This past Sunday, Game of Thrones kicked off again with the most-viewed series premiere in the show’s history: Dragonstone.
Hoo, boy, what can we say? There was so much going on just in the first fifteen minutes. Don’t worry, though, we’re going to try and cover the entire incredible hour.
As usual, beware: for this post is long, and full of spoilers.
1. Arya and the Freys
Season 7 began with Walder Frey’s face. To be honest, none of us were expecting that. Isn’t he dead? we thought. Then, it hit us: Oh, right, that’s Arya wearing Walder Frey’s face.
Arya, in the space of the first five or ten minutes of the entire episode, manages to poison every single member of House Frey that took part in the Red Wedding catastrophe. She takes revenge, spares the women and children, and then steps over the Freys’ dead bodies and strides out like a badass. Winter came for House Frey, and it was awesome.
Also, we’re not entirely sure how Ed Sheeran made it into this episode, but we’re glad he did. That song was awesome. If he had his own house sigil, it’d probably look something like this:
Real talk, though: that scene between Arya and the Lannister soldiers is incredibly important. This is the first time in Arya’s life that she meets flesh-and-blood Lannister men and realizes that they’re just like everybody else: they have families that they care about, and dreams, and aspirations. Some of them are just songwriters caught up in a war that someone else started.
At the beginning of this scene, it looks as if Arya’s considering killing them all. By the end, we know she’s not going to do anything of the sort.
2. Jon, Sansa, and the War for the North
Season 7 finds Jon and Sansa mired in the political mess that is the post-Bolton North.
The Northern lords seem quite ready to take up the Stark cause, but on one condition: they want revenge on the Umbers and the Karstarks, the Northern families who betrayed Robb and Catelyn at the Red Wedding. Jon wants to be merciful. Sansa wants justice. They bicker about it in front of everyone. Eventually, Jon wins out. He calls the two young heads of the houses forward and has them swear allegiance to House Stark, and promises that they’ll retain their family homes as long as they fight for him.
There’s also talk of arming the North for the impending battle with the White Walkers. Jon insists that everyone, male and female, will be armed and taught to fight. He meets a little resistance, but with the help of Lyanna Mormont they convince the Northern lords to follow through.
Out in the yard, we find Brienne training Podrick. Sansa and Jon argue about their spat in front of the lords. Jon doesn’t like Sansa undermining him, Sansa expresses her fear that Jon will make stupid mistakes – like Ned and Robb – that will get him killed. Hopefully these two can gel as a team in the upcoming episodes.
After Jon leaves, Sansa stops to watch Brienne below. Where Sansa is, Littlefinger isn’t far off. Petyr swoops in just seconds after Sansa’s alone and tries to talk to her. Worried, Brienne shows up, and asks the question we’re all thinking: why is he still here?
Sansa assures her that she has her reasons for keeping Petyr around. They need his men in the battles to come. She knows Petyr’s interested in her. As long as she can keep him close enough to tantalize him (but far enough away to keep from actually having to be involved), Baelish and his Knights of the Vale will continue to pledge their support to Jon. It’s not a great military strategy, but it’s worked fine so far.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a complete episode without thirsty!Tormund, either. His crush on Brienne seems to get stronger with every second. Keep staring, Tormund. We love you for it. It’s hilarious.
Now, it’s time to talk about a very different sibling team down south, which brings us to:
3. Enemies to the West…Enemies to the East…
Season 7 finds Jaime back in King’s Landing with Cersei, and things aren’t looking great for the Lannister siblings.
Cersei’s first order of business has been to comission a huge map of Westeros, where she and Jaime can plan their re-conquest of the Seven Kingdoms. Like Jaime said, they really only have control of three right now. They’ve got enemies everywhere, and they’ll have to act quickly in order to avoid being overwhelmed by them.
It’s worth noting that, in the screenshot above, Jaime is standing on the part of Westeros called “The Fingers”, and Cersei is standing on what’s referred to as “The Neck”. This might not seem like a huge deal, but if you’re familiar with the Valonqar prophecy, you’ll know how important that foreshadowing is to their futures on the show.
For now, it looks like Cersei is getting increasingly more and more paranoid and more and more desperate. She insists that Tommen “betrayed” her, and rambles about how evil Tyrion is (and how it’s Jaime’s fault that he’s still alive and kicking), and announces that she has an excellent plan for them to make new allies. Jaime’s just as confused as we are. Who’s left who will willingly fight for the Lannisters against Danaerys and the Starks? Not the Tyrells. Cersei blew up half their house last season. That ship sailed a long time ago.
Well, Cersei’s brilliant plan was, apparently, to flirt with Euron Greyjoy in the hopes of winning him (and his Iron Fleet) to her side. What resulted was an exchange that made everyone, including us, uncomfortable. Jaime made this face the whole time:
And frankly, we were making that face too.
All that flirting didn’t win Cersei any favors, though. Euron did promise to bring Cersei a gift. What that gift is, exactly, isn’t clear. We’ll probably have to wait two or three episodes to find out.
4. Sam and the Neverending Stream of Chamber-pots
Man, and we thought Sam was doing something cool at Oldtown…
Instead, we find him in neverending cycle of book-shelving, gross chores, and disgusting food. He hasn’t gotten any closer to learning something useful at Oldtown that will help Jon in his fight against the White Walkers. Why? Well, all the useful books are locked behind an iron gate.
After what seems like ages, Sam tries to convince the Grand Maester to let him near those books. He fruitlessly explains the plight of Westeros, trying to give the Maester a sense of urgency. Winter is coming! The end is near! The Grand Maester remains unconvinced, and tells Sam to be a good lad and clean up the messy laboratory and that he’s not to go anywhere near those locked-up books. It’s frustrating, to say the least.
Well, true-to-form, Sam does nothing of the sort. He steals the keys from a sleeping maester, and takes all the important books back to the hovel he shares with Gilly and Little Sam. After hours of pouring over the books, he finally discovers something huge: there’s a mountain of dragonglass at Dragonstone.
If you’ve been paying attention, you know that dragonglass, or obsidian, was what the First Men used to fight the White Walkers. It’s one of the few things (besides fire and Valyrian steel) that can kill them. This is an enormously important find. Sam knows it, and he sends a raven to tell Jon the news.
Oh, and it turns out that Jorah has made his way to Oldtown in order to try and find a cure for his grayscale (like Dany told him to). He’s back in the story, but his sickness is worse than ever. Clearly, he still has a part to play in the story…even if he’s still relentlessly stuck in the friendzone.
It’s rough, buddy.
5. Danaerys Is Finally Home
This was it. This was the moment we were all waiting for. This was the moment we’ve been waiting for since season 1, episode 1 of Game of Thrones. Danaerys finally set foot on Westeros. She crossed the Narrow Sea with her three dragons and her army of Unsullied and Dothraki Screamers and landed at Dragonstone – her birthplace, and the ancestral home of House Targaryen. When Dany walked up to that banner in the throne room and yanked it down, it was chills all around.
She’s not wasting any time, though. Dany strode right past that huge throne for the war room. She took Tyrion with her, and the two of them got right down to business planning their next move.
…And that’s where we’ll have to leave them until next week.
How did you feel about the Game of Thrones premiere? Let us know in the comments! Excited for next week? Don’t worry, we got your back. Don’t miss the sneak-peak of Sunday’s episode, Stormborn: