NME's weekly breakdown of everything Game of Thrones
Welcome to Westergoss, our weekly analysis and recap of Game of Thrones. Season 7 has finally begun, and in its 56-minute opening episode the series caught up with all our main characters while highlighting several key issues each of them will face. Here’s the big talking points.
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Was it worth the wait?
It’s been almost 13 months since the final episode of season 6 – a much later start to the season than normal. The delay allowed the showrunners to make use of real winter weather in many of its shooting locations, and judging by the visual strength of this first episode, Dragonstone, it was worth the wait. As with most Game of Thrones season openers, it was a slow start, but one that included lots of significant moments that should play out interestingly across the seven episodes of the season.
The best bits
1. Arya’s opening scene
This moment of pure class saw Walder Frey poisoning his entire family at a feast, before revealing himself to be… Arya Stark. She had first showed her face-changing prowess when she avenged her family in the season 6 finale – she killed Walder Frey to take his face in preparation for this trick – and this moment proved how much of a danger she is to her foes, among whom is Cersei Lannister.
2. Sam’s montage
Funny scenes are plentiful in Game of Thrones, but this supremely weird and memorable montage fast-forwarded through Samwell Tarly’s miserable training at the Citadel in the most entertaining way possible. Bravo to D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, who pieced together his book-clunking, bedpan-clattering, dry-heaving and soup-dolloping into a strangely rhythmic mix and avoided us having to spend any more time with sad Sam than necessary.
3. The White Walkers’ march
Short but sour: this terrifying reminder of the steady onslaught of the White Walkers showed us the seemingly unstoppable might of the Night King’s forces, which include three ice-giants.
4. Daenerys comes home
It was more of a full stop than a question mark to end the episode: Daenerys arrived to reclaim her former home, taking down Stannis’ ‘burning stag’ Baratheon sigil and taking her place on the throne. Her final line – “Shall we begin?” – was, if anything, a statement of intent. The battle for Westeros is on.
Fan theory of the week: What will Euron give to Cersei?
This is the question on most fans’ lips. The silver-tongued Greyjoy villain proposed to Cersei, and after she turned him down he promised to return bearing gifts that would convince her otherwise. We’ve delved into it in more depth in the link above, but the candidates are currently: the Dragonbinder horn; Tyrion; Gendry; or the Sand Snakes. Let us know what you reckon in the comments.
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- There’s tension between Sansa and Jon, and her revelation that she “learned a great deal from Cersei” might strike fear into some hearts.
- Sansa told Brienne she knows what Littlefinger wants. What is she plotting?
- The scene between Sam and the Archmaester resembled a scene from Harry Potter and fans are excited. Is Sam the new Voldemort? (Probably not, no.)
- Sam has the key to Jon’s dragonglass shortage: it’s in a mine under Dragonstone. She doesn’t know it right now, but Daenerys is sitting on the materials needed to defeat the white walkers.
- Good on Lyanna Mormont for insisting that all women and girls should receive the same fighting training as the boys.
- How did Jorah Mormont get into prison in the Citadel? Is Sam going to break him out and take him back to Daenerys?
- Sandor Clegane has a soul after all, and proof lies in the identities of the people The Hound buried in this week’s episode: they were a farmer and his daughter, from whom Clegane had stolen years before.
- Ed Sheeran’s got a new song:
Quotes of the week
- “Everything before the word ‘but’ is horseshit” – as told to Jon Snow by Ned Stark. We’re not saying he’s wrong, but… here are some better quotes
- “You think you’re fooling anyone with that top knot?” – Sandor Clegane, telling Thoros of Myr that everyone knows he’s balding.
- “Here I am with 1000 ships and two good hands” – Euron Greyjoy’s proposal to Cersei, while looking pointedly at Jaime.
Next episode predictions
Judging by the above trailer, next week we can expect to see:
- Jon Snow and Cersei hearing of Daenerys’ arrival in Westeros and reacting in different ways; Jon Snow seems to want to meet her; Cersei is firmly against her.
- Cersei’s allies (the Greyjoys and the Sand Snakes) planning on leading a fleet against King’s Landing, attacking Cersei and her Lannisters.
- Things heating up between Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand
- Littlefinger getting throttled
- A Sand Snake fighting someone in a cabin
- Arya’s long-lost direwolf Nymeria growling – at Arya.