This article originally appeared on iDigitalTimes.
"Game of Thrones" has been in a bit of a rut. For the last few years, the show has dealt with two major, high-level plotlines: The aftermath of the Lannister victory in the War of the Five Kings, and the aftermath of Daenerys’s conquest of Slaver’s Bay. Both those storylines have now, at long last, been resolved. The show was in stasis. Plotlines were moving, big moments happened, but at the highest level, Daenerys was still in Essos and Cersei’s children still held the Iron Throne. Neither of those things are true anymore—and that means the show is going to change in a way it hasn’t in a long time.
Jon Snow on Game of Thrones Helen Sloan/HBO
"Game of Thrones" has always been one of the best shows on television and that didn’t change even when the show entered the doldrums of the last few seasons. But the plot did slow down. Daenerys spent a long time in Meereen, navigating local politics of seemingly little import to the broader story (the lessons she learned, though, could be far more long-lasting). The Seven Kingdoms under Lannister rule failed to return to pre-war stability, and the Lannisters bumbled along for the last two seasons before the big end of season disaster. Jon Snow’s brief leadership of the Night’s Watch and then his rebellion in the North moved along at a snail’s pace.
The last three seasons of "Game of Thrones" felt like the midgame of a game of chess—after the first set of big pieces were taken, when both sides were maneuvering and repositioning for the final salvos of the endgame. But all those pieces are now, at long last, actually in position.
Three key changes dictate the state of Westeros in "Game of Thrones" season 7 and 8: First, the near-collapse of Lannister rule and central authority in King’s Landing. Cersei’s rule won’t last long. Second, the arrival of Daenerys and her endless horde of Dothraki signals the return of the Targaryens after nearly 20 years—and the dragons after nearly 200. Lastly, the Night King is about to bring down the Wall and invade Westeros with an army of the dead—setting off an epic confrontation between ice and fire.
And in the next two seasons, there will be no more slow patches or pauses between wars—it’s going to be violent conflict from here on out, between the remaining lords of Westeros, Daenerys, and the Night King. It’s not going to be pretty, but it certainly will be exciting. Game of Thrones season 7 premieres this summer.Try Newsweek: Subscription offers