Game of Thrones is finally back!
And this year the season begins with Walder Frey, wait but isn’t he dead? Did Melisandre make it to the Twins and choose to help him. But thankfully things aren’t what they seem. As it turns out Arya the assassin is wearing his face.
In this guise she gathers all the Freys, and pretends to be celebrating as she has them served with wine. And they all die from the poison she has put in it. Triumphant she reveals her true face and tells Lady Kitty Frey, whom she chose to spare that “The North remembers." I’m a little disappointed that she never told her real name though, but still maybe she’s just being prudent.
In the far North beyond the Wall though, the White Walkers are slowly marching south, leading their army of the undead, which includes Giants!
It is a sight that Bran sees in his vision as the Night’s Watch opens the gate for him and Meera. They are greeted by the new Lord Commander Eddison Tollet who at first doubts that they are who they say they are. But Bran tells him of the incoming army of the night, a sight which he stresses that Tollet has seen. This unnerves the Lord Commander who orders that Bran and Meera be allowed in.
"Sibling" rivalries in the North and South
In Winterfell, the former Lord Commander, and now King of the North, Jon Snow also has the White Walkers on his mind as he has gathered all the Lords of the North to conduct preparations. He emphasizes the need for more dragon glass for weapons. He also assigns the wildlings to help man the wall at East-Watch-by-the-sea the Night’s Watch fort closes to Hardhome, the last place where they encountered the Night’s King.
Things take a sour turn at the gathering though when they discuss the fate of the Umbers and the Karstarks families who stood with Ramsay in the Battle of the Bastards. Sansa wants the families thrown out of their castles, but Jon knowing that the Lords of this houses died in the battle, has no wish to punish their clans. Instead he asks the new Lord Umber and Lady Karstark to swear their allegiance to him.
Sansa though seems unhappy with not being heard, and Jon does not wish to be undermined publicly. The siblings talk about it later, and Sansa points out Jon’s inexperience with court politics. Incidentally their talk is interrupted by a message from Queen Cersei, who demands Jon’s surrender or face her wrath.
Sansa tries to warn her brother of the Queen’s ruthlessness, but Jon is still more concerned with the White Walkers, which is a bigger threat. Both are right in their own way of course; hopefully they’ll be able to balance each other out.
In the south at King’s Landing, Queen Cersei and Jaimie discuss being surrounded by enemies.
Jaimie tells her that they need an ally if they are to counter Daenerys in the east, Jon in the north, the Sand Snakes in the south, and Olenna in the west. Cersei hints that she has thought of this.
Later Euron Greyjoy and his fleet arrive at the Red Keep to forge an alliance. He proposes to marry Cersei in exchange for his support.
Surprisingly despite needing allies, Cersei declines. Although she does have a point in Euron’s untrustworthiness, I mean he could murder her in her sleep. But Euron is adamant and decides that he may need to bring the Queen something to prove that he can be trusted.
In Oldtown, Sam is now engaged in practical servitude at the Citadel. His duties include cleaning the primitive toilet facilities. And he is frustrated at having no access yet to the books required for his research in ways to defeat the White Walkers.
He brings his frustration to the Archmaester, who despite seeming to belief in his assertion that the White Walkers are real, is still indifferent and says that The Wall has always stood.
So Sam decides to take matters in his own hands, he steals the keys to the forbidden section of the library and takes the books he needs.
Back at Winterfell, the creepy Lord Baelish is making moves once again on Sansa. Brienne takes note of this and asks her why he is still here. Sansa notes that they still need his men, and she hints that she is stinging him along for her own political purposes.
In the Riverlands, Arya fresh from her assassination, is riding in the woods. She suddenly hears someone singing nearby it is a voice quite familiar to most of us. She approaches the singer who kind of sounds and looks like Ed Sheeran, turns out he is a Lannister soldier. He is surrounded by his comrade in arms who are sitting in a camp fire preparing lunch.
She says that she has never heard of that song before. Ed Sheeran answers that it is new (and most probably number one in the Westeros charts by now). The soldiers ask Arya if she wants to join them since they are cooking rabbit.
She has no wish to impose, but they insist. Arya joins the soldiers, who notes that she is heading south. “Kings Landing” she says, which means we may not be getting that Stark reunion just yet. The soldiers share their stories, they seem like ordinary likable folks.
They ask her why she is heading to King’s Landing, she says the truth and says that she will kill the Queen. The soldiers laugh it off, thinking that she is joking and she laughs with them.
Clegane's vision and the return of Jorah
Near the North, the brotherhood without banners together with Gregor Clegane take refuge in a familiar and abandoned farm house, whose occupants’ frozen and long dead corpses still linger in the place.
Inside, Thoros of Myr finally shows Clegane the purpose of their group and what the Lord of Light wants them to do. He tells the knight to look into a fire he has lit. Gregor looks at it reluctantly and sees a vision of the Army of the White Walkers marching towards East-watch-by-the-sea, somewhat similar to what Bran saw.
Later the Knight buries the corpses of the family that lived in the house. Thoros joins him and notes that he knew them. “Not really” he replies. The Priest helps Clegane with his labor, and they try to pay their respects, and Clegane apologizes to the dead and says that they deserved better.
Back in Old Town, Sam reads the books he stole at the room he rented for Ginny and little Sam. He finds something important in one of the books, it seems that there is a large supply of dragon glass underneath the castle of Dragonstone.
Next morning, Sam is doing his rounds at a facility for the sick, presumably run by the Order of Maesters. He gives dishes of food to occupants locked separately in a cell. One sufferer of greyscale drops a dish and we hear his voice. It's Jorah Mormont and he asks Sam if the Dragon Queen has yet arrived in Westeros. “I haven’t heard anything,” Sam answers.
But soon he will. Because Daenerys fleet is now upon her ancestral seat, the place of her birth. The castle of Dragonstone, which was abandoned by Stannis Baratheon when his fleet was defeated at Blackwater Bay.
Dany at Dragonstone
She makes a dramatic entrance at her family’s ancient fortress as her dragons glide in the sky above, and she is accompanied by a couple of guards and members of her inner council: Tyrion, Varys, Missandei and Greyworm.
They climb to the top and we get an eyeful of how truly majestic this castle is. We see the throne room and then to the side she enters the familiar room with the table shaped like the continent of Westeros.
It is at this table where her ancestor Aegon the conqueror first plotted his invasion, and where she intends to do the same. She looks at Tyrion and says, “Shall we begin?”
With that the episode ends. Oh Game of Thrones, you tease.