Finally, the extraordinarily long wait is over and winter had arrived in the middle of summer. Last Sunday, Game of Thrones season seven premiered in US and the rest of the world got to see it on Monday. I’ve got high expectations for this season, for episodes to have less fillers and more substance. Not just little hints but bigger leaps. Not to say I’m disappointed at the first episode but I do have to remember it’s Game of Thrones after all, so it’s going to be lots of building up and slowly moving forward until it makes a bang in the end. Let’s take a closer look at episode one “Dragonstone”. Oh, and spoilers, obviously. And also, I won’t be going through the episode chronologically, unless it matters, like being a first scene or last.
“Leave one wolf and the sheep are not safe.”
Before Sir Atticus and I began to watch, we had a brief convo about who is going to be in the opening scene. He guessed Tyrion and I guessed Arya. Because we left Arya in the last season in the most interesting place. We saw her most awesome and gruesome murder of the old bastard Walder Frey, but then it remained a mystery whether she left right away to go on a revenge rampage or stayed. We got the answer in the opening scene. I have to admit, that was the best opening scene of GoT history. Although the mini recap did give too many hints so I realized rather quickly what was going on. I don’t recall there be a recap in earlier seasons… She did spared the young wife. Some say she did it just to have a messenger to spread the word and terror, but I say that she still has a soft spot in her heart. The reveal of her face in this scene was shocking in the sense that how mature she seemed. On a later scene meeting some Lannister soldiers, however, we got to witness how the rest of the world sees her, still a young and innocent girl, which she would’ve been if not having experienced this cruel world first hand. The audience was reminded how young Arya still is, but also how careful she is, taking inventory of the soldiers’ weapons and probably thought of dozens of ways to kill them all before they even knew what hit them. It’s impressive and sad at the same time. When asked what business she has in King’s Landing, Arya bluntly admitted she is going to kill the queen. After a brief silence, the soldiers all burst out laughing and Arya started to laugh with them. This proves just how dangerous Arya can be, as she would always have the element of surprise on her side.
“I’m sorry you’re dead. You deserve better.”
Talking about Arya, we get to see her long lost friend Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane and we witness him starting to gain more faith to their mission of going to protect the Wall against the whitewalkers. We saw him arriving with the Brotherhood without Banners to the inn where The Hound and Arya visited what seemed to be a lifetime ago. This time, there were significantly more snow. Okay, we get it, winter has come to Westeros.
“I don’t need your permission to defend the North.”
And back in the depressingly cold North, we get to see the fresh King of the North in action. But naturally, the Lady Lyanna Mormont stole the whole scene. That little lady continues to kick ass and I love her. At the same scene we get to see Jon Snow’s just and honorable decision making, and shows that he might turn out not to be Ned Stark’s biological son, but in spirit he is every bit as like his ‘father’. And we all know early on just what happens to those who are too honorable for their own good. Not that it is appropriate or even wise for Sansa to undermine Jon’s authority in the midst of others, Sansa is trying her best to advice her still very naive brother. She’s the one that had been listening and learning from all of those cunning people she was surrounded since the day she left Winterfell. The world and the people in it might have turned Sansa cold and cynical, and given half the chance, she would become a tyrant that even Cersei would be proud of, but she’s also very intelligent. As long as Jon Snow doesn’t give Sansa enough reasons to betray him, she is one hell of an advisor and ally to have. Jon Snow just has to listen to her more and not repeat the mistake he did fighting a fellow bastard Ramsay. On the other hand, if he listens and is less stubborn, he wouldn’t be Jon Snow who knows nothing. 😀 Stubborness and resilience are two of the reasons why we love the bastard. One other significant thing established in the scene was the fact that Jon wants to find a lot of dragonstone in preparation to meet the whitewalkers on the battlefield.
And in a brief scene, even more north, we get to witness the army of whitewalkers slowmotioning like they were in a music video, which turned out to be a vision seen by Bran Stark who fucking finally arrives at the wall. Poor Meera for pulling Bran all the way. Somebody better give that girl a long hot bubble bath. I got so excited about another Start reunion but then I remembered that Jon and Sansa are at Winterfell. Guess the reunion comes later. It better.
“Three kingdoms, at best.”
Then we went to the King’s Landing and check on our crazed queen Cersei and the cracks that are beginning to surface between her and Jaime. She is smart to invite the slightly humiliated Euron Greyjoy and his massive fleet as an ally. Euron’s ambitions are pretty straightforward. True, he did choose the other queen first but guess Cersei would suffice just fine. Though the mere presence of Euron is enough to add some more cracks between Cersei and Jaime, even without the infamous ‘thousand ships and two good hands’ joke. And then the gift that Euron promised Cersei as a courting gesture, it’s most likely be the Sandsnakes, or preferably very dead snakes. We shall see.
“…thousands of years before that during the long night, we thought that it truly was the end but it wasn’t. None of it was. And the Wall stood through it all. And every winter that ever came had ended.”
And then we went to the Citadel to see how Sam is doing at his studies at the school of witchcraft and wizardry. 😛 The slave montage was hilarious and the little speech of the old maester was interesting. But surely, since the Wall had stood tall all those years, surely it’s about to give, earlier rather than later. Sam also found out that there are a shit ton of dragonstone, the substance Jon Snow has the hots for, can be found just next to the castle of Dragonstone. So we know where Jon is going to head to next. And then we also get to see a special ‘guest’ at the Citadel trying to grab Sam’s hand through a jail cell window, asking for Daenerys Targaryen. It’s, of course, the poor Jorah Mormont suffering from greyscale. So he went to the Citadel to look for a cure and they locked him up? That’s all kinds of fucked up. But him asking for the Dragon Queen convieniently leads us to the next and final scene of the episode.
“Shall we begin?”
The ending scene of the episode is almost as great as the opening one. It’s a quiet one, a powerful one. We see Dany’s emotional journey when she finally arrived at Westerosi soil, after having to run for her life before she could even walk. Her touching the wet sand on the beach, her getting emotional seeing her ancestral home, the long walk to the castle, it’s hard not to get emotional and a little exhausted on behalf of her long journey. And then the quiet, almost seemingly nonchalant little yank of the dusted Baratheon flag, that simple gesture carried tons of weight and meaning behind it. It has truly been a long and tough journey for her. And then she entered the Chamber of the Painted Table, that used to be Stannis’s strategy room, his battle plan still all laid out gathering dust. Tyrion followed closely behind her, checking out the dragon carvings on the wall. And then, at the top of the table, with all of Westeros laid out in front of Daenerys Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, she said the only dialogue she had during the long scene, breaking the almost eerie silence: “Shall we begin?” she asked in a calm voice. And then the episode fade to black while a powerful battle tune started to play, foreboding the battle or battles to come.
It’s not a bad first episode, with powerful opening and ending scenes. We get to see Bran arriving. We get to see Jon in action being all kingly and all. We learn that dragonstone is going to be the reason that Jon and Dany might meet and probably join forces. We shall see. Lastly, let’s watch a little preview of episode two, and I’ll see you back here next week.