After a long winter, Game of Thrones has finally returned with ‘Dragonstone,’ and all of the remaining pieces are taking their places on the board. While the episode may not have been the barn burner that the sixth season finale ‘Winds of Winter’ was, it’s clear that the warring factions of Westeros are building towards an epic clash.
Over the course of the episode, Sam (John Bradley-West) cleaned a lot of chamber pots and visited the restricted section of the library, the Hound (Rory McCann) found a little redemption, Jorah (Iain Glen) has clearly not found the cure to dragon scale, and Ed Sheeran’s cameo… well, let’s just say it made an impression. Most importantly, the major players let the world know exactly what they were after, be it with a sage quote or a savage quip. And those are guaranteed to stick in your mind until next week, so let’s take a look at some of the episode’s best. And, oh yes, there will be spoilers so turn away if you haven’t seen the episode.
“When people ask you what happened, tell them the North remembers. Tell them Winter came for House Frey.” — Arya
In a truly stunning cold open, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) managed to up the ante following her meat pie murder of the Frey patriarch. By wearing dead Walder’s (David Bradley in what was surely his final Thrones appearance) face, the youngest Stark girl manages to poison the whole lot of the cowardly house. As the men die while vomiting up blood, she coldly tells them that following the Stark massacre at the Red Wedding, they “should have ripped them all out, root and stem. Leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe.”
After sparing the servant girls, Arya uses her family’s words to great effect before sweeping out the of throne room to continue her murderous campaign. As she works her way down her list, Arya is becoming less and less the girl that her father once knew. There is only death and vengeance as she heads for Cersei (Lena Headey). Run tell dat, Ed Sheeran.
“You have to be smarter than Father. You need to be smarter than Robb. I love them, I miss them, but they made stupid mistakes and they both lost their heads for it.” — Sansa
There is a power struggle brewing in Winterfell, and neither side is free of fault. While Sansa (Sophie Turner) should not have challenged Jon (Kit Harrington) in front of the Northern lords, showing a less than united front, Jon’s past experiences are dulling his judgement.
Having paid for the sins of his father (as far as he and most of Westeros knows) for his entire life, the King in the North is far too lenient on the Umbers and Karstarks after their betrayal. While it may suit his conscience to not punish the children for their father’s mistakes, putting kids in charge of critical castles instead of giving them to new, loyal families could be a potentially deadly mistake. And Sansa knows this.
In a more private conversation, Sansa gently informs Jon that while he is settling into the role of ruler well, he needs to avoid the foibles of past Stark lords who let their goodness be their ruin. When Jon snidely asks her if being smarter meant listening to her, it became even more clear that while these two want to unite for the greater good of their people, it won’t be an easy road.
“Should we spend all our days mourning the dead? Mother, father, and all our children? I loved them, I did. But they’re ashes now, and we’re still flesh and blood. We’re the last Lannisters, the last ones who count.” — Cersei
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) has said many wise things over the course of six seasons, but one of his most apt was that Cersei’s one redeeming quality was her love for her children (and her cheekbones). After Tommen’s (Dean-Charles Chapman) suicide, we now have a Cersei with absolutely nothing to lose and nothing to hold back her most wicked impulses.
Now that she’s ascended the throne above the broken bodies of her children, we will truly see what the Lannister queen is capable of. And that darkness is already wearing on her lover brother, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau),
and one can’t help but wonder how he’ll react to a Cersei unleashed. Especially when Tyrion re-enters the fray. Will Jamie add Queenslayer to his list of pejorative titles before the series is through?
“Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to grow up and marry the most beautiful woman in the world. So here I am, with a thousand ships and two goods hands.” — Euron Greyjoy
Following the death of Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), Westeros was left with a “cartoonishly evil” void, and it looks like Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) is going to fill it. Swaggering into the King’s Landing throne room dressed like he’s about to take the stage with his Motörhead cover band, the leader of (a fraction) of the Iron Fleet has a plan and a proposition for Cersei: marry him and make herself a powerful ally.
On top of attempting to woo the Queen of the Seven (three, at best) Kingdoms, Euron also manages to lay down a savage burn on Jaime’s golden hand. We’ll see if Euron keeps his hands and his assorted other parts across these next two seasons, because this twisted “love” triangle is fated to end in bloodshed.
“You’re a lucky man.” — Tormund Giantsbane
Listen, even Game of Thrones needs a bit of levity, and Tomund’s (Kristofer Hivju) crush on Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) continues to be a light in a very dark world. Was his open admiration while Brienne beat the crap out of Podrick (Daniel Portman) an essential part of the episode? No. Was it the most charming thing you’ll see all week? Absolutely.
Sorry, Jaime. Everyone’s aboard the Giantsbae Train now.
“No need to seize the last word, Lord Baelish. I’ll assume it was something clever.” — Sansa
After admitting to Brienne that Lord Baelish (Aidan Gillen) does have value and that he was an essential part of the victory over the Boltons, Sansa makes it clear that she wouldn’t trust the man as far as she could throw him. While he may have been able to sneak kisses from the young girl in the past (gross), the queen-in-training now will not suffer such fools.
As Sansa continues to stretch her legs in an actual position of power, the major concern that many feel for her is whether or not she is too easily manipulated by Littlefinger. But those fears should be largely put to rest after the premiere, with Sansa deftly putting the slippery Lord in his place with a few cutting remarks.
“Shall we begin?” — Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons
While the return to her ancestral home after years and years away was largely silent, there was a certain kind of reverence inspired by seeing Dany (Emilia Clarke) pull down the Baratheon sigils and take her place in the hall of her ancestors. While she has proven herself as a conqueror in Essos, Dany has yet to prove that she can succeed as an actual ruler. With her massive armies and Tyrion as her Hand, she is certainly in a position to take control. If the Mother of Dragons can curb her more troublesome impulses, she may actually pull this coup off before she has to deal with the monsters North of the Wall or the same kind of creeping insanity that felled her father, the Mad King.
So, those are the most memorable lines and moments from the season premiere. We’ll be right back here next week to run down the most relevant goings on in the next episode of Game Of Thrones.
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