Tales from Westeros- Season 7 Episode 1 “Dragonstone”

Hello again fans of all things Westeros! I am your guide to the great game, the watcher on the wall, a good guy who’ll hold the door for you, Grand Master Zed. You can pronounce it Maester, I don’t mind. The boy known as Zach P is dead, and the man is born. Enough about that though, because we have titanic opening episode to chat about! Big things are happening. Join me, won’t you?

So it’s the start of a new season, so lets talk about some important brass tacks stuff from last season: Cersei is now queen of the Seven Kingdoms, Jon is King in the North, Dany is on her way across the Narrow Sea to Westeros, and the Martells, Tyrells and Varys are cooking up a plot to get back at the Lannisters. Just another day in the great game, folks. Now, lets see what episode 1 has in store.

Cold open?…..Weird. Normally after hearing that annoying HBO bump I expect to hear the theme song bumping. But this isn’t the first time this has been done to us, as just a season or two ago, they opened up with Cersei’s flashback to seeing Maggy the Frog and getting her fortune read. Now, we see Walder Frey, who we last saw getting his throat cut by Arya. So one thought began to run through my mind. “Is it a flashback?” Walder says he’s thrown two feasts in the same fortnight because he’s celebrating being Lord of the Riverlands, a title he gets after betraying Robb Stark at the Red Wedding. Walder is apparently holding this feast for  many members of his family. Walder Frey has many sons, as I believe is quoted in the books, he could “field an army out of his trousers”, so this large guest list isn’t exactly so weird. Servants begin to dole out wine. “Arbor Gold” from Highgarden. Highgarden is the swanky pad of the Tyrells and is one of the richest parts of the Seven Kingdoms both in money, armies, food, they’re kinda a big deal, and the Arbor is a region under Tyrell influence. Walder makes a joke that the wine is better than “that Dornish horsepiss”. Dorne, to the south, is also known for their wine. Walder doesn’t drink after his toast and forbids his wife from doing the same, claiming that he won’t waste wine on a woman. He commends his men for helping him slaughter the Starks at the Red Wedding, but begins to grill them about killing women and unborn children. Something’s up. One by one, Walder’s men begin coughing, choking up blood, passing out. He begins to say that they should have killed all the Starks, that if you “leave one wolf alive…the sheep are never safe.” The Frey soldiers begin dying as Walder takes off his face to reveal it was Arya all along. Turns out our favorite pre-pubescent assassin’s tenure in the House of Black and White taught her quite a few tricks. She turns to Walder’s terrified wife and coolly proclaims, ““When people ask you what happened here, tell them the North remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey.” Satisfied, she strolls through the hall of dead men toward the exit. Only then do we hear the familiar strains of the intro.

I mean, what a way to kick things off. Arya’s character arc has been insane and I’m so glad she’s back in Westeros doing what she does best. Murder. Cold blooded murder. Being as she witnessed the Red Wedding first hand, I think this one feels like justice. We’ll talk about her again later. Moving on!

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A strange large frozen geographic shot is what we have to look upon for but a few moments before a large, dark cloud begins to whip its way towards us. The wintry storm washes over us as the army of the dead, led by the Night King, stalk past the frame. We can really see the enormity of the threat the Walkers and wights pose here, I mean there are thousands of them. Speaking of enormity, GIANTS! If they weren’t bad enough, the army of the dead has giants, undead and impossibly strong. We all remember fondly the big guy Wun Wun (RIP) from the Battle for Winterfell, and his death was thought to be the extinction of giants, so its nice to see some up and walking around, however dead they might be.

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Bran and Meera Reed arrive at the Wall. The tunnel entrance is being opened for them and out pops the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch: Eddison “Dolorous Edd” Tollet. Edd seems suspicious of the two and asks if they’re Wildlings. Meera introduces them both and being that the Starks and House Reed are important Northern houses (remember Meera’s dad Howland was at the Tower of Joy with Ned Stark in the flashback last season), Edd asks them how he can be sure they aren’t lying. Then, something a bit strange happens. Bran pipes up and says that he knows Edd has been at both the Fist of the First Men and Hardhome, and has seen the Night King. He also thinks it fit to add that the aforementioned icy sovereign is on his way.  Does Bran read Edd’s mind? He is the Three Eyed Raven now so maybe he’s got the whole Professor X crippled mind reader thing happening? Either way,  Edd looks scared and ushers them inside. The Lord Commander takes a pensive moment outside, looking forward to a new, ever closer threat. Having Bran at the Wall is interesting now, being that he’s been beyond it for so long. Will he stay? Or perhaps Edd will tell him of his half-brother Jon’s departure and head back to Winterfell. Speaking of which, that’s where we’re headed to talk to the beautiful bastard himself, Jon Snow!

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In Winterfell, Jon holds court with his newly loyal bannermen. First item on the agenda? Dragonglass. Dragonglass, or obsidian, is one of the two things that can kill White Walkers (the other being Valyrian Steel, which his sword, Longclaw, is made of). Jon wants to find, buy, mine, beg, borrow and steal dragonglass to make weapons to fight the war against the dead with. When he claims that common people should begin to learn how to fight, Lord Glover pipes up with some baby boomer bullshit about “hurr durr its about time we teach these boys to fight”. Jon reveals that he wants both men and women to fight, that “all the living North” is needed. When Glover voices his distaste, he gets dunked on by the She Bear herself, little Lyanna Mormont. She claims that she will not knit while men fight for her, and needs no permission to defend the North. She then informs Jon that she will start training every available man, woman, boy AND girl to fight on Themyscira…I mean, Bear Island. Jon asks Tormund to bring the Wildlings to the wall, more importantly to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. Now if you’ll allow me to nerd out for a moment, Jon says this because Eastwatch is the closest castle on the Wall to Hardhome, the last place the Night King and his army was seen, but it’s ALSO right near an inlet of the Shivering Sea called the Bay of Seals. Now, I only bring this up because located in the Bay of Seals is the island of Skagos. Skagos is a weird place, and they’ve been loyal to House Stark for years but the Skagosi are kinda like a leper colony, nobody really likes to go there because there are rumors that the people there are cannibals and that there are unicorns roaming around and stuff. The Skagosi call themselves “stoneborn” as skagos means “stone” in the Old Tongue. So, I think this would be a cool time for the Skagosi to come into play. Will they? Probably not, but this guy can dream folks.

The second order of business is that Last Hearth, stronghold of House Umber (my personal favorite minor house) and Karhold, fortress of House Karstark are the first castles in the way should the Night King break the Wall. Sansa, seated at Jon’s side, wants to give them away to more loyal families, as both the Umbers and the Karstarks fought for Ramsay Bolton last season. Jon disagrees, claiming that he will not punish sons for their father’s sins. Sansa talks some more shit and starts to win the room. Pushed into a corner, but with that same Stark stubbornness, Jon instead makes Umbers and Karstarks bend the knee. “Yesterday’s wars don’t matter anymore.” he claims, and the present members of both houses declare for the King in the Gotdang North, baby. Testify.

After the meeting, Jon gets mad at Sansa for undermining him. Being as he seems to thing his word is infallible, Sansa compares him to Joffery. Jon seems shocked and asks if it’s truly how she feels. Sansa apologizes, tells him he’s good at ruling, but there’s a but. A big but. Sansa makes a good point that both Ned and Robb were too trusting, and that it was their downfall. She claims he has to be smarter than both of them. Now, the beginning of this episode got me kinda annoyed with Sansa, but she makes a decent point. Ned trusted Littlefinger, got his head chopped off, Robb trusted Walder Frey, got his head chopped off AND his direwolf’s head sewn onto him. So, for Jon’s head’s sake, he may do well to listen to Sansa. Jon gets a raven from King’s Landing, which is Cersei’s offer to bend the knee or die. Sansa fears the South will attack, claiming that there’s a wall between them and the Night King, and nothing between them and Cersei. Jon claims that winter will stop the army, as they’re a Southern army and wouldn’t deal with the conditions well and thus wouldn’t range this far North. Sansa acquiesces, but continues to talk about Cersei’s ruthlessness. Jon, a bit taken aback says something to the effect of “you almost sound like you admire her.” Sansa, almost shamefully, replies, “I learned a great deal from her.” Now, this is an interesting line, as Sansa spent a loooong while in King’s Landing dealing with the Lannisters, namely Joffery but Cersei as well. Maybe it foreshadows some possible conflict between Sansa and Jon? We’ll see. But now, off to King’s Landing folks! It’s time for the edgelord incest twin show!

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Cersei stands on a painting  in progress of the Seven Kingdoms which is a massive section of the floor in this particular room when Jaime walks in. Cersei thinks Jaime is mad at her, which you know, he totally could be, considering she blew up a building with people inside of it, namely their son’s wife, whose death drives him to commit suicide, but hey. She then asks if he is scared of her. Jaime rather insightfully asks, “Should I be?” Yeah, Big J, you should. Cersei informs Jaime that Tyrion is Dany’s Hand of the Queen, and begins to list all the shitty things Tyrion has done and basically says it’s all Jaime’s fault for letting him go. (It is.) When asked, Jaime thinks that its logical that the army at Dany’s back will land at Dragonstone. Now, Dragonstone is important. Not only is it the name of the episode, but it’s where Dany was born. It’s where Aegon the Conqueror made his home, and it was once in possession of Stannis Baratheon. ( So, Dragonstone, despite not really having a lot of resources or arable land, is of important symbolic value to Dany. Cersei begins to list off all of their enemies. To the South- Ellaria Sand. She’s the current ruler of Dorne and has a major hate-on for the Lannisters for the death of Oberyn Martell, her former lover during Tyrion’s trial by combat. After taking over Dorne in a bloody coup, she holds the power and motive to be quite the snake in the grass for Cers. To theWest- Olenna Tyrell. Now the Queen of Thorns is known for her quips, but as I’ve said before, Highgarden and the surrounding areas are a very valuable part of Westeros, and with her alliance with Dorne and the encroaching Dragon Queen, this old biddy might be quite a thorn in our newly crowned queen’s side. Not to mention she’s currently mourning the deaths of her grandchildren, Margery and Loras as well as her son Mace, who all died in the Sept of Baelor explosion. Again, motive. To the North- Jon and Sansa. Now, if you ask Hitler, there’s nothing worse than a war on two fronts, but Cersei? She’s dealing with a war on three. Jaime is put in charge of the Lannister army and claims that winter is here and they can’t fight without being able to feed their men and horses. Jaime claims the Tyrells will support Dany if it sounds like she’s the “winning side” and that some allies are needed after the Freys got ganked. Cersei defiantly tries to flaunt her title as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and Jaime rather realistically brings up that she really only rules 3 kingdoms. Cersei doesn’t care, she concerned with launching a dynasty. When the conversation turns in the direction of their kids, Jaime brings up Tommen. Upset, Jaime claims that it was Cersei’s fault that Tommen killed himself. Her very logical (lol) response is that “he betrayed me”. Yeah, cracks are starting to show here. “We’re the last Lannisters, the last ones who count”, she says, sounding a lot like her father who was always so obsessed with the family name. Deflecting, Jaime asks who’s with them, and Cersei pulls out her ace in her sleeve as Greyjoy ships are seen sailing into Blackwater Bay. Jaime is NOT on board and  claims the ironborn are untrustworthy. Cersei informs him that she’s struck a deal with Euron Greyjoy and that he came here for “a queen”. In the Throne room, Euron tells Cersei his sob story, and rather cleverly claims that they have enemies and “treasonous family members” in common. This referring to Euron’s niece and nephew, Yara and Theon, who stole all of his best ships and are now shacked up with Dany, as is Tyrion. Jaime takes a moment to dunk on Euron, but also oddly compliments him? Euron remembers Jaime killing people during the Greyjoy rebellion and compares it to a dance, calling it “glorious”, despite the people he was killing being his fellow ironborn. Euron claims that the iron fleet 2.0 will help them win their wars, but in exchange for marriage with Cersei as he has “a thousand ships and two good hands” in the absolute burn of the century. Cersei turns him down for being untrustworthy, but Euron claims he will not return to kings landing without a “priceless gift” in order to gain Cersei’s trust. Now this one has me scratching my head a little bit but I think what would really help Cersei out is something that Euron has in his possession in the books: Dragonbinder. Dragonbinder is a horn that can apparently bend dragons to your will. However, blowing the horn allegedly kills whoever blows it. This could be helpful (if it in fact works) when Dany and her three dragons come a knockin. Either way, the team up of Cersei and Euron is kinda like when two big comic book villains team up, so I’m excited to see what delicious villainy comes from this.

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At the Citadel, we are treated to a hilarious montage of our lovely corpulent academic, Samwell Tarly scrubbing, emptying chamber pots, pushing soup, putting away books, and other various non-Maester grunt work. While putting books away, we see Sam really wants to get at the restricted section of the library, which is locked. During one day of errands, Sam finds the key man, but the key man locks himself in the restricted section. Later, Sam is helping an archmaester cut open someone and weigh his organs, and asks for access to the restricted section, which is reserved for maesters. That’s about as far as Sam gets unfortunately as he begins to tell the archmaester that the Citadel maesters he’s talked to don’t believe in walkers,  but the archmaester believes Sam based on similarities from disconnected sources he’s read in Sam’s ever sought after restricted section. The archmaester begins to dote on the importance of their order and says that “we are this world’s memory”, and without them, “men may as well be dogs”. The archmaester says that during every major conflict it has seemed like it was going to be the end of the world, and all of them even the Long Night, has not stopped the world from turning.  “Every winter that has ever came has ended”, he says matter-of-factly before leaving, leaving Sam with a sour taste in his mouth. Sam jacks keyman’s keys on some James Bond ish in the middle of the night and steals some books, then goes back to chill with Gilly and Little Sam. This scene was really important because it either allays our fears about the Walkers or it shows us just how ignorant some of the most brilliant people in Westeros can be.

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Back in Winterfell, Brienne and Podrick train with swords a bit, and Pod isn’t very good. Tormund starts givin some textbook bedroom eyes at Brienne and, naturally, distracts her, allowing Pod to get a hit.  Tormund claims he’s “a lucky man” to get beaten on and thrown around by Brienne. Honestly this is the best running joke we’ve had since Gendry. (Still rowin. I believe in you, homie.) Tormund and Brienne should get together or love is dead. Slimy guy Baelish shows up to talk to Sansa, wondering why she isn’t happy. Sansa dunks on him as Brienne comes to talk to her, denying him his favorite thing, getting the last word. Brienne, channeling everyone in the audience, questions why he’s still here. Sansa claims his men are needed, that without the Knights of the Vale, Ramsay would still hold Winterfell. This is a great point, as during the Battle of the Bastards, Ramsay very much had the upper hand until the intervention of the Vale, which is now controlled by Baelish after he killed Lysa Arryn. Brienne is clearly disgusted by Baelish and questions what he wants. Sansa  claims to know “exactly what he wants.” Petyr Baelish is a very ambitious guy, so its hard to pin down what he wants. We know he wants the Iron Throne and Sansa to rule by his side, (gross) we know he wants Sansa, (again, gross) but she could be talking about the seeds of conflict he’s sowing between her and Jon. Just how insightful is Sansa? Just how much did she learn from Cersei?

On the Kingsroad, Arya comes across some soldiers making camp and compliments the song they’re singing. They ask her to join them for some food and Arya initially declines, but when pressed, joins them. She takes some wine and hears them all tell stories and dunk on what a shit place King’s Landing is after Arya says she’s headed there. The men are clearly part of the Lannister army that’s been sent to “keep the peace” in the wake of the slaughter at the Twins. Man, bet Arya feels like a dick now, don’t she? No, no she doesn’t. She is an unrepentant murderer and I love her for it. The two soldiers that talk more often share a more human side, one missing his possibly aging father, the other just becoming a new father. It was nice to see that all the nameless extras who have died horrible deaths actually have families and things to live for. Whoops. Arya is questioned on her intentions in King’s Landing, and when she says she’s gonna kill the queen they all laugh at her. She laughs along, despite that likely being her actual intention. Cersei has been on Arya’s famous hit list for a little while now. It was a cute little scene that I liked a lot. Oh, and some famous guy was in it or something.

got hound fire s7

Wherever the hell the Brotherhood Without Banners are its snowy as hell and my boy Sandor Clegane dunks on Thoros of Myr for his beliefs and actually refuses a drink given to him by the red priest. He claims the rum is “too sweet” for him. I feel you, Clegs, I’m a whisky guy myself. “Why are you always in such a foul mood?” asks Thoros. “Experience”, replies Clegane, and he’s not wrong. Things have been a little rough for S Clegs, he was living a peaceful life among Brother Ray and his congregation for a while until they were killed and he fell in with the Brotherhood. Sandor wants nothing more than to escape the brutal, violent, murderous side of him: The Hound. And unfortunately for my guy, he gets a grim reminder of a big mistake he made. Eyepatched Beric Dondarrion spots an abandoned building and it seems to shake Clegane. But it doesn’t stop him from dunking on Thoros for being bald and single-handedly ending the top knot/man bun craze with one fell diss. Inside is two dead folks, a man and a young girl. This is the farmer and his daughter that Arya and the Hound encounter back during their adventures in Season 4, and after the Hound robbed him and justified it by saying they wouldn’t survive the winter; it turns out he was right.  As Thoros starts a fire, Clegane dunks on Beric, claims that the Lord of Light is making mistakes bringing him back so many times. During his reply, Beric uses the phrase, “our lord” and Sandor makes it a point to butt in with a very pointed “your lord”. Thoros makes Clegane look into the flames, and asks him what he sees. After messing with him, Sandor has a vision in the flames. We don’t see it, but he claims to see: “Ice. A wall of ice. THE wall. Where the wall meets the sea, there’s a castle there.” He’s likely talking about Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and at this point, sparks fly out of the flames, possibly hinting about Eastwatch’s destruction. He goes on to say “…there’s a mountain that looks like an arrowhead, the dead are marching past, thousands of them.” Clegane looks scared, and even recoils a little. Beric asks if he believes him now, and believes in their purpose. Now, I’ve been head scratching about that mountain and all the maps I’ve looked at haven’t told me jack….buuuuuut the general consensus is that he’s talking about his brother, Gregor “the Mountain” Clegane. What’s he doing in this fire vision? Dunno, but CLEGANEBOWL TEASE LETS GO GET HYPE!

Later that night, Thoros hears stuff outside when he’s asleep and finds Clegane burying the bodies of the farmer and his daughter. Thoros, taking pity, helps him. After the mound is raised, Sandor attempts to say a prayer to the Seven but forgets it. He offers the departed a rueful, “I’m sorry that you’re dead. You deserved better. You both did.” Sandor Clegane is one of my favorite characters in the whole series and his character arc and regret toward his past actions is very evocative. His storyline is one of the many reasons I’m excited for the season ahead as a whole.

Back in Oldtown, Sam is sleepily reading, claiming the “dead don’t” when Gilly tries to get him to go to bed. Gilly starts to read about the Long Night, the first time the White Walkers invaded Westeros and were defeated by a mythical hero named Azor Ahai. Sam gets mad at the Targaryens for decorating their weapons with dragonglass without knowing what it was used for. As he flips through pages, you can see a page with the Valyrian steel dagger that was used by the catspaw sent to kill Bran in his bed from Season 1. Thought it was an interesting little homage, and who knows, Valyrian steel is going to come into play, so maybe we’ll see the dagger again. Sam finds a map of Dragonstone and sees that there is a mountain of Dragonglass beneath the ground. Apparently Stannis had told him, but Sam didn’t believe him. Sam hurriedly starts to write to Jon not knowing he’s no longer at the Wall. The next day or some time after, Sam is tending to some very sick folks, so much so that they’re quarantined. As he pulls at a bowl, a greyscaled hand shoots out at him asking if “she’s here yet”. Sam freaks out and asks who he’s talking about. The voice says “The dragon queen, Daenerys Stormborn.” Sam says he hasn’t heard anything and the hand recoils. So given his trademark accent, we can hear that this is Jorah Mormont, a former counselor to and betrayer of Dany who contracted Greyscale, a debilitating skin disease spread through touch which spreads over the skin, giving it a hard, grey, rocky texture and eventually causes madness. He was last bade by his queen to find a cure for the disease and very intelligently must have made his way to Oldtown to seek the wisdom of the maesters. It apparently hasn’t worked out very well for him. Poor guy.

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On Dragonstone, Dany rolls up in a rowboat with Tyrion, Missandei, Varys and Grey Worm. When she finally makes land, she stops and has a contemplative moment with the sand. After years of wishing and wanting to go home, she is. The moment passes and the squad rolls up to a large gate, which for whatever reason is open. She rolls into the throne room and takes a look at her throne. She has finally made it. A throne for a queen. Somewhere inside, she rips down a banner with the fiery stag heart of Stannis Baratheon on it. (I hope Jorah touches you with his gross ass hand for that one.) Instead of sitting on the throne, she moves past it and chills in the war room with Tyrion. The two stand together, sharing silence that is only broken by the would be queen saying, “Shall we begin?”

What a first episode, you guys. It was slow, but its setting up all the crazy stuff that’s gonna go down in Westeros town this season and I for one cannot wait. Leave a comment below with your predictions and thoughts. I will take my favorite and give my thoughts on it next week. I’ve been Grand Master Zed and this has been another Tales from Westeros. Valar Morghulis.

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Posted on July 18, 2017, in Tales from Westeros, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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