I’m unsure as to whether or not I will post a discussion of every episode this season, but my excitement for this episode at least, cannot be contained so here I am. This was a great episode to kick off the season. We start off with Arya killing all the Freys. It’s cool to see Arya putting her new found skills to some kind of use, especially since the Bravos storyline wasn’t all that great in the show. Right before moving to Winterfell, Ed Sheeran makes sure to meta-wink at the audience a few times before the scene ends, leaving Arya to decide if all the killing she is doing is just. Seeing Sheeran sing in the episode brought memories of “I See Fire” from the “Desolation of Smaug” soundtrack, which was a great song, and the one he sang in the episode seemed pretty good. I like Sheeran-it was cool to see him, but nowhere as cool as seeing Mastodon last season.
To the North: We get to see how Jon is ruling the North, and he’s focused on one thing: the White Walkers. Here we see probably the most important moments of the episode. Jon’s ideological clash with Sansa is an indicator that they will indeed be on opposite sides of the fence throughout the season. I don’t think Jon is a good King, after all his political skills led him to his death at the end of Season Five. In their debate of punishment or exoneration regarding the children of Northern traitors, ideologically I’m on Jon’s side. Children should not be punished for the crimes of their parents. History, seems to agree with Jon, that peace can be had through exoneration. France had a plate at the table when the Treatise of Paris was being discussed following the Napoleonic Wars. After The Great War, Germany was punished (thanks Clemenceau) and we ended up with World War II as a result. History sides with Jon in this case, but I’m a modern history scholar, not a medieval one, so how similar events have ended up in medieval times, I can’t say. Every time Sasa spoke however, I thought she made good points, and was torn throughout the episode. My historical background is the only reason I’m able to side with Jon. Sansa is much more ruthless and cold this episode. You can see it in her eyes as she spoke, and the way Littlefinger’s attempted swaying had no effect on her. Maybe this will lead Littlefinger to try to manipulate Jon later on. I’m looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.
To King’s Landing: We get to catch up with the Mad Queen, and I think she has very much earned the title at this point. Jamie’s change is poignantly demonstrated, wanting to talk about Tommen’s suicide, but Cersei doesn’t care. She says as much when she talks about making a dynasty for the two of them. She may believe she cares for her children, but her actions indicate otherwise, all Cersei cares about is Cersei. Euron Greyjoy comes to King’s Landing with his marriage proposal, and Cersei and Jaime are rightfully heedful of him. He has betrayed and killed his allies and kin in the past, and Jamie makes a point of ensuring he knows that they are aware of it. From what I understand in the books, Euron is meant to be a serious threat, however, we haven’t gotten that sense until now in the show. It’s hard to believe however, that in the show he’ll leave that big of a mark, given how little of an impact he’s already had. He leaves promising a gift as a demonstration of his loyalty and my bet is that it’s Daenerys’ defeat, after all, he did promise he’d wed Dane last season at the Kingsmoot. Taking Tyrion to Cersei would make sense too, but Tyrion has been captured way too many times and gotten around too much. Let him be for a while and do something different with him, He’s probably the most interesting character on the show, and he’s so fleshed out that I’d like to see something different that’s still in line with his character. No more development can come from him being at Cersei’s mercy, unless it’s Jamie killing Cersei because of how much he cares for his brother. Now if that’s what they’re going with, I’d be very happy to see it.
To Oldtown: We finally get a glimpse at Oldtown. If viewers thought the Wall was a terrible way of living, the Maesters are even more distrusting, and even more disgusting. We see everything, from Sam emptying chamber pots, to feeding prisoners. Jorah Mormont makes his appearance, loyal as ever to Khaleesi despite his affliction, asking if she’s invaded Westeros yet (It’s coming I promise! The dragons are coming!) Sam seems to be doing little studying at Oldtown despite the fact that we were told he would spend his time studying there. Instead, when he’s not doing chores for the seniors, he’s drinking, kicking ass at beer pong and making out with whoever is around! …Well, that first part is true at least. We see Sam apprentice for the Maesters which was cool to see him actually learning something. The only time Sam has for reading seems to be at night, with Gilly and little Sam. It’s in one of these sessions that he learns about the Dragonglass mine at Dragonstone from a book he stole (which will definitely cause friction with the already secretive Maesters). I’m pretty sure this means we’ll see some action at Aegon’s landing sight, as all these characters are going to converge there based on this first episode. Euron (although it’s only implied), Jamie told Cersei that another enemy would be heading there, Jon Snow on his quest to defend the world of men, and…
To Dragonstone: We finally see the Targaryen return to Westeros. As she walks through the halls, she pulls down Stannis Baratheon’s banner and walks to the strategy room as Dane declares she’s ready to start playing the game.
Concluding thoughts: A great way to kick off the season, and set up everything that is going to happen throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and can’t wait for next Sunday. There are a few smaller things I didn’t mention; we see Bran and Meera get to the wall and a glimpse at the White Walkers. We also see the Hound as he continues to transform little by little. His and Jamie’s are two of my favorite character arcs. I used to hate Jamie in the good ol’ days when Ned was around but he’s become one of my absolute favorite characters on the show. He’s still with the Brotherhood Without Banners, and seems to be on the path to becoming a priest of the Lord of Light. Looking into the fire he has a vision of the Others going past the Wall (which will probably fall this season). Jon Snow also sends the Wildlings to man the Wall. It’s a smart political move to send keep factions that have been warring enemies for years separate to fight a common enemy, but if the “King in the North” is sending them to their deaths with the Others on their way, I don’t think it’s a decision that will end up being appreciated. I’m not a fan of Buzzfeed, but I did catch this article they posted about a Reddit user who paused the screen on the book Sam was reading that gives us a clue into Jorah’s future. Good on you Beastmodekait. This season is set to be absolutely explosive as every major player will at some point converge in some form at Dragonstone as the White Walkers continue their march south.
Bonus points if you got the South Park reference thrown in here.
Happy watching and reading!