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Game of Thrones recap: The fans must be serviced

Game of Thrones is trying very hard

Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Game of Thrones’ seventh season premiere.]

Well, season six of Game of Thrones ended with everyone gathering in a room and dying, and season seven begins with everyone gathering in a room and dying. Watching Arya take her revenge on the rest of House Frey is pretty satisfying, though, so who’s going to complain?

And here comes Lyanna Mormont to provide even more fan service and make sure you’re really into this episode. Jon Snow isn’t wasting a moment getting ready to defend the North against the White Walkers — and that means collecting dragonglass — while Sansa isn’t wasting a moment to let everyone know that she’s not just going to sit there and represent the family name. The Starks arguing amongst themselves at Winterfell isn’t the best look, but Snow seemed comfortable handling it in public.

Their conversation after the meeting proves that these two surviving Starks aren’t used to working together, and have some different ideas about how to rule effectively.

Cersei finds herself with few allies, as Jaime points out, but at least the Greyjoys are on their way. The board has been reset since the last season, with a different set of people getting ready to fight for the same prize: peeower. The same existential threat hangs above them all, as it has since the first episode.

This all seems familiar, but the new players are operating on top of a very large pile of bodies from the past six seasons. Even the Kingslayer is getting uncomfortable with how many people have gone back on their word. But Euron Greyjoy is in a pretty good position. He has ships. And ships are power. Everyone in that room knows that a throne without power is just a chair. Cersei may not be ready to marry Euron quite yet, but she is sure as hell ready to listen.

Look at all the places we can’t defend!
Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

Tormund takes a few moments to admire Brienne training some of the would-be fighters, because if this episode doesn’t service the fans, then what will? I’m torn between enjoying getting everything I want and feeling like this episode is basically Tyrion between drinks: thirsty as fuck.

The Hound having a vision by staring into the fire — and we have to remember that his fear of flames made this an oddly brave act by a man who has seen some shit — reminds everyone just how high the stakes have become. It was an interesting choice not to show this to the audience; that vision was for the Hound’s eyes only, it seems.

But it all came together in the final few moments, when Daenerys arrives at Dragonstone, a structure that just happens to contain a metric shitload of dragonglass. This is the material that Jon referred to as having more worth than gold, and now Daenerys and her dragons are in control of what may be the world’s largest source of the mineral. Sam is aware of the structure, but not who currently controls it.

“Shall we begin?” Daenerys asks, and things have definitely begun. This is an episode that seemed desperate for our love, even though very little actually happens, and in many ways it seems like the whole show is starting over, just with the White Walkers now being closer to the wall. But this is what we’re here for, right?

And were you not entertained?

Odds and ends

  • The North, like Pepperidge Farm, remembers.
  • The White Walkers have a giant now. That’s nice.
  • “I’ve learned a great deal from her.”
  • “So here I am, with a thousand ships. And two good hands.”
  • I was waiting for that montage of Sam gagging to turn into a techno remix, and it never did.
  • Dude, the Hound called out someone’s man bun. That’s a thing that happened in this episode.
  • Gilly’s reading lessons have come along quite well, it seems! Good for her.
  • Poor Jorah! But at least now we know where he is.