It feels like a hundred years since I last saw Game of Thrones. Season 6’s finale gave us the lingering scene of the Mother of Dragons, with her horde of Unsullied and Dothraki plus three massive dragons, crossing the Narrow Sea on the way to Westeros. Already, season 6 is waaaay ahead of the books. In A Dance of Dragons, Daenerys has just been captured by the Dothraki, Drogon has just abandoned her, Meereen is in chaos, House Tyrell still have heirs, Dorne has yet to pick an ally, Jon is STILL at The Wall, Arya is still a trainee Faceless Man, and Stannis is still alive. At this point, A Song of Ice and Fire is just an inspiration for Game of Thrones. Whatever is going to happen on the show, not even the book readers know. It’s frustrating for us, but exciting at the same time; it levels the playing field for audiences.
Now that Game of Thrones is back, we’re at the edge of our seats because all of us literally do not know where Benioff and Weiss will take us this last season of the show. And if you didn’t catch that, IT IS THE LAST SEASON OF GAME OF THRONES. How will we live? Will life be the same?
Here’s my take on Dragonstone:
Winter Came for House Frey
Almost deceitful is the moment where Walder Frey congratulates his kinsmen on their butchery during the Red Wedding. It seems to be a flashback but we audiences slowly realize that, no, Walder Frey IS dead. This isn’t Walder Frey but Arya, choosing to kill whoever remained in House Frey through poisoned wine. The death tableau that our young Stark girl chose to portray is lovely and vicious. But not as vicious as her cooking Walder’s sons into pies. Has anybody realized how morbid it must have been, her chopping up grown men into meat pie? Anyway, she also delivers some icy dialogue, “Tell them the North remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey.” *drops mic
Snow vs Stark
The past seasons have been kinder on House Stark; Arya survived her brutal training on the House of Black and White, Sansa exacted her on-pointe revenge on Ramsay Bolton, Jon was became King of the North, and Bran became the Three-Eyed Raven. With power and revenge now handed over to the Starks, its inevitable that some sibling rivalry will ensue between Jon and Sansa, particularly with Peter Baelish as a Machiavellian whisperer to Sansa’s ears.
Now at Winterfell, the King in the North is hellbent on scavenging all available dragonlass (or obsidian to us muggles) to weaponize it against White Walkers and their wights. Jon also decides, because he’s pure of heart and kind like Ned Stark (remember what happened to Ned?), to forgive Houses Umber and Karstark, asking their remaining heirs to bend the knee and swear loyalty. Sansa, possibly the only political strategist in the family, opposes the idea and reminds him that treason should be punished, not rewarded. Its almost comical because Sansa clearly learned from Cersei, Margaery and all the political maneuverings at Kings Landing, while Jon is having a bitch fit because Sansa is probably right.
Krakens and Lions
Cersei, now self-proclaimed Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, has commissioned a new map of Westeros on her courtyard. Am I the only one irked that she’s walking on it before it’s even finished? The artist is probably also irked. Anyway, while she stomps all over her seven kingdoms, Jaime is quick to remind her that she’s only queen of three kingdoms on a good day. She has alienated Dorne, High Garden, and the North. The Freys in the Riverlands are dead, Casterly Rock has no more lions, and the Iron Islands have yet to side with them.
It’s a bit of a bummer for the Lannister twins, especially with dragons nearing their shores, but Cersei has something up her sleeve, of course. She has invited Euron Greyjoy, and his fleet of cool-looking battleships, to Kings Landing. He’s interested in marrying Cersei but she immediately refuses him. Euron, almost frothing at the mouth, offers to bring her a “priceless gift” as an offering, and I’m immediately assuming that he’ll go off in search of a blonde dwarf. Euron just arrived at Kings Landing but he’s already stirring up some shit.
Sam the Scooper
Speaking of stirring up shit, Sam is still in Oldtown and in deep shit. Literally. It’s an interesting montage of him scooping shit, scrubbing shit from privvys, and cleaning chamber pots of old maesters. He’s been demoted from fat guy who loves to read into a fat guy who cleans up shit. An interesting addition to the Oldtown cast is Archmaester Marwyn (Jim Broadbent aka Professor Horace Slughorn), whose role is to bring an interesting reminder to Sam, “Every winter that ever came has ended.” Is this the Westerosi version of “a rainbow at the end of every storm”?
Anyway, Sam is still trying to access library books in the restricted section. He’s not hardcore enough for a VIP access, or maybe he just needs to borrow Harry’s invisibility cloak and go incognito.
A Wolf Among Lions
Somewhere in the woods, on her way to Kings Landing, Arya stumbles upon a group of Lannister soldiers surrounding a campfire and singing team building songs. And oh, Ed Sheeran is there as Symon Silvertongue. Hi Ed Sheeran! It’s almost surprising that this scene doesn’t end up bloody, but it’s a good reminder for us and Arya that hey, there’s still many good people in Westeros, even those who are caught between the war of kings and queens. These sweet summer souls are just fathers who haven’t seen their newborns, fathers who are sons that remember their fathers, fathers who left their families behind, and fathers who are amused at a young girl who bluntly declares she’s on her way to Kings Landing to kill the queen.
The Hound and the Brotherhood Without Banners
Remember Sandor Clegane, the scarred knight who refuses to die and who seems to always have the cleverest lines? Yep, he’s now trudging around with Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr and the Brotherhood without Banners. Normally, emo would never appeal to me but Thoros and Sandor seem to have caught my attention. “Why are you always in such a foul mood?” “Experience”. Their banter fails to satisfy my curiosity though on why Beric is still alive.
And do you remember the kind old man and his daughter who offered food and shelter for Sandor and Arya? And remember how The Hound repaid him by stealing his savings of silver? Yep, old man and daughter are dead now; likely via murder-suicide due to starvation. It’s a painful reminder for Sandor Clegane about his past misdeeds and a stark example about the inequality in Westeros. Its a full arc on Sandor’s storyline too, how he’s deeply and truly remorseful of his contribution to their death.
Dragons on Dragonstone
The Mother of Dragons has FINALLY reached Westeros, her fleet landing on Dragonstone, the ancestral seat of House Targaryen. For 60 episodes we’ve wanted to see her reach her homeland and its almost melodramatic when she chooses to kneel down and touch the sand, as if contemplating if all this is real. Also, kudos to Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion for being the first dragons in Westeros in hundreds of years.
Dany’s homecoming seems bleak though, with Dragonstone a looming fortress that has been empty and neglected since Stannis Baratheon attempted to sack Kings Landing a thousand episodes ago. She doesn’t even sit on the throne of Dragonstone but instead heads immediately to the war room where she addresses her queen’s council, “Shall we begin?” Fuck yeah.
Drink a glass of water and catch your breath. This was a thrilling episode that reminded us where our characters are going and how they might get there. It’s an intense 60 minutes of rightful vengeance, formation of allies, queens setting up for war, and the homecoming of dragons. Stay tune for next episode titled Stormborn. 😀