7.1 Dragonstone: The Beginning of the End

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Twenty-one years after the publication of A Game of Thrones Daenerys Targaryen finally set foot on Westerosi soil Sunday night. It was everything I could have hoped for. (The dragons almost as big as the castle!) Orchestral swells as the gates of Dragonstone were thrown open raised goosebumps on my arms, not because Dragonstone is the coolest castle in Westeros but because the beginning of the end is here and we’re in for one wild ride.

There’s plenty to discuss about the hour before her return. Sam spewed chunks in the greatest montage in cinematic history, Sandor called Thoros of Myr a “bald cunt”, and Cersei ruined some dude’s wet painting. So let’s say yes to Daenerys’ question and jump right in.

Cold open’s are fairly rare in Game of Thrones; the last revealed that The Hound was still alive. This time we open on Walder Frey, a “bald cunt” if there ever was one. But it’s not Walder, as I assumed for a heartbeat. No, it’s Arya using her skills from the House of Undying to murder the entire freaking House Frey! Yesssss Arya. Get that sweet, sweet vengeance for the Young Wolf and Catelyn Stark.

This does beg the question, how often will we see Arya with someone else’s face? Every time we’re shown a group of people in the Riverlands or King’s Landing from now on I’ll have to examine each for idiosyncrasies of character that could tip me off. There’s simply no way this is the last time she steals someone’s face. Constant Vigilance!

Tinfoil time: Arya will kill Cersei. She says so herself and though Ed Sheeran & Co. laughed her off I happen to believe her. In my preseason post I mentioned the valonqar aspect of Cersei’s prophecy and how Jaime has not distanced himself enough from her to warrant him killing her. I think this could be a clever work-around. Arya could take Jaime’s face and kill Cersei in the most tragic way possible. Cersei, after losing everything, will have to stare into her lover’s eyes as he strangles her.

Unfortunately, for this theory to work Jaime has to die. Not a fan of that. I’m looking forward to him rushing through the Field of Fire 2.0 later this season. I hope this theory remains crinkly tinfoil and never comes to fruition.

Following Slaughterhouse-Frey, Bran witnesses the Night King, an army of wights (please, no Hodor), and Winter march south. No matter how much I love Bran I’ve got to say he’s turning into a terrifying child. Poor Lord Commander Dolorous Edd simply asks him to prove he’s Brandon Stark and instead he launches into a depressing tirade about how death is coming for us all. Jon must have been particularly brooding before he renounced his vows because Edd lets them in.

Take note: Bran has not passed through the Wall. Just as the Night King’s mark on Bran’s arm allowed him to break the magical barriers surrounding the Three-Eyed Raven so to will it break the magic of the wall and bring it crashing down. And wouldn’t it be just Edd’s luck to be the Lord Commander when it falls.

The old Lord Commander spends the episode being honorable. I love seeing Jon as King. As Sansa says, he truly is good at it. I just hope Jon eventually takes some of Sansa’s advice. She hasn’t just suffered at the hands of the Worst of Westeros but learned from them. Her counsel will be vital. Jon can’t always sweep it under the rug as he did on the Karstark/Umber issue.

Thankfully, Jon and Sansa are both reasonable people. They didn’t pull a Hollywood, they talked about their disagreement. Someone should have told them characters aren’t supposed to talk, they’re supposed to brood and let it create conflict, opening up an opportunity for Littlefinger to come in and ruin everything. Not this time Baelish. Jon and Sansa talk and then Sansa shuts Baelish down so hard he has to run to find Maester Wolkan to poultice his burn. Oh ho, I am excited to see conniving Littlefinger’s downfall.

 

Euron was a marked improvement over last season. Some of the magic involved in building 1,000 ships on islands without forests, in record time must have infected him. His quips, extended time on screen, and promises of a gift mean he’s going to be an influence all season. During his audience with the Queen he steps toward the throne and immediately The Mountain makes his presence known. Oh yes, he’ll be involved in something big this season he seems to be telling us. Something…

But seriously, Sandor, hater of the top-knot, Clegane saw visions in the flames, and since he didn’t try to interpret them or add his own twist to it—Melisandre anyone?—they were accurate. This is a big deal. Has he been able to see visions all his life but never did only because he’s afraid of fire? Moreover, was it this ‘baptism’ by fire that gave him this ability in the first place. Intriguing questions we’ll probably never know the answer to.

I can’t wait to what role The Hound and The Brotherhood Without Banners fight alongside Jon against the White Walkers. We could have some of the most legendary figures of Westeros fighting side by side in just a few weeks. Jon, Tormund, Beric, Brienne, The Hound. Who doesn’t want to see Beric’s lightsaber, I mean Lightbringer, I mean flaming sword alongside Longclaw and Oathkeeper?

Let’s wrap up Episode 7.1 discussion with Samwell Tarly. There’s no way he remains at Oldtown all season. There are too many plots converging on him. Since he’s a moron and stole Heartsbane his brothers going to be hunting him down. Then there’s Jorah the Explorer, whom I assume wound up in the Citadel after being commanded by Daenerys to find a cure. They’re definitely going to want to leave together.

But before that happens Sam very well may get kicked out of the Citadel for breaking the rules. You would think Sam would know to take his Invisibility Cloak with him into the restricted section of the library. He’s going to be caught. I hope for his sake it’s by lovable Jim Broadbent and that before he’s caught he finds more useful information like why the dagger used in Bran’s assassination attempt was in the book he pilfered. If not that I’ll settle for him learning how to work a Glass Candle or a number of other things. The Citadel is rife with potential. I hope the showrunners don’t squander it.

 

We have five days before we return Lyanna Mormont and Archmaester Ebrose. Here’s what we have to look forward to:

“A Targaryen cannot be trusted.” God dammit, Bronze Yohn you can’t trust anyone. Luckily, Jon will have some interesting news for you after meeting with Littlefinger in the Crypts of Winterfell.

NYMERIA!!! The reunion we’ve all been waiting for is coming. A direwolf is back. Wait… where’s Ghost? With a massive budget for CGI Nymeria better be huge and around all the time.

Best of luck thinking about anything else this week. If you’re like me and can never get enough I recommend the Youtube channels Ozzyman Reviews and AltShiftX for great reviews of each episode.

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