Game of Thrones is back y’all!! Finally, after what felt like a long, cold winter, we have the season seven premier of GoT, and boy did it warm my heart. So pour yourself a rams horn of mead, and get ready to dive into this episode. Be warned, I’m spoiling the hell out of this episode, so from this point forward a full spoiler warning is in effect.
This episode starts with something we don’t often see from GoT, a cold open. Smash cut to Walder Frey toasting his entire family, and seeing as how he was killed in a Shakespearian manner last season (combined with Arya’s abilities as a Faceless Man), we know something bloody is about to go down. As Frey keeps speaking, slowly more and more of his banner men think something is wrong. He proposes a toast, and it’s then that Frey really start’s letting them have it, verbally tearing every one of the Frey family members down while the poisoned wine picks them off one by one. Area pulls off the face of Walder, and tells one of the barmaids to spread the word that Punisher of Westeros is coming for them with a vengeance.
Almost from it’s opening shot, I knew that Arya was posing in as Frey, but I think that made it better. The anticipation, watching all those men drink the wine, and then getting that slow burn of satisfaction as, one by one, they dropped like flies.
The next we see of Arya, she’s riding through the countryside and comes upon a camp of soldiers (and a singing Ed Sheeran, because sure, why not). It’s a quiet scene, not much is accomplished in the way of plot, but it was nice to see Arya just sitting and having conversation. It was also nice to get some time with soldiers who aren’t fighting some crusade, but just doing it to make a buck.
Arya’s storyline has been pretty weak over the past few seasons, but this episode showed that she’s back, and she is finally going to make good on that list of names. For the first time in years, I’m excited to see what we get from Arya next.
Bran and Meera finally make it to the wall, and meet Dolorous Edd. Edd asks Bran to prove that he’s as Stark, but Bran instead decides to creep Edd out with his freaky Three Eyed Raven voodoo.
This is a quick exchange, but I’m glad Bran is finally on the other side of the Wall. Although, this probably spells trouble for everyone else in Westeros, since I’m pretty sure that the magical connection that let the Night King enter the Three Eyed Ravens cave, will also have some tragic effects on the wall towards the end of the season. So thanks for that Bran, *cough* dick *cough*
Cercei, Jaime, & Euron
So Cercei is just straight up a super villain now, right? She starts season seven walking across a giant map listing all the people who hate her, I can’t think something more Lex Luthor-esque. She’s now the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, but as Jaime points out, its really only three. The two of them start plotting and planning how they can unite (or more accurately, take by force) the remaining kingdoms under their rule. But how could they ever do so without help? And who could possibly be the one to help them?
Enter Euron Greyjoy. He has a quick scene where he offers to lend his army to the Lannister’s to solidify their rule, but does so on the condition that Cercei marry him. Cercei denies him, but Euron, much to the dismay of Jaime, is hell bent on bedding the new queen, and promises to win her over with a gift. Given that Euron has been teased as this season Big Bad I’m thinking this “gift” is going to be someones head, and not someones head we want removed. Pilou Asbæk its delightful to watch, and I can already tell he’s going to be a villain I love to hate. Or is it hate to love? Either way, he’s a cheeky bastard and his death will be glorious, but likely come later than anyone wanted.
Jon, Sansa, & Littlefinger
We now return to Winterfell, where it appears that Jon and his war council haven’t left the dinner table in over a year. Jon is ushering in some battle plans for how to defeat the real threat, the horde of ice zombies (who seem to be taking their sweet time walking south, by the way). Jon looks and sounds like a true leader, seeking council and asking for help, but unafraid of putting his foot down when he needs too. That doesn’t exactly spell great things though, as the last two leaders of winter fell died horrible deaths. Good luck, Jon.
On the receiving end of that foot, is Sansa. While Jon knows that the real threat is from the north, Sansa is convinced that the more immediate foe is Cercei. Sansa has developed into a great heroine over the course of the series, and has learned well how to play the Game of Thrones. It doesn’t bode well for either of them that Sansa publicly opposed Jon, and I hope that this rift thats beginning to form doesn’t lead to Littlefinger swooping in and betraying Jon.
Side note: Brienne and Tormund is the couple we need. Although, even by me saying that it probably means Tormund will die in the next episode. Damn you Weiss & Bennioff.
Second side note: Lyanna Mormont is the greatest character this show has ever created. If this series ends with anything other than her killing the Night King with her bare hands and claiming the Iron Throne for herself, I will be extremely disappointed.
Sam, Gilly & Jorah
And now, a journey farther south to the Citadel, where poor Samwell Tarley just can’t seem to catch a break. I’m a little upset that sam went from being the grunt boy of the Night’s Watch, to the grunt boy of the Citadel. I thought that since Sam were in a place solely focused on knowledge, that he would thrive, but instead he’s relegated to cleaning bedpans, serving food, and weighing intestines during autopsies. The editing in that sequence of bedpan cleaning and food serving was amazing though, if the director was going for a gross out factor, then job well done.
Sam finds that a mountain of Dragons glass, the only substance able to kill White Walkers this side of Valerian Steel, is buried under Dragonstone. He writes to tell Jon, and I’m hopefully that this will lead to the Dany/Jon (Fire & Ice) meeting that I’ve so long wanted. Fun fact! Also buried in one of the books is the tid bit that dragons glass is able to cure greystone. This could have some serious implications for Jorah (who shows up breifly and DOES NOT look good). But what I find more interesting, is how this shed new light on Princess Shireen, Stannis’ ill-fated daughter. They were hold-up at Dragonstone for quite some time, and this might be the reason that her Greyscale suddenly stopped. I don’t know what this means in the long run, but it’d cool nonetheless.
Oh, also, Gilly and Little Sam are there. Little Sam is a toddler now, to show the passage of time. Thats about it. They really don’t do much.
The Hound & The Brotherhood without Banners
Who would have thought The Hound would have the most emotional scene of the episode? Holy crap, I was on the verge of tears watching this. The Brotherhood without Banners, which I understand the sentiment behind their name, but it’s going to be a bitch for them to get brand recognition, someone should learn about SEO or marketing. Anyways, they stop at a cabin that we first visited a few seasons back with The Hound and Arya.
The Hound basically calls Beric Dondarrian and Thoros out on their shit, saying that if the Lord of Light were just, then the little girl who lived there would be alive and Beric would be long dead. Then Thoros asks The Hound to stare into the fire, prompting a prophesy about a Wall of ice being destroyed that I’m sure will in no way have any relevance to the rest of the season.
Then we get a scene which is the new emotional bar for this season to try and meet again. The Hound buries the bodies of the former occupants of their cabin, and it leads to some delightful dialogue between him and Thoros. This wasn’t the most plot driven part of the episode, but it was absolutely my favorite moment.
Daenerys & Tyrion
And Finally, we get to where we left off last season, and Dany has finally made it to Westeros. Since episode one, we’ve been told two things, that Winter was Coming and Dany would eventually come to reclaim her rightful throne. And in one episode, both of those promises are made good on. Some are angry that we did’t hear any dialogue other than one closing line from Dany, but that we just got a visual tour of the castle at Dragonstone (that throne y’all…) I liked the choice though, this was about Dany finally making it to Westeros. We have all season to watch her formulate her plans, and I like that for this episode we got to just sit in the fact that Khaleesi has made it home.
This is one of, if not the very, best Episode 1’s of any season of Game of Thrones. Not a ton happened plot wise, but it certainly set the stage for some epic confrontations down the line. And with a shorter season (Six episodes left? Are you kidding me?), we’ll get there sooner rather than later I’m sure.