"Shall We Begin?" | 'Game of Thrones' S7 E1 Recap
Aaaand we’re back. After the longest break in series history, season seven of Game of Thrones is upon us, and while it didn’t bring the action, it brought a healthy dose of character and plot development. Throw on your Valyrian steel, mount your favorite dragon (lol Drogon, duh), and let’s get started.
The Riverlands ("Walder Frey"/Arya Stark)
Arya "Winter In My Veins" Stark, ladies and gentlemen. From the get-go, something was up with this scene. It had me wondering if we were witnessing a flashback until the camera lingered on those wine glasses a little too long.
The big takeaway here is that Arya has the ability to wear the face of any dead person — anytime, anywhere. For the gamers out there, we'd say her stealth attribute is at MAX which would come in hand if she was planning to, say, infiltrate King's Landing and murder the queen.
Also: Can we all agree that this cold open format needs to stay? No better way to hype up the audience than to have someone murder ~100 dudes and then go right into those iconic opening credits.
Bran’s Vision/The Wall (White Walkers, Bran Stark, Meera Reed, Lord Commander Edd Tollett)
White walkers are marching, y’all. And they got giants. Not really sure if this was supposed to be what was happening currently or if it was a vision of the future, but one thing is for sure: Westeros is fuuuuucked.
In the first of many scenes this episode showing how all of the characters are coming closer and closer together, Bran and Meera are (finally) back at The Wall, aka the Northern boundary of Westeros. Bran shows he's gaining more control over his new Three-Eyed Raven powers by telling Edd that he already knows Edd's seen the army of the dead and the Night King. The Lord Commander realizes this kid is the real deal and lets them in.
Kinda anticlimactic here tbh.
Winterfell (Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, Littlefinger, Brienne of Tarth, Tormund Giantsbane, Sir Daavos, a bunch of other Northerners)
Remember how I said everyone is coming together in this show? Just look at the list of characters in this scene:
Jon is HBIC (Head Bastard in Charge), but Sansa and Lyanna Mormont (young, fierce chick) are giving him a run for his money. Sansa taps into her inner Cersei and wants to strip the Karstark and Umber families of their castles for betraying the Starks and fighting alongside Ramsey Bolton. Jon, ever the diplomat, says they're not going to do that because it's not fair to punish the son for the sins of his father. (And if anyone should believe that, it's Jon.) Sansa begrudgingly concedes, and you can be damn sure that slimeball Petyr Baelish is going to start pushing these two farther and farther apart now that he has the scent of frustration from Sansa.
King’s Landing (Queen Cersei Lannister, Jamie Lannister, Euron Greyjoy)
Not a great episode for sibling relationships, as Jamie is definitely showing some signs of concern over Cersei's indifference to the threats surrounding them. Cersei seems to have gone full Mad Queen here as she's focused only on destroying pretty much everyone that exists by any means necessary. Jamie points out they have no allies so they can’t really stand up to anyone. This gives Cersei an idea...
Euron Greyjoy, fresh from a rock show at the Westeros CBGB judging by the way he’s dressed, proposes to Cersei because they both want to murder members of their family. I don’t know about you, but that’s the #1 reason my wife and I tied the knot last year, and everything’s been great with us since!
Cersei rejects Euron’s proposal due to his previous disloyalty to everyone and probably because the smell of stale cigarettes was starting to really make her gag. Euron says he’ll be back with a gift. My bet? It’s Tyrion’s head or Olenna Tyrell’s head. JUST REST ASSURED IT’S GONNA BE SOMEBODY’S HEAD.
The Citadel (Sam, Gilly, Jorah Mormont)
Apparently Sam scenes just exist for comic relief because the creators think that’s something we need in this show. I’m here to tell you we don’t. We do need to see more wolves and dragons, though. Let’s kill off Sam and Gilly and use their salaries to pay for more scenes with wolves and dragons. We all on board with that?
Cool. Thought so.
Anyway, all we need to know is Sam is still trying to research ways to stop the Night King, and also apparently Jorah and anyone with Greyscale goes to the Citadel to get treatment. It’s like the Mayo Clinc of Westeros.
The Main Road (Arya Stark, Ed Sheeran, The Mainroad Boys)
I guess this scene exists to show us Jamie wasn’t lying about the Lannister soldiers being hungry and wanting to go home, but it also shows us that Arya isn’t 100% stone cold.
The problem I have with this is: we know. We’ve always known. Arya is never going to become a heartless killer. She’s the Dexter Morgan of Game of Thrones. She has a code that she uses to determine who lives and dies, and she’s never killed anyone who didn’t deserve it so why the creators of this show feel the need to continue showing us scenes like this to humanize her is way beyond me.
Abandoned House (Brotherhood without Banners, The Hound)
If Sandor Clegane aka The Hound isn’t in your top three favorite characters on this show, you don’t like good character development. His transformation from callous murderer to tortured antihero has been one of the best arcs in the history of the show.
With that said, I thought his transition in the house from religious skeptic to believer was a little quick. I was waiting for him to say he saw someone’s mom performing an explicit sexual act on him at first, but with only seven episodes this season, things are going to have to move along at a pretty good clip.
Dragonstone (Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, Missandei, Grey Worm)
Remember at the end of Return of the King in the Lord of the Rings trilogy when you think the movie’s gonna end like seven or eight times, but it just seems to keep fucking going? Yeah, that’s what this felt like.
Don’t get me wrong: this scene needed to have weight. It was Dany’s first time back on the continent where she was born since she was super young, but did we really need to chronicle every location she passed on her journey up those 15,000 stairs to the castle?
Also: I was thinking as those dragons were flying over their new domain that one or more of them is going to die before this show is over, and I’m not okay with that. Burn another child, but DO NOT LET THE DRAGONS SUFFER.
Anyway, rather than sit on that dope-ass throne made of dragonglass (maybe?), Dany goes straight into THE SITUATION ROOM and asks her followers — as well as the viewers — if we’re ready to begin. And yeah, Dany, we abso-fucking-lutely are.
Welcome back, Game of Thrones.
All images courtesy of HBO.