Game of Thrones Recap, Season 7 Episode 1: Dragonstone

Game of Thrones Recap, Season 7 Episode 1: Dragonstone

Game of Thrones Recap Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone Cover



The Twins

A surprisingly gregarious "Lord Frey" hosts a second feast in a short period of time and leads a toast that gets progressively darker. As he begins to describe the atrocities of the Red Wedding in a discomforting amount of detail, the Frey men begin clutching their throats and coughing up blood. Soon they're dropping to the ground, dead, and Arya pulls off her mask. On her way out, she leaves a message with a serving girl she prevented from drinking the poisoned wine: "when people ask you what happened here, tell them the North remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey."

Game of Thrones Recap Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone Arya Freys

My take: Just awesome. I wasn't sure how House Frey would respond to their Lord's murder, but this wraps all those loose ends up nicely.


Beyond the Wall

A winter storm is blowing in from a distance, and as it draws near, the shapes inside resolve themselves into an army of the undead, led by White Walkers and with reanimated giants in its ranks.

Game of Thrones Recap Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone Reanimated Giants

My take: The presence of giants makes me less certain about my prediction that something supernatural needs to impact the Wall in order for the White Walkers to cross. Brute force might be an option after all, unless the Night's Watch blocks and freezes every tunnel.


The Wall

Bran and Meera arrive at Castle Black's gate, where they give their names and Bran uses his visions to convince Edd to grant them entry.

Game of Thrones Recap Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone The Wall Bran Meera Edd

My take: it looks like Jon and Bran might be reunited sooner than I thought. I can't imagine Edd will waste much time in getting a raven to Jon about his brother, and the response should be swift. Will Bran tell him about the Tower of Joy right away? Also, knucks to Meera for lugging Bran all that way. She's a boss.


Winterfell

King in the North Jon Snow orders his followers to begin crafting dragonglass weapons and training everyone to use them; men, women, and children. Lord Glover is hesitant to arm girls, but Lady Lyanna Mormont shames him into agreement.

Jon identifies Eastwatch-by-the-Sea as a critical castle to the Wall's defense, and Tormund volunteers to head there with Wildlings.

Lore: Eastwatch-by-the-Sea

The easternmost castle on the Wall, Eastwatch-by-the-Sea acts as a port for supplies and news for the Night's Watch. It is one of three castles still actively manned as of the beginning of Game of Thrones and commands a view of the Bay of Seals. This could be troublesome if the waters freeze and allow men (living or dead) to cross the bay rather than reckoning with the Wall.

One matter left to resolve is the fate of Houses Umber and Karstark, both of which turned on the Starks and supported Ramsay Bolton in the Battle of Winterfell. Sansa contradicts Jon in the middle of his orders, suggesting he should reward the loyal with the castles of the traitors. Jon overrules her and pushes on, receiving new pledges of fealty from the very young Lady Karstark and Lord Umber.

After leaving the hall, Sansa and Jon discuss their disagreement and the need to stay unified, seemingly reaching an understanding. A raven arrives carrying Queen Cersei's demand that Jon travel to King's Landing and bend the knee or be sentenced to death as a traitor. Jon expresses little to no interest in her or the south, but Sansa warns him not to take his eye off Cersei.

While Littlefinger questions Sansa about her happiness, Brienne trains Pod in the yard. She's bludgeoning him after each mistake until she's momentarily distracted by Tormund, who shoots her those Wildling eyes and opens her up for a hit from Pod. Brienne responds by punching Pod, to whom Tormund says "you're a lucky man." As this unfolds, Sansa gives Littlefinger a wintry cold shoulder and dismisses him.

Game of Thrones Recap Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone Tormund Wildling Eyes

My take: I would watch a "reality" television show about Tormund courting Brienne. I wish we could pair them off like some of my other favorite duos in this series, Arya and the Hound, Daario and Jorah, or Jaime and Bronn. Alas, he's off to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.

The toe-stepping we saw from Jon and Sansa still seems innocent to me. I know some people believe they'll be at odds and the tension will grow, but Sansa rightly seems far more interested in helping Jon than Littlefinger, who she shot down in this episode. That being said, I think I side with Jon in this case. The castles of the Umbers (Last Hearth) and the Karstarks (the Karhold) aren't particularly valuable from a resources perspective or in easy locations. The North can't afford to have any holdouts or plotting at this point, and getting oaths from the new leaders of these houses will help with that. It's a tough call, and Sansa has a very good point, but as she says later, Jon is good in a leadership role. Shhh, don't worry about the assassinated-by-his-own thing.


King's Landing

Cersei has commissioned a (badass) painting of Westeros somewhere in the Red Keep. She and Jaime use the map to review their options, with Jaime acting as the voice of reason. He argues that they need food, supplies, and allies in order to survive, especially with the fall of the Freys. He also asks Cersei about Tommen, but she says he betrayed them both and wants to think only of punishing their enemies.

Soon after, Euron Greyjoy and a fleet of ships from the Iron Islands arrives in King's Landing, summoned by Cersei. Euron offers to be Cersei's King, which she refuses; Jaime also rebukes him, for multiple reasons. He reminds Euron of the failed Greyjoy Rebellion, and, sensing their skepticism, Euron promises to return with a priceless gift to prove his worth.

Lore: The Greyjoy Rebellion

Between Robert Baratheon's victory over the Targaryens in Robert's Rebellion and the events of Season 1 of Game of Thrones, King Robert and Ned Stark joined forces once again to throw down a rebellion started on the Iron Islands. Lord Balon Greyjoy declared himself King of the Iron Islands and attempted to secede from the Seven Kingdoms. Thinking he had an advantage at sea and that Robert's new hold on the Iron Throne might be vulnerable, Balon and his brothers attacked Lannisport. The victory would be his last of the rebellion, as Stannis Baratheon defeated the Iron Fleet and Robert and Ned assaulted Pyke. There were many other familiar faces on the side of the Iron Throne, Thoros of Myr and Jorah Mormont among them.

Game of Thrones Recap Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone Greyjoy Fleet King's Landing

My take: Those Iron Islanders can really make ships! It wasn't long ago that Yara and Theon sailed off with enough of the Greyjoy fleet to prevent Euron from pursuing them. I guess they now have a fleet large enough to threaten Dany's and managed to go all around the southern tip of the continent before she could arrive.

Jaime's concerns about Cersei's stability seem to be growing, and her refusal to talk about Tommen beyond accusing him of betrayal isn't helping matters. Game of Thrones has a way of turning your expectations on their head, but Jaime looks like the leading candidate to prevent a "Mad Queen" scenario at this point.


The Citadel

Sam, now a Maester-in-training, is spending his days as a librarian/custodian for a group of definitely very old, presumably very learned men. Given an opening and unable to restrain his curiosity, he sneaks into the section reserved for Maesters and hides some books in his robes. He later reads the books with Gilly and little Sam, and comes across an item of note: records of a massive cache of dragonglass beneath Dragonstone, confirming what Stannis told him previously in Kill the Boy (S5E5).

As he's enduring his usual drudgery the next day, a hand consumed in greyscale reaches out for him and asks if the Dragon Queen has arrived in Westeros. Sam tells him he doesn't know and hurries away.

Game of Thrones Recap Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone Map of Dragonglass Cache

My take: the important knowledge here is the possibility of a large supply of dragonglass, though I'm not sure why Sam didn't believe Stannis in the first place. There's no reason Stannis would lie about a pile of non-valuable materials below his castle.

Jorah must be getting his sailing tips from the Iron Islanders. Wasn't he recently sent away from Dany all the way over in Vaes Dothrak? Since then, Dany has ridden horses back to Meereen, dispatched the slavers and their navies in short order, and sailed for Westeros. I don't know where Jorah is getting his funding for the fastest ships available, but it must come from somewhere for him to make it to the Citadel already!

I don't know if it's just an easter egg or if Sam will learn something important about it, but doesn't the dagger on the left look a lot like the one used in the assassination attempt on Bran Stark in Season 1?

Game of Thrones Recap Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone Valyrian Steel Dagger
Game of Thrones Recap Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone Varys Dagger

Riverlands

Arya comes across a camp of Lannister soldiers singing in the woods. She approaches warily, counting their weapons and weighing her odds. As she shares food and wine, they begin to trade stories of their homes and families, and Arya loosens up. When asked why she's heading to King's Landing, which they describe as filthy, damaged, and dangerous, she tells them she's going to kill the Queen, and they all laugh.

Game of Thrones Recap Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone Arya Drinks Lannisters

My take: It's good to see Arya opt for peace in this situation, realizing the allegiances of most soldiers have more to do with where they were born than any affection for their leaders or their ways. It also sounds like King's Landing is in exactly as bad of shape as I suspected; Cersei's reign in the capitol city won't be pleasant for anyone not named Lannister.


The Vale

With snow falling heavily, the Hound, Beric, and Thoros come across a small, seemingly deserted home. The Hound recognizes it from he and Arya's visit in Season 4, where he robbed the resident farmer and his daughter of their silver before continuing their journey to the Eyrie.

As the trio passes the time and the Hound questions Beric about his god and divine purpose, Thoros invites the Hound to look into the flames. Hesitant, the Hound approaches, and with a bit of prompting begins to see: The Wall, somewhere where it meets the sea, and an army of the undead marching past a mountain shaped like an arrowhead.

As the trio passes the time and the Hound questions Beric about his god and divine purpose, Thoros invites the Hound to look into the flames. Hesitant, the Hound approaches, and with a bit of prompting begins to see: The Wall, somewhere where it meets the sea, and an army of the undead marching past a mountain shaped like an arrowhead.

Later that night, Thoros finds the Hound outside digging graves for the farmer and his daughter and helps him finish the work.

Game of Thrones Recap Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone The Hound Flames Beric

My take: Though his language and disposition remain rough, the Hound really seems to have reached some point of enlightenment. His visions of the Wall and the oncoming army of the undead make me think he and the Brotherhood without Banners will head north. If that happens, though, the much-discussed "Cleganebowl" (the Hound vs. the Mountain) gets a lot harder to arrange.


Dragonstone

Queen Daenerys Targaryen and her fleet arrive at Dragonstone, ancestral seat of House Targaryen and the site from which Aegon the Conqueror launched his campaign to bring the Seven Kingdoms under his rule. She and her small council tear down Baratheon banners and proceed to the Chamber of the Painted Table to plan their next moves.

Game of Thrones Recap Season 7 Episode 1 Dragonstone Daenerys Shall We Begin?

My take: awesome visual of Dany's dragons circling above Dragonstone. If the timelines of each of these locations is synced up, Dany should be able to wipe out the Iron Fleet in a matter of days; Dragonstone helps guard the entrance to Blackwater Bay, where Euron and his ships seemingly just docked. In one night, Dany could hop on Drogon's back and set fire to every ship before anyone could prevent it from happening. Something tells me it won't be so simple, though...


Dragonflame Burn of the Week

 "What do you want, Lord Baelish?"

"What do you want, Lord Baelish?"

 "I want you to be happy. I want you to be safe."

"I want you to be happy. I want you to be safe."

 "I am safe. I'm at home, surrounded by friends. I have Brienne to protect me from anyone who would harm me."

"I am safe. I'm at home, surrounded by friends. I have Brienne to protect me from anyone who would harm me."

 "What about happy? Why aren't you happy? What do you want that you do not have?"

"What about happy? Why aren't you happy? What do you want that you do not have?"

 "At the moment, peace and quiet."

"At the moment, peace and quiet."

 "No need to seize the last word, Lord Baelish. I'll assume it was something clever."

"No need to seize the last word, Lord Baelish. I'll assume it was something clever."


This episode tallied XX drinks according to our Game of Thrones Drinking Game. We'll be breaking down the results of that at the halfway mark of the season and bringing you recaps of each new episode. If you need some more historical context for what you're seeing, you can check out our Game of Thrones Lore series, which details the history of Westeros and some of what we know of Essos. Check back next week, and until then, remember: "Everything before the word 'but' is horseshit."



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