Game of Thrones is famous for its "cast of thousands" mentality. In the early years, they would announce more new cast members per season than most other shows had on their entire roster.
Season 3 was around the time that these additions began to be balanced out with subtractions. And we're not just talking about the Red Wedding, though that certainly cut down on the payroll. This was the point where groups of characters that our leads had been hanging out with began to be left behind or sent away.
Last season, the show began bringing those characters back to tie up loose ends. The Brotherhood without Banners, for instance, wandered back onto the scene for the first time since Arya abandoned them in Season 3, just in time to meet up with The Hound, who had been left for dead in Season 4.
The few Tullys who survived the Red Wedding at the end of Season 3, but who we hadn't heard from since, also returned, including Edmure and the Blackfish. We also found ourselves in the Frey's dining room for the first time in three years. And Osha and Rickon made it back to Winterfell, to their detriment.
With all these characters who have been left behind, how long can it really be before Gendry rows back into the story?
Gendry is a character we haven't seen since the Season 3 finale, when Davos helped him escape Melisandre's clutches and told him to row himself home. Fans have been joking the character is somewhere out to sea ever since, since we never saw him arrive back in King's Landing.
But there are signs this season that he could finally make his long-awaited return -- including the fact Joe Dempsie, the actor who plays Gendry, was spotted around Belfast and in Seville during filming for Season 7.
There's also a need for him to be brought back into the story. He's the only living Baratheon male (bastard) we know about. Everyone else who was a Baratheon or Baratheon heir (Renly, Stannis, Shireen) are dead, as are those who weren't really Baratheon, but everyone politely fictioned they were (Joffrey, Myrcella, Tommen).
Up until the day the Sept exploded, it was House Baratheon that technically held the Iron Throne these past 17 years since the fall of the Targaryens. If Dany was looking to gain a powerful House in her corner, she couldn't do better than having it be this one.
No to mention, what a political coup it is to be able to say House Baratheon, which originally lead the rebellion against her family to begin with, now sides with her claim to the Iron Throne against Cersei. All she has to do is find a Baratheon bastard and declare him naturalized by a royal decree.
Let's hope that Davos can figure out where he rowed off to in order to provide him to the Dragon Queen. She might be so grateful as to support Jon Snow's agenda in exchange.
Game of Thrones Season 7 returns this Sunday, July 16 at 9p.m. ET.