Welcome to season seven Game of Thrones fans!
Each week your Westeros correspondents, Peter Marsh and Dan Miller, will be recapping the latest episodes from the penultimate series of HBO’s fantasy epic.
This week they get things started with Episode 1: Dragonstone.
These recaps are dark and full of spoilers, so only continue reading if you’ve caught up on the latest episode of the show. We won’t be spoiling anything from the books if you haven’t read them or any production leaks that have found their way onto the internet.
PETE: Well we came back into Game of Thrones with a cold open (boom-tish), something the series has done pretty sparingly. BUT WHAT A COLD OPEN.
That smirk from Arya rivalled Sansa’s as she left Ramsay to the dogs last season.
DAN: I came into this thinking how could they possibly top the killing last yea… oh, they just annihilated an entire house. Before the opening titles too. As you were.
PETE: Staying with Arya, I loved her next scene with the Lannister soldiers. Game of Thrones is a book/show I fell in love with because it deals so much in shades of grey. No-one was as bad as you thought (remember that moment you thought “oh snap I like Jamie Lannister” around season three?) and no-one is as good as you thought either (with the exception of Hodor. RIP big guy).
It’s felt a little bit like we’ve been building towards a battle between the Good Guys and White Walkers for a while now, getting away from the moral ambiguity that made every story beat so unpredictable.
Having Arya, unequivocally one of the good guys, be confronted with the fact that Lannister men have families, are willing to share their meat and mead with a stranger and hate King’s Landing as much as she does was such a good way to walk us squarely back into those shades of grey for a while.
And we get more reminders of this with the Hound, who was forced to deal with one of his own crimes.
It’s so good to have Rory McCann back as Sandor Clegane and putting in a solid effort for Best Offseason Beard to boot.
The Hound’s sweary bluntness matched against the verbose piety of Beric Dondarrion and his Red Priest Thoros of Myr should make for some thoroughly entertaining jaunts through the Riverlands this season.
I need to put that Ed Sheeran cameo in the bin. It was so forced (let’s have him sing!) and it pulled me right out of the scene.
The best guest appearances as brief (like Coldplay drummer Will Champion’s role as one of the Red Wedding assassins) and surprising. This was neither. Back to being every second song played on FM radio please Ed.
DAN: HEY PETE. Did you see Ed Sheeran? He was right there. That’s OK, I’ll put him back in centre frame so you can make sure you saw him. But in all seriousness, as a Lannister soldier he might not want to return to King’s Landing anytime soon.
It’s not quite the sunny hive of machinations it once was. I’m glad Jamie at least broached the topic of Tommen’s death with the new queen. That was an important window into her character.
We know from both the books and show that Cersei lived with every fibre of her being for her children. Now that they’re gone I feel we’re just biding time until she collapses in on herself.
With enemies on all sides and a rather unwelcome offer from Euron Greyjoy, we might not have to wait too long for that to happen.
And Euron’s offer of a wedding gift? I’m going to make an informed guess: imp’s head.
PETE: That went so well the last time people started offering them to Cersei!
One of the questions we had going into this season was how Jon and Sansa were going to get along and it looks like it’s going to be a rough ride in the North.
Jon’s decision to let the Umbers and the Karstarks keep their castles was *such* a Ned Stark move … but we’ve seen how that turns out for people in Westeros.
Sansa on the other hand, has seen The Game played by the very best and learned what happens when you blink. I’m predicting more lemons than lemoncakes between the pair before the season is out (especially because you just know Littlefinger has bigger plans afoot than clever comebacks).
DAN: As much as I can see the familial bond between Sansa and Jon unravelling this season, Sansa did have some very poignant advice that he needs to listen to — something I think the audience was already mouthing throughout that scene — “You need to be smarter than father, smarter than Robb. They both made stupid mistakes and lost their heads for it.”
PETE: Poor Sam. Life at the Citadel ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. It was all poop and soup.
But he had two of the most surprising discoveries this episode:
- That Dragonstone is *stuffed* with dragonglass
- The sad fate of our love-sick … and properly sick … Ser Jorah
The moment I heard Iain Glen’s dulcet tones from inside that dark cell genuinely caught me by surprise. Dan, I can’t wait to see what role he’ll play as his #dragonbae begins sweeping across Westeros.
DAN: Dragonstone is stuffed with dragonglass? You don’t say. The name might have given it away or the fact Stannis already told us that many seasons ago.
It was beautiful to see the island castle in full though, compared to just a few interiors when Stannis ran the place. It has HUGE significance for Dany.
Dragonstone is not only the ancestral home of House Targaryen, fashioned in the styles of old Valyria before the collapse; it is the birthplace of Dany. When they call her “Stormborn”, that was because of the fierce storm battering the island during her birth.
The Targaryens fled to Dragonstone after the collapse of Valyria. Then Aegon the Conqueror turned his attention (and dragons) towards uniting the Seven Kingdoms and forging the Iron Throne from the blades of his enemies.
It looks like Dany is about to do the same.
PETE: “I don’t plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me. I might be small Lord Glover, and I might be a girl, but I am every bit a Northerner as you.” — Lyanna Mormont. When Jon makes his small council she better be the Master of Sass. And everything else.
DAN: “Leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe.” — Arya/Walder
PETE: Euron Greyjoy telling Cersei and Jamie what he brings to the bargain. A thousand ships … and two good hands. Sick burn bro.
DAN: Sansa’s undermining while the King is speaking. She knew what she was doing.
Who we lost this week
A whole lotta Freys plus our lunch while we watched Sam clean chamber pots.
What you missed
A familiar looking dagger as Sam flipped through one of the books from the Dolly Sealed Section of the Citadel.
This is the Valyrian steel dagger that once belonged to Littlefinger and was used by the assassin who tried to finish off Bran after his fall in season one.
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