Game of Thrones is back for its new season, and if you were worried about spending seven episodes watching Daenerys sit on a ship in the middle of the ocean, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
Winter may be here, but despite the increasingly dreary weather, the longer-than-usual hiatus between seasons has given our heroes the chance to motor with unusual alacrity to their chosen destinations. With a few exceptions, this episode, “Dragonstone,” finds everyone taking their places for the endgame—which hopefully will mean more stuff happening, and less aimless wandering around the woods.
THE IMPORTANT PARTS
Daenerys Returns to Westeros
It only took six seasons, but Daenerys Targaryen has finally made it across the Narrow Sea and back to Westeros with her dragons, her army, and her loyal (if motley) entourage in tow.
Never one to overlook a good real-estate opportunity, Dany quickly secures herself beachfront property in the form of Stannis Baratheon’s old, vacant castle on Dragonstone. Sure, it’s a little drafty, but it will do. It even comes with the one piece of equipment essential for all would-be kingdom plunderers: a big battle map scattered with giant chess pieces. We find out later that the castle is also sitting on a valuable cache of rare dragonglass.
Let the conquesting begin!
Arya Serves Up Revenge
A girl may finally have a name again, but her mystical ninja skills are still in top form—which Arya proves by poisoning a whole banquet hall of Freys before setting off to murder the queen. Her transformation from plucky tomboy moppet to bloodthirsty teen beastie is complete.
Oh, and she also meets sensitive crooner Ed Sheeran. Can there be any end to Arya’s fabulousness?
Bran’s Back Too
Ding dong! Bran Stark calling!
Having reluctantly unhooked himself from the Internet of Trees, Bran (along with his long-suffering pal Meera Reed) has made it down to the Wall, where he’s greeted by the strapping but phlegmatic boys of the Night’s Watch. Hopefully this means Bran will soon be re-united with fellow Starks Jon and Sansa, whom he hasn’t seen since the very first episode of the whole series. Now if he can just find a tree with a good Wi-Fi signal . . .
Cersei Gets Her Groove Back
There’s nothing like a little wildfire to put the spring back in a girl’s step: after several seasons of failure and degradation, Cersei’s finally back on top. Unleashing total destruction on her hometown has been quite restorative, and now she’s got a peppy new title (queen!), a giant, Carmen Sandiego-style battle map to swan around on while sloshing her wine, and a renewed zeal for her old hobby, which is messing everything up. (As usual, Cersei has more ambition than sense.)
She also seems to be in a flirty mood. Although Cersei rejects nasty Euron Greyjoy’s marriage proposal when he comes a-courting, she does it with a frisky glint in her eye that suggests the romance may just be getting started.
The White Walkers Keep Walking
If they keep walking like this, they might eventually cause some real problems! (Some of them also ride horses.)
AND SOME OTHER THINGS HAPPENED . . .
Jon and Sansa Sit at a Table and Then Mill Around for a While
Jon and Sansa, the two Starks still involved in governance, set about some mundane tasks of ruling the north, while sniping mildly at each other the whole time. Jon, as always, is angelic and slightly dopey, while Sansa continues to develop her talent for icy ruthlessness. With all their bickering, one almost wonders if these two are a few episodes away from getting down together.
Gross; aren’t they brother and sister? Think again—they’re just first cousins. Proceed!
Sam Tarly Slings Poop
If lovable bookworm Sam Tarly thought he was going to be spending all his time in Oldtown curled up in his reading nook with a mug of cocoa and big stack of Nancy Drews, he was sadly mistaken. Instead, he’s been put to work serving up slop and collecting chamber pots for a bunch of elderly maesters who could really use some more fiber in their diets.
When he’s not tending to the maesters’ BMs, he’s allowed to poke around the library. While they don’t seem to have The Password to Larkspur Lane, they do have a bunch of dusty old history books with valuable information, and Sam uncovers a bit of information that is sure to put Jon Snow on track to finally meet Daenerys Targaryen. (Wait, isn’t she his first cousin too? Nope: she’s actually his aunt. Try to keep up!)
Jorah Mormont Shows His Hand
That wrinkly old arm poking out of the cell in Oldtown? That was OG zaddy Jorah Mormont, who’s apparently holed up with the maesters in the hopes of getting his Grayscale cured—if he can avoid catching dysentery in the meantime.
Something to Do with the Hound
I’ll confess, I don’t actually remember why Sandor Clegane is hanging out with Beric Dondarrion, but I’ll go with it. (Reading this will help.)
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