Well we are back into Westeros and Essos for the penultimate time, and I have to say that after the amazing season 6 finale, this felt premiere felt pretty anticlimactic, though there were some good hints of things to come. Filled with all the usual great performances, musical fanfare and CGI ship, locale and dragon goodness, this episode kind of fell flat because it was merely setting the board for the season after the fallout of last season’s fiery conclusion. Not the most impressive episode, but subtly informative. Let’s see where we are at and where we could go.
Jon is consolidating power in the North, and though now known, but not widely, as a Stark, he has to fight to unite everyone against the Whitewalkers. Sansa seems reluctant to bestow forgiveness to those who failed to come to their aid, but since Jon is running things, and because he has a kinder take on forgiving and for not holding the misdeeds of older family over the younger (read: his boyhood issues) by showing mercy he ends up rallying the Karstarks and Umbers and others of the North under the Stark banner as we see the nice shot of the impending invasion by the Whitewalkers grace our presence. The seeds of strife between Sansa and Jon are already evident in their conversations, as they disagree on how to unify the North (Sansa confesses to learning a lot from Cersei and shows it not only in her predilection for vengeance against those who wronged the Starks, but also her hairdo as well).
Jon ignores her more belligerent advice, much to his success, but this could cause a divide between the sibilings, which an amorous Littlefinger seems eager to exploit to his own ends, as he subtly reveals in his dealings with Sansa. Jon is now hunting for Dragon glass, which Samwell the wannabe master is hunting down at the citadel when he’s not scrubbing latrines or working the kitchen. (Seriously, the montage of his denigrating labor at the hands of the Maesters is gross.) But eventually he finds out(among other things, like Jorah in Citadel prison cell) the location of the Dragon glass and relays to Jon where the Dragon glass is: sitting in the mines down in Dragonstone, where a triumphant but oddly silent Danny (she says like two words the whole episode) returns to after sailing her armada and her Dragons across the see. The final scene sees her set up shop there. Looks like Jon will have to barter with her for some magic death glass. But what can he offer in return?
Speaking of Starks, the most joyful part of the episode is when Arya disguises herself as Walder Frey after slitting his throat and proceeds to poison all of the Freys and their bannermen at a feast celebrating their victory over the Starks (we are losing entire houses left and right!). The cruelest and sweetest feeling vengeance and irony! She is a powerhouse this episode. She then makes her way toward King’s Landing to kill Cersei, but has a heart pang when she is befriended by a group of regular old Lannister knights, who treat her well. This, of course, will be nowhere near enough to quell her rage. Meanwhile Sandor has a religious awakening to the Lord of Light when he sees a premonition of how the North will be beset by Whitewalkers in the fire, thanks to some not so gentle encouragement from Thoros. What does this mean for his future actions? Time will tell.
And finally we have Queen B, the queen bitch, AKA Cersei, lording it over in her new role as the Queen on the Iron Throne, but secretly unsure of how now to secure her post. As Jamie points out to her, they have no allies, and enemies on all sides. Luckily for Cersei, she has summoned Euron Greyjoy of the Iron islands, despite his reputation, for use of his men and fleet. He wants marriage in return or course, much to Jamie’s chagrin, and though she declines, he promises not to return until he has some thing priceless for her, which this reviewer assumes to be either a Dragon or Danny’s head. The game board is set for this exciting, if rather short, season, so let’s play!