Winter Is Here: My thoughts on the first episode of Game Of Thrones Season 7.

*ATTENTION* This is a post regarding the events of the first episode of the seventh season of Game Of Thrones and as such will contain plot points. You have been warned.

It’s been a long wait but it’s finally here, Game Of Thrones Season 7 has begun and I thought I’d take some time to give my feelings on the episode and also where I think that this season will take us, but first a recap may be needed. At the end of Season 6 we had Jon Snow defeat Ramsey Bolton at The Battle Of The Bastards and become King In The North, Cersei in one fell swoop taking out The High Sparrow, faith militant, prominent members of the Tyrell family and demolishes the Sept by igniting Wildfire caches beneath it resulting in King Tommen’s suicide and her assent as Queen and most importantly, Daenerys makes her move to cross the narrow sea with her army and heads for Westeros. With The Nights King and the army of the dead marching for The Wall also, this upcoming Season is going to be nerve shredding.

So, the first episode of the new season is as to be expected, setting all the pieces into motion on their respective courses. In a fist pumping pre-credits sequence we see Arya finally getting revenge against the Frey’s by masquerading as the deceased Walder Fray at a banquet and poisoning every male in the room with a toast in a class moment of ruthless vengeance for the murder of her mother & brother at the red wedding. This act sets Arya in motion toward the capital and Cersei, briefly stopping to dine and converse with Lannister soldiers in a frankly throwaway scene featuring a cringing guest appearance by serial ear botherer Ed Sheeran, one can only hope this doesn’t herald a move toward acting because it is excruciatingly forced viewing with very little purpose. 

In the North we see King Jon holding court and pardoning the Karstarks & Umbers for their role in their betrayal of House Stark by fighting for the Boltons during the battle of the bastards, needing as many hands to fight knowing what is approaching from the North of the wall. There is some butting of heads with Sansa over this decision, Jon angry with Sansa for essentially undermining him in front of his people, possibly heralding more tension between the two siblings in the future also but with Sansa also rightly pointing out a summons from the Queen asking Jon to Kings Landing to bend the knee, an instruction that ignored would almost certainly Illicit even greater animosity between the two houses. It’s all about to kick off!

Meanwhile in Kings Landing, Cersei & Jamie discuss the very real predicament of being quite literally surrounded by enemies with a distinct lack of allies. Cue the arrival of Euron Greyjoy and his armada offering his support in exchange for marrying Cersei. She may be desperate for support but doesn’t trust him so he vows to win that trust with “a gift”, a remark that feel unsettlingly portentous considering his previous form. Quite what Euron has in mind remains to be seen but it certainly doesn’t bode well and quite how well his armada will stand up against Daenerys’s dragons remains to be seen.

Sam Tarly is now set up in Oldtown at the citadel basically operating as a lackey, cleaning bedpans, serving food, being a general dogsbody all the while keeping his eye on a locked restricted section of the citadels library like a rotund Harry Potter, an area he is forbidden to enter by the archmaester who believes Sam’s warnings of the White Walkers but feels the Wall is more than enough protection from the onslaught. After stealing his way into the restricted section and a selection of its wears, he discovers that Dragonstone, the Targaryen ancestral seat is home to a stockpile of dragonglass, a priceless commodity in the fight against the Night King due to its lethality to White Walkers. Factor in a surprise appearance by a decidedly scaly Jorah Mormont and our visit with Sam has been a pretty damn important and interesting jaunt.

In the Riverlands, The Brotherhood Without Banners and Sandor Clegane hold up in the home of a farmer The Hound had robbed in a previous season, the bodies of him and his daughter still present adding to Clegane’s growing conscience of his past wrongdoings so much so that he burst the bodies, not an act The Hound of a few short seasons ago would have carried out. With the guidance of Thoros Of Myr, Clegane also witnesses a vision in the flames of the fireplace of the advancing White Walker army marching on the Wall. It looks as though The Hounds story arch this season is going to be a very interesting one, a more human side to the character is emerging and the fact he is experiencing visions makes for a fascinating turn of events.

Finally we stop by Dragonstone and the arrival of Daenerys and her army, arriving back on Westeros soil and at her ancestral seat no less. It’s not a particularly long scene but a portentous weight hangs over it. The castle is deserted and has remained so since Stanis Baratheon made his ill fated journey north. Daenerys connection to the place doesn’t feel sentimental though, rather than sit in the throne of her castle she makes her way to the war room instead to get down to business, kingdoms don’t reclaim themselves you know?

Ones to watch this season? Sansa is acting very cagey in my option, I feel a betrayal coming on. Arya is ticking more names off her list and heading to Kings Landing for a biggie in Cersei who is in quite the predicament of desperately needing support and having to trust a decidedly untrustworthy Euron Greyjoy albeit with a proving of that trust to be delivered on his part firstly, don’t think his armada is going to stand up to three angry dragons though. The Hound is undergoing a dark night of the soul, almost showing signs of a conscience, it’s going to be a really interesting season for him I think. With the knowledge of Daenerys essentially sitting on a giant stockpile of dragonglass, it won’t be long before she crosses paths with her relative Jon Snow. A lot occurs in this first episode, some blood is spilt, some interesting information comes to light, some even greater questions are left unanswered, tentative alliances are being made and relationships called into question. Basically, Game Of Throne is back baby!  

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