Thematically speaking, “Dragonstone” was quite an interesting Game of Thrones season premiere. We all know the show has now entered its final act; last season’s finale confirmed such. The pieces are all in place. The worldbuilding seems to be over.Winter is here. But “Dragonstone” actually made a concentrated effort to use events from the past to show who our characters are now.
Whether is was Arya -under the guise of Walder Frey- recapping the red wedding to the surviving Freys before she poisoned them, Jon Snow refusing to punish the Karstark and Umber children for their fathers’ betrayal (much to the dismay of Sansa), or a changed Hound having himself a moment as he sees the corpses of two innocents he wasn’t very kind to back in season four….previous events are what drove the meat of this episode.
Starting with Arya feels right since the episode elected to do so with the rare cold open. I really don’t care that she killed the remaining Freys. They don’t matter. I didn’t even think they’d appear again. But it was a strong scene in a vacuum, with Arya slowly revealing to them what was happening, much like Walder did at the red wedding with the musicians. On the Kingsroad, Arya then ran into a group of Lannister soldiers (on of them played by Ed Sheeran in a stupid cameo that took me out of the show for a minute). This was a really important scene though. Arya initially planned on killing the men, I believe. There was a neat editing trick where we got a shot of their swords sitting on a log, out of reach. She certainly could’ve killed them. But she quickly realized they were blameless, and even shared a laugh with them. It was the first time we got to see a genuine smile from Arya in quite some time.
As for Arya’s old traveling companion, The Hound, he also had an important character moment. He’s a cynic of course, but he can no longer deny there’s something to this Lord of Light thing after looking into the fire (and witnessing Beric be resurrected). His character arc has been perhaps the show’s most interesting, and seeing him bury the father and daughter he came across with Arya long ago brought that full circle. The big ugly man who murdered an innocent child in the first season has now become a tragic hero. Rory McCann continues to be brilliant in the role. It seems likely he’ll team up with Jon Snow soon, as the Brotherhood are some of the few who actually realize the threat the White Walkers pose.
Line of the Week
“Leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe” – Arya
Jon and Sansa have differing opinions on various matters, but they’re very civil with each other. Jon’s word rules, however. He’s all-in on preparing to fight the whites, even imploring Northern lords to train their young women to fight, and completely ignoring threats from Cersei. It was cool to hear Sansa put her weird respect for Cersei into words. She even went as far as to call Ned and Robb stupid (which is true).
My favorite moment was actually the already infamous poop montage with Sam. I love when GOT breaks away from its standard “eight minute scene where one character mentions another, then cut to the character mentiomed for another eight minute scene” structure. The show can get a bit repetitive and predictable at times because of this. Also, that’s the great Jim Broadbent playing the Archmaester. Broadbent won an Oscar for the film Iris. This show continues to surprise with cool casting choices.
Cersei and Jaime’s relationship has never been more interesting. They love each other, obviously, but it’s getting harder and harder for the relatively kind-hearted Jaime to overlook Cersei’s lunacy. Something is going to drive them apart. It’ll probably have something to do with Tyrion and Dany showing up, which is happening soon, as Dany’s fleet has finally landed in Westeros (albeit at the slightly disconnected Dragonstone). This was a major moment. I love the decision to have it be dialogue free, just Dany slowly taking in all the sites.
As far as season premieres go, “Dragonstone” was much more interesting than we’re used to from GOT. Was it still a relatively minor episode? Sure, but most of it was handled very well, and there were enough exciting moments to quench fans’ thirst for a week.
Five Random Thoughts:
- So, is tight-fitting black leather the new trend in Westeros? It feels like everyone is wearing it out of nowhere.
- We checked in with most major players this week. Notably absent: Olenna Tyrell and the Sand Snakes.
- GOT starting late this year made it ineligible for this round of Emmy nominations. It appears as if HBO directed their campaign to Westworld (22 nominations).
- Remember, there are only secen episodes this season. We’re already 14.28% of the way done.
- WHERE THE FUCK IS GENDRY?