One of the best moments from last season’s finale was Lady Mormont schooling the other lords on their loyalty to Jon Snow and House Stark. “The North remembers” she declares. ‘Dragonstone’ cold opens with another “The North remembers” moment. This time it’s Arya turn to say it.
‘Dragonstone’ kicks off Season 7 with one hell of an opening. Lord Walder Frey brings the Frey family together for another feast. But Walder isn’t among the living. Arya made sure of that last season. She disguises herself as Walder to bring many of those responsible for the Red Wedding together in one spot. And then she poisons them all. Ending the Frey family in one fell swoop.
Watching the rest of the Freys’ slowly realize something isn’t right was incredible. And who better to deliver the justice than Arya.
Arya looks at the woman beside her and says, “Tell them the North remembers. Tell them Winter came for House Frey.” Nah, the North didn’t remember. Arya remembers. And doesn’t forget. Or forgive.
Nothing would top this moment for the rest of the episode. Hell, without Arya’s retribution – the episode would not have been anything special.
With just 12 episodes remaining (11 now), the showrunners used the season 7 premiere to lay many of the pieces on the final board in the “Great Game” as Tyrion calls it. Is it necessary? Probably. But damn, I hope the second episode brings a bit more movement.
The King in the North
This isn’t the Night’s Watch anymore. Jon knows what the Winter brings and is trying to shore up support among the families in the North. He wants to give the ancestral homes of the Umber and Karstark families back to them. But Sansa disagrees. She’s watched first hand how difficult ruling is. And how cutthroat those who are and aren’t in power can be.
Sansa challenges Jon’s decision in front of all the lords and wants to reward families who have been loyal. But Jon knows he doesn’t have the time to deal with these issues. The Night King is coming. And Jon needs all the friends and allies he can get. No matter the prior betrayals.
This scene also gave Lady Mormont another moment to shine. Jon isn’t just asking the men of the North to fight. He needs the women too.
“You expect me to put a spear in my granddaughter’s hand,” asks a stunned Lord Glover.
Lady Mormont fires right back. “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 as much a Northerner as you.”
She continues by throwing her support behind Jon’s decision. “And I don’t need your permission to defend the North. We will begin training every man, woman, boy and girl on Bear Island.”
Lord Glover responds with a nod. Yep, no one messes with Lady Mormont.
Sansa and Jon continue their disagreement outside the meeting. Sansa knows Jon is good at ruling. But she also knows that doing what’s right and what’s best isn’t the same thing. Ned and Robb did what’s right, and they died for it. “You have to be smarter than father,” she tells him. “You have to smarter than Robb.”
Sansa’s seen a lot and Jon would be wise to listen to her advice. But from Jon’s perspective he believes he’s doing what’s best. He’s seen what lies beyond the wall. For Jon, doing what’s right and best are the same thing. He needs all the soldiers he can for the fight to come.
We also get another look at the dynamic building between Sansa and Littlefinger. The ever scheming Littlefinger just wants Sansa to be happy. Which for him means a more powerful position in leading the North. Sansa knows what Littlefinger wants and needs her, but is hesitant to get rid of him since it was his forces from the Vale that turned the Battle of the Bastards.
Littlefinger is a master at the Game of Thrones, but he’s making one big mistake. The North (Stark family) aren’t playing that game anymore. He’s stuck in the one spot that doesn’t care about the Iron Throne. Jon Snow (and by extension, the North), the Wildlings and the Night’s Watch know where the true enemy lies.
The question is, when will Littlefinger realize this? And what will he do when he does?
Bran, the Three-Eyed Raven
Bran and Meera are met at the Wall by Edd and a handful of others from the Night’s Watch. Meera reveals who they are. When Edd questions why he should believe them, Bran convinces him by naming the places Edd has been and that he’s seen the Army of the Dead and the Night King. Edd lets him through.
It’s the only scene we see of Bran, but it gets him south of the wall and closer to his inevitable meeting with Jon. Bran knows Jon’s true family. And he knows more about the Night King than any of them.
This could also spur the Night King and his army into action. Remember, Bran was marked by the Night King. And can sense his location. Now that Bran is south of the wall, the Army will surely follow. Now the question is, how will the Night King get past the impenetrable wall.
Cersei studies the map
Cersei sits on the Iron Throne but is surrounded by enemies. All of them created by the Lannister’s actions. Jamie makes the valid point that you can’t fight or even win this war without friends. Or, at the very least, supplies. He points to the Tyrells. They have the food to feed the Lannister army.
The problem, Jamie points out, is that no one wants to fight for the losing side. And they look like the losing side. But Cersei always has a play. And that play is Euron Greyjoy.
Euron has the ships she needs, but he also wants marriage. A proposal she declines, but Euron says he will bring her a “priceless gift.” Tyrion would fit the bill.
Cersei isn’t in a position to bargain. But she never folds. Euron has to earn her trust. Capturing Tyrion would be a good place to start.
Samwell’s Citadel adventures aren’t going according to plan
Cleaning up crap and weighing dead people’s organs. That’s probably not what Samwell had in mind when he began his journey to become a Maester and learn how to take down the White Walkers.
This dragged on entirely too long, but we did learn that Dragonstone sits atop a gigantic pile of Dragonglass. Big shocker. Maybe next week, we’ll get some more details on the White Walkers. Like maybe how they plan to bring the wall down.
The Hound sees into the fire
The Hound isn’t killing ice zombies yet, but his moments in ‘Dragonstone’ were still great. The Banners Without Brotherhood stumble upon an abandoned house in the middle of a snow storm. But the Hound doesn’t want anything to do with it.
Why? He’s been here before. Back in season 4, a farmer and his daughter offered the Hound and Arya shelter at this very house. Instead, the Hound beat him and took his silver. Later, he told Arya they’re going to die anyway. And he was right. Starving, the father killed his daughter to spare her the pain and then killed himself.
The Hound wonders why the Red God keeps bringing back Beric Dondarrion, but leaves better people like the farmer and his daughter to their fates. Beric asks the same every day. It’s Thoros of Myr who offers the Hound an answer.
Thoros asks the Hound to look into the fire. We know the Hound isn’t a fan of flames, but he obliges. What he sees shakes him and the audience. He sees ice, snow and an army of the dead. He sees all this at a castle where the Wall meets the ocean. The fire crackles. And he sees them walking past the wall.
The White Walkers are coming to the Wall. And if the Hound’s vision is correct, will make it past. How? That’s for a later episode, but it’s a sneak peek into what will probably be this season’s highlight episode. We know the Wall acts as a barrier thanks to its sheer size. But it’s also protected by magic.
The White Walkers have proven to be an almost unstoppable force in battle, but the Wall has stood. So far. And the Archmaester at the Citadel tells Samwell it has stood through it all.
Daenerys finally reaches Westeros
After six seasons slowly meandering across the world, Daenerys finally reaches Westeros. And sets up camp at the former Targaryen island. Daenerys strolls past the throne room and heads to a table showing a map of Westeros. “Shall we begin,” she says as the screen cuts to black.
It’s about damn time is all I have to say.
‘Dragonstone’ was one great moment (Arya’s revenge) wrapped in a whole lot of setup. We know the White Walkers are coming. We know the final players. Now, we still need to wait for everyone to meet up. The Brotherhood Without Banners, Samwell, and Arya are still doing their own thing. Oh, and Jorah is now at the Citadel covered in greyscale. We’ll see if the maesters or Samwell can help him out with that so he can return to Daenerys.
Here’s the preview for next week.
– We’re pretty sure the Hound and the Brotherhood Without Banners are heading to Winterfell, right? I mean, where else are they heading through the snow. It’ll be cool to see the Hound and Sansa reunite. And maybe get a few verbal barbs aimed towards Littlefinger. Though, I doubt anything next week tops the Hound’s top knot barb at Thoros.
– Arya and Nymeria reunion? Hell yeah.
– Daenerys sits with a fleet and dragons right outside King’s Landing. Does she press the attack immediately? Or do her and Euron fight first.
– It looks like we are getting Dorne scenes next week. Ugh.
– Someone’s choking Littlefinger. Please be the Hound. Please be the Hound.