It’s that time of year again ladies and gentlemen, Game of Thrones!!! It’s been over a year since the most recent episode of the show, which is like 6 years in television time. Season seven will only have seven episodes this season, and with winter in full swing, we’re bound for an action packed season. All of that started off with this premiere episode, which was an overall good episode that started laying down the stepping stones for each character for this upcoming season.
Starting off, the show used its year-long break to its advantage to psych us out a little bit, having Arya Stark posing as Walder Frey, and single-handedly massacring the whole Frey family. I initially thought the scene was a flashback to an earlier scene, but the second Frey didn’t take a sip of the wine, I instantly remembered Arya’s little disguise trick that she used to kill Frey at the end of last season. And the sequence where all the Freys dropped dead and Arya revealed herself. What a fist-clenching moment for not only Arya, but the Stark family as a whole. The assholes responsible for the Red Wedding are done for, and that’s a reason to celebrate.
Speaking of the Stark family, we spent a good amount of time this week with Jon and Sansa, with their troubles at the wall. The two of them are split in their approach to the arrival of winter, with Jon being quick to forgive his enemies despite their betrayal. It makes sense that Sansa doesn’t approve of this plan, but she doesn’t realize just how much of a threat the White Walkers are. Hard home was brought up a few times this episode, and when the Walkers finally arrive, it’ll be about 10 times worse than that. Also Bran showed up at the Wall, and wasn’t seen again the rest of the episode? A mini-Stark reunion felt like it was gonna happen this episode at the Wall, but it never did. A minor disappointment, but we’ll probably see it next episode.
Sansa’s not the only one underestimating the Walkers however, and that brings me to the Lannisters. Pretty much every fan of the show hates Cersei at this point, and her scene in this episode was another good reminder of it. She really doesn’t seem to give a shit about the fact that all her kids are dead; she basically saw them as obstacles that needed to be removed. There was also some good dialogue between her and Jamie about the possible fall of Westeros, which she doesn’t seem to be taking too seriously. Just wait till she sees the army, which we were given a brief glimpse of in the beginning of the episode. In one long take, there was at least thousands of the walkers themselves, with at least three or four giants behind them. The bravest warrior in Westeros would’ve shit his pants at that site. Also, I counted at least two jokes that were aimed at Jamie’s missing hands, including one from himself! It’s always nice when this show has a sense of humor.
But then there’s time where the show gets serious, and that’s where The Hound came in to shine. In what was easily the show-stealing scene of the week, The Hound is starting to become an audience favorite. It broke my heart to realize that the dead father and daughter were the ones he robbed a few seasons ago, and they wound up starving because of him. Among the heartbreaking scene of him burying the two, the show even threw in the scene of him looking into the fire, with a hint of foreshadowing as well. Since Dondarrion definitely has connections to the Lord of Light, there’s a good chance that The Hound saw a vision of the Wall falling, and the White Walkers coming to invade Westeros. It was a creepy moment in a standout segment of the episode, highlighted by some great orchestral work by Ramin Djawadi.
And the last standout segment of the episode came at the very end, in Daenary’s almost dialogue-free scene. She’s back home with Tyrion at her hand, and she’s here for nothing less than the throne. I thought the scene could’ve used a bit more of dialogue, but the silence here worked. Especially when her only line, “Shall we begin?” was used to close out the episode, as she stood over a decomposed map of Westeros. She’s here to reconstruct it, and rule it. It’ll be interesting to see what steps she takes to gain her empire, and I hope we’ll see next week.
Now, for the meh. I thought Sam got a bit too much screen time this episode, and thought his two scenes could’ve been put together into one. The beginning montage of Sam doing grunt work in the library established his position but kept going on. And as soon as you saw the gated library, you knew he was going to get in there somehow. You could’ve cut out most of Sam’s first scene, and you would’ve gotten the Sam result in the end. The signs do seem to point to Jon Snow meeting up with Daenarys later in the season, especially now that Sam has written to him the information about the Targaryen’s possession of what could kill the White Walkers. Not a bad scene, but one that took up a little more time than it needed to.
Also, Arya’s second scene (with Ed Sheeran, who I almost forgot was in the show) was a little confusing in its intentions. Is Arya going to side with them? Or will they find out that she’s responsible for the Frey massacre? Time will tell.
Overall, this was a good episode of the show, and served as a great starting point for this season. It started and ended on a great note, with some scenes in the middle that were only a tiny bit weaker than the rest of the episode. The White Walkers will be here before you know it, and everyone is going to making a mad dash to become the ruler of Westeros. If it’s still around.