Game of Thrones: Dragonstone

With the advent of the Game of Thrones season 7 premiere, I’ve been asked by a few people to blog about it on Mondays. I think it’s an excellent idea, and that’s what I am going to do. Each post will consist of a main comment about the episode, a profile of its highlights (and lowlights), and my hopes and predictions for the future. Needless to say, this post will be dark and full of spoilers.

For me, last night’s season opener was a good episode, if not the best. One of my favorite little scenes from last season was getting to see Arya return to Westeros and open up the jugular of the creepy janitor from Hogwarts. The reason I liked it so much was that it felt like Arya was finally making good on her quest for vengeance that she’s been going on about since Sean Bean got his noggin chopped off in season one. She’s crossed a couple minor names off her list, but they felt inconsequential to the greater game being played. “Dragonstone” continued right where the last episode left off, and showcased just how powerful Arya has become. In the opening minutes we see her literally eviscerate an entire house. Arya’s character has some serious agency now, in a way that she has never had before, in a way that none of the Stark children have really enjoyed. Usually in Game of Thrones it’s two steps forward, one step back; a lot of victories and successes for our favorite characters are mitigated in some way. And that’s why we like the show- it’s nuanced and subtle and it never loses its sense of imminent peril. But it was nice just to have one scene where they seemed to be giving in to our breathless desires for some piece of work just to get exactly what they deserve. I don’t expect Arya’s planned assassination of Cersei will be so easy; as satisfying as it would be to have Arya slit her up like a Thanksgiving turkey, I just know it won’t be that simple. They’ve given us Walder Frey and his Red Wedding accomplices and we’ll take that. It was great.

Another takeaway I had from this episode that I am eager to discuss, is how much I liked the windows we got into some of the more mundane aspects of Westerosi life. I really enjoyed the scene where the Hound returns to the farmstead he went to in season 4. It gave us a look into how the everyday folk of Westeros- the peasants who presumably make up the vast majority of this feudal civilization- have been ravaged by the incessant wars and the frigid encroachment of winter. It adds to the desperation and fragility of all the great houses and their leaders, and Cersei even mentions in another scene how they will need the vast grain supplies of The Reach. I love it when something as fantastical as the world of Game of Thrones gives us an insight into things like the economy of its exotic societies, the ugly necessities of feudal life, and the way things work. Later we see Arya eating what I thought was a fox or a feral dog cooked over a spit. We got an insight into the lives and thoughts of the average foot-soldiers, folks who haven’t seen or heard from their families in years. I liked that a lot. And even though it was barf-inducing, I also thought Samwell’s experiences at Oldtown were intriguing too. I didn’t like having to look at it and I even put my hand over my eyes near the end, when it seemed that damn montage would go on forever. But at the end of the day, I don’t remember any scenes in Lord of the Rings where Aragorn is scrubbing buckets of violent diarrhea, so you have to respect HBO for that. It was also interesting to see the lives of people who weren’t knights and warriors and queens. The maesters are essentially the scientists and the doctors of Westeros, and I liked seeing that guy recording data for future generations. Funnily enough I didn’t mind the scene where they were dissecting that woman’s corpse. I don’t get grossed out by violence or blood in films, but anything to do with the digestive system sends me into a downward spiral.


What was the best scene?

There were a few good scenes in this episode. I mean, yeah, the scene I am most likely to rewatch is without a doubt the opening sequence in which Arya annihilates the entire Frey household. But, I’m going to say the best scene for me was the one where the Hound and Thoros of Myr are burying the remains of the farmer and his infant daughter. It was really touching to see someone who initially looked to be nothing more than a scary brute to have such sympathy and affection for the ordinary people of the land devastated by the famines of war and winter. The Hound seems completely unlike the guy who murdered the Butcher’s Boy in season one. And it showed that the games and petty power struggles of the 1% of society have a crippling effect on the peasantry- that ultimately it is they who suffer.


What was the worst scene?

Probably that fucking Ed Sheeran cameo.


What do I think will happen in the next episode?

Going by the teaser trailer for the next episode “Stormborn”, it looks like things will kick off in Dany’s storyline. Given that there are only seven episodes this season, the writers have a lot to cover and I think we will see a much quicker pace than we are used to as they try and tie everything up. So I won’t be surprised at all if we see Dany’s fleet face off against that vile sea-dog Euron Greyjoy next episode. I’m gonna predict that Euron’s superior knowledge of naval tactics will take Dany by surprise, since at the moment the cards are stacked overwhelmingly in her favor. But, though I say that, I just can’t see how Euron is really long for this world when Dany has three dragons the size of Mississippi steamboats at her disposal…


What do I hope will happen this season?

I know making a wishlist for a series like Game of Thrones is kind of like approaching a Kodiak Grizzly to play Patty-Cake, but here’s what I’d like to see by the end of the season. I’m hoping for Cersei to get executed, but I just don’t think she will die until the end of season 8, since she is the most compelling villain we have. So I feel like wishing for that is kind of stupid of me at this stage. I’m mostly excited to see Jon Snow cross paths with Daenerys, which looks highly likely given that she’s currently getting a sun-tan on Dragonstone and he needs to go over there to mine the Dragonglass. Now it’s your turn though! Tell me in the comments what you are looking forward to this season.




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