TThe newest season of Game Of Thrones is here, and House TGON is fully prepared to give you the best recaps we have to offer. Because Game Of Thrones is such a big show, we’ve decided to break it up into storylines, so it may not be as linear as you’d like – but we’ll be sure to include as much as we can! So without anymore ado, let’s dive right into the season premiere, “Dragonstone!”
It opens with Walder Frey addressing a dining hall full of his soldiers and family. He boasts and brags about how proud he is of the people who slaughtered Catelyn and Robb Stark. As he tells them that he’s well aware of how much of a hard-ass he can be, he has his maids distribute what he calls “the finest ale” in his stores. However, his compliments soon turn sour; he starts backhandedly commenting on how they’d killed a woman with a child in her stomach, how they’d slaughtered a mother of five. As Walder says these things, his men begin to vomit blood and collapse. As they all die, Walder reaches up and pulls his own face off, and Arya’s is revealed. She turns to the maids and tells them that whenever someone asks what happened “Tell them the North remembers…tell them Winter came for House Frey.”
On the road, she comes across a group of Lannister soldiers (Special Guest Cameo by Ed Sheeran), who are sitting around a fire singing. She comments on how pretty the song is, to which the soldier singing responds that it’s new. They convince her to sit with them and share a meal, and share a fire. She sits among them and they share stories, where she learns that one of them wished he were on the water fishing with his father. Another tells her that he’s having a child, and even though he doesn’t know what it is, he hopes it’s a girl – he asks what brought her out to the wilderness, and she honestly responds that she’s going to Kings Landing to kill the Queen. The group laughs, and it warms the heart of literally every Arya Stark fan, because for the first time in a long time, she genuinely smiles. It’s a stark (pun intended) contrast to her earlier slightly homicidal self.
Jon holds court as King in the North with Sansa seated at his side. He asks the gathered representatives of the Northern houses to have their maesters look for any references to dragonglass so they mine it to make weapons. Jon also makes a controversial suggestion: both boys and girls must be trained to fight. Lord Glover is about to refuse but then everyone’s favorite badass Lyanna Mormont stands up to tell him what’s up. She says she’s not about to stand around knitting while the men fight and Brienne looks at her like she’s never been more proud of anyone in her entire life. Lyanna commits every man, woman, boy, and girl on Bear Island to the fight. Jon’s next move is to ask Tormund, who represents the freefolk, if they will go to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and defend the Wall. Tormund agrees and seems pretty tickled to be taking over the Night’s Watch from his former enemies, the Crows.
When the matter of the traitor families Umber and Karstark comes up, Sansa speaks up and declares that the Umbers and Karstarks should be stripped of their castles and titles, and their homes given to new families who supported the Starks against Ramsay. Jon disagrees and does not believe that the children should suffer for the sins of their parents—the punishment for treason is death and all the elder Umbers and Karstarks died in battle. Sansa thinks it’s a bad precedent to set that there be no punishment for treason or reward for loyalty, and she’s not afraid to let Jon know it in front of the entire room. Petyr Baelish is lurking in the corner, as he does, and looks pleased as punch that Sansa is taking control. For Littlefinger, anything that lessens the bond between the Stark children is good for him (and his plans for Sansa). Jon ends up pulling rank on his sister and says that his final decision is to allow the Umbers and Karstarks to keep their ancestral homes. The young heads of house, Ned Umber and Alice Karstark, pledge loyalty to House Stark as Sansa looks on disapprovingly.
Jon and Sansa continue their disagreement outside. Jon tells her that it’s not a good look to question him in front of the other lords and ladies and Sansa gets in a dig at him by comparing him to Joffrey, another King who did not like being questioned. Jon seems hurt by that comment and she takes it back, but she pleads with him not to follow the example of their father and brother. Ned and Robb both ended up dead because they thought more with their hearts than their heads. Sansa truly believes that Jon is a great leader but she wants him to listen to her and consider her opinion on things because she has experience with aspects of the game of thrones that he does not.
They receive a raven from the newly-minted Queen Cersei, telling Jon to come to King’s Landing and bend the knee. Jon seems unconcerned with Cersei and her southern army because he knows the real threat is coming from beyond the Wall. But Sansa knows Cersei, and if Cersei wants them dead, she’ll find a way. Jon tells her that it seems like she admires Cersei and Sansa says that she learned a great deal from her. And it’s true. Ruthless and cruel as Cersei was, Sansa’s experiences with her in King’s Landing taught her a lot about the way of the world and her place within it. Without Cersei’s hardening influence, it’s doubtful Sansa would have survived everything she’s been through.
Brienne is training with Pod in the courtyard and Tormund watches, aroused by her as always, as she kicks Pod’s ass. Brienne is not at all interested but Tormund isn’t ready to give up on his warrior queen just yet. Petyr and Sansa watch from above and Littlefinger tries to make some small talk about Brienne’s fighting prowess but Sansa is not in the mood for his bullshit. Before he can start working whatever angle he was about to work, Sansa “Snark” appears to tell him off with a series of pretty sick burns. And because he’s Littlefinger, he seems to enjoy it.
Brienne arrives to save Sansa from Petyr’s meddling and he takes his leave. Brienne asks Sansa why he’s still lurking around and Sansa reminds her that they need the Vale’s support and that—like him or not, and Brienne does NOT—Littlefinger is the one who saved them at the Battle of the Bastards. Brienne tells Sansa that Petyr wants something but Sansa knows exactly what he wants. Littlefinger told her in the Godswood: he wants her and he wants the Iron Throne (and not necessarily in that order).
Novice Samwell Tarly/Ser Jorah Mormont:
In the grandiose Oldtown Citadel, Novice Samwell Tarly is hard at work training to become the new Maester of the Night’s Watch. His thankless duties consist of organizing the library, cleaning the chamber pots (while gagging heavily), and serving stew that looks all-too-similar to the contents of said chamber pots. This is his life, day in and day out, as he finds himself drawn to the locked “Restricted Area” of the library which only Maesters may enter.
Later, Sam is helping dissect the body and weigh the organs of a deceased Maester Wayland with Archmaester Ebrose (played by industry legend Jim Broadbent), who suspects the former Maester died from complications due to his drinking problem. Much like Tom Riddle’s conversation with Jim Broadbent’s Horace Slughorn in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Sam asks the Archmaester for access to the Restricted Area of the library, hoping the use the information within to help fight the White Walkers. Ebrose reminds him that only Maesters may enter, but admits that he believes Sam is telling the truth about the White Walkers and the Long Night. Sam is relieved, as no southerners do – but Ebrose tells him that those of the Citadel are learned men, different from southerners (or northerners, for that matter). Their job is to doubt, and he tells Sam that often people cried doom and gloom, but every Winter has always ended, the Wall has always stood, and it was never as bad as people claimed. He leaves and orders Sam to clean up the cadaver. At night, when the Maesters are sleeping, Sam steals the keys to the Restricted Area and hastily grabs some books.
As Gilly entertains her young son Sam, the man he was named after studies the books he stole. He is reading about dragonglass. Sam finds a map of Dragonstone and realizes that Stannis wasn’t exaggerating when he said Dragonstone had a lot of dragonglass: It’s a mountain built of it. (Eagle-eyed viewers may notice that a passage claims that dragonglass may cure disease. If it really can cure disease, maybe this is why Dragonstone resident Princess Shireen Baratheon‘s deadly greyscale stopped in its tracks.) Sam hastily writes a little to King in the North Jon Snow.
A short while later, Sam is attending to the sick patients in the Citadel infirmary. He is startled when a heavily greyscaled hand reaches for him through the food-hatch in the cell door and almost touches him. The patient asks if Daenerys Stormborn has returned to Westeros, in the unmistakable voice of Ser Jorah Mormont. Sam tells him that he hasn’t heard anything, and the hand retreats. Sam closes the hatch and hurries off.
Daenerys Targaryen/Tyrion Lannister:
After approximately a fortnight (but to be honest time is confusing with this show, I’m just guessing based on the Frey scene at the beginning), Daenerys, her “small council,” her fleet, and her dragons arrived at Dragonstone. For those of you who are casual watchers, Dragonstone is the home of the Targaryens…a home that is basically unknown to Dany, who’s spent most of her life in Essos.
The arrival sequence is beautifully shot and silent, except for one line. We see Daenerys, Tyrion, Missandei, Grey Worm, and Varys climb the steps up to the castle (side note: best defense system ever. If I were trying to invade and saw that I’d have to climb all of those steps, I’d change my mind and go home.) As Dany enters, she pulls down Stannis Baratheon’s worn banner with a subtly victorious look on her face. When she enters the throne room, she does not sit, she stares. is it because she does not necessarily want to follow in the footsteps of her predecessors? Does she feel like she hasn’t earned it yet? Or did she simply just want to keep looking around? Regardless, the final shot is on her and Tyrion in the strategy room. She thumbs the pieces representing other noble houses, gazes across the stone table map, and says to Tyrion, “Shall we begin?”
Make no mistake, now that Daenerys Targaryen is in Westeros, she’ll be unstoppable. The only question is, will the Night King’s War divert her attention from her goal of claiming the Iron Throne?
Meanwhile, in King’s Landing, our Mad Queen Cersei Lannister is standing with a goblet of wine on a floor-mural painting of Westeros that she commissioned as it’s being painted, ’cause why not? At some point you’ve got to give up on caring completely. Her twin brother and/or lover Jaime enters and asks her about the map, and she confirms that it’s for strategic reasons — she plans to take over the world. Cersei notes that Jaime has been particularly quiet lately, and he tells her that he’s not angry with her, but he’s worried that he should be afraid of her.
Abruptly avoiding the topic, she tells her brother about Daenerys’ trek across the Narrow Sea, and chidingly informs him that the dragon queen has made their littlest brother, Tyrion — whom Jaime had loved soooo much, despite all his alleged wrongdoings — her Hand of the Queen. Jaime counsels that their army is most likely to land at Dragonstone, the nearest abandoned safe point and Dany’s ancestral home, and Cersei, listing off their enemies on all sides, asks him for a plan of attack. One-handed wonder Jaime defers, stating that since winter is here they should be focusing on feeding their men and horses, and suggests they make a deal with Olenna Tyrell to the west for grain. The queen scoffs at the idea that House Tyrell would rather join the Targaryen pretender — and her Dothraki and Unsullied hordes — than realign with themselves, but Jaime argues that, like anyone with a will to live, they will align with the winning side. (Plus, you sort of wiped out most of the prominent members of the house, so there’s that.) Frustrated with her stubborn pride, he confronts her about avoiding talking about their son Tommen’s suicide (which she totally caused), and reminds her that they need allies to win this war. Cersei muses that she already knows that — does he think that she listened to Father for forty years and learned nothing?
Leading him out onto the battlements, Jaime is stunned to see a fleet of Greyjoy ships approaching as allies, which Cersei notes is as her request. He tries to explain why an Ironborn alliance is not a good idea, but Cersei’s narrow worldview prevents her from listening; they have ships and they’re good at killing, so they’re useful to her. Later, in the throne room, Euron Greyjoy (looking like the Iron Islands’ very own Bam Margera) holds an audience with the queen and her King’s Guard, and complains that his own niece and nephew, upon learning he was named King of the Iron Islands, stole his best ships and fled to Daenerys to give them away so she can attack Cersei. Snidely, he smirks and remarks that his family betrayal is nothing compared to theirs, but he still feels it’s not right. Since all their treasonous family members are fighting on the same side, he proposes they murder them together as he takes a step up the stairs — only to be stopped by Robert Strong (AKA the Zombie Mountain Gregor Clegane.)
Jaime questions Euron’s right to rule anyway, pointing out that they Greyjoys dissented from the throne and attacked the Lannisters at Casterly Rock to start their own monarchy, which Euron had then usurped. Euron responds to him with a compliment; watching Jaime kill his friends and family that day was a truly beautiful sight to behold, and, to Jaime’s disgust, tells him that he felt the islands were getting ‘too crowded’ anyway. He rightfully points out that Cersei doesn’t truly care about the Iron Islands — which is just rocks and bird shit and a lot of unattractive people — but that what she really wants is the Iron Fleet: Westeros’ finest ship force. In return for a thousand ships, all he asks for is her hand in marriage, cattily promoting his ‘two good hands’ (roasted!) in the process. However, Cersei makes a smart move for once and declines; she feels she can’t trust him as he murdered his own brother. Proudly suggesting she give it a shot sometime, Euron saw this coming, and promises to return with a ‘priceless gift’ to prove his devotion before she makes up her mind. If it’s Tyrion’s head, guys, we are OUTSVILLE…and Euron might be the only character that’s left charismatically cracked enough to do it.
The Hound/The Brotherhood:
Having joined up with the brotherhood, The Hound rides alongside them and makes snide comments each time they try to speak with him. After riding for a while, they come across a small (and very familiar) cabin. With winter in full swing, the group decide to stop for the night, though it’s obvious Ser Clegane does not want to do so. He teases the Red Priest, Toros, about his man bun, jesting that the top-bun does not hide his balding spot. As he, Toros, and Beric Dondarrion enter the cabin, they find a parent and their child, long since dead and decayed. When Beric asks how Clegane thinks it had happened, The Hound responds that it doesn’t matter — Beric theorizes that, with the knife on the ground and the remnants of blood spilled about them, they had been starving and the father decided to put both himself and his child out of their misery.
Toros gets the fire started, and The Hound demands to know why the Lord of Light chose Beric of all people to continually bring back. Beric says he wishes he knew, but that the Lord had a reason, to which Clegane calls bullshit. He tells Beric that if there were a good reason for anything, that little girl in the corner would be alive and Beric wouldn’t be. Toros coaxes Ser Clegane into joining him by the fire, and tells him to stare into it. As he does, Toros asks him what he sees. He’s surprised to find that he sees more than just his worst fears in the fireplace…he sees a horde of the undead gaining ground upon the living of Westeros, as well as a wall of Ice – The Wall. Beric approaches and asks if he believes yet, but Clegane can’t pull his eyes from the fire.
Later that night, Toros finds The Hound almost feverishly digging a hole to bury the father and daughter duo that had been left in their cabins. Toros decides to grab a shovel and help him – casual watchers may not recall this, but when The Hound had planned on selling a young Arya Stark to her aunt, he had robbed this very family of their money in order to survive. We have no doubts that his lack of care for this family is what ultimately caused their deaths, and it’s obvious the guilt is eating away at him.
White Walkers/Bran Stark:
Early on in the episode, we see the White Walkers stumbling ever closer to their goal. First, the wall…and then? The world. At the Wall itself, we watch as the acting Lord Commander, Eddison Tollett, and a handful of the Night’s Watch themselves, greet Meera Reed and Bran Stark himself. She introduces them, and Bran gives personal information on Eddison’s life. He brings them in, something Meera is eternally grateful for, as she looks completely exhausted by pulling Bran halfway across Westeros.
Slowly but surely, we see each and every vital member of the show come together. We at House TGON know one thing for sure….this was the calmest episode of the season, and it’s going to get really intense, really fast. Be sure to tune in with us every Sunday on Twitter for our Game of Thrones Live Tweet Parties.