Title: Game of Thrones: “Dragonstone”
Air Date: July 16, 2017
Before we begin – Yes, there are Game of Thrones spoilers ahead. I will not celebrate every twist and turn, but if we are going to talk about what we like, we have to discuss the great scenes. Stop reading if you do not like spoilers. You have been warned!
Well, that episode really kicked off with a bang, didn’t it?
For about one minute, Game of Thrones convinced me we were having a flashback. Walder Frey (who Arya definitively killed during last season’s finale) is back, making a speech to his loyal family members? Then the whispers in my viewing group started: “Ooooh, that’s Arya!” Sure enough, Arya completely extinguished the Frey’s male line, again pulling the mask off her face before uttering, “Tell them the North remembers, and winter has come for the Freys.”
So now we have this sweet little angel of death, hanging out with Lannister soldiers on her way to kill the queen. Including Ed Sheeran. What a way to restart after over a year’s break.
Lots went on this week on Game of Thrones – it was a very crowded episode, but all those character check-ins were required after over a year off. “Dragonstone” blew its wad a bit early with the opening scene of Arya and the Freys, but it was nice to remind the audience where every character was, and then to set them up for what they will need to do this season.
We spent a lot of time up north, working on the political machinations between Jon, Sansa, Littlefinger, and even Brienne. Jon wanted to forgive the houses that betrayed him to Ramsay, appointing two children to head the Karstarks and Umbers (without even taking hostages!). Sansa was not pleased, insisting punishment. She reminded Jon that he needed to be smarter than both Ned and Rob, who were honorable, forgiving, and were betrayed and murdered for it. Jon does seem remarkably similar to Ned in the worst possible ways, but he also questioned Sansa’s connections to Cersei. This gave us the episode’s best line: “I learned a great deal from her.”
Littlefinger needs to watch out. Sansa has evolved much more than it seems he wanted her to. Brienne made an astute observation, asking Sansa why he was still there. I doubt he will be for long.
Even further north, Bran made it to the Wall! Edd let him in! Of course, this is going to cause problems! Bran is a disaster who can mess up the world through space and time!
Down south, Cersei still thinks she is more clever than anyone around her. She enlists Jaime’s help to plot for the future, before revealing to him that she has enlisted Euron Greyjoy’s help in solving their problems. Jaime does not like it (rightfully so), insisting that the Ironborn are useless. But acquiescing because the Lannisters do need some allies. Euron promised to bring Cersei a priceless gift in order to secure her hand in marriage; which member of Dany’s crew is he bringing home? Tyrion is obviously who he’d want, but that seems unlikely.
A word on Euron: I really dug him. Creepy, psychotic, confident, flattering, and believable. I was really hoping they would not take him full Ramsay (at least right away), and it looks like that’s a safe bet. He’s going to get nuts, but I liked his quiet, almost jester-like menace in this episode.
The bit with the Hound and the Brotherhood was excellent, with two parts sticking out in particular. The Hound questioned why Beric keeps being brought back and what the Lord of Light needs him for. We basically got the cliched response of “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” Not long after, we got the Hound’s vision in the flames. He saw a “mountain,” but also saw an army of the dead moving past it. Maybe the Lord of Light needs Sandor Clegane to stop the White Walkers. Maybe the Lord of Light needs him to fight his “mountainous” brother. Regardless, it seems Sandor and the Brotherhood without Banners have a decent part to play in the season, and they will probably have to move north to do so.
We got a bit of Sam at Oldtown, where it looks like being a maester in training is not much better than being a newbie at the Wall. The montage of emptying pans of waste and filling pans with food was a nice touch. As was the “stop listening for a second and you’ll miss it” appearance of Jorah Mormont, asking Sam if the Dragon Queen had arrived yet. Yes, she has, and Sam has also found a way to connect her with her long lost nephew: there is a mountain of dragon glass, aka obsidian, buried beneath Dragonstone. He will have to contact Jon immediately and tell him to head that way. Luckily, Daenerys just arrived at…
Dragonstone! Her mostly dialogue-free arrival at her family’s ancestral seat was a powerful way to end the episode, with even the generally talkative Tyrion not uttering a word. This is, after all, something we have been anticipating since the very first episode of Game of Thrones. The only line, which caused the cut to credits, was Dany asking Tyrion the following: “Shall we begin?” It’s almost as if everything leading up to now was just an appetizer, and Dany is ready for the main course. If we’re sticking with that analogy, however, she is getting a very different entree (ice zombies, as opposed to megalomaniac rulers) than what she ordered. Is she ready for it?
Verdict: Although the episode was a bit crowded, it was a good reminder of nearly everyone who is still a player on Game of Thrones. Even though the episode peaked early, good dialogue and character interaction still made for a great hour of television.
- Arya's extermination of House Frey
- Dissent in the north
- Euron's attempt at playing the game
- Dany's return to Westeros
- Reminders of almost every character still with a role to play
- A bit overloaded and unfocused