Winter has come. The seventh season of Game of Thrones is off and running and with only seven episodes, HBO doesn’t have time to hold our hands and explain things like where characters are, the history of new locations, or how the actions of one character affect the powder keg that is Westeros’ political climate. Luckily, between all of George R.R. Martin’s novels, and The World of Ice and Fire historical tome, there’s plenty of ways to fill in the blanks and we’re here to help. Obviously spoilers and speculation will abound, so proceed at your own peril.
Well then. The Lannister victory over Highgarden didn’t last long. The battlefield is nothing but ash under Drogon’s winged body. For all intents and purposes, Daenerys now stands as the Queen of the Reach, and as such, controls the breadbasket of Westeros. This is bad news for Cersei Lannister because you can’t eat gold. The destruction of the Lannister army will also spread her resources thinner, meaning she can’t send her troops North. Heck, she probably can’t even have them keep the “peace” in the Riverlands now. In one fell swoop, Dany contracted Cersei’s forces from dominating the Seven Kingdoms to retreating to the Crownlands surrounding King’s Landing.
But Dany can’t just leave Highgarden unprotected. The former House seat of the Tyrells is crucial in keeping the flow of agricultural goods moving. Dany needs to return to Dragonstone to continue her flirtation with her nephew Jon, so she’ll need to leave the Reach in the hands of someone she trusts. However, there aren’t that many people in Westeros that have earned this trust and most of them are still on Dragonstone*. Except for Tyrion, the Hand of the Queen. The most logical solution would be for Dany to leave Tyrion in command of Highgarden, ensuring the Dothraki, the Unsullied, and her other armies will be well provisioned for the battles to come.
(*) It’s entirely possible that in Martin’s novels, Dany will have a Westerosi council before this battle. If she has House Oakheart, Florent, or Rowan on her side, they could become custodians of Highgarden, assuming the Tyrell line is completely wiped out by this point. However, Margaery’s eldest brother, Willas, could still be alive and willing to bend the knee to the Targaryen queen.
Should Daenerys leave Tyrion in charge of Highgarden, it is both a sign of trust and of annoyance. After all, it was Tyrion’s plans that lost Dany the Greyjoy fleet, Dorne, and the Tyrells as allies. Perhaps she might want some space between her and her Hand while she calms down. This would also open the door for a Tyrion/Bronn/Jaime reunion. Despite the last moment of “The Spoils Of War” focusing on a very armored Jaime sinking to the bottom of the river, the rule of Martin says no one who doesn’t die on camera is truly dead*. As Joanna Robinson pointed out over at Vanity Fair, Jaime still has too much to accomplish to die such an ignoble death. Someone is going to fish Jaime out of the drink, making him a lucrative prisoner of war. Jaime is the only person left that Cersei might actually be able to dredge some care about.
(*) I still believe at some point Brienne will admit she couldn’t kill Stannis. Probably around the same time White Walker Lieutenant Stannis shows up.
Let’s say Tyrion convinces Dany that Jaime is too valuable to cook via dragonflame. Instead, Jaime once again becomes a prisoner of war, this time with his own little brother as his jailor. Throw in Bronn’s allegiance to himself above all others, and Highgarden becomes a powder keg of roiling man-emotions. If Jaime truly is prophesied to kill Cersei, something has to shake him awake to her monstrous nature. What better way than to slowly realize Tyrion is right, that Ceresi is a monster on par with the Mad King. Jaime now knows Tyrion definitely did not kill Joffrey. Coupled with the knowledge that Tywin had that cross bolt to the stomach coming for a long time, most of Jaime’s rage at his brother can dissipate. In its place, a new brotherly bond can blossom until Cersei Lannister stands alone.
Which means she’ll probably marry Euron out of spite should he survive long enough to return to King’s Landing. But that’s an entirely different matter.