'Game of Thrones' Season 7, Episode 1 Recap :“Dragonstone”

Everyone’s favorite collection of medieval monopoly pieces has rejoined for another exciting season of Game of Thrones. Tonight’s episode “Dragonstone” serves as the introduction, and reintroduction, to some of the most important plot points in the series. Let’s jump right into dissecting this episode.

Where’s Walder

Didn’t Walder meet his end on the last episode of season 6? That’s the same question that was on my mind as his ugly castle, and heavily wrinkled face, opened up this episode. But then I remembered, and a grin took over the bottom half of my face. Lo and behold, it turned out to be an elaborate ploy by Arya Stark. As revenge for the slaughter known as the Red Wedding, she killed every member of the Frey house, save for one woman to tell everyone that “The North remembers”.

Bran to the Wall

I still want to know just how Bran Stark and his protector, Meera, managed to make their journey, without any food or protection, from outside the wall to the Wall itself. I’m assuming that the Three-Eyed Raven’s home was a long ways away. The pair met with the Night’s Watch so that means they are safe for now. We see that Bran has warged into a raven and has been spying on The Night King so that’ll be interesting to monitor.

Silly Snow

Number one stunner Jon Snow has settled into his new role as King of the North surprisingly fast. Here he’s calling the shots, much to Sanaa’s dismay, about how to deal with traitors’ castles. The siblings argue about specifics before seemingly coming to an understanding afterwards. Sansa thinks she knows how to rule better than Jon because of what, plot? What ruling experience does she have? Jon served his tenure as Captain of the Night’s Watch so maybe she should give him a chance before writing him off as a bad leader. She tells Jon about how Ned and Robb Stark made very stupid mistakes, contributing to their death. After their scene is over, Littlefinger and his sleazy grin tries his using his gift of gab to turn Sansa’s gears. She sees through his guise but the lingering camera shots on her face let it be known that this could change in future.

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Sibling Rivalry Part 2

In an interesting parallel between Jon and Sansa, Queen Cersei, world’s worst mother, is shown to be having her own political squabble with her brother and lover, Jaime Lannister. Before the scene, Jon tells Sansa that when she talks about Cersei’s cruelty, it almost sounds as if she admires her. Cersei is introduced in full badass mode, talking with Jaime out the many enemies the Lannister family has around them. She brings Jamie’s attention to Tyrion serving as Hand of the King for Daenerys Targaryen and let’s him know she blames him for it. As she talks about attacking traitors, the disconnect between the two is made clear — in King’s Lansing, like in Winterfell, siblings aren’t seeing politics eye to eye. The one take away that we get from their conversation is that the Iron Throne isn’t as secure as Cersei thinks it is.

Greyjoy To the World!

The Salt Throne subplot has dragged on since last season and hasn’t been particularly interesting. I guess we’ve reached the culmination of the plot, or at least near it, with stereotypical evil ruler Euron Greyjoy approaching Cersei to make an alliance. Long story short, Cersei turns him down. He promises to return with a gift, but of course we don’t know what that is.

Shitadel Life Sucks

Poor Samwell Tarly. When he marched off to be educated to become a Maester, I was excited to see the new and improved brainiac that came out. His journey for intelligence always interested me in comparison to the power struggle that every other character faces. But, it looks like Samwell’s life in The Citadel is shitty-literally. He’s spends his time stocking library shelves, changing bedpans filled with poop, and serving food in the cafeteria. The grass isn’t always greener, right? He does find out from one of the Maesters that they do believe his account of the Whitewalkers attack, but he’s shot down because, put simply, the wall never fails. After this, he takes it upon himself to steal books and read about the history of Westeros.

I’m Going To Kill The Queen — Ed Sheeran Ft Arya Stark

I’d completely forgotten that Ed Sheeran would be on Game of Thrones this season. As Arya Stark makes her way through the woods, she hears some rather good singing going on. She comes upon a group of soldiers relaxing around a fire, and guess who’s the first to pop into view? Surprisingly, he fits into the scene quite nicely. It’s still weird seeing someone of his caliber in such a minor role. Will we be seeing more of Sheeran in his unnamed role? Other than Arya’s revelation of “I’m going to kill the Queen” to the unbelieving soldiers, the scene serves no purpose. For now, I speculate on the outcome of Arya’s inevitable failed assassination attempt on Cersei.

The Holy Hound

Sandor Clegane, otherwise known as “The Hound”, has walked the road to redemption with relatively few detours along the way. Now that he’s linked up with the Brotherhood Without Banners, he’s showing more empathy than ever before. After seeing the threat of the Whitewalkers in a fire, he suddenly digs graves for two bodies he finds in a house. The bodies belonged to a father and daughter that Clegane met in Season 4 and robbed, so the act is supposed to be a sign of remorse. I think that he does it so if they turn into white walkers they won’t attack him. But, hey what do I know?

Dragonstone

We cut back to Samwell, reading his ginormous, stolen books, when he discovers Dragonstone — an underground mountain that’s made of dragon glass. Kind of convenient right? He resolves to inform Jon of this immediately. We also see his (not quite) son playing with his lovely mother, Gilly.

Finally Home

We’re treated to two scenes of Danaerys, Tyrion, and crew during this episode, but we don’t get any lines. Everyone important is on one boat, surrounded by countless, as they head towards Westeros. They touch down and immediately head to the nearby castle to set up shop and prepare for war. The pieces are finally lining up for a great showdown.

Stray observations:

  • Jon Snow went from not being sure of being fit to rule to overtly badass king. This change of character is a little odd, not really fitting of the man we’ve grown to know over the past six seasons

  • I’m getting a “that’s television!” feel from more and more events in Game of Thrones. I can’t really explain it. Events are starting to become somewhat predictable, but that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong. Maybe I’m reading too many theories on Reddit.

  • Since we didn’t get the oft rumored “CLEGANEBOWL” last season, what will Sandor’s role be for the upcoming war? It’s starting to look like last season’s cameo appearance might not have a way to go.

  • That poop splashes that Samwell kept hearing has ruined my appetite for breakfast.

This week’s episode introduced a bunch of new threads that I can’t wait to see unravel as the season goes on. All of our players are primed for action, tragedy, and hopefully some humor to brighten up the mood before the inevitable big battle at the end of the season. Next Sunday can’t get here fast enough.