Image via HBO
Warning: spoilers ahead!
The long wait is over. Game of Thrones season 7 is here and it has been hyped up.
Season 6 ended on such a brilliant note and we pick up where we left off with: Cersei on the Iron Throne, Jon as the King in the North, and Daenerys sailing for Westeros with her Dothraki army, allied with Theon and Yara Greyjoy.
Season 7 picks up right where we left off. Walder Frey is addressing his men, serving them the finest wine because why not give ‘proper wine for proper heroes’? They did, after all, slaughter the Starks at those very tables. It’s quite obvious from the get-go that Walder is Arya wearing his face, but the moment of revelation as the Frey men choke to death from the poisonous wine is still glorious. Arya’s delivers a ruling speech, warning those who dare cross her and her family: ‘Leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe.’ Someone give this woman a crown.
Meera and Bran are given approximately three minutes of screen time as they are ushered into Castle Black and a panning shot of snow-covered walls and landscape shows this is simply the beginning of a very long winter. The cold is also impacting The Hound as he journeys with the unkillable Beric Dondarrion and Thoros. Their moments seemed pointless to the plot until The Hound gazes into the fire and sees the Wall, a mountain with an arrowhead and an army of the dead. Talk about foreshadowing. We also catch a short glimpse of the White Walkers and the Night King marching, prepared to unleash their chilling violence.
Back in Winterfell, the tension between Jon and Sansa is heavy. When the decision to either redeem the children of the Karstark and Umber families or give their ancestral homes to new families brought up, the sibling publicly quarrel. Jon disagrees with Sansa’s suggestion to give the lands to new families and asks the children to pledge their loyalty for their families once again. From this action, it seems like Jon is trying to keep all the Northener families as allies – ‘The North needs to band together’ – despite the mistakes of their fathers. ‘That is my decision,’ he asserts to Sansa, ‘and my decision is final.’
There are two sides to this: Sansa wants revenge on those who betrayed the Starks whereas Jon wants to restore peace. Maybe Sansa picked up a bit of cold logic from Cersei during her time in King’s Landing.
‘You sound like you admire her,’ Jon says.
‘I learned a great deal from her,’ Sansa admits.
Sansa’s decision-making in the past has been clever and rational, such as calling on the Vale which saved Jon and his men from further slaughter at the Battle of the Bastards. She’s also aware of how the South operates, especially now that Cersei is Queen. Cersei’s raven to Winterfell is a swift reminder that Jon does not only have enemies beyond the Wall, but also in the south. ‘Everyone who’s ever crossed her, she’s found a way to murder,’ Sansa explains to Jon, who doesn’t see Cersei as a large threat at this stage. But he wasn’t there at King’s Landing last season now, was he?
Meanwhile, Cersei sees enemies in all four corners of the world map she is standing on: ‘We’re surrounded by traitors,’ she tells Jaime. Since becoming Queen, her need for power has grown and she tells Jaime that the kingdoms belong to them now, they just have to take it. There is a particular focus on Dragonstone, considering Cersei knows of Tyrion being the Hand of the Queen and seeks to crush him, which isn’t surprising considering there was very little love between them.
Jaime’s hesitancy to visit Cersei or speak to her is a clear indicator that he is somewhat afraid of what she’ll do next. He explains that their position is not the greatest, that winter is here and they are starting to look like the losing side. But there’s no reasoning with Cersei, not when she dreams of building a dynasty for the Lannisters. Jaime’s reminder than their children are dead dampens the mood quite a bit though – who is this dynasty for?
‘We can’t win this war alone,’ says Jaime.
However, Cersei has more tricks up her sleeve than Jaime realises: ‘You think I listened to Father for 40 years and learned nothing?’ And enter stage left, Euron Greyjoy and the Iron Fleet. Jaime immediately questions Cersei’s choice in allying with Euron, asking why he would even want to come here. Thing is, he’s here for ‘a queen’ and this sets up a possibility of a Greyjoy and Lannister alliance. But can Cersei stomach being married to Euron?
What an entrance he makes. The pirate king, Euron, is all talk as he proposes to Cersei with the invitation of murdering their enemies together, which is a sure way to her heart. He offers the Iron Fleet in return for her hand and for a moment, it looks like she might consider it. Having a naval advance would be incredible for taking on the Dornish, however, she declines his offer of proposal because of he is untrustworthy. The Greyjoys’ previous attempt to take the throne is remembered, so Euron promises to return with a ‘priceless gift’ for Cersei to win her over. But what might that gift be?
The episode blesses us with a true OTP moment with Brienne and Tormund, who remarks Podrick is a ‘lucky man’ to be beaten in knight training by her. Overlooking this scene are Sansa and Littlefinger, who is as slippery as ever. ‘I want you to be safe,’ he says to Sansa. Since when did he even give a second thought to her safety? Sansa seems to be getting the hang of handling Littlefinger, but understands that she needs him and his men to defend the North. In the face of adversary, she is graceful and rational. Her development over the seasons has been impressive and she has a lot she can do in this one if she stays true to herself.
It was a little unexpected to see Ed Sheeran in Game of Thrones, but I mean, why not? Arya encounters him and his group of soldiers and claims she is going to King’s Landing to kill the Queen. What doors does this open? She’s already impersonated Walder Frey. Why not impersonate the Queen herself? Or Jaime? There’s been talk of Jaime being the one to end Cersei, but maybe it’ll just be his face.
Back in Oldtown, Sam is working at the Citadel and we find him in a routine of cleaning chamber pots, serving food and putting books backs in the places. I feel for him, it’s honestly a shit job. The whole reason why he came was to find out about the White Walkers and how to end them, and those answers are in the restricted section. While assisting in an autopsy with the archmaester, he reiterates his proposal, yet is declined because why would a stuffy old man listen? The Citadel left a wave of awe behind last season, but this episode simply shows that the occupants are simply uninterested in helping the outside world and prefer to be stuck in books and wine.
But our brave Sam steals a book and finds a map of Dragonstone, discovering large stores of dragonglass beneath it. And who happens to be at Dragonstone now? Our Dragon Queen, Daenerys. And guess who just started a defence initative to track down dragonglass? Our King in the North, Jon Snow.
Daenerys returns to her ancestral home and looks ready to rise and unleash her army onto the Seven Kingdoms. She’s got three dragons, the Greyjoys and her Dothraki. Plus she looks fierce AF and she has a giant map of her own.
‘Shall we begin?’
Oh and by the way, I totally called the scaled hand to be Jorah.
Stay tuned for more recaps and reviews!