What can I say but wow. What an amazing start to the final 13 episodes of what is in my opinion the best show on television. The writing was once again impeccable and really set the table for beginning of the end. So much happened in just one short hour that it just flew right by. I will do my best to touch on all that happened and give some thoughts and speculations. So let’s dive right in!
Let’s start at the end where we finally got the moment we all have been waiting for when Daenerys Targaryen has finally arrived home. We get that great shot of the ships pulling up with Tyrion, Varys, Missandei, and Grey Worm standing behind her. In some ways this was the most powerful moment of the episode as we have been waiting for this for six seasons. Dany is finally home and just seeing her touch the ground with such reverence and emotion really drew me in. Then the music kicks in as we get little hints of the main Game of Thrones theme as Dany walks up to and around the castle. It is crazy that we have not been to Dragonstone in almost three to four seasons and to see that war room again was great. When she ended off her tour with the “Shall we begin?” it just hyped me up to no end. I cannot wait to see what Tyrion cooks up for his master plan of dominance.
From the end of the episode we head to the beginning where our second biggest moment came. At first I thought they were just replaying the scene from last season’s finale from a different perspective, but when Walder Frey did not drink the wine that everyone else did I knew something was up. Looking back I should have realized something was up sooner when Frey mentioned something about a second feast, but hindsight is 20/20. To see Arya pull off that mask was a holy smokes moment and really set the tone for the season. When she tells the girl to relay the message of “The North remembers” I got chills. Her descent into full blown assassin is complete and I am loving it. A little later on we see her on the road to King’s Landing when she runs into a group of Lannister soldiers. One of them is singing and it is revealed to be a cameo by pop star Ed Sheeran. Arya ends up sharing a meal with the soldiers as they make fun of King’s Landing and talk about life back home. They eventually ask her what her purpose is for traveling to King’s Landing is and she says she is going to kill the queen. They eventually laugh it off, but little do they know how serious she is.
As a side note, the Ed Sheeran cameo is dividing the fan base. Some say it was harmless and kind of fun to see. While others are decrying it for breaking them out of the world with a too recognizable face. I honestly could care less and just enjoy the scene in general.
Meanwhile in Winterfell the northern families and the army from the Vale are preparing for war with the dead. Jon Snow, Davos, and Sansa sit at the head of the room as Jon explains dragonglass and why they need it. Jon says that they need not only men and boys working, but women and girls as well. Some of the northern families push back, but Lyanna Mormont, being the ultimate badass that she is, fights back saying that would he deny her the chance to fight? She pledges that all girls from Bear Island will be properly trained. The talk turns to what to do with defense. Jon and Tormund agree that the wildlings will go to Eastwatch by the Sea to be the first line of defense there, but then the question of what to do with the Umber and Karstark castles comes up. Both were traitors to the north and Sansa wants to give them to new loyal families, but Jon does not want to break tradition and deny a family a home based off of a few bad eggs. Jon’s word is final and he gets pledges of allegiance from Ned Umber and Alys Karstark.
Afterwards Jon and Sansa have a conversation about how they should treat each other in meetings like that. Jon does not want Sansa to undermine him like that and Sansa says he is good at leading, but he needs to listen to others. They then get a raven from newly “appointed” Queen Cersei asking them to bend the knee, but Jon seems to ignore it. He has bigger fish to fry. Sansa warns him about ignoring her because she knows how Cersei works. Jon comments that Sansa almost seems to admire her and Sansa says she learned a lot from her. Its a very interesting conversation which could have big implications for events down the line. Later on Baelish comes to talk with Sansa. He says he just wants to make sure she is safe and happy. Sansa fends him off alright and Brienne comes to make sure that everything is ok. Brienne wonders why they keep him around and Sansa says they need his troops. Brienne correctly surmises that Baelish wants something and Sansa says she knows exactly what he wants, but does not say. I am guessing she is implying that Baelish wants Sansa herself, but she also could be talking abstractly and could me he just wants power and the Iron Throne.
As a quick little note while we are here in the north we see Bran and Meera arrive at the wall. Edd Tollet meets them at the gate and asks who they are, wondering if they are wildlings. They explain who they are and then Bran mentions the army of the dead and Edd hurriedly lets them in. We also get a brief glimpse of that army marching in a cloud of coldness with reanimated giants galore. It looks like the fight with the dead is not going to be pretty.
We have been talking a lot about King’s Landing and its inhabitants so let’s visit there. We see Cersei as she is standing on a map of Westeros being painted by an artist and Jaime comes in and wants to talk. They talk about how they are surrounded by enemies and Cersei seems to not care about their odds. Her usual confidence seems to be getting on Jaime’s nerves as he does not see what her play is here. He also seems annoyed by the fact that they have not even talked about Tommen’s death yet. Cersei uses an interesting turn of phrase when talking about Tommen and says that he betrayed her. Her sudden coldness toward her children whom she loved so much is rather chilling and shows where he mindset is at this point. She is out for blood and will not stop until everyone who is her enemy is dead. Eventually Jaime asks her what army she plans on fighting all of these enemies with. With that we smash cut right to a fleet of ships sailing up to King’s Landing. It is the new Ironborn King Euron. They meet with Euron in the throne room and ask him why they should trust him after he killed his brother without a second thought. They also discuss what his proposal for an alliance would be and he wants to marry Cersei and become king. Cersei rejects his proposal and Euron says that he will be back with a gift to sway her mind. My guess is that the gift will be the capture of one or more of her enemies such as Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes or Olenna Tyrell.
This week we also got quite a bit of screen time for good ole Samwell Tarly as he trains to become a maester at the Citadel. We get a rather disgusting montage of Sam cleaning chamber pots, serving food and nearly throwing up multiple times. During the montage we see Sam multiple times gazing longingly at the restricted section of the library like an 11 year old Harry Potter. He notices that the maesters use a key to get in. Later on he is assisting in an autopsy with one of the Archmaesters (played brilliantly by Jim Broadbent, another Harry Potter connection) when he asks if he could get access to the section due to what he has seen. They have a long conversation about Sam’s apparent fascination with White Walkers and Wights because apparently nobody in the Citadel believes him. The Archmaester tells him that doubting is the job of a maester and that every single winter that there ever was has ended so why should this one be any different. Eventually Sam gets fed up and steals a maester’s key to get into the restricted section and take some books. There are two big things in one of the books and one is mentioned while the other is merely seen. The mentioned one is that there is a mountain of dragon glass in Dragonstone ready to be mined for use. Sam rushes off to send a letter to Jon and now we know why Jon and Dany meet. Interesting note here is that this mountain is a reference/idea pointed out earlier in the series. Back at the end of sesaon 5, Jon and Sam are talking about the dead army and mention they would need a mountain of dragon glass to help defeat them. Well here it is. The part that is merely seen in the book is there is a dagger shown on one of the pages. This dagger should look familiar as it is the one that Baelish was carrying around back in the early seasons. That means Baelish has a valyrian steel weapon that can be used in the fight against the White Walkers. Finally the last big thing we see at the Citadel involves the sick ward. Sam is taking bowls back from the sick when one of the reaches out to grab him. We see the patient has greyscale and then we hear a voice. He asks if the “Dragon Queen” has arrived and a keen ear will recognize the voice of none other than Jorah Mormont.
This final part of the episode is my favorite and why I love the writing of Game of Thrones so much. We see the Hound, Beric Dondarrion and Thoros riding through the snow. They come upon a house and Beric says that this might be a good place to stay for the night. The Hound seems reluctant and they ask him if he knows this place, which he denies. They feel it will be safe because it looks abandoned. Now if you were getting a weird feeling like you should know why the Hound was so sketched out, but just could not place it then good for you. This ties back all the way to Season 4. In Episode 3 (I had to look this up) Arya and the Hound come upon a farmer and his daughter who take them in, feed them and let them stay the night. In the morning after their stay the Hound takes all of the guy’s gold and says that it will not do them any good to have it because they will die anyways. Arya protests, but the Hound forages on. Now back to this episode, this is that exact farmer’s house and the dead in the bed are the father and his daughter. The Hound offers an explanation for what happened because he knows exactly what happened. This is not even the best part of the scene.
The Hound and Beric get to talking about religion and why Beric is special to have been brought back so many times by the Lord of Light. Beric says he has no idea why that is the case, but he believes nonetheless. Now this is where it gets good. We know the Hound has been afraid of fire since childhood when his older brother pushed his face into the fire. This was accentuated during the Battle of the Blackwater when he runs away from the battle because of the fire everywhere. In this scene the Hound mentions how it was just his luck that he get stuck with a bunch of fire worshippers. Thoros calls him over to the fire pit to show the Hound how he himself sees things in the flames. The Hound is super reluctant at first but eventually inches up to the fire and says he sees nothing. Thoros tells him to look deeper into the fire and then the Hound says he sees the army of the dead and a castle by the sea and the wall. Later that night Thoros wakes up to hear a sound outside. He finds the Hound digging a grave for the farmer and his daughter. The Hound tries to pray over them, but just ends up saying they deserved better.
Ok so this scene just gets me all kinds of excited for so many reasons. One look at how the Hound’s character has changed! We have a guy who’s one fear in life is fire. It has been reinforced to us again and again. Now all of the sudden he has the power to see into the future in fire without even believing in the god. In the books and the show the people who follow the Lord of Light are constantly looking for something called Azhor Ahai. This person is the living reincarnation of the Lord of Light. Melisandre thought it was Stannis and most likely now thinks that it is Jon, but could it be the Hound? That would be amazing. Also he has changed in how he treats other people. Yes he still has the brusque and rough exterior that swears a lot, but deep down he cares now. This is shown in the burying of the two people who he had an indirect hand in killing. This just another superb example of the amazing writing on this show!
Well that is it for my recap of last night’s episode! What did you guys think? Comment down below and let me know your opinions on the episode and what theories you might have! Until next time, valar morghulis.