WARNING: Spoilers about the Game of Thrones season seven premier to come.
Last night, after nearly 13 months of Throne-less Sundays, HBO finally released the seventh season’s first episode – “Dragonstone.” In an episode that was clearly a set up for things to come in season seven, an episode full of high highs and low lows (cough cough Ed Sheeran) featured the return of the beloved Daenarys Targaryen to her home at Dragonstone, the rule of Jon Snow, a glimpse of Cersei’s future destruction, and Arya doing Arya things. In 59 short minutes, we also watched Samwell doing unbelievably trivial Samwell things, Bran finally crossing back from beyond the wall, and the Hound acting as a changed man.
While I honestly did not love the episode as a whole, the cold open was as good as any I have ever seen. I would even put it in the same ballpark as the fire drill cold open from The Office. Arya stark murdering the entire Frey family in such a fashion showed from the show’s first minutes how exciting Arya could be this season, and I hope to see Arya continue to be a badass assassin.
While Arya was featured in the debatably episode’s best scene, she was also featured in the episode’s worst scene, kudos to Ed Sheeran.
For a show that has never been tacky in the past, I was a bit upset to see Ed Sheeran’s attempt to sell a couple million iTunes songs unnecessarily corrupt an episode of Thrones with his “new song.” If it goes to iTunes, I urge my readers to download that one illegally… don’t let him win. The only justification for the song is that it is actually from the books. The song is sung by a character named Symon Silver Tongue, and in the song he threatens to expose Tyrion and Shea’s relationship. Population of gingers in Westeros: Sansa, Tormund, Ed Sheeran.
The dynamic between Jon and Sansa interestingly progressed in this episode, with Sansa going at the King of the North in front of every other lord in the North. Whether it is consciously or unconsciously, I think that Sansa understandably feels like she was robbed; she is not only the true born son of Ned Stark, but she is also the reason that House Stark won the Battle of the Bastards, and she has a unique understanding of Cersei Lannister.
Speak of the devil, Cersei is going full blown Mad Queen this season. The women did not even want to mourn the death of her beloved children with Jaime. Instead, she was already plotting an alliance with Euron Greyjoy to try and take on the dragon queen. I have thought for awhile that Jaime would leave Cersei and team up with Tyrion, and this episode strongly reaffirmed that theory. You may remember Jaime saying, “No one wants to fight on a losing side. Right now, you look like the losing side.” Not only would Jaime fall under the category of ‘no one,’ but he also did not say ‘we look like the losing side,’ rather he said ‘you.’ In future episodes, will we see Jaime, Tyrion, and Bronn take on Cersei together? I pray to the Old Gods and the New that we do.
The new episode featured the Hound, but not the Hound that we have grown to love/ hate over the past six seasons. We saw a man traveling with Thoros and Beric who actually seemed to have a heart. As a man who could have killed a baby without flinching in earlier seasons, we saw a brand new emotion from Sandor: remorse. Not only was he remorseful, but also a borderline believer in religion. Looking into the fire is very significant for him because he has always been afraid of fire, credit to the Mountain. The Lord of Light communicated with the Hound, further making me think that he and his traveling companions could have a larger than expected role in the war to come.
My biggest problem with the episode was the fact that viewers had to wait 385 days for the return, only to see Khaleesi say three words, and Tyrion say zero. Not to mention the fact that a ton of precious showtime was spent on Samwell’s mundane life at the Citadel, only to discover something that many people already expected him to find. With this being said, I think this season is going to be unbelievable, and this first episode was just the tip of the iceberg. It set up the season nicely, and we can expect to see some top-notch television over the next seven weeks. Winter is here, and it is going to be incredible.