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Game of Thrones Review- “Shall We Begin?”

If last night’s episode of Game of Thrones has taught me anything, anything at all it’s I would never, ever, eeeeeever accept a dinner invitation thrown by the Freys. Nope. Seriously, it could be the Westeros event of the year and I would gladly stay in my shack in Flea Bottom drinking wine that I know isn’t poisoned and not worrying about anyone sending me the regards of the Lannisters. Granted, after last night I really don’t think there will be much partying at the Twins buuuuuut just in case I’m a standing no for any future invites. On a more serious note, how badass was that opening?! My viewing party was caught a little off guard when the familiar epic tones of the Game of Thrones theme failed to pop up and instead we were presented with Walder Frey who was all types of dead when we last saw him.

“Wait is this a flashback?”

“I thought he was dead.”

“What’s happ- holy crap I know what’s happening here *arm slap, arm slap, arm slap*”

The Arya Stark Revenge Tour made another stop at the Twins to kick off the premiere and if you were hoping for a moment that would get you talking with all your friends and co-workers on Monday morning then this was it. Inviting all the Freys over for a small gathering and celebration of their “dominance” was a crafty move that allowed Arya to gather all her enemies in one location at the same time. She may have flunked out of assassin school but my girl certainly picked up on the key lessons. Watching all those Freys dying was so ultimately satisfying, a statement that only makes sense within the confines of Game of Thrones otherwise I’d sound like a psycho, only to be outdone by Arya’s speech to the rooms only survivor. “Tell them the North remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey.” It was a very Hamlet to Horatio like moment, and I loved how Arya didn’t drop her name and is allowing her actions to build a life of their own. Insert shivers, a fist pump, and the theme as season seven is officially under way. Maisie Williams is apparently not satisfied with one Emmy nomination.

Outside of that kickass opening, “Dragonstone”, set the board for what’s to come this year and it is apparent that everyone is important. All the major characters were touched on showing not only their direction but their importance to the season ahead. We started in the North where Jon is gearing up for the Great War and is not taking any of your shiz Sansa; so why don’t you eat a lemon cake and hush up when the King of the North is talking to his people. I said in Part I of my preview that Sansa was going to be a problem this year with Littlefinger all up in her ear, and right out the gate, she proved me right. I was extremely happy to see that Jon shut her down rather quickly, don’t undermine the King in front of his peeps, and went along with his commands anyway. What were those commands? Preparations of course. Thanks to the backing resident badass Lady Mormont, every man, woman, and child will be trained in combat as the White Walkers march towards the wall. On top of that past grudges will be forgiven since there are more important things to worry about which is super lucky for the Umbers and the Karstarks. There are more important things like manning the Wall which is where Tormund and the wildlings are heading. This I didn’t care for as it almost signs Tormund’s death certificate. He’s being sent to the exact spot the White Walkers are heading and we know that because Bran saw them… before being allowed into the Wall.

The dynamic between Jon and Sansa was one of the highlights of the show as they’re still feeling each other out. Jon is taking the diplomatic leader role when he asks her to give counsel on a more one on one level and Sansa is all like “I know things and respect Cersei so don’t act like a Joffery”. While she thinks she’s pushing away Littlefinger, Sansa is not smart enough to understand that he’s already in her head. By the time she figures it out I’m sure she’ll already have screwed up the universe by going behind Jon’s back or causing some sort of unwanted revolution. Joy!

Speaking of revolution Cersei finds herself in a bit of a pickle. She’s now the Queen of all the Seven Kingdoms, three at best if you agree with Jamie, and there are enemies on all sides. In classic Cersei thinking, they all need to be squashed out which makes for a good distraction from talking about your dead son the traitor. I really thought her viewpoint of Tommen was a bit harsh but I suppose she uses it to shift the blame from herself. There is no doubt that she is directly responsible for the death of her youngest child but if she rationalizes that death as Tommen already being dead to her then maybe she’s even further gone than we thought. Jamie appears to be thinking that way. It’s interesting seeing him in the parent role and suffering quietly while his love seems not to care. I feel that there is still a large part of him who loves Cersei, the romantic side of Jamie, but the more rational/military side is starting to see her as a monster. Which side will convince the other it’s right?

While Jamie is working on his inner turmoil there’s Euron Greyjoy to worry about who strode into Kings Landing looking like a dirty hipster. I believe my girlfriend referenced him as being, “dirty hot”, and I’m conflicted in how I feel about this characterization. What I’m not conflicted in is Euron’s charismatic nature and his confidence. With so few allies to choose from it’s natural that Cersei would reach out to someone, and that someone just so happens to need a Queen, did anyone else catch the displeasure of Jamie when he found out? I loved this scene as Euron openly mocked the relationship between Jamie and Cersei, with his two good hands, and seemed to leave to do Cersei’s bidding without being promised anything. She may be cunning and ruthless but maybe Cersei is suited for this job? Time will tell if she will let her emotions get the best of her or if she’ll rule the Seven Kingdoms in a manner that’s best… nah, who am I kidding. She’s crazy and there’s no way she doesn’t rule by revenge. Just what is this gift that Euron is promising though? Is it a victory in battle or an actual present?

The biggest threat to Cersei’s reign arrives in Westeros to close out the episode and it was handled with the gravity it deserved. I loved how the show cut the music and allowed us to take in the moment as Dany walked through her birth home feeling the sand and the structure of a place that should have been home. Bookending this moment with Arya’s mass killing was an excellent way to bring this episode to a close. Daenerys took it all in. Everything she has done thus far whether it’s Slavers Bay or Khal Drago has brought her to this exact moment where her dream looks to become a reality. Yet, there is no time to be wasted on feeling nostalgic, and Dany understands this. I really enjoyed how quickly she turned off the heaviness of her emotions and went back into work mode. There’s a throne to be won after all.

Quick thoughts before we end-

  • Sam has a purpose! The search for dragon glass continues and it appears that he’s found a huge cache pile right around Dragonstone (this gives the episode a double meaning kids). Look for Sam to send a raven to Jon letting him know which should lead to our very first Jon and Dany encounter. Let the shipping begin! The question is will Dany be receptive to Jon’s claims or will she see him as an enemy? My guess is that Tyrion will have a big role to play here in bridging the gap.
  • Jorah Mormont lives and he’s currently in a cell in the school for maesters. If anyone could cure him it would be them but I also enjoyed how his need to know if a certain Mother of Dragons has become state side. Look for a possible friendship with Sam here.
  • Everything with the Hound this episode was terrific. I loved how he’s atoning for his sins, something I didn’t think was possible. The hut was a tremendous call back to season four and watching the Hound bury the bodies was a touching moment. Can he be saved? Perhaps, but with his new found fire seeing powers I think he’ll become extremely important to the war ahead.
  • Hey, kids, that’s Ed Sheeran for no reason what so ever!
  • There is still hope for that Tormund/Brienne romance. “Lucky boy” hahahaha

There you have it Geeklings. There was a lot to unpack here but the first episode of season seven was a terrific jump start to the season ahead. What did you think? Was Arya your episode MVP? What do you think Euron Greyjoy has planned? Can Jon keep Sansa at bay? Is there any way to obtain that dragon glass without causing a war? Were you see happy to see Dany finally reach Westeros? Sound off in the comments below. As always if you’d like to further discuss Game of Thrones with me you can find me on Twitter @iamgeek32. Hope everyone’s ready cause I expect this season to be ten pounds of fun in a five-pound bag. See everyone later in the week.

Remember the night is dark and full of terrors so believe in the buddy system!

 

Images from HBO

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Kevin Carey

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Kevin Carey is an unapologetic geek who strongly believes his mind works much like an episode of Community. Has a strong love for pop culture that focuses on TV, comics, movies, and books. Kevin also enjoys writing fiction and has self published a short story to Amazon. While awaiting his Hogwarts acceptance letter, Kevin lives on Long Island with his cat and extensive Pop Vinyl collection. You can find him here on Fan Fest, at his blog I Am Geek, or the I Am Geek Podcast spreading geekiness to all.