So it’s gonna be like that, huh?
“Game of Thrones,” in its penultimate season, decides to switch things up a bit stylistically, catch everyone up and delivers one of its coolest openers. Here are 12 reasons it rules (and yes, spoilers everywhere).
Arya Stark, Westerosian badass. Oh, man. At first, it seems like a flashback, Walder Frey at the head table, statutory rape-age wife by his side, all of the “Freys who matter” assembled in the hall. What are we looking at?
Then Walder delivers a speech and a toast, speaks of killing a pregnant woman and slaughtering a mother of five. Is this a dream sequence? Then bodies hit the floor and suddenly it hits you as the face is peeled away: it’s Arya (expletive) Stark, murdering the remains of the Frey. She turns to the terrified wife: “The North remembers and that winter came for House Freys” The coldest cold open ever. Come to think of it…
Hey, it’s a cold open. And more creative editing. “Dragonstone” showed the GoT folks willing to play with the format a bit. There was a cold open (material from the show shown before the credits), which the show rarely uses. And lots of quick match cuts to indicate what a miserable time poor Sam is having at the Citadel.
Everyone in black. Everyone is dressed for war: Cersei, Dany, Jon, Tyrion, everyone looks goth as all get out.
Lyanna Mormont still rules. The littlest lady backs Jon Snow when he says everyone needs to get trained in combat to fight the White Walkers – which means, as Lyanna puts it, every “man, woman, boy and girl” needs to fight. She rules so hard.
“I learned a great deal from her” -- Sansa Stark on her time with Cersei Lannister. Yikes. Speaking of...
Cersei’s awesome map. This is a queen ready for war. All in black, Cersei walks around a massive map of Westeros on the floor of a room in King’s Landing. Even as Jaime tries to talk Cersie off the ledge, she bestrideth Westeros like a colossus.
Sickest burn goes to Euron Greyjoy for hitting on Cersei Lannister in full view of Jamie, noting that he has “A thousand ships and two good hands”
Samwell Tarley, grad student. Dude thought he would be learning the secrets of the universe at the Citadel. Instead, he is emptying chamber pots filled with stuff that looks exactly like the stew everyone is eating and weighing the organs of the dead with archmaester Jim Broadbent. Keep grinding, Sam.
Biggest bummer goes to the fact that Ed Sheeran showed up and did not immediately and with extreme prejudice get Walder Frey’ed by Arya.
Word to Tormud Giantsbane, who notes that Podrick is a lucky man to be getting trained/thrown around by Brienne of Tarth.
You know what, I lied. Sickest burn goes to the Hound, who said to a fellow ronin in the Brotherhood Without Banners, “You’re not fooling anyone with that top knot,” throwing shade at every man bun every where. Maybe the greatest line of the series.
And finally we return to Dragonstone, the ancestral Targaryan home long abandoned by the family since they sat on the Iron Throne forever.
It is from here that Dany will launch her attack on King’s Landing. In a near-silent sequence, the Targaryan fleet arrives at Dragonstone. We see the throne room, then the war room, then: “Shall we begin?”
Oh yes we shall.