Game of Thrones
Original Air Date: Jul 16, 2017
Vincent Chia – Staff Writer
Hold the door. Winter is coming. The night is dark and full of terrors. The north remembers. A Lannister always repays his debts. Every Game of Thrones fans knows each one of those sentences. As the seventh season finally starts, has Winter arrived? Are new alliances built? Are old alliances shattered? Perhaps old alliances that were previously shattered are now rebuilt. Let’s get a breakdown of what is going on with the major houses of Westeros.
We start the episode off with Lord Walder Frey having gathered his large family for a feast. Wait? You might ask: wasn’t Walder Frey murdered last season? Is this a flashback? I think most people suspected that this wasn’t Walder Frey at all, but a crafty imposter. Walder’s feast includes some fancy new wine for the feast. Predictably, the wine was poisoned. House Frey is decimated. It is Arya Stark in disguise. She actively saved the life of Walder’s current young wife by stopping her from drinking the wine. As Arya unmasks herself, she tells the wife: Tell them winter came for House Frey. Tell them the north remembers. Dun dun dun.
Elsewhere in the north, we are at Winterfell and “King” Jon Snow holds court with his subordinate northern lords. Jon’s first order of business is commanding his lords to find all dragonglass possible so that they can craft weapons to fight the white walkers. He also commands that every boy and girl be trained to fight. Lord Glover is not keen on the idea of sending his young granddaughter into battle. Jon Snow insists on gender equality, saying the north cannot survive with half of his potential soldiers missing in action. The very young Lady Mormont of Bear Island supports Jon Snow and says every man, woman, boy and girl under her rule will fight. I agree with the gender aspect, but perhaps not the child warrior aspect.
A more complicated decision arises when Jon has to decide who will rule over two of the castles that are close to the wall. The two castles have historically belonged to the Karstarks and the Umbers, respectively. Those two lords sided with Ramsay Bolton against House Stark. The two lords were killed in battle whilst fighting for Bolton. One of the northern lords suggests those castles be destroyed and razed to the ground, as a demonstration of what happens to traitors. Jon refuses on the grounds that he needs those castles as a defensive line against the White Walkers in the event the Walkers get past the Wall. We then get an argument between Sansa and Job. Sansa sits to Jon’s left, seemingly as a kind of lieutenant or “hand.” She suggests that Jon strip the Karstarks and the Umbers of their titles and lands and give the castles to two other families which had supported Jon Snow against Bolton. Jon refuses this idea, saying he will not punish a child for his or her father’s sins. The children heirs will retain rule over their ancestral castles. Sansa strongly protests, as this move would show that there is no punishment for treason and no reward for loyalty. Jon sticks with his decision and calls upon the child heirs of Karstark and Umber to step forward and swear allegiance to him and House Stark.
In a more private setting, Jon scolds Sansa to never question his decisions in front of the other lords. This is reminiscent of a scene in a submarine movie or spaceship movie where the captain will tell his second-in-command to never question orders in front of the other sailors, but to do it in private if there is any counter suggestion. Though, Jon never says Sansa should do it in private. Almost out of the blue, perhaps as a diplomatic gesture, Sansa tells Jon that he is a good ruler and the lords respect him. However, she tells Jon that he has to be smart. Smarter than both their father Ned and their older brother Robb, who were both great guys but were both killed. Sansa appears to suggest that Jon consider her advice from time to time and not only act upon his own instinct.
Later, we return to Arya Stark as she travels toward King’s Landing, intent on killing Cersei. She runs into a group of Lannister soldiers, including a Mr. Ed “in love with your body” Sheeran. We hear someone sing a song before we see who it is. It may be the first time I’ve heard a song sung on Game of Thrones.
In King’s Landing, Queen Cersei is standing above a mural that is being painted on the ground. It is a map of Westeros. Jaime discusses their need for strong allies. Jaime predicts that Daenerys will land her fleet on Dragonstone, meaning that Cersei will be surrounded by enemies to the East (Dragonstone), South (Dorne), West (Highgarden), and North (Winterfell).
As if on cue, a fleet of ships with black sails arrives by sea. At first, I thought Daenerys was attacking, but this fleet is Euron Greyjoy’s iron fleet. Jaime has little confidence in the ironborn. These are “little people” who steal things that they can’t build or grow themselves. Euron proposes marriage to Cersei. Cersei declines, saying Euron has thus far proven to be untrustworthy. Euron is not phased. In fact, he appears quite chipper. He promises to win Cersei’s heart by delivering a priceless gift. What will this gift be? I presume it is not defeating Daenerys, since Euron had previously stated that he needed to combine his forces with Cersei’s in order to defeat Daenerys, who is supported by “traitor” Yara Greyjoy who stole Euron’s best ships in the middle of the night. My guess is that Euron delivers either Lady Olenna of Highgarden or the Sand Snakes of Dorne. Or perhaps both!
The Brotherhood without Banners
Sandor Clegane is hanging out with the Brotherhood as they seek shelter from the snows. While staring into a fire, he has a vision. He sees a wall of ice with a castle. He sees the dead marching. There are thousands of them. It appears Winter is coming. And winter is full of terrors.
Sam is a lowly lowly lowly laborer at the Citadel, but manages to sneak into the restricted area of the library. He reads through a bunch of books and finds a map of Dragonstone Island in one. It appears that there is an underground mountain (what??) made of Dragonglass. He sends a message to Jon.
We end the episode with Daenerys and her entourage arriving at Dragonstone, which was abandoned by Stannis Baratheon. She makes her way to the throne room. and also to the room which I’ll call Stannis’ old “strategery room.” After soaking it in, she says her only line in this episode: “Shall we begin?”
So there we have it. Season 7 is officially underway. Will the White Walkers make it past the wall this season? Will Jon focus on the Walkers first? Or take Sansa’s advice to deal with Cersei first? Can Cersei possibly hold onto power? Euron said he was the master of the 14 seas. Where are those seas and how many continents are on this planet??