Wall first and, as the Wildlings found out, that takes some doing. Those guarding the Wall, the Nights Watch, are not quite the force they were however …

3. What role with Samwell Tarly play?

The secret weapon in the fight against the Walkers? Photograph: HBO

The best role model for parenting in Westeros, which is hardly a compliment, left the Watch last season and headed to Hogwarts, sorry the Citadel, where he intends to become a Maester. Maesters are the source of all mystical and magical knowledge and can mess you up with reference to a single footnote. Sam has already proven himself a tough guy he killed a wight and a warg but will he prove to be a secret weapon in the fight against the Walkers?

4. What about Bran Stark?

The subject of the slowest storyline in all of Game of Thrones, Bran suffered tragedy in the opening episode of the series and again in the last season when his time-meddling led first to the creation of Hodor and then to the death of Hodor, or maybe the other way around. But from this pain has come experience, and Neds last remaining son has now assumed the role of the three-eyed raven. This essentially means he has psychic powers to die for and, well, someones going to die from them arent they.

5. Who will run House Stark?

Jon Snow is king of the North, but Sansa is the Princess Stark and the Lady of Winterfell. Bran, meanwhile, has the rightful claim to the House. Last season we saw tension between Sansa and Jon, all apparently patched up until that look she gave Petyr Baelish as Jon was declared king. Sansas voice has also appeared on a trailer talking about the death of the lone wolf and the survival of the pack. Will we see some internecine struggle, even at this late stage?

6. What is Baelishs masterplan?

He wants to sit on the Iron Throne with Sansa at his side but hell have to get inside her head first. Photograph: Helen Sloan/HBO

Beyond running for mayor of Baltimore, that is. The man formerly known as Littlefinger wants power, riches and to shove people down moon doors, we know that much. We also know he wants to sit on the Iron Throne with Sansa at his side. But hes going to have to get inside her head first.

7. What effect will the revelation of Jon Snows ancestry have?

It was the R+L=J theory they were all talking about, apparently confirmed in the closing stages of season six. Jon is a bastard child, but not of Ned Stark. His father, the theory goes, is Rhaegar Targaryen, son of the mad king and brother of Dany. His mother is Lyanna Stark, Neds sister. Jon is therefore not entitled to rule House Stark, though he does have Stark blood. He is also, perhaps more significantly, a Targaryen with an indirect claim to the Iron Throne itself. As this knowledge seeps out, things are going to get interesting though we may need a genealogist to talk us through it.

8. Will Lady Mormont get to steal more scenes?

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