Yo, Game of Thrones is back and playtime is over. If you had any doubts look no further than the brutal cold open where Arya ‘Shapeshifting Assassin’ Stark reminds the remaining Freys that The North Remembers in the most ruthless way possible. I won’t spoil it for you because it’s worth the watch but whoo boy.
In ominous cloud sightings: The Night King is on the march, with everyone who died in The Climb, at Hardhome and The Battle of the Bastards (sniff Wun Wun) added to his army, following on Bran and Meera’s tails as they finally make it the Wall. Poor Dolores Edd, he’s got 99 problems and Bran is all of them.
Over in Winterfell Jon, Davos and Sansa are trying to get through the thick heads of every Northman that’s not Lyanna Mormont that their petty bullshite is not remotely important, that everyone, men, women and children need to be trained to fight. Period. Winter is here and everyone’s going to die unless you get your shite together. Unfortunately this isn’t helped by Jon and Sansa clashing, publicly, over what to do with the leftover Karstark and Umber children. Sansa is all ‘Kill ‘em all’ while Jon is like, ‘Children don’t pay for the sins of their parents’. On the one hand, Sansa’s not wrong, the Karstarks and Umbers broke faith, hardcore and got Rickon and a lot of others killed. On the other hand, as Alley and I pointed out: kindness goes a long way. The thing is, if they start listening to each other? They’d be unstoppable, hopefully they’ll get there, sooner rather than later.
In King’s Landing Cersei’s planning her war and Jaime is shook to his bones over Arya’s actions at the top of the hour. Homeboy is like, ‘What is the play here? You have literally made enemies of everyone we could possibly call on for help and someone is out here giving the fade to anyone else who might possibly try to come to our aid.’ Cersei’s all, ‘I got this.’ Her plan? Euron Greyjoy. Our favorite low rent Ewan McGregor is back, being absolute trash, showing up looking barely sober and delivering burns to everyone in sight up to and including Jamie and Cersei. It’s amazing.
Finally, finally, after six seasons, stops and starts, kidnappings, attempted murder, dragons being hatched and stolen, gaining armies and losing them Daenerys Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, The Unburnt, Breaker of Chains, Khalessi of the Great Grass Sea, comes home. In another beautifully shot, wordless scene we see Dany land at Dragonstone with her crew of Tyrion, Varys, Missandei and Grey Worm and not going to lie, I started crying. Emilia Clarke gives a wonderfully silent performance here as we see every emotion go through her eyes: joy, determination, relief and anger in equal measure. It’s one of the best moments in the series and I have a feeling it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come this year.
- ‘Leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe’ – Arya
- Also Arya’s not so far gone that she’s murdering innocents. It’s a good sign.
- Lyanna Mormont is not here for your casual sexism Lord Glover so sit your ass down somewhere.
- Holy crap Sansa is taller than Jon now. Wow.
- ‘I learned a great deal from her’ – Sansa on Cersei. I sure hope that comes back to bite Cersei (and Littlefinger) in the arse.
- Sam is having an uphill battle at The Citadel but thankfully Maester Lewellyn is here with good old fashioned common sense and logic.
- ‘Shall we begin?’ – Dany. Yes. Please. Serve up all the murder and tea Dany. Serve it all.
Overall this episode did a lot of table setting while still moving a lot of plot forward.
Five random Ed Sheerans out of Five.
Tell Them The North Remembers. Tell Them Winter Came For House Frey.