Arya completes her revenge against the Freys, while Jon, Cersei, and Dany prepare for their wars. Full recap of Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere, “Dragonstone,” plus preview episode 2 “Stormborn”.
Game of Thrones returned last Sunday for its seventh season, and the premiere was just as emotional as we anticipated it would be, especially in the aftermath of the *insane* Season 6 finale. Across Westeros, we saw the truth that #WinterIsHere, and the pieces had finally moved into position to launch the series into what will likely be a BEYOND EPIC finale.
“Dragonstone” begins in an unexpected place. Ahead of the iconic intro song, we get a scene of Walder Frey at the Riverlands. Initially, I’m thinking that we’re several moments BEFORE Arya guts Frey like a fish after forcing him to eat a pie made of his dead sons’ remains. However, we soon learn that this is, in fact, at a later time. Walder tells those gathered that he has assembled all of his family members for another celebration (so soon after celebrating their reclaiming Riverrun) and to plan for the changing seasons. Drinks are distributed as Walder salutes his house for destroying the Starks during the Red Wedding. However, soon his tone changes. Yes the Freys decimated House Stark, but they didn’t kill all the wolves. And as long as one wolf survives, the sheep are never safe. We flash to the Freys and they’re all choking to death. WHAT IS GOING ON? Well, Arya has thoroughly mastered the magic of the Faceless Men because it has been her this whole time disguised as Walder! She has just murdered practially every member House Frey without batting an eyelash. As she leaves, she gives a message to a girl that she spares from the massacre: “Tell them the North remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey.” HAVE. MERCY.
Later on, Arya crosses the Riverlands, heading for King’s Landing. She comes across a band of singing soldiers, led by a man who looks curiously like Ed Sheeran 😉 . They share food, drink, and stories. And when Arya says that she’s going to King’s Landing to murder they queen, they all laugh. But we know that Arya is 1,000% serious.
In the post-intro credits, we travel beyond the Wall. Winter weather has well and truly arrived and is bringing hoards upon hoards of White Walkers, led by the Night King… even one that looks like a reanimated Wun-Wun *RUNS* This is likely one of Bran’s visions and when he comes out of it, we see that he and Meera are about to cross the Wall. They’re greeted by the new Lord Commander of he Night’s Watch, Eddison Tollet. At first, Edd is suspicious of the two, but Bran is able to prove who he is by telling Edd about himself and his encounters with the Army of the Dead. Bran is quite convincing, and Edd allows him and Meera inside. Next stop is Winterfell and Jon, right???
At Winterfell, Jon has his bannermen gathered to make preparations for the arrival of the White Walkers. He orders a search for dragonglass to produce weapons and that every man, woman, boy, and girl begin spreparing for battle. At first there is some pushback from Lord Glover at the idea that girls will fight, but Lady Lyanna Mormont shuts that down: “I don’t plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me…and I don’t need your permission to defend the North!” The Free Folk will man the castles along the Wall. The conversation shifts to the fate of the remaining Karstarks and Umbers. Several people, led by Sansa, want the families punished for siding with the Boltons. Their castles should be stripped and given to those who fought for Jon. However, Jon disagrees. He refuses to punish sons for their fathers’ crimes. It gets tense while the argument between Jon and Sansa unfolds. He puts his foot down, and calls on the leaders of House Karstrark and House Umber to rededicate themselves to House Stark, which they do.
Strangely, Sansa seems impressed with Jon standing by his decision. Jon is concerned because he doesn’t think it’s a good idea that she question his judgement publicly. Sansa reminds Jon that Joffrey also refused to hear criticism, and that shakes Jon up. She reassures him that he’s nothing like Joffrey, but that Jon needs to be smarter than their father and Robb. Yes, that means listening to Sansa’s counsel and treating her like an equal. In the midst of their conversation, they receive a message from Cersei demanding Jon and Sansa come to declare their fealty. Jon is clearly more concerned about the White Walkers, but Sansa argues that it’s important to remember their enemy to the South because Cersei would never stop until she’s destroyed them. Yes, Sansa has learned a lot from Cersei.
Later, Sansa watches as Brienne trains Pod (Tormund also watches with lust in his eyes, Briemund FTW). Littlefinger tries to talk to Sansa, implying that even though she might be safe at Winterfell, she can’t be happy. Before the conversation can continue, Brienne interrupts. Why does Sansa keep Littlefinger around? She believes she needs the Knights of the Vale. And Sansa also knows she can’t trust Baelish. She knows exactly what he wants from her… and maybe Sansa also knows how to use this knowledge to bring Littlefinger to his demise.
Sandor Clegane and the Brotherhood without Banners are making their way North as well. They decide to take shelter ast a deserted house, one that Sandor recognizes. It’s the house that he and Arya stopped at during Season 4 and were offered shelter by a farmer and daughter. Sandor beats up the farmer and steals his money because they’ll die anyway once winter comes. Now at the house, we see that the farmer and daughter are both dead; murder-suicide done to end the agony of starvation. Clegane questions Beric Dondarrion about his faith and why the Lord of Light keeps bring Beric back. For Beric only the Lord of Light has the answers. Thoros lights a fire and asks Sandor to look and describe what he sees. Sandor sees the Army of the Dead approaching the Wall. This must shake up Sandor because that night, when everyone is sleeping, he buries that farmer and daughter and attempts to say some ceremonial words. Thoros hears the digging, confronts Sandor about his guilt, and then helps.
In Kings Landing, Cersei is making her plans. She has a beautiful, massive map of Westeros commissioned. Cersei and Jaime have a conversation about how they’re surrounded by enemies, most notably Tyrion who sails with Dany as her Hand. “We’re the last Lannisters, the last ones who count.” So Cersei and Jaime will build a dynasty for themselves. This means they need some allies… and Cersei has invited Euron Greyjoy and his Ironborn to King’s Landing. He offers his ships, soldiers, and marriage. Cersei refuses Euron’s marriage proposal because she can’t trust a man who killed his own brother. However, Euron promises to convince Cersei by bringing her the thing she desires most… what might that be? Tyrion’s head? (During the conversation, Jaime and Euron have a heated tet-a-tet–Euron suggests that Cersei should try killing her brother, like he did, and she should get her a man with TWO hands *SNORT*)
For Samwell, time at the Citadel isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Rather than soaking up knowledge, she spends his time cleaning, caring for the sick (AKA cleaning bedpans), serving, and shelving books. During a session with an Archmaester, Sam tries to argue that he doesn’t have time to waste, afterall, winter is here! Shouldn’t he be in the libraries trying to find what will save them all. While the Archmaester believes Sam has seen the Army of the Dead, he’s less in a hurry. Despite the end of the Targaryens, the Long Night, and a host of other calamities, the world has survived: “The Wall has stood through it all. And every winter that ever came has ended.”
Sam, in his impatience, steals a key to the restricted area of the library and takes a book,v”Legends of he Long Night”. As he’s reading the book (with Gilly and Little Sam), Sam learns that Dragonstone is built upon a mountain of dagonglass. And if this is the case, you can bet that a Jon/Dany alliance is forthcoming ASAP! The next day on his rounds to assist the sick, someone reaches out for Sam and demands to know if the Dragon Queen has arrived. It’s Ser Jorah, and judging by his hand that greyscale is getting much worse. But if anyone can help him, it’s the maesters at the Citadel, right? Sam is taken aback, but responds that he hasn’t heard anything about Dany’s arrival.
We then flash to Dany (with Tyrion, Grey Worm, Missandei, and Varys) arriving at Dragonstone. This is an extremely emotional moment for Dany and for us… the music certainly reflects the gravitas. Dany even touches the sand on the beach with such reverance. I cannot imagine what she’s feeling. Dany hasn’t been at Dragonstone since she was a baby. This is her ancestral home, her past and future. This is the place from where she will launch her plan to reclaim her birthright and destiny. I am still SO SHOOK. When Dany enters the throneroom, she tears down a Baratheon banner (recall that Stannis had been living at Dragonstone). Dany makes her way to what looks like a war room, with only Tyrion with her. She stands at the head of the table (a giant map of Westeros), and says her first words: “Shall we begin?”
Yes, my Dragon Queen and my Khalessi. YES, we shall begin!
In this week’s episode “Stormborn” (Written for television by Bryan Cogman, directed by Mark Mylod):
Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) receives an unexpected visitor. Jon (Kit Harington) faces a revolt. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) plans the conquest of Westeros. (via HBO)
Maybe the Dany/Jon meeting is coming sooner than previously anticipated. Also, if Tyrion is plotting the conquest of Westeros, I’m thinking the first stop is Casterly Rock!
From the teaser trailer and extended preview (released after the Game of Thrones SDCC 2017 panel), you can tell that “Stormborn” is going to be action-packed. The preview images also provide more insight. When Jon gets that message from Jon about Dragonstone and the dragonglass, he will likely push for an alliance, and it seems his bannermen will push back. Littleginger might even try to involve himself in the decision-making. With that said, a Jon/Dany meeting might be coming real soon, anyway, especially if Melisandre has anything to say about it.
“Stormborn” airs Sunday, July 23 at 9/8c on HBO!