Every Tuesday over the next seven weeks, a few of us here at The Comeback will gather to reflect on the previous episode of Game of Thrones and predict what might happen next week and beyond.
Last week, we previewed Season 7 as a whole, but now it’s time to reflect on “Dragonstone” and preview the next episode. Shall we begin?
1. What’s your overall grade for the episode? Where does it rank among other premieres?
David Lauterbach: Did it set the table for the season? Yes. Did it give us some great deaths? Yes. Was it super exciting? Meh. I’ll give it a B. That being said, because of the importance of Dany’s arrival and Arya’s return to Westeros, it was one of the better premieres.
Joe Lucia: I’ll give it a B. The only real memorable moment was the cold open with Arya.
Andrew Bucholtz: Most of the premieres have been a lot of setup, and while “Dragonstone” had that too, it also had some huge moments. Arya’s revenge on the Freys’ soldiers particularly stood out to me as a larger moment than we’ve often gotten in a season premiere. I’d put this up near the top of the premieres, alongside Season 3’s “Valar Dohaeris” and Season 1’s “Winter Is Coming.”
Alex Putterman: I’ll give it a B. I was hoping for a little more drama to quell our GoT thirst, but it did a good job setting the table.
Phillip Bupp: It’s a solid B. Except for the cold open, much of it was setting up for what’s going to take place the rest of the season.
Matt Clapp: 8.5/10 (or a solid B if you want a letter grade). I’d say it’s the fourth or fifth-best premiere, but I mean they’re all great so it’s not like I’m speaking poorly of it!
Jeff Snyder: B. This was a locator episode, establishing where our characters are starting out. It was a bit slow on “action,” but for a premier, that’s fine since they’re clearly setting things in motion for the rest of the season.
Taylor Nigrelli: As far as premieres go, I’d have to give this an A. There are limits on how good the first episode of a season of Thrones can be. There’s so much to reset and agendas to put back into motion. This one moved well. There was no stagnation, there were no dull scenes.
2. What did you think of the Arya intro scene? Was it maybe a little too unrealistic?
DL: I loved this scene and thought it was a PERFECT way to start the season. I had just finished watching the Season 6 finale and was wondering what would happen to Walder Frey’s body. Was it unrealistic? Probably a little, but this is a show that has ice zombies and dragons.
JL: I thought it was fine, but I think we all knew what was happening once Walder started talking.
AB: The Arya intro scene was the highlight of the episode for me. I thought it was brilliantly done, especially with her taking on Walder Frey’s mannerisms so intensely (including the seeming rudeness to his wife). I liked her slow reveal over time, and the way she got the men off their guard and then delivered a great speech about the death they deserved. As for realism, I think it works just fine in-universe with the magic we’ve seen from the House of Black and White.
AP: I loved it. It was fan service, sure, but it was entertaining and well-paced, and even if you knew what was coming it was still satisfying to see it happen. The North remembers!
PB: I’ve learned that nothing can really be “unrealistic” on this show. I feel that it served its purpose in that it sent a message once again that Arya means business and having that be the first scene immediately sets the tone for the rest of the season.
MC: Well, unrealistic for sure, but so is just about everything on this show, right? I thought it was awesome and far and away the highlight of the premiere.
JS: The performance by David Bradley (Walder Frey) to slowly change his mannerisms to be more Arya-like was fantastic, and cathartic for the viewers.
TN: The Arya scene was one of my favorites of the episode. It was obvious how the scene was going to end, but it was riveting all the same. The only improvement that I would have made would have been to have her reveal herself before the Frays all meet their demise. Then she could have delivered that cold “winter has come for the Frays” line to the entire room.
3. What was your opinion of the Ed Sheeran cameo?
DL: While I wasn’t crazy about the idea of a celebrity ending up on the show basically because he is a celebrity, I think the writers did a good job of putting Sheeran in a scene that didn’t matter too much and he didn’t take away from the scene at all.
JL: I was tweeting about this on Monday — he shows up on-screen, and I immediately start thinking “Hey, where do I know that character from? What did he do before?” As I’m racking my brain, I realize… you idiot, that’s Ed Sheeran.
Then I realized that I didn't recognize him from the show, I recognized him because he's, well, Ed Sheeran.
— damn good joe lucia (@Joe_TOC) July 17, 2017
AB: I didn’t have a big problem with it. Having a soldier singing there made sense, and why not get a talented singer? I can see it being a more noticeable break from the immersion for those who have stronger opinions on Sheeran, but I don’t find it too different from the momentary “Oh, it’s that guy” when you see an actor like Jim Broadbent or Ian McShane in this show.
AP: I have no opinion of the Ed Sheeran cameo. Ed Sheeran is fine, his acting was fine, that scene was good.
PB: It was a filler scene that didn’t really lend itself to any part of the rest of the episode, but I wasn’t as pissed off about it as some people were. It was there for the sake of being there and I’d be wasting my time being happy or upset about a scene that inconsequential.
MC: I mean, it was harmless, but it felt cheesy and unnecessary (it’s not like they’re starving for viewers and publicity). That’s just a very un-Thrones like move and was hard to take seriously.
JS: I genuinely could not care less. He was just a part of the group, and the rest of the scene did a great job humanizing both the Lannister soldiers and Arya after her murder spree.
TN: Ed Sheeran stuck out in a major way, which is not really a good thing. If Arya kills him, it’ll all be worth it, though.
4. Best scene in the episode?
DL: Since basically everyone said the cold open here, I’m going with a completely different scene: Bran’s flashback (or maybe flash-forward?). It was short, but we learned a ton. For one, if you look closely, the grass they are walking on is green and turns white as they approach it, meaning it could be a flash-forward. Oh and THERE ARE THREE GIANTS IN THEIR ARMY. RIP Wun Wun.
JL: The cold opening with Arya. It wasn’t just the best scene, it was (to me, at least) the only memorable scene.
AB: Arya’s opening revenge took the cake for me. “Tell them the North remembers, and winter came for House Frey” was the perfect way to end that. My runner-up would be Sam’s discussion with the archmaester while dissecting a corpse; the way he kept asking for weights in the middle of the conversation was great.
AP: I have to go with the Arya cold open. After more than a year of waiting, it felt so great to be back in Westeros, and Arya provided the best drama of the episode.
PB: The scene with the Hound had to be the best scene. The character development just in the scene alone is a shoo-in for best scene in the episode.
MC: The opening scene. If it’s a cold open on this show, you know it’s gonna be a great scene, and this one most certainly was.
JS: Rory McCann staring into the fire, seeing the enemy for the first time. Watching his expression change from skepticism to confusion to abject horror was well done in every sense (framing, music, and especially acting). Honorable mention for Sam’s “soup or poop” montage, which was well cut and had some great shots.
TN: Any scene that involves Arya killing an entire bloodline is gonna catch my attention.
5. Going forward, Euron said he’d provide Cersei with a gift. What do you think that’ll be?
DL: It has to be Tyrion’s head, right? Or a dragon? Or Dany’s head? It has to be one of those three. What else could he give her? I will say this, I can almost guarantee he is heading right for Dragonstone to attack Dany and her army.
JL: I think dumbass Euron is going to try and capture a dragon, like a certain character attempted to in the books. It didn’t work out well for him.
AB: I imagine Euron wants to bring her heads of Dany, Theon and Yara, or whoever else he can get. I’m not sure he’s going to be successful, though; their fleet’s pretty impressive in its own right.
AP: Are we assuming its not his aforementioned “big cock?” When he said he would bring Cersei a gift, my first thought was that it would be the head of Tyrion or something like that, and although that would be hard to procure, what if he brings her another of her enemies? I hear there’s a lonely Stark girl wandering toward King’s Landing…
— King Renly Baratheon (@TheKingRenly) July 17, 2017
PB: My first thought was that he was going to bring back the head of an enemy of the Lannisters. And since they have so many enemies, who knows who he’s thinking of killing, but that’s where my mind went. Most likely, I’d say he would want to kill Sansa.
JS: Unless he has his horn from the books, it’s not a dragon. No, his gift will be attacking Dany’s navy and capturing a few of the bigger name characters that can be cut (hopefully including the Sand Snakes?).
TN: I assumed Euron was talking about capturing Tyrion and bringing him to Cersei. He mentioned him earlier in the scene, although not by name. There’s little Cersei wants more than to see Tyrion die. He killed two of the three most important men in her life and is helping the greatest threat to Cersei’s rule. Euron’s best shot at gaining Cersei’s trust is bringing her Tyrion, and gaining Cersei’s trust is Euron’s best shot at gaining the power he so desperately craves.
6. Littlefinger is obviously sticking around for Sansa, but how long until Sansa or Jon cuts him loose and kicks him out? Or will he leave Winterfell for other reasons?
DL: There’s a key line at the end of the second Season 7 trailer where Sansa says “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” I would not be surprised if we hear her say that as she or Jon kills Littlefinger in the near future. Lone wolf = Littlefinger. The pack = The remaining Starks.
AB: I do imagine we’ll see more confrontation between Littlefinger and Sansa soon. And it may end with him being kicked out, but that’s not an easy decision to make, given the significant force he has with him and the role he played in saving Jon’s army at the battle of Winterfell. For now, it feels like they have to keep tolerating him until he really crosses a line.
AP: I don’t know if he’s obviously sticking around for Sansa. It’s unclear to me whether his loyalty lies with Sansa or with his own self-interest. He’s definitely going to stir up some serious shit before he leaves Winterfell, but I don’t know how successful he’ll be in turning Sansa against Jon.
PB: I can’t see him lasting the season. Figuring Sansa and/or Jon cut him loose or Brienne kills him.
MC: I’m sure Jon will be looking to kick him out very soon, and the trailers for the episode seem to show Jon (or someone) trying to kick Littlefinger’s ass. For what it’s worth, I said in the season predictions roundtable that I think Sansa will kill Littlefinger, but — if so — that probably wouldn’t be until the end of the season.
JS: He’s dying in Winterfell. I still think he’ll stick around until episode 6 or 7, but Sansa will prove herself a Stark by ordering him to be offed (either because of his betrayal of Ned or by overplaying his hand to push Sansa to betray Jon).
TN: I never know what the hell Littlefinger’s up to, man. My only guess is he sticks around for most of the season and makes one of those subtle power grabs he’s so good at making.
7. Episode 2 is called ‘Stormborn’ what do you think that’ll mean?
DL: Episode one didn’t show much of Dany other than her returning home to Dragonstone. Therefore, I think the majority of episode two will focus on Dany, or as she’s also known Daenerys Stormborn, preparing her conquest of Westeros.
JL: I really just think it means that it’s going to be a Daenerys-focused episode.
AB: I think it’s a dual meaning. The obvious reference is to Daenerys Stormborn, but Euron’s “I am the storm” line from just before he killed Balon last season comes to mind as well. Put those two together, and we’ll get a storm indeed.
AP: That obviously sounds like a Dany-centric episode. The logical next step is for her to start seeking alliances with prominent Westerosi families. Watch out for Olenna Tyrell.
MC: Well, Daenerys is known by that name for being born at Dragonstone during a storm, and this will of course be her first episode settled into Dragonstone. So I’m guessing it’s just relating to becoming familiar with her birthplace, or perhaps someone from those days showing up.
JS: It’ll certainly be a Dany-heavy episode, but Game of Thrones titles usually mean several things. The season trailer showed us a naval battle held during a storm. I think that’ll be Euron coming to claim his gift for Cersei.
TN: I’d have to guess episode two will feature a lot of Dany’s crew, since she was mostly absent until the end of episode one. Maybe she’ll finally meet some of our other friends.
8. What role will The Hound and Brotherhood play going forward?
DL: I could really get carried away here, thanks to all the of trailer analysis articles I read. Lets just say I think they’ll be teaming up with Jon in the North very soon.
JL: I think they’ll end up reaching The Wall and join up with Tormund and the wildlings for a battle against the White Walkers at Eastwatch.
AB: I’m interested to see what we get from them. I think we’re likely to see them heading north, especially following The Hound’s vision about the attack on Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. And I think they’ll have a key part to play against the dead, given their ties to fire. But you never know with this series.
AP: It certainly sounds like they’ll head north and be a big part of the ultimate battle against the White Walkers.
JS: They’ll be joining up with Jon. They want to stop the White Walkers, as does Jon, so a team-up is natural. It also creates the chance of the most badass team in Game of Thrones history: Jon, the Hound, Beric, Thoros, Brienne, and Tormund. It’s happening, get hype.
TN: The clear focus on The Lord of Light and The Hound’s seeming acceptance of the Lord’s power would indicate they’ll play some sort of role in helping defeat the White Walkers. The Hound seems to be on a redemptive journey, so helping to save humanity would be quite the finish to that story.
9. Episode 1 MVP?
DL: The best character in this episode was Arya hands down for her cold open scene. The MVP for the series arc has to be Sam for discovering that massive secret about Dragonstone.
JL: Arya, despite the fact that she only had two scenes. She got to show her ruthless assassin side in one, and her human side in the other.
AB: For me, it’s Arya. The opening scene was just so good, and it illustrated what a dangerous assassin she’s become. And the ensuing scene with her and the Lannister soldiers was a nice follow-up, especially as we don’t know how it ends. It gave us a brief glimpse at what might be a softer side of Arya, and I could perhaps see it leading to “maybe not all my enemies’ soldiers deserve death.”
AP: Oh, it’s gotta be Arya. She starred in the two best scenes (cold open and campfire) and was the only character to get some measure of what she’s after.
PB: The Hound didn’t have the biggest part in the episode, but had one of the most poignant parts and who knows if I’m going to give this to him anytime soon so I’ll give episode 1 MVP to the Hound.
MVP's of ep one .. in my humble opinion. Sansa and The Hound
— lena headey (@IAMLenaHeadey) July 17, 2017
MC: I’ll give out co-MVPS: Arya and Samwell.
Arya obviously for the opening scene, and then straight up telling Ed Sheeran and company that she’s gonna kill Cersei.
And Sam’s already making the most of his (unpleasant) library experience. His discovery of dragonglass apparently being located in abundance at Dragonstone (hey, fitting name then!) should be a game-changer, especially after we listened to Jon give a speech on the importance of dragonglass to take down the White Walkers.
JS: Rory McCann (The Hound), no doubt. Love where his character is going.
TN: Arya’s on a Sterling Archer-level rampage and it’s not gonna end anytime soon.
Episode 2 “Stormborn” airs this Sunday on HBO. This is the description for the episode released by HBO: Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) receives an unexpected visitor. Jon (Kit Harington) faces a revolt. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) plans the conquest of Westeros.
You can read all of our Game of Thrones content by clicking here.