Warning: This article contains spoilers and speculation from Game of Thronesseason 7.
The chess pieces are finally starting to move at the beginning of Game of Thrones seventh season, but one crucial piece is a complete wildcard with more than a few tricks up the sleeves of his starry jacket.
Euron Greyjoy, now with 1,000 ships in the Iron fleet, two working hands, a brand new look, and plenty of swagger to spare, propositioned an alliance and marriage with Queen Cersei Lannister. Although Cersei invited Euron to Kings Landing for a possible alliance to fight Daenerys Targaryen and her allies, Cersei openly expressed doubt in her ability to trust Euron. After all, headmitted to killing his own brotherandstill got elected at the Kingsmootso what would stop him from eventually turning on Cersei?
Jaime Lannister obviously doesnt approve either, but Euron is determined to win Cersei over with something truly special.
The surest way to a womans heart is with a gift, Euron tells her. A priceless gift. I wont return to Kings Landing until I have that for you.
Curiously enough, fans already knew a gift was on its way to Cersei well before Euron mentioned it. Thats because the description for the seasons third episode, The Queens Justice, reveals that Cersei returnsa gift. Its unclear if the gift is Eurons or if he’ll be the one receiving it back, but until we learn more, its a fairly safe assumption it’s referring to the same gift.
Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) holds court. Cersei (Lena Headey) returns a gift. Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) learns from his mistakes.
As to what Eurons gift could be is completely up in the air, but considering the kinds of gifts weve seen in Game of Thrones, it could be anything. Gifts have ranged from physical objectslike Danys three dragon eggs from Illyrio Mopatisto a person oreven death itself. Theres even a part of Westeros called the Gift, which is an area of land south of the Wall given to the Nights Watch by the Starks of old. Although we doubt Eurons going literal, any other option doesnt bode well for much of anyone.
Will Eurons gift be a person? (Or more than one person?)
The biggest gift in Game of Thrones to date was in the form of Tyrion Lannister, who Ser Jorah Mormont presented to Dany in season 5s The Gift so she would forgive him. (She didnt, but she kept Tyrion on as an advisor and promoted him to Hand of the Queen at the end of last season.) But he wasnt the only one: Daenerys asked for the translator Missandei as a gift in Astapor after agreeing to buy all of Astapors Unsullied soldiers in season 3 (who Dany later freed). Littlefinger provided Olenna Tyrell with a gift, which is implied to be Lancel Lannister. Last season, Ramsay Bolton received Rickon Stark as a gift from the Umbers to prove their loyalty.
A preview for the season ahead released at San Diego Comic-Con reveal that not only does Euron return to King’s Landing, he looks triumphant and appears to be leading somethingor someonewith a rope.
As season 7 demonstrates, there are a lot of people who Euron could potentially entice Cersei with.
Euron could show his loyalty by obtaining her brother Tyrion, who Cersei believes is responsible for the death of Joffrey Baratheon and Tywin Lannister. He would be a top prize only second to Dany herself, which would significantly put a damper in Danys quest to conquer Westeros. If Cersei returned Tyrion, she could send his head or corpse to Dany. Given reports of a scene that will reportedly air later in the season, that seems unlikely.
Ellaria Sand or one of the Sand Snakes, on the other hand, are more likely. They control Dorne, but Cerseis vendettas against them are personal: They, especially Ellaria, are responsible for the death of her daughter, Myrcella Baratheon. Itd allow Cersei to get personal revenge and show the depths of her vengeance. If its a Sand Snake who gets captured, Cerseis return of a gift could be a dead child from one mother to another. As characters go, theyre pretty expendable, giving plausibility to this theory.
Euron could even provide his own niece and nephew, Yara and Theon Greyjoy. As much as he wants to murder his own kin, something hes pretty nonchalant about, letting Cersei do the job might potentially show his true loyalty: Hes giving up the one thing hes sought apart from the Iron Throne. Cersei could similarly “return” the dead Greyjoys as a threat to Dany.
The preview for Stormborn features a shot of the fleet of Greyjoy ships at night, hinting at a potential battle ahead. Are they Yaras or Eurons?
I am the storm, brother. The first storm and the last, Euron said to Balon before killing him. Soon, he could come for Dany and her allies.
Another possibility, albeit one with less plausibility, could even be Gendry. As Robert Baratheons last living bastard son, he couldhowever indirectlypose a threat to Cerseis reign. How Euron would even know to look for Gendry, last seen rowing away from Dragonstone in season 3, is unclear. And if Gendry is the gift, where would Cersei even return him?
Even less likely is Euron getting his hands on a Stark. The Ironborn have a terrible track record of conquering land (and keeping it), so having them storm inland to capture Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, or Jon Snow probably wont happen this soon.
Will Eurons gift be an object?
In most other shows, this would be a no-brainer. Of course itd be an object. But when a gift on Game of Thrones could literally be anything or anyone, going with an actual objectseemsunlikely.
The one object that comes to mind for some book fans is Dragonbinder, a horn that will supposedly make a dragon obey its master. Of course, it comes with fatal consequences:One man who blew it was found to have black lungs after he died.In the books, Dragonbinder is basically Eurons trump card in the kingsmoot. Euron in the book promises the Ironborn they’ll haveWesteros and dragons, whereas Euron in the show crudely promises to marry Dany and align her forces with his.
However, the Dragonbinder is probably a non-entity in Game of Thrones. Weve yet to get a single mention of the horn in seven seasons, and were a bit late in the game to be introducing powerful instruments and weapons of this magnitude. Dragonglass at Dragonstone was planted in season 5, while the shards wereintroduced as early season 2. Even Samwell Tarlys discovery of it at Dragonstone in the season 7 premiere included a direct callback to a previous conversation about it.
Same goes forthe reappearance of the Valyrian steel dagger used in the attempted assassination of Bran Stark. That event occurred in Game of Thrones second episode,and the blade appeared multiple times throughout season 1 before showing up as an illustration in one of Sams stolen library books.
With only 12 episodes of Game of Thrones left in all (including the final season), it just doesnt make sense for Euron to have a magical horn come out of thin air with little-to-no explanation. Plus, Euron wouldn’t need to lead a horn in with a rope.
Will Eurons gift be death itself?
This is on the wackier side of possible outcomes, and far less likely to happen than Euron returning to Kings Landing with a person or item. But it fits far more than the others as far as payoff goes.
In season 6, the Faceless Man who appears to Arya as Jaqen Hghar tells her about the origins of the Faceless Men, who were originally slaves in ancient Valyria. He, of course, was No One.
The Many-Faced God taught him how to shed his face and how to give the gift, Jaqen explained. The man taught others in exchange for their service. Many served him. Many more gifts were given. Soon all the masters and overseers were gone and the Faceless Men fled.
The gift Jaqen is referring to is death, and its given by the Faceless Men both as an act of mercy (to end ones suffering) or when they are hired. The little girl whose face Arya stole to murder Ser Meryn Trant is an example of the former, while Aryas task to kill Lady Crane is of the latter.
Were not necessarily saying that Euron would hire a Faceless Man to kill Cersei, although it would allude to a book theory that Euron hired one to kill his brother Balon. (For one, Euron probably couldnt afford hiring one to kill the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms because the cost would be too steepand not necessarily a monetary one.) But he wants the Iron Throne, and if Cersei wont have himby herside, he might just be mad enough to try and take it for himself.
Balon touched on some of Eurons madness in their final, fateful encounter last season; hehad heard that Euron lost his mind “during a storm on the Jade Sea. If were to also take the Winds of Winter chapter featuring Euron and his younger brother, Aeron Damphair, into consideration, murder is only scraping the surface of just how twisted Euron Greyjoy really is. Book Euron is a kinslayer multiple times over, slept with his brother’s wife (precipitating her murder at the hands of her husband),and taps into dark sorcery and human sacrifice. How much of that will come into play in season 7 is still up in the air.
The logistics of a possible murder attempt would be murky, for sure. And given that Euron arrives in King’s Landing in the aforementioned preview looking victorious, it would be heading straight into tinfoil territory.
But if Euron is unsuccessful in his assassination plot, Cersei returning the giftkilling her would-be suitorwould very much fit into the mold of Queens Justice. For that to play out, one question remains: How big of a player is Euron Greyjoy inthe end game?