“Game of Thrones” Season 7, Episode 1 Recap: Dragonstone, Sweet Dragon

Is it just me, or is “Game of Thrones” getting to be a lot of fun? Last night’s Season 7 première jumped right in, beginning not with some noble
slog through icy effects and mysticism but with our old friend revenge,
served in goblets. Walder Frey, the Stark-murdering bastard we saw Arya
kill at the end of last season, is having a party. “You’re wondering why
I brought you all here,” he barks. “Since when does old Walder give us
two feasts in a single fortnight?” Well, he doesn’t. Even if Frey
weren’t dead, he’d have P.T.S.D. about dining halls. It’s shape-shifting
Arya under that face, insulting him even as she inhabits him! Well done,
kid. She serves everybody wine, lavishly identifying them as “every Frey
who means a damn thing” and “the men who helped me slaughter the Starks
at the Red Wedding”—there’s a lot of exposition in this episode—and
then, as they drink, she begins to enumerate their crimes.
Comprehension, or at least alarm, begins to dawn on the faces of the
assembled, because of Arya’s provocative remarks and also because their
insides are melting. (Between her gallons of poisoned wine and her
labor-intensive son-filled murder pie, Arya’s getting to be quite the
chef.) “Leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe!” she says,
smiling, and then ripping the Walder Frey face off. Hello, little wolf.
She tells one of the survivors of this mayhem—a startled young woman
nearby—“When people ask you what happened here, tell them the North
Remembers. Tell them Winter came for House Frey.” Delicious. Cue titles!

Oh, it’s good to be back, spinning madly across those ancient-style maps
and gleaming armillary spheres. The rest of
Season 7, Episode 1—“Dragonstone”— proceeds in a jolly combination of
plot advancement and plot explanation, with visual glories and horrors
accompanying. In the show’s two final, shortened seasons, much has to
happen: throne-jockeying is reaching a fever pitch now…

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