Season 7 has officially landed! We have the full recap of episode 1 below for your reading pleasure. Let's get cracking, cause there's a lot to unpack.
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't seen episode 1 stop reading now, or you’ll regret it. 'I’ve waited a whole year for this and I can’t believe you’ve ruined it, you monster' regret. No one likes regret. So, stop thinking about it and just book Mustang test drive already.
A Feast For Bros
The episode proper starts with a cold open. Walder Frey has gathered his kin together for a feast and is addressing them in a grandiose fashion. Those who remember the episode recap from 15 seconds earlier will realise this is Arya in disguise.
Fauxlder Frey declares that they all deserve a feast, the second this fortnight, because of how awesome they are. He even bought them special "Arbor Gold Wine" to mark the occasion. Except the women. No fancy plonk for them.
As the men drink, Fauxlder congratulates them on having the guts to kill the Starks at the Red Wedding. Even though they were guests in their house. And some were mothers. And pregnant.
It's around this time that the Freys begin to choke and keel over. As this is playing out, Fauxlder scolds them over not killing all of the Starks.
"Leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe."
The Frey men all die and the few women in the crowd look gobsmacked. Fauxlder removes his face to reveal Arya. As Walder's prepubescent bride stares, Arya gives her instructions on what to tell people. "Tell them the North remembers. Tell them that winter is coming for House Frey."
And with that Arya, the biggest bad arse in this entire series (except for perhaps Lyanna Mormont) walks out of the hall, through the dead bodies, with a smirk gracing her face.
Cue the opening credits! We have some exciting new additions this time around, such as Oldtown and Dragonstone. Get hype!
Stark Raven Mad
In case we were still confused over whether winter was here - a barren, freezing plain is here to remind us. We witness the slow march of the white walkers with their brand new giant in tow from last season.
Meanwhile, Bran and Meera arrive at The Wall. At first, the guards are skeptical of his Stark heritage, but Bran drops some mad knowledge and they're granted entry.
Back in Winterfell, Jon Snow is addressing the noble families of the North. Fighters and Dragonglass are needed to defeat the White Walkers. He declares that even young girls should start training.
Naturally, some old mate takes issue with the idea of his granddaughter holding a spear, but Lyanna shuts him right down, declaring, "I don't plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me." What a legend.
Since they were already on the topic of equality, Jon also decides that the Wildlings should man a Knight's Watch castle beyond the wall, much to the delight of Tormund.
Jon and Sansa also use this meeting to disagree over what to do with the castles of the former bannerman who fought against in the Battle of the Bastards. Sansa wants to give their lands and property to loyal families, where Jon wants to promote forgiveness and not punish children for the crimes of their parents.
In the end, Jon wins, the kids pledge loyalty and
BAElish Littlefinger watches from the shadows, clearly reveling in the division between the siblings.
The disagreement between the two carries on outside. It basically boils down to Sansa wanting more collaboration between them and warning Jon against the decisions that other Stark men have made that led to their deaths.
They're interrupted by a raven arriving from King's Landing. Cersei is demanding that Jon come to King's Landing to bend the knee, lest he suffer the same fate as other traitors, AKA Ned and Robb.
While Jon is all "lol YOLO" at the message, Sansa advises that he not just focus on the White Walkers and take Cersei's seriously. Jon surmises that Sansa seems to admire her. She doesn't agree, but does say she has learned a lot from her.
Speaking of which, we cut to
Mummy Fearest Cersei who is standing on a freshly painted mural of Westeros in a truly metaphorical fashion.
Jaime enters and even he seems scared of her now. And she calls him on it.
He refutes this, but also straight up says she has no idea how much deep shit they're in. Not only do they have zero allies, they're fighting enemies on all sides of her unnecessary floor-map.
Meanwhile, Cersei is low-key annoyed at Jaime for freeing Tyrion two season ago - because now he's the Hand to Daenerys Targaryen and helping lead an army against them.
Speaking of family, Jaime wants to know exactly what dynasty they're fighting for since all their kids are dead and all. He tries to bring up Tommen, but Cersei shuts the conversation down, saying that her son betrayed her.
The conversation returns to allies and we suddenly jump to some hardcore looking ships pulling into the King's Landing Harbour.
It turns out Cersei thought it would be a swell idea to invite Euron Greyjoy to be the new Lannister ally. Jaime isn't impressed and throws some shade, "All they know is how to steal things they didn't build or grow themselves"
Cut to the throne room. Euron pleads his case to Cersei by complaining about his niece and nephew and proposing that they go forth and murder their traitorous relatives together.
Jaime casually mentions how Euron burned the Lannister Fleet at Casterly Rock. This doesn't throw Euron though. Instead, he fan boys over how beautiful it was to watch Jaime cut down his fellow Greyjoy kin. Jaime is very much "Dafuq" at this.
Getting down to brass tax, Euron declares how rad his ships are and that Cersei desperately needs them to keep her throne. He also says that he has always wanted to marry the most beautiful woman in the world and that he has "two good hands". It was a pretty great burn.
Cersei refuses so Euron promises to earn her trust by bringing her a priceless gift. Is it another kid, cause she's clean run out of those.
Welcome to the Citadel! We're treated to a montage of Sam cleaning chamber pots, gagging, serving meals and putting books away. He also spends a lot of time eyeing off the locked section of library.
During a casual autopsy, he talks to one of the Maesters about getting access to the restricted section. After throwing some light shade Sam's way, he declares to believe him about the white walkers due to the sources he's read in these super secret books.
He proceeds to offer a history lesson on Westeros and how the people of the Citadel "are this world's memories".
He declares that The Wall has stood through it all and that every winter that ever came has ended. Later, as the Maester sleeps, Sam steals the key and sneaks into the library under the cover of darkness.
Back in Winterfell, Tormund ogles Brienne as she spars with Podrick. From above,
BAElish Littlefinger makes small talk with Sansa, who just doesn't want to deal with his tedious bids for her attention.
Sansa disses and dismisses her admirer in front of Brienne, surmising that she knows exactly what he wants.
Next we find Arya is riding through a forest and approaches a small singing band of young soldiers.
And because the world is a rich tapestry,of course Ed Sheeran is sitting by a fire and raising the leafy roof with his band of merry men.
The crew offers Arya some refreshments and talk about how much of a garbage fire King's Landing is. Things are slightly awkward when its revealed that they're being sent to keep the peace after the frey murders, but Arya poker faces the situation like a champ.
One of the soldiers drops a variation of the worst pickup line of all time ""Why is a nice girl on her own heading to kings landing?"
Arya declares that she is going to kill the queen. After a pregnant pause, everyone has a good laugh together and drink some blackberry wine.
Every Dog Has Its Day
The Hound rides north with Beric and Thoros, who are giving him a hard time for being grumpy all the time. He fires back by taking issue with the latter's top knot.
They find an abandoned house to spend the night in, but The Hound isn't happy about it. Inside they find the skeletons of a father and a child and he seems really disturbed.
Later the gang sit around a fire and The Hound berates Beric for always being brought back to life by the Lord of Light. Beric has an existential crisis moment, talking about how he doesn't know his purpose."
The Hound is told to look into the flames. In a vision we don't actually see, he describes The wall, a castle and the white walkers.
It looks like we may have another believer on our hands.
Later, Top Knot awakes to sounds outside. He finds the Hound burying the skeletons and concludes that he must have known them. After helping with the burial, a few jumbled words are said and it's all rather moving.
Meanwhile, back at the Citadel, Sam reads while Gilly plays with a very cute Little Sam.
He discovers a map of Dragonstone that reveals that there is a mountain of dragonglass buried beneath it. Jon needs to know about this, stat.
Later, while going about his daily routine, a diseased hand reaches out from a locked door. It looks an awful lot like Greyscale. The voice it belongs to asks about whether Daenerys has arrived in Westeros.
I think we can all agree that it's Jorah, yeah?
As it turns out, Dany has totally arrived.
She sails towards Dragonstone with her usual crew by her side and her dragons flitting about in the air. She takes her time walking along the beach. Her posse watch as she delicately imprints her hand in the same. She's home.
It's all very emotional as the progression heads towards the castle. Paths are walked. Gates are opened. Music swells.
Eventually they reach the main hall, where a truly bad arse throne awaits. It looks like it has been constructed from dry lava.
Daenerys and Tyrion move into what appears to be the war room. The queen brushes her fingers across the map-carved table and the little pawns that have survived.
It is only now that she finally speaks.
"Shall we begin?"
And that's it for episode one! Although I do have a few...
Just a few extra thoughts.
- Why is Ed Sheeran here?
- The last snippet of conversation between Sansa and Jon is really interesting. Sansa hates Cersei, but she has learned to recognise a fellow survivor. And this is a woman she looked up to once, in a way.
I've loved the evolution of Sansa, particularly in the way she has mimicked the women in power around her through style and dress. She did this with both Cersei and Margaery. Now she seems to have embraced her northern heritage and come into her own, whilst drawing some physical inspiration from Catelyn.
- I really wonder what Cersei is living for at this point. For the past six seasons her children have seemingly been her driving force. Perhaps its simply revenge now? If she does theoretically win the war and smites all of the traitors and enemies in her life, what will she be left with besides a lonely kingdom?
I honestly don't think she would ever be happy with just Jaime by her side with nothing left to fight.
- The sick part of me that loves Littlefinger really wants his pursuit of Sansa to be genuine. Sure, we all know that he wants to rule the Seven Kingdoms, but wouldn't it be romantic (albeit in a twisted fashion) if he genuinely loved her and wasn't just trying to get retroactive revenge on Caitlyn? I would watch them burn the world together.
- I wonder how much time has passed since last season? Little Sam has clearly grown a bit, and neither Cersei or Jaime seem to be freshly grieving the death of Tommen. And yet all of Jon's scenes feel like they could be happening in the weeks following the Battle of the Bastards. And Fauxlder mentions that this is the second feast in as many weeks. Also, Cersei's hair is still short. But hey, maybe she's just digging the pixie cut?
That's enough violence, low key flirting and scheming for one day. It’s time to stop thinking and start driving. Book your Mustang test drive today.