When we first started WGG, we didn’t immediately have a podcast and weren’t equipped to do proper Game of Thrones recaps. Rob and I are rabid fans of the series, and we just got Chris hooked yesterday too, so you can expect a lot more of these to come. I personally feel like there’s a small handful of things I can be considered an authority on, and George R. R. Martin’s World of Ice and Fire is absolutely one of them. So, if you’re looking for a light recap of each week’s Thrones episode (as well as predictions for what’s to come) by a writer who doesn’t think Daenerys’ first name is “Khaleesi”, look no further. Here’s my recap of Season 7, Episode 1 – “Dragonstone”.
At the Twins
An unusually jovial “Walder Frey” hosts the second consecutive feast in a fortnight, and claims that “he” has invited every Frey that matters. The man’s reproductive habits would put Antonio Cromartie’s to shame, as Lord Walder had already been married seven times at almost ninety years old when the series began. “Frey” then thanks all the men in attendance for their service and assistance in pulling off the red wedding, all while the crowd chokes and vomits blood, slowly realizing they’ve been fatally poisoned. Then, in a “mask off” moment that would make Future himself proud, Arya Stark reveals herself to the room, shortly before every other body in the hall drops to the floor. The North Remembers, motherfucker.
Arya makes it a point to spare Walder’s wife, Kitty Frey, and tells her and the servants to run and tell everyone who’ll listen that “The North Remembers” and that “Winter came for House Frey.” And winter’s not the only one, I’ll tell ya that. Later, Arya stumbles upon a group of shockingly kind Lannister soldiers (among them, Ed Sheeran) offer to share their rabbit meat with her for dinner. Arya learns from the soldiers (mostly homesick young men with little interest fighting other men’s wars), that the Great Sept of Baelor and its surroundings have been destroyed. Arya makes it known that she plans to ride for King’s Landing anyway, and even reveals to the soldiers that she plans to kill the Queen. The boys have a great laugh over that, and the camera pans out.
Like pretty much everyone who’s watched this show from the start, I’ve been waiting on the Freys to get theirs for a long, long, long, long, LONG time. Arya’s finally unveiling her fully manifested skillset as a planful, ruthless, calculated assassin, and she’s not afraid to march straight into King’s Landing and take any (and every) face she needs to in order to get the vengeance she so deeply desires. Will she end up killing Cersei? Probably not. Will she end up fucking shit up in a major way at King’s Landing regardless? Oh hell yes.
In the North
Meanwhile at Winterfell, the newly-minted King in the North – Jon Snow – conscripts all able-bodied boys and girls into searching for dragonglass. Lady Lyanna Mormont puts Lord Robbett Glover (who doesn’t want to put a spear in his daughter’s hands) in his place with yet another golden speech about everyone doing their part, and states that girls will not remain idle, especially not on Bear Island. Sansa urges Jon to strip the Umbers and Karstarks of their castles as punishment for betraying the Starks, Jon refuses to punish Ned Umber and Alys Karstark (who were in attendance this whole time, apparently) for the crimes of their fathers. He asks the kids to step up, reaffirm their loyalty to House Stark, and they kneel before him in a heartwarming show of fealty.
Jon gives Sansa some shit shortly after in private, clearly upset that she questioned his judgement in front of literally everyone who matters in the North. Sansa reassures Jon that she’s in his corner, and that she believes he’s a strong leader, but she begs him to be wiser than the late Ned and Robb, who could often let compassion, pride, or duty blind them to danger. Davos then delivers a missive from the newly-crowned Queen Cersei Lannister, demanding that they submit to her authority. While Jon shrugs this off, y’know, being a little busy preparing to fight the Night King and all, Sansa warns him not to underestimate Cersei.
Brienne breaks up an awkward moment between Littlefinger and Sansa later on, since we can’t go two episodes without Lord Baelish creeping on her, but Sansa reluctantly admits that without his aid, the Knights of the Vale would never have come to Winterfell – and it would still sit in Bolton hands. Sansa confides that she knows what Petyr wants, but doesn’t say it out loud.
The North scenes are at their best when Brienne and Tormund are on the same screen, and this episode is no different. Tormund observes Brienne sparring with Podrick (who’s coming along quite nicely), and continues to undress the Maid of Tarth with his eyes every chance he gets. Brienne the Beauty, indeed. That aside, I need to see more of Jon ruling in future episodes. Lyanna can’t bail him out every time, and now’s his chance to sack up and stop brooding in front of men who just bent the knee to you. Now is not the time to sit, forlorn and lost, while every eye in the North is upon you. Sansa’s got some serious background at court, and Jon needs to trust her advice. I don’t hate Jon pardoning Ned and Alys (I think he still feels a little guilty about Olly), but showing an open hand hasn’t gone well for Starks in the past.
Near the Riverlands
We get some glorious Sandor Clegane scenes this week as well, though their exact location is unclear. While riding with the Brotherhood Without Banners, they decide to shelter for the night at an abandoned village that Sandor reluctantly enters. They discover the corpses corpses of a father and daughter, who some fans might remember from Season 4. Here’s a little refresher:
The little girl, whose name was Sally, was tending the property with her father when they found Sandor and Arya on their land. They even offered to give the odd couple shelter when Arya tells them that she and the Hound fought for House Tully. The farmer offered Sandor fair pay to assist with farmwork and driving off raiders, but the Hound overpowers the farmer the next day and robs him blind. Arya criticizes the Hound, who coldly replies that the farmer is weak and that he and Sally will both be dead when winter comes.
Flash forward to this episode, Sandor clearly regrets the actions of his past and is caught burying (and attempting to sanctify) the bodies by Thoros of Myr. He can’t remember the words to his prayers, but admits aloud that they deserved better. Thoros and Beric Dondarrion persuade Sandor to look into the flames, and urge him to attempt to see what they see. At first, Sandor can only see logs, but he then claims to see a Wall of Ice, a castle where the Wall meets the sea, and a mountain that looks like an arrowhead with thousands of the dead marching past.
I’m a huge, YUGE Red Faith guy. R’hllor is the One True God of Westeros, and if that isn’t clear to you by now, then I simply do not know what to tell you. Melisandre’s shadow magic, to the flame visions, to Jon and Beric’s countless ressurections – he’s real folks, and his power is only getting stronger. And now that Sandor, a non-believing man with a crippling fear of fire, can see visions in the flames… Well… I just don’t know what more proof anyone needs.
At the Wall
The episode actually kicks off beyond the Wall, where a column of White Walkers riding undead horses leads a horde of Wights and three giants through a snowstorm. Later, Bran Stark and Meera Reed reach the gate beneath Castle Black, where they are greeted by now-Lord Commander Dolorous Edd Tollett, who initially believes them to be Wildlings. Bran verifies his identity by mentioning that Edd fought alongside his half-brother Jon at the Fist of the First Men.
I’m not sure what’s gonna happen at the Wall, but Jon already said to his council of Northern lords that Eastwatch By The Sea will get hit first when the zombies come-a-knockin’. Luckily, he’s sending Tormund and a horde of wilding raiders to support the castles… So hopefully that’s enough to hold them off for now.
At King’s Landing
At King’s Landing, Cersei and Jaime discuss a great many things in a heated conversation – the suicide of Tommen, Tyrion’s betrayal and allegiance to Daenerys, and how King’s Landing is literally being suffocated by enemies from all sides. Jaime is not confident in their odds of survival, especially considering House Frey’s recent extermination, but Cersei snaps and reminds Jaime that the last four decades of learning from their father – the late Lord Tywin – has taught her a few things.
Euron Greyjoy shows up shortly after that and openly proposes to Cersei in the throne room, with his Iron Fleet as a big ol’ floating wedding ring. Cersei refuses him immediately, and he exchanges some harsh words with Jaime, but Euron proposes that they need to join forces to murder their enemies including Tyrion, Theon, and Yara Greyjoy. Although Cersei still declines due to Euron’s history of oathbreaking and his role in murdering his own brother (Balon Greyjoy). Euron promises that he’ll be back in King’s Landing, but not before delivering his “finest gift.”
So what’s Beric got up his sleeve? Is it a way of getting vengeance against Dorne? Is it a secret dragon-killing weapon? Is it a trap? All I know is that he’s got something seriously devious cooking up, and it seems like Cersei’s too proud to take him and his fleet seriously. After all, the Battle of the Blackwater is a preeeeeety good reason to not be scared of an invading fleet… But is there enough Wildfire left to repeat that historic cataclysm in the bay? I doubt it.
At the Citadel
As the episode reaches it’s climax, we’re greeted with a hilarious montage of Sam Tarly at the Citadel, serving the Maesters’ meals, emptying their shit-filled chamber pots, and filing away books. Later, Sam helps an Archmaester to dissect a corpse, who reluctantly accepts his claim of the Night’s King being real on account of the stories about the Long Night being corroborated in a number of sources. The Archmaester reminds Sam, however, that Maesters are guardians of knowledge and history – and so long as they exist, no amount of destruction will cause humanity to cease.
Later that night, a very fed-up Sam steals a Maester’s key and enters the forbidden section, snatching up a book about The Long Night. Sam recalls that Stannis Baratheon told him that there was a cache of dragon-glass hidden beneath Dragonstone. He also is accosted by a horribly disfigured arm while serving food the next day, who asks if the Dragon Queen has come yet. The arm that reaches through the door is horrendously scarred, and clearly inflicted with Grayscale. I don’t think it takes a genius to know that this must be our man Jorah Mormont, who must’ve traveled to the Citadel to search for a cure at Dany’s behest.
Doesn’t look like it’s going well for Jorah, since his arm looks like a bleeding log of hot coals with fingers, or a hot dog that was left on the grill for way too long. Whatever the case, Sam’s experiencing some breakthroughs at the Citadel, and I’m hoping that he realizes he’s gotta skedaddle from there sooner rather than later if he’s going to play a role in the war against the Night’s King. Now, who to send that raven to about all that Dragonglass…
Speaking of dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, the Andy Dalton of potential Westeros rulers, pulls up on Dragonstone flanked by Tyrion, Varys, Missandei, and Grey Worm. Dany enters the castle, which was the first jumping off point of Aegon the Conqueror’s campaign to begin the Targaryen Dynasty ages ago, and has some tender moments with old Targaryen sculptures, architecture, and even the wooden table (which doubles as a war map of Westerns) that was carved by Aegon the Conqueror himself over three centuries prior.
So what’s Dany going to do from here? Well, her great-great-great-great-great-(repeat that a few times)-grand-pappy flew from Dragonstone to the current site of King’s Landing (get why it’s named that now?) in 2 BC with his two sister-wives and fewer than 1,600 men. From there, he conquered Westeros in less than two years and began the greatest dynasty in the history of the known world. Does Dany have the “stuff” to do the same? We’ll find out soon enough. All we know is that she’s ready to get started, has a few dragons, and some of the greatest minds in the known world in her corner. I feel like she’ll still find a way to fuck it up though.