Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO

They say you can’t go home again. This true for Tyrion Lannister more than most, except he’s doing it anyway — and the consequences could prove fatal.

In the ramp up to season 7, Game of Thrones are buzzing about the arrival of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) in Westeros. But for one key member of her royal entourage (Peter Dinklage), landing in Dragonstone could bring a lot of awkward personal complications. Tyrion’s sister Queen Cersei (Lena Headey) still despises him, plus has a bounty on his head for the death of her son Joffrey (even though he’s innocent of that one). Tyrion is guilty as charged of killing the Lannister patriarch, Tywin (Charles Dance), however, and Tyrion’s beloved brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) has sworn to kill him for that. So all the pieces are on the chessboard for the most uncomfortable family reunion ever — if they actually encounter each other this season.

“He’s returning home, and returning home a new person,” Dinklage tells EW. “He has Dany and the dragons on his side but he is a very different person than when he left this place. And he’s returning to a brother he loves and a sister he …” Dinklage literally says “dot dot dot” here to indicate an ellipsis over the complicated feeling he’s leaving out. “He’s bracing himself.”

Mentally, at least, Tyrion is, for once, in a good place. “He found purpose,” Dinklage says. “He was just going to drink himself to death after the end of season 4, then Varys gave him a purpose in life and then in Daenerys he saw somebody he could get behind. That’s what somebody like Tyrion needs — he needs a gig to get behind. Give him a drink and he doesn’t do so well.”

Dinklage notes that like other Thrones stars season 7 is giving him more screen time than he’s had in years despite fewer episodes. “I’ve worked more days this season than I have in quite some time,” he says. “I love Meereen but it’s good to get out of Meereen because you’re in one story and here you’re in overlapping stories.”

As we get into the penultimate season, Dinklage notes how when he got the scripts this year he was legitimately unsure if he would survive for the first time, despite his star-status on the show. “The first thing I really do when I get the scripts is I go to the last page of the last episode and then look backward until I find my name to see if I survive,” he says.

He won’t tell us, of course, but we’ll all find out soon enough — Thrones returns this Sunday. Check out afterward for our recap and cast interviews.

Previous: EW’s season 7 showrunners interview: The war is here

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Game of Thrones

HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series A Song of Ice and Fire.

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