I will start every one of these posts off with this warning about spoilers. There will be plenty of spoilers. Seriously, if you have not watched the episode, do not read this post. I will also be mentioning stuff from the books. These are not straight up recaps of episodes, nor are they reviews. I will just mention the stuff I liked/disliked and probably give some opinions about what could happen next.
Damn! The first episode delivered on the awesome. From the first moment to the final scene, the episode was full of great moments. Let us dive right in!
-I think most people will agree when they first saw Walder Frey, they assumed it was Arya, but then there are doubts. Like “maybe this is his death again from a different angle” or “maybe this is a flashback.” However, as soon as he starts talking about how courageous his family was for killing people at a wedding, you knew what was about to happen (especially when he yells at the girl to not drink any). We knew it was coming and yet it was still awesome.
We have waited a long time to see the Freys get what was coming to them. They are a shitbag family on the show (and even more so in the books, if I remember correctly, every Frey you meet is just a piece of shit). When Arya says to the girl to tell people that “Winter came for House Frey.” I got chills and did a little fist pump.
There seems to be some debate as to whether she killed all of the Freys. My guess is no. It is an enourmous family and she (as Walder) says that these were the ones there for the Red Wedding. Did she miss a couple? Yeah, probably. Do you think they want to just ride up to the Twins and be like “oh hey, I am the new Lord Frey!” after what happened to the rest of the family? Probably not.
-Jon Snow (or King Jon Stark now) does his best Ned impersonation, despite his sister trying to undermine his decision to not take lands away from a family (the Umbers and Karstarks). I think the important things from this entire scene were: 1) Lady Mormont is awesome and will be trained by Brienne. 2) Littlefinger has no power over Sansa (the whole she and him will work against Jon is probably a bit false). 3) That Umber kid will probably grow up to idolize Jon (I bet he names his first kid after him). 4) Everyone keeps saying the Lannister army never comes that far north…obviously that means they are going to come that far north.
-Everyone wants to talk about Sam’s montage…it was effective. I am sure this will be 250 pages in the next book, so it is great to see it being summed up in the shortest possible method. Although, I thought most people already knew about the Dragonglass on Dragonstone. Didn’t Stannis say it? Wasn’t that in the previously on GOT?
-Speaking of the previously on Game of Thrones…I think by showing the father/daughter who the Hound robbed (that gave him and Arya food), it actually detracted from the revelation that they died (and that it was almost certainly Sandor’s fault). I feel like if they had left it out of the opening part and just had Sandor digging a grave, then admit to Thoros what he had done, it would have been more emotionally effective for the audience. I guess they worry that not everyone would remember that scene.
-Before everyone freaks out, that was not Wun Wun in the Night King’s undead army. I thought they must have made a huge mistake too and was about to send angry nerd letters to HBO. Remember, Wun Wun lost his right eye while storming Winterfell (which is south of the Wall), whereas this giant has a blue right eye and is north of the Wall.
-Cersei is probably as crazy as ever. She wants an alliance with Euron Greyjoy (how is it that the Iron Islands have that many ships?). Granted, she finally did listen to Jaime about not trusting him. Euron promises to bring her a worthy gift, so they can marry (it was all very romantic). Most people think the gift is the Dragon Horn from the books (I honestly think the horn will do nothing to a dragon and Victarion is going to die looking foolish). However, I think Euron is going to attempt to either kidnap Tyrion or kill the dwarf outright. Also, this scene really setup the idea of Jamie being the one to kill his own sister and fulfill her prophecy from Maggie the Frog.
-The episode ends with Daenerys landing at Dragonstone, which she finds empty. I found it a little odd that Stannis wouldn’t leave a token force behind to defend it. However, he hated it there. And Melisandre urged him to take everything North. I am guessing he figured it was just not worth leaving anyone behind. Granted, no one thought to just move in to the castle? I loved the silence and then her saying “shall we begin?” Yep, it is time for her to take back the Seven Kingdoms (well I suppose it will be six since she is allowing Yara to have the Iron Islands). Also, what deals has she made with Lady Olenna and Dorne? What does Jaime say to Cersei? “More like three kingdoms now.”
-I know that people are talking a ton of smack about Ed Sheeran’s scene. One of the big complaints is that it really took people out of the show (instead of it just being a cameo like the other musicians). However, I actually liked the scene. I am by no means a fan of Ed Sheeran (not a hater either, just indifferent). I think the scene was important for the growth of Arya.
One of the things people forget is that Arya was disgusted by the actions of the Hound and yet, when she meets those Lannister soldiers, her first instinct is to kill them. She is wrestling with that attitude that Sandor Clegane taught her: it is either kill or be killed, people are shit, better to be one of the living than one of the dead, etc. If she had found a way to kill them all, would Arya be lost? Would she be any better than the people on her list?
Instead, she talks to them. She learns that they are normal people. They could just have easily been Stark, Tully, or Tyrell soldiers. The one kid cannot wait to get home to meet his child. When Arya asks if it was a boy or girl, he laughs and says something like “do you think they send ravens for the birth of some shitty soldiers kid?” He hopes he has a little girl, so that she does not have to go to war.
And yes, I realize that some people will find an opportunity to use that scene as some protest against sending our own troops to wars, but that was not really how I saw it. Instead, it was just a moment for Arya Stark to find a little piece of her humanity.
Also, it gives the audience a chance to remember that not everyone in Westeros is a raping, murdering, fuckhead. Every random soldier that anyone comes across has been a vile piece of garbage. Nice to see that there are still some regular folks in Westeros just trying to get by.
-Lastly, I need to talk about The Clegane Bowl. Ugh, I hate the internet sometimes. For those unaware, the internet keeps geeking out at the idea of Sandor and Gregor Clegane battling it out. I know, it keeps seeming like it will happen. However, it just seems like the most GRRM thing ever to hype up a battle between them, and then not deliver. Yes, I get that the show is veering wildly away from the books at some spots. Yes, I understand that B+B might give the fans what they want. But, I seriously think it ends up being Arya who kills the Mountain. That is my crazy prediction.