Recap and analysis from Game of Thrones’ “Dragonstone”: Season 7, Episode 1

Game Of Thrones SPOILER ALERT:

Hey everyone, I’ve got something I wanted to try this year. I’ve written a GOT summary and analysis piece for season 7, episode 1 (Dragonstone) of Game of Thrones. In theory, I’ll write this every week. That is, if anyone reads it.

Again, there are SPOILERS BELOW. The language may be unclean (both with typos and with explicit material). Forgive me.

Here are my takeaways.

1. Parallelism isn’t lost on Arya

In what appears to be the same room as the Red Wedding, Arya Stark murdered those responsible for dissembling her family, both literally and figuratively. The scene is the climax of the episode, even though it takes place before the opening credits roll. This serves as a reminder the Starks are back in the driver seat for the first time since the first season.

2. There are two queens in Westeros

As Beyonce would ask, who rules the world? And as she’d answer: Girls.

Dragonstone is an almost-too-perfect place for Daenerys Targaryen to land. But who cares? The sequence that followed was perfectly unexpected.

Daenerys skips the first throne she sees. The message is clear: it’s not the one she’s after.

Instead, she runs her hand over her family’s dirty war map, now a Targaryen relic covered with dust, and utters: “Shall we begin?”

We thought you’d never ask.

3. The North’s power couple

Sansa Stark has the wisdom Jon Snow lacks. Jon has the wisdom Sansa lacks. A power couple is forming, hopefully.

Sansa has long observed — and at times played — the games of thrones in King’s Landing. She understands the mercilessness of one of the Stark’s opponents, Cersei Lannister. She understands the political clumsiness exercised by the two headless Starks in Eddard and Rob. She understands Jon could be just as clumsy by falling prey to Lannisterian ruthlessness. Whether Jon likes it or not, Cercei welcomes the opportunity to kill seemingly everyone. And I mean everyone (more on that later).

Meanwhile, Jon sees the forest and not the trees. He knows there’s no sense in worrying about King’s Landing and the Lannister Army when there’s a pulseless mass of solders, including multiple giants, that can only be beaten with fire and a weapon (dragon glass) that has been seen only sparsely.

They’ve pissed off two of the most deadly forces on their continent. Jon would be wise to listen to Sansa, and vice versa. They can’t rule the North without the other’s wisdom.

That is, until Daenerys joins them.

4. “I’m not sure you understand how much danger we’re in”

Jaime Lannister will never be Tyrion Lannister, but Jaime’s loss of his sword hand has knocked him down a peg. He’s the least arrogant Lannister. And thus, he did utter words of wisdom to his sister while she stood over a map to detail the masses of enemies forming against them. Cercei has killed seemingly every ally she’s ever had. The only options for allegiance are people as untrustworthy as she is (see: Euron Greyjoy).

Cercei deployed the Frank Underwood strategy: If you don’t like how the table is set, flip the table over.

And yet, she may not like how the table has reset. Jaime certainly doesn’t.

5. “Why is he still here?”

Brienne of Tarth asked Sansa why Petyr Baelish was still in Winterfell. Baelish, the second coming of Grima Wormtongue, remained in Winterfell because he still has troops.

But please, someone stick a fork (or a pitchfork) in that guy.

6. Who is Sandor Clegane?

Clegane strikes me as the most surprising survivor from the early seasons. Not only do I wonder why he’s still here — something Clegane seems to be wondering himself — but I also wonder how he’s still here.

Think of Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots tight end is one of the biggest and baddest men in the NFL. Thus, he gets hurt often. His career will likely be a short one because everyone’s trying to knock him out of the game. Clegane’s a soldier, and one of the best. But even the best soldiers spend their life in battle and often die (See: The Mountain, Oberyn Martell, Rob Baratheon).

Point is, Clegane is a true survivalist — not just a survivor.

He stole money from the family which he encounters in this episode. They died, as he predicted, and likely due in part because he took their money. By burying the bodies, Clegane shows he’s feeling the guilt of surviving. Clegane is starting to feel like one of “The Leftovers.”

Growing a conscious may also pose a threat to his survivalist nature.

7. Tormund has a death wish

The ferocious ginger, a personal favorite character of mine, takes Jon’s command to man the east watch. He’ll be leading the first round of forces against the White Walkers.

Do we really think the first round of forces are going to be able to stop the White Walkers? Hint: No. That means Tormund is as good as dead. Sad!

But of course, that won’t mean the end for Tormund. He’ll likely rise again as a walker. And perhaps, an undead version of the creepy-yet-endeering-Brienne-lover will fight Jon later in the series. Also sad!

8. What happened to Cercei’s love for her kids?

“He betrayed me,” Cercei told Jaime when discussing their son Tommen Baratheon’s suicide. “He betrayed us both. … They’re ashes now. We’re the last Lannisters. The last ones that count.”

Sounds like a loving mother, huh?

Cercei’s only softening quality in the early seasons was her love for her children. That love has faded over the years. Perhaps, it never truly existed. Perhaps, that love was an excuse for her own ambition. Perhaps, that love was an illusion to distract during her ascent to power.

9. Wisdom and witchcraft, not steel, may save humanity

Bran appears to be the cheat code to beating the White Walkers.

Sam, on the other hand, may be the another key to solving the puzzle of beating the White Walkers. Because it isn’t just a matter of facing them in battle. As Jon pointed out, the humans aren’t equipped to fight the walkers without dragon glass. Thankfully, Sam’s got them covered after a trip to the restricted section (shoutout to Harry Potter).

The shows/books emphasize balance (fire and ice). Policiticians, soldiers, intellectuals, zealots and magical beings (like the three-eyed Raven) hold huge importance in the balance of power. Everyone’s got a role to play in Westeros — before their imminent, gory death.

On a side note: Sam’s shitty lifestyle had a tune much like the Gorillas crashing the camp in Disney’s Tarzan. The sequence was composed so well that it was hard to watch, a Game of Thrones specialty.