BWAMP BWAMP BA DA BWAP BWAMP... da da daaaaaaaa!
Welcome back, GOT fans.
It's been a long, long summer, but winter is now here and the clock is ticking down. Let's talk about what happened in the first episode of the final season of Game of Thrones.
This episode gave us the most in-depth view of clockwork Westeros ever. Why? Because we only really have four locations where our players are acting: the Wall, which is busted, Last Hearth which is fucked, Winterfell, and King's Landing. Essos is all but out of the picture, and the rest of Westeros is just trying to figure out what the fuck is going on now that their royal families have been decimated.
I remember watching the very first episode after waiting nearly five years for this show to air and just being dazzled by the opening credits. And for the first time, I felt that surge of awe once again. The animators have always been on top of their shit, but this was just perfect.
Did you catch that this episode is meant to mirror the very first episode? We're beginning the final season with an homage to the first. We begin with a little kid, excitedly watching the procession of the king. Little Ned Umber even darts past Arya, who gives a knowing smile. But now she's a player in the game, not just a spectator.
I don't expect it to last the rest of the season. I think the producers were doing this as a way of saying, "Hey, look how far we've come! Hold on to your butts, everyone. It's going to be rough."
Who cried when Jon Snow laid that big ol' smooch on Bran's head? I did. Bran didn't, because he's... Bran. But his reunion with Arya was the stuff some of us have been waiting for for LITERAL decades.
And her reminder: don't forget that we are your family, Jon Snow. This man has worn a lot of hats (and this girl a lot of faces) throughout their time on the screen. But now it's time to come back to who they used to be: the bastard has a family, and the girl with no name has a very important one.
The lone wolf dies but the pack survives.
Also, can we just give a shout out to Lyanna Mormont who is already starting shit three seconds into the first episode of the season? QUEEN IN THE NORF! (Also, side note: how does she feel about her Uncle Jorah being home?)
Of course, there was one more important reunion: husband and wife, Sansa and Tyrion. Both have grown in their own respective ways. Now, they're on somewhat more equal playing fields in terms of intelligence, and even power. Sansa is the Lady of Winterfell, but Tyrion is the Hand of the Queen. They are the right-hands of their respective leaders.
We have some mirror-verse with them, too. When they meet, they're standing where Cat and Ned watched Arya and Bran play in the very first episode. A red-headed wife and her husband speak of difficult things. And even better? The first episode gives us a memory of Sansa speaking fondly of Joffery. Which she goes here, too, only this time, she's referring to the fond memory of his gruesome death.
The Smallest of Councils
Arguably the three cleverest men in the Seven Kingdoms are watching the Songs of Ice and Fire flirt around the courtyard like no one can see them and are already planning what is to come.
Even when they find out that Dany is Jon's aunt, you know they're still gonna suggest a wedding. It has to happen. The North has to stop being quarrelsome and let the Targaryens help them against the impossible. And Dany needs to see that this kingdom she is coming to rule is more vastly complicated than she could have ever imagined. The precedent of Targs marrying family has been long established.
Ice and Fire
Jon Snow rode a dragon. Jon Snow rode the dragon that's named after his FATHER.
Again, some of us have been waiting twenty years for this, so give us a minute or two to just scream at Kit Harrington at his doofiest trying to get his ass up on that big lizard.
Ok, I feel better.
Also, this is exactly what I had in mind.
Of course, the only reason Jon can ride a dragon is because he's a Targaryen, but no one seems to want to point this out. Dany's just like, 'oh hey, my kids like my new bf, this will make Thanksgiving easier.' C'mon, Dany. Read a secret Targ theory or two.
And our mirror-verse for this scene? Two visiting monarchs engaged in some incest far from prying eyes. And Dany even has the nerve to quote Ygritte, who said the same thing to Jon when he was introducing her to the Lord's Kiss in a cave beyond the wall. As if she was reading the books herself (but STILL didn't pick up on L + R = J!)
Cersei is Getting Some Nasty
As if we really needed to see how far Cersei has sunk, the woman who was once the wife of the most powerful man in Westeros and the lover of the second-most powerful man is now sinking down to sleep with the brother of what was the weakest of the Seven Lords of Westeros. Euron is played so wonderfully repulsive, you know Cersei just did it because she was bored. She didn't even get her elephants.
Not a Super Great Repayment, Lady
As reddit user queencuntpunt so eloquently put it:
Seriously, Daenerys, you'd think you might do a little research on the guy before you go handing out boons. You have made a LOT of enemies and this was bound to happen at some point.
Anyways, this gives Sam (who SO isn't hiding out in the library, NERD) the final push to tell Jon what he knows. And it has to be Sam who does it, not Bran. As the producers said in the after-episode, Sam is ten times the brother Bran ever got to be to Jon.
Mirror-verse time: Robert and Ned go down into the crypts and talk about beautiful Lyanna. Now, we have Sam and Jon down there, talking about the exact same person-- and even the exact same incident, but just in different ways.
I seriously thought Jon was going to kill Sam so that no one else would know, Kit Harrington portrayed Jon's anger and fear about these implications so well.
Bearing Some Umber-age
Did you piss yourself about the Umber kid? I did. My fiance did. The neighbors we were watching with did. Again, we have a mirror-verse with the first episode, although this one is a little out of order. We couldn't have started with this scene of Beric Dondarrion and Tormund Giantsbane finding the Umber castle in ruin because we needed little Ned Umber at the beginning to show us just what the stakes for the North are, now that it's full of, well, basically all the armies in the world.
But now we have the three, true heroes of the show (Dondarrion, the Giantfucker, and Dolorous Edd) to tell us that evil is here. It's not just a threat. It has gathered and it is in the North. Nowhere is safe.
Westeros is a bad place for Neds. RIP, little dude. And RIP House of Umber.
An Old Friend
Who is Bran waiting for? Why, Jamie of course. His would-be murderer. We are beginning this season just like we began the show, and our last scene in both is a show-down between Bran and Jamie Lannister.
And yes, both times, Jamie arrives and takes his helmet off the same way-- although one time, it's to great acclaim, and this time, he's pretty much incognito.
Predictions for the Next Episode
Will Bronn try to kill Jamie and Tyrion? I know Cersei gave him all that nice shit (a castle, a wife, THREE ladies!) but he doesn't really seem like he's enjoying it. My money is on him having a change of heart and hanging with his bros.
What was Arya's drawing for Gendry? She has some Valyrian steel so she doesn't need dragonglass to kill White Walkers. But she also didn't leave that blade with Gendry. Some kind of detachable spear?
Also, let's not forget the very wise words of Bobby B. from our mirror episode:
They (especially her) may have been kids the last time they met, but now they're adults. And all that muscle scopin' wee Arya did back in the day might just pay off. There was some real flirting in that scene.
Jamie's in some deep shit. He is literally walking into the viper's nest here, but he's doing it to save... well, everyone. The Kingslayer is walking up the steps to the gallows. Is he going to die? I think so. Probably heroically, to redeem himself.
Brienne! And Jorah! I don't have any predictions for these two, but I just wanted to highlight the fact that these are two extremely important characters who mostly lingered in the background this episode, who we know have massively interesting fates looming on the horizon.
CLEGANEBOWL GET HYPE. We got to see the Hound get his big, ol' Wight-killing axe. Will it work on other dead things? Hopefully. The Gravedigger deserves some peace.
Where the fuck is Ghost? Seriously, HBO. Give me the dog. You took all the other ones away and it's like they never existed in the first place.
The Three-Eyed Raven remains. Meera told us last season before she left that the real Bran was dead and this was the Three-Eyed Raven now. What will be Bran's final fate? Will he survive the Battle for Winterfell? What role will he play if he does? Will he return to the tree to await the next Three-Eyed Raven, like Bloodraven before him? Will he serve whoever rules Westeros as an advisor? I think the former is more likely if he survives. But it could just be that the job of the Three-Eyed Raven was to get rid of the White Walkers, and he could simply be the last.
What do YOU think we have in store this season? Share with us in the comments below or on social media! And don't forget about our GOT drinking horn giveaway, happening after each episode!