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Recap / Game of Thrones S7E1: "Dragonstone"

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Season the Seventh begins with a cold opening at The Twins. "The Late" Walder Frey sits in his hall, which is filled with all the male members of his family: sons, grandsons, great-grandsons, bastard sons, and more. He uncharacteristically calls for a toast to them, having defeated the Tullys last season. Barmaids pass out goblets to all the men and they drink. Walder orders his child-wife not to drink, as it would be a waste of fine wine. As they drink, Lord Frey oddly does not take a gulp. Instead, he reminisces about how they destroyed the Starks, with an increasingly mocking speech reminding them that they slit the throat of a mother of five, betrayed a king who had been given guest right, and stabbed a woman pregnant with her child. But, they made one fatal mistake: they didn't kill all the Starks that night. At this, all the Frey men begin coughing and bleeding before collapsing. In less than a minute, they are all dead, an entire house wiped out in one fell swoop. Walder Frey removes his face to reveal he was actually Arya Stark, using her training of preparing faces for the Faceless Men to continue her revenge quest. As the Frey women stand in shock, Arya gives them a warning to tell others: "Winter came for House Frey."

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We go through the opening credits, and for the first time ever, the revolving map stays entirely within Westeros, signifying the arrival and homecoming of a particular Westerosi exile. But more on that later!

North of the Wall, we see the Army of the Dead led by the White Walkers marching forward. Among the retinue, undead giants march with them.

Near the Wall, we see Bran Stark warg out as Meera Reed stands before the entrance to Wall. The Night's Watch led by Dolorous Edd Tollett investigates, asking them if they are Wildlings. Meera Reed reveals to Edd that they are in fact Northern nobility returning back to the Seven Kingdoms. Bran reveals to Edd that he has seen him at the Fist of the First Men and at Hardhome. The Night's Watch bring the two wandering lordlings back to the Seven Kingdoms after their quest.

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At Winterfell, King Jon Snow prepares for the defense of the North, addressing the Northern lords and ladies. He explains they need dragonglass as dragonglass is one of the substances that can kill White Walkers. Jon addresses the issue of the Wall being their primary defense against the White Walkers and Tormund, realizing Jon needs the Free Folk to man Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, agrees to man the castle for him. Jon then insists (to the groans of Northern Lords) that all able young men and women will be trained to fight so as to defend against the coming battle against the White Walkers. When the issue of the castles that had belonged to the Karstarks and Umbers arises, Jon pardons and reissues the titles and castles to Ned Umber and Alys Karstark — the last members of their houses — to the initial disappointment of the Northern lords and disagreement from his sister Sansa. Sansa publicly objects, telling Jon to give the castles to families who fought for him, but Jon says that Ned Umber and Alys Karstark are not to blame for their relatives’ actions and stands by his decision. Later, in a private moment over the ramparts of Winterfell, Sansa and Jon bicker over his decision and her conduct in front of the Northern lords and ladies. Sansa tells Jon that though he is good at leading, he must be smarter than their father and brother, who made mistakes and were killed. When Jon receives a raven from Cersei Lannister demanding he recognize her as the one true ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, they discuss their enemies — Jon is focused on the Night's King while Sansa is concerned about the threat in the south, Cersei.

In The Red Keep, Cersei Lannister oversees a still-in-progress floor map of the Seven Kingdoms. Cersei is standing at the spot King's Landing is on, reviewing her strategic position. Jaime comes in and provides her the strategic overview. Essentially the Iron Throne rules over a small portion of the Seven Kingdoms, with enemies on all sides. Jaime brings up their son Tommen, but Cersei refuses to talk about him, insisting she and Jaime are the only remaining Lannisters who count. She also mentions that she's summoned allies. When a fleet of Greyjoy ships begin to arrive, Jaime realizes this potential ally is Euron Greyjoy, King of the Iron Islands, and is wary of Euron. Cersei receives Euron at court, who proposes a marriage alliance with Cersei. Jaime, however, hasn't forgotten the Greyjoy Rebellion and Euron's atrocities during the Raid at Lannisport. Euron boasts of his skills and prowess and when Cersei turns down his proposal, Euron insists that he will return with "a gift".

In The Citadel, Novice Samwell Tarly is mired in a retinue performing menial tasks. He attempts to alert his superior, Archmaester Ebrose, about the threat of the White Walkers and insists that he get access to the Restricted Section of the Citadel's Library. Ebrose discourages him. And in response Samwell Tarly steals the keys to the Library and illegally takes books from the Restricted Section.

Back at Winterfell, Sansa oversees Brienne and Podrick fighting while Littlefinger slinks by for another of his attempts to play Svengali to her but Sansa rebuffs his attempts. Once Littlefinger leaves, Brienne comes in and asks Sansa why is Littlefinger still at Winterfell. Sansa insists that Littlefinger did save the Northern cause but doesn't say more.

In The Riverlands, Arya Stark runs into a small contingent of Lannister soldiers and decides to accept their invitation to have some dinner with them for a bit. A little further north of the Riverlands, in a snowbound area, the Brotherhood Without Banners and the Hound run into the same abandoned farm house that the Hound robbed when he accompanied Arya in Season Four. The Hound sees a vision in the Flames at Thoros of Myr's insistence.

Back at The Citadel, Sam, Gilly and Little Sam are in their chambers, as Sam looks at some of the stolen books. He finally finds a crucial bit of information about a mine of dragonglass beneath Dragonstone. He then sends a raven about the mine of dragonglass to Jon Snow. Later during his rounds as Novice, Samwell passes by a occupant of a cell who has greyscale. It turns out to be Ser Jorah Mormont asking for news about whether the dragon queen has arrived in Westeros.

On the shallows of the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Stormborn, her three flying children and her court (Tyrion Lannister, Varys, Grey Worm and Missandei) finally reach the shores of Dragonstone, the ancient seat of House Targaryen and the island on which she was born. Dany strides at the head of her party, she touches the beach with her palm in reverence, anointing her homecoming. The exiles venture towards the abandoned castle, past the flanking dragon-head gate, up the great walkway, and into the halls; where Dany pulls down one of the last remaining banners of Stannis Baratheon, the previous occupant. Dany enters the throne room but is drawn away from the quartz chair to the Chamber of the Painted Table behind it. She trails her fingertips along the carved map of Westeros; her birthright, while Tyrion joins her. Let the final game begin.


Tropes:

  • Abandoned Area: There aren't even squatters in Dragonstone when Daenerys arrives. If there were any, they likely would have either fled once they caught sight of Daenerys's entire armada on the horizon or her scouting parties would have made short work of them once they came ashore.From the books... 
  • Abhorrent Admirer
    • Even though she needs to woo him to their side, Cersei is clearly not happy with Euron in the flesh. He knows this however, and decides to sweeten the pot with a 'gift'.
    • Tormund still hasn't given up his interest in Brienne.
  • Admiring the Abomination:
    • When Sansa describes how Cersei would never stop until she kills all her enemies, Jon notes that it sounds like Sansa admires her. Sansa doesn't deny this, only saying that she learned a lot from Cersei.
    • Jaime gets creeped out when Euron invokes this about seeing the former's battle prowess during the invasion of the Iron Islands, despite the fact that Euron was on the other side and the people Jaime killed were his fellow Ironborn and Euron's own kin.
    • Euron doesn't appear intimidated by the Mountain; he looks at him quite playfully instead.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Cersei is briefly thrown when Jaime asks her if he should be afraid of her.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: Jaime derides the Greyjoy forces that Cersei claims are worthy military allies as: "angry, bitter little people."
  • Ascended Fridge Horror:
    • As fans have suspected for years, the wights do in fact include giants among their ranks.
    • Also as suspected (especially since the Battle of Hardhome, and Jon's line about this in the previous episode), the White Walkers do not follow the winter storms. The storms follow the Night King.
  • Asshole Victim: The Freys who helped Walder carry out the Red Wedding. It's quite satisfying to watch their deaths at the beginning of the episode.
  • Back for the Dead: The father and daughter whom Sandor stole from in Season 4 literally reappear as corpses. Sandor's Character Development gave him the decency to give them a proper burial.
  • Badass Boast: Two from Arya:
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment
    • Walder Frey's praise to his offspring for the Red Wedding turns to a denunciation before their execution.
    • Sansa praises Humble Hero Jon Stark for being good at ruling, but he scoffs the moment she gets to the 'but'.
  • Bait the Dog: In a literal and figurative sense, this is probably what Arya's performance as Walder Frey was to the dining hall of Frey sons. In her few minutes on-screen acting as him, Walder appears far kinder and more paternal than the real Walder ever was. Of course, this is to get them to drink the poisoned wine without question.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Averted with Missandei, who's now wearing a more conservative outfit.
  • The Big Board: At a time when her domain is at it's smallest, Cersei has a giant map of the Seven Kingdoms painted on the floor, and uses it to discuss strategy with Jaime. At the end of the episode, Daenerys enters Dragonstone and surveys the wooden table carved in the shape of the Seven Kingdoms that King Stannis once used.
    Daenerys: Shall we begin? (cut to credits)
  • Bookends: For Dany, coming back to Dragonstone from which she was chased away at birth, when it was taken over by Stannis Baratheon on Robert's orders. Upon retaking the island, she takes down one of Stannis's banners, effectively reclaiming her land from the regime that chased her out of her home.
  • Body Horror: Jorah Mormont's condition has progressed significantly, as his scaly arm through the view hole at the Citadel shows.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The point of disagreement between Jon and Sansa on how to handle Houses Umber and Karstark. Punishing entire families for betrayal is the normal and expected practice of the time; failure to do so could encourage other families to abandon Jon when things get tough. Also, the lands can be given as a reward to more loyal families. Historically, this often happened in times of war, especially the Wars of the Roses. But Jon makes a good point that it's cruel and unfair to punish family members for actions that they had no part in (in this case, a teenage girl and pubescent boy who clearly weren't involved in the decisions), and showing mercy when harshness is expected could buy loyalty in the future (to use another Wars of the Roses example, Edward IV forgave many opponents including Sir Henry Stafford who later fought loyally for Edward's restoration). It's an entirely legitimate disagreement, and the only resolution is for Jon to pull rank.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • Sansa tells Jon that she loved Ned and Robb, but he needs to be smarter than they were or he'll suffer the same fate.
    • When Cersei boasts of how she's the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and they will soon vanquish their enemies, Jaime tells her that she's the Queen of three kingdoms at best and given their current situation, there's almost no chance they can win the war.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Brienne and Podrick are now back in the North after being notably missing from the Battle of the Bastards and Jon's coronation.
    • Edd and the Night's Watch return after Jon officially leaves Castle Black, coincidentally when Bran and Meera arrive in it.
    • Sandor returns after after his first and only reappearance last season since missing the entire Season 5, now as a member of the Brotherhood Without Banners.
    • Euron returns after Yara, Theon, and their followers escaped with his ships during the middle of last season.
    • Jorah is seen again after departing Daenerys' party during the middle of last season to search for a cure for his grayscale. He's currently at the Citadel in Oldtown (ironically where his infamous ex-wife was from).
  • Bystander Syndrome: Archmaester Ebrose says that a lot of people have claimed "the end is here" and the maesters saw fit to continue their works undisturbed, as the problem would eventually be resolved and things would soon after turn back to normal. While he's not technically wrong, he's ignoring the fact that those incidents were resolved because people acted to resolve them, whereas he is actively refusing to do anything. He's also dismissing a supernatural undead horde as no different than mundane human wars, just assuming the Wall will hold as it always has.
  • Call-Back:
    • Jon brings up that Ned taught him that, "everything before the word 'but' is horseshit". All the way back in Season 1, Benjen told Tyrion that Ned told him the same thing (though he worded it more politely).
    • During the war council, Jon recalls Ned Stark's arc words: "The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword."
    • Way back in Season 1, when Tyrion met Theon at Winterfell, he gave exposition that Theon's "uncles" burned the Lannister fleet at anchor during the Greyjoy Rebellion. The TV show was intentionally vague not to name the uncles at the time (they weren't sure if Euron or the entire Ironborn subplot would ever be introduced). Also in Season 1, Jaime recounted to Jory Cassel that he fought at the Siege of Pyke.
    • The farmer and his daughter from whom Sandor stole silver all the way back in Season 4 reappear... as corpses, having died just as Clegane predicted they would, though Clegane blames himself for it after taking their money.
    • In relation to Brutal Honesty above, Sansa brings up that Robb and Ned made foolish decisions, and died due to them.
    • Littlefinger notes that Brienne beat the Hound in single combat.
    • Cersei proclaims that victory may lead to a thousand-year dynasty, something that Tywin told Jaime. Jaime, for his part, quickly pokes holes in Cersei's notion, just like Tywin used to.
    • Also, when Jaime accuses Cersei of being in denial of how bad their situation is, she indignantly tells him that she's aware that losing equals death and not to patronize her. This calls back to her season 1 line "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground."
    • Prior episodes actually did state that Daenerys was born on Dragonstone, and thus did live in Westeros, albeit briefly as an infant. When the Spice King asked if she'd ever even set foot in Westeros back in Season 2, she explained, "I left when I was a baby".
    • When Samwell is looking through the book he stole from the Citadel, one of the pictures is of the Valyrian-steel dagger used in the assassination attempt on Bran Stark in Season One.
    • Possibly unintentional, but the wine Arya uses to poison the Freys is Arbor Gold, the same wine that Joffrey was poisoned with.
    • Melisandre's prophecy about the White Walkers in Season 2 is about to happen. The White Walkers and their army will go around the Wall and into Westeros by crossing the frozen Narrow Sea.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • Sam complains about no one in the Citadel believing him about the White Walkers. However, the Archmaester later says he does, as there's so many accounts they can't be completely fabricated and Sam seems so earnest that he must have seen them. Even so, he's not convinced there is any world-ending threat, since many times before people have claimed The End Is Nigh when this wasn't the case.
    • Ironically, Sam acknowledges that Stannis was right about the Dragonglass beneath Dragonstone after seeing it confirmed in one of the Citadel's books, and proceeds to write a letter to Jon about it. He laments that he didn't believe Stannis when he mentioned it.
  • Child Soldiers: Jon orders every person age 10 to 60 to be trained in weapons — men, women, boys and girls. When the other lords protest, especially about the girls, Lyanna Mormont reminds them of Bear Island's history of training the women and children, and pledges to do just as Jon commands, which causes the other lords to see the light.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Jon confirms Alys Karstark and Ned Umber as the lieges to their respective seats, due to them being young enough to have no part in their fathers' crimes against the Starks.
  • Command & Conquer Economy: Euron and the Ironborn have somehow constructed a fleet of ships in just a few months even though their homeland is a barren island and Yara stole the best part of their original fleet. Even if one assumes they raided others for the resources and/or seized ships and refitted them, that kind of timescale is a bit hard to swallow.
  • Conflict Killer: Sansa mentions that Jon doesn't seem too bothered after receiving the letter from Cersei demanding he bend the knee. Jon mentions that he's seen the Night King, and that encounter has made all of the other conflicts look petty by comparison.
  • Cool Chair: Dragonstone has a never-before-seen — and from what we can gather, little-used — throne room.
  • Cool Ship: The Silence, the flagship of Euron's fleet, is quite the beauty and matches the aesthetics of Cersei's new wardrobe to boot.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The adult Frey men die in a similar manner to Joffrey (due to being poisoned en masse by Arya), and quite a few of them are coughing up blood.
  • Dark Is Evil: Everyone on Cersei's side wears black clothing, even Jaime. Justified with Cersei and Jaime since they are wearing black because they are mourning their son, King Tommen, and their father tended to wear black.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Queen Daenerys also has a black outfit, just like Cersei. Missandei, Tyrion, and of course her Unsullied are also wearing black. As are Jon and Sansa. All of them have good intentions.
  • The Determinator: Sansa tells Jon that Cersei never stops until her enemies are murdered.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Let's see-a man on hearing of a looming threat of Endless Winter and apocalypse insists that while he's sure that the person making this prediction believes what he says, there's no reason to think it's serious because such things happen time and time again in the past and people keep saying it before. People have made analogies of Westeros' winter to global warming, but the Citadel's policy is that of climate change denial.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point:
    • Jaime states that the Tyrells are rallying behind Daenerys because she looks like the strongest side, and Cersei even calls Olenna a "traitorous cunt," apparently forgetting the real (perfectly valid) reason Olenna threw her lot in with the Targaryens: Cersei blew up her son and her two grandchildren, meaning that House Tyrell is effectively extinct.
    • She also tells Jaime that Tommen betrayed her by committing suicide, ignoring the fact that he did so because his mother murdered his beloved wife, his in-laws, the High Sparrow (who was a close mentor to him), hundreds of others, and did so by blowing up a place of worship he frequented. She doesn't seem to realize at all (or if she does, she doesn't care) that she betrayed him.
  • Dramatic Irony: Jorah was exiled from Westeros because he did illegal things to please his materialistic ex-wife. Here, he return to Westeros on the city ruled by his ex-wife's family.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: One of the reasons why Sansa wants to redistribute Umber and Karstark land is to reward people who stuck by the Starks at their lowest moment. This is also the source for grumbling and even Lyanna Mormont reacts approvingly to the suggestion.
    Sansa Stark: So there's no punishment for treason and no reward for loyalty?
  • Due to the Dead: Sandor goes out into the cold night and buries the father and daughter, a sign of remorse over stealing their money. This led to their deaths after the father killed his daughter and then himself to avoid slow death by starvation. It ties in with his becoming The Atoner.
  • Easily Forgiven: Zig-Zagged. Sansa and the other Northern houses badly want Houses Karstark and Umber to be punished for their betrayal, but Jon averts Sins of the Father towards the current House Lord/Lady and accepts their oaths of fealty.
  • Enemy Mine: The Lannisters and Greyjoys have historically been enemies — the Greyjoys notably having destroyed the Lannister fleet in a pre-emptive strike during their rebellion — but consider an alliance to fight their mutual enemies.
  • Even Mooks Have Loved Ones: The Lannister soldiers Arya meets mention missing their family (one of the soldiers reveals his wife has given birth to their child while he has been away from home and another soldier wishes he were back fishing with his father). This is used to demonstrate that they're regular people who want to go home again, along with the fact that they invite Arya to share a meal with them. It's apparent they have only recently been conscripted, and haven't been hardened by war.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Jaime, who murdered his own cousin to escape prison, is disgusted when Euron starts praising Jaime for his prowess in killing Euron's own kinsmen. While Jaime's offence seems equally bad on paper, Jaime didn't enjoy killing Alton Lannister (and he listed it as one of his heinous crimes to the High Sparrow along with kingslaying). He asked Alton if he wanted to help him escape, though it would involve Alton dying; Alton sort of nodded (assuming he meant they'd die fighting the guards) but then Jaime killed Alton to lure the guard into the cell.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Cersei's Queensguard now wears evil-looking black armor and helmets, a step up from the seven-pointed star bronze-collored armor they wore under King Tommen's misguided but well-intentioned attempt to appease the High Sparrow.
  • Eureka Moment: Sam (with Gilly's help) realizes that Jon et. al. can make use of the vast amounts of dragonglass beneath Dragonstone.
  • Exact Words: Subverted. When Arya meets the Lannister soldiers she tries to phrase her words in such a way that she would not be bound by Sacred Hospitality. It fails as the soldiers simply restate that she is their guest and they are sharing their food with her freely.
    • Euron tells Cersei "Ever since I was a little boy, I dreamt of marrying the most beautiful woman in the world and now I'm here". He never says that he thinks that's Cersei.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: Jorah's left arm has been completely infected by Grayscale, but it isn't clear if his head/face is since only its silhouette is visible before Sam closes the window.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Jaime makes no effort to disguise his contempt for the Ironborn. For his part, Euron shares the contempt of the Ironborn for him and boasts of the fact that he's a globally renowned captain as his proudest achievement on his resume.
    • Cersei wonders if this can serve them, noting it unlikely that all of the Tyrell bannermen would support serving alongside Dothraki and Unsullied. Randall Tarly would be one example, as his disdain for Wildlings might extend to the Dothraki. Jaime concedes it, but notes that those fence-sitters would Know When to Fold 'Em if they believed that Dany would win and not the Lannisters.
  • Fantasy World Map: Cersei commissions a large floor map to give her a sense of the land. The map is only partly done by the time Jaime does. At the end, we see Dany go to the Painted Table of Dragonstone, commissioned by Aegon the Conqueror himself, who on seeing the map says "Shall we begin?"
  • Fisher King: Dragonstone has obviously been scaled up to accommodate Dany's arrival and where it was always shown as a kind of Mordor-esque castle under Stannis, the new Dragonstone evokes Minas Tirith (complete with castle on an elevation with winding steps to the top), and it's shot in broad daylight with greenery sticking out. This is also reflected in Cersei's map on the floor, which also has Dragonstone gleaming in white for some reason, when it's well known for being made out of black stone.
  • Foil: The main combatants are now both being led by a Brother-Sister Team. The power dynamics are reversed: in one case, the politician is the one in charge, with the soldier as the pragmatic advisor whose advice is largely ignored. In the other, the soldier is the ruler, and the fledgling politician is the pragmatic advisor...whose advice is largely ignored.
  • Giant Mook: It's revealed in this episode that the White Walkers can raise giants as undead, and three are seen marching in their army in the episode.
  • Gender Is No Object: Jon is trying to create this in the Northern armies, asking the lords to train their women to fight. The lords protest, but Jon and Lyanna Mormont (whose home already uses this trope) point out that they're in the middle of a desperate war and can't afford to let half the population sit at home.
  • Guilt by Association: Defied by Jon when he refuses to punish the Umber and Karstark children for their father's crimes.
  • Glory Days: Jaime invokes the Greyjoy Rebellion to Euron and gloats about how the Greyjoys and Ironborn were crushed by the Iron Throne and how the Lannisters made them pay for attacking their city (mirroring his conversation with Jory Cassel in Season 1, noting "that was a proper battle"). Euron picks up on this and without quite bringing up Jaime's disability, goes on about how awesome Jaime was then, and ends his speech to Cersei noting that Euron has both his hands, clearly reminding everyone that Jaime's best days are long ago.
  • Godwin's Law: A fantasy variant— when Jon takes issue with Sansa openly questioning his judgement in front of the other Northern houses, Sansa tries to shut him down by saying Joffrey didn't like being questioned either. When he bluntly asks her if she thinks he's like Joffrey, Sansa admits he's isn't anything like Joffrey.
  • Hard-Work Montage: So far Sam's daily life at the citadel is a tedious and unpleasant chain of scrubbing, dragging heavy piles of books around, serving meals and cleaning chamber pots.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: The Maesters view themselves as the memory of Westeros — that's fair. That men wouldn't be better than dogs without them isn't. Then Archmaester Ebrose lists the number of times they've heard doomsayers and he assumes that Westeros will survive this latest 'doom', so no need to rush an apprentice's studies. He basically treats the army of the dead like the flu season coming back.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: Downplayed, so far. Sandor Clegane has slowly developed from The Brute under Joffrey's command, to a more complex Anti-Villain, into a Retired Monster after laying down his sword. Now that the Lord of Light has shaken his hardcore skepticism and Thoros and Beric continue to urge on his growing conscience, it looks like Sandor may be heading this way.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Euron sports a new outfit of black leather.
  • History Repeats:
    • The North and the Wildlings have allied again to battle the White Walkers, as they did millennia before to fight the human Night's King (the 13th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch).
    • A Targaryen lands at Dragonstone at the head of a fleet, with dragons on their side, before preparing for a conquest of a divided Westeros to unite them all under one banner.
  • The Homeward Journey: Daenerys finally makes it to Dragonstone, the island home on which she was born. She commemorates it by touching the beach with her hand.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • Jon leaves the lands of the Umbers and Karstarks to their owners, rather than give it to those who fought for him since he doesn't want to strip young children of their ancestral home for the sins of their fathers. It also means that the closest lands to the Wall are being ruled by a prepubescent boy when a conflict is about to happen. Sansa urges him to grant the lands to the families of loyal men, and tells him that he'd better start being smarter than his father and brother if he wants to survive.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Jaime apparently forgot about (or has since undergone Character Development regarding) the time he murdered his cousin Alton solely to escape, when he reacts with shock and horror about recruiting a guy who killed his own brother to their cause, and reacting with disgust at Cersei brushing off her murder of Kevan and Lancel in the Great Sept's destruction.
    • Cersei, a usurper of the throne, complains about all the traitors around her without a hint of self-reflection, not to mention several more personal insults towards her enemies that are clearly self-projection (mocking Olenna's age, for example).
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side: Cersei invokes this when she muses that some of the Tyrell bannermen might be wary of an alliance with Daenerys and her army of Unsullied and Dothraki. Jaime notes that, despite any personal misgivings, Daenerys right now looks like the one who is going to win the war, so they'd be unlikely to back Cersei when she is literally surrounded by enemies.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: When Jaime brings up the subject of Tommen, Cersei becomes defensive and walks away to pour herself a glass of wine.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Euron says that he was fascinated by how Jaime effortlessly cut down his men during the Greyjoy's rebellion.
  • In Mysterious Ways: The Lord of Light's lack of direct guidance is given a heavy lampshade by Clegane. He is sceptical that someone like Beric would be brought back to life when there are far more deserving souls not afforded such a privilege, and finds it odd that the Lord of Light wouldn't bother to tell him why. Beric doesn't contradict any of this, only hoping that he may one day learn why he was brought back. Thoros of Myr then shows Clegane a vision in the flames, to prove that the Lord of Light at least gives them some idea of what to do.
  • Irony:
    • Tormund jokes about it. The Wildlings have spent centuries battling the Night's Watch, and now Jon needs them to become the Night's Watch.
    • Sandor Clegane, whose face was burned by his brother the Mountain in childhood, grumbles that of all the people he could have ended up with, he ended up with a bunch of fire-worshiping fanatics.
    • Euron offers the Iron Fleet to Cersei, which is curious considering that it's due to Euron that the Lannisters don't have a fleet in the first place, as he burned them during Balon's Rebellion.From the books... 
  • Join or Die: Cersei's message to Jon is essentially this. He treats it as the mostly-empty threat it is.
    Come to King's Landing. Bend the knee or suffer the fate of all traitors.
  • Jump Scare: Jorah suddenly shoves his arm out as Sam is taking his food bowl, especially effective with how the story line had been all about his monotonous routine until this.
  • Killed Offscreen: Jon Snow confirms that Harald Karstark died in battle, which was not shown on-screen in the Battle of the Bastards.
  • Match Cut: Repetitive shots of Sam cleaning out the night pans and excrement are intercut with the soup/broth eaten at the Citadel. Their colors are nearly indistinguishable.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender:
    • The lords of the North are fine and even cheerful at the prospect of Child Soldiers, saying their grandsons should see some real battle. Then Jon reveals that their granddaughters will have to fight too, and they're appalled, until Lyanna Mormont steps in.
    • Discussed by one of the Lannister soldiers Arya meets. His wife recently gave birth and he doesn't know the gender but he hopes its a girl because women get to stay behind while men are sent off to fight and die in war.
  • Medieval Stasis: Archmaester Ebrose eloquently voices this trope, noting that the Citadel is all that is there keeping food on people's table and without them, people would be worse off than they already are (which given what we see about the state of Westeros is saying something), more or less insisting that Sam not rock the boat by going outside the Master-Apprentice Chain or worry about the Wall. He also cites it as his reason for ignoring Sam's warnings. The Citadel don't get involved in problems of the realm (a memo that Grand Maester Pycelle, Lannister-propagandist, did not get) and besides, all throughout history people have made similar pronouncements about whatever the current conflict is (the invasion of the Targaryens, Robert's Rebellion) yet the world has gone on anyway, so there's no reason this one will be the exception, or that things could change. It's no wonder Qyburn called them "the grey sheep".
  • Mercy Kill: When they find the corpses of a father with his daughter in his lap and a knife by their feet, Beric theorizes that the father killed his daughter, and then himself, rather than watch her starve.
  • Mundane Solution: There's an enormous Wall that separates the Night King and his army from Westeros? The White Walkers simply travel around the Wall, through Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.
  • Murder-Suicide: Beric speculates that the farmer whose corpse they find killed himself after he killed his daughter, avoiding a slow death by starvation.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Sandor seems to have some regrets over stealing from the farmer and his daughter and leaving them to die, as he comes face to face with their skeletons.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The song sung by the Lannister-men, and Ed Sheeran in particular, is "Hands of Gold", which was composed in A Storm of Swords (the Musical Episode of the novel from which all the in-page songs come from) by the minstrel Symon Silvertongue.From the books 
    • Sandor digging a grave for the corpses of the farmer and his daughter references a fan-theory in the books. During Brienne's search in the Quiet Isle, she and her companions encounter a gravedigger who is described as wearing a face-concealing cowl, very tall and suffering from a limp. Book readers have theorized that the gravedigger is in fact Sandor Clegane.
    • Beric mentions that he and Sandor first met at a tournament; in the books Beric, Thoros and Sandor (as well as a few other principle BWB members) all competed in the Tournament of the Hand in A Game of Thrones. Due to both Beric and Sandor both getting a bit of an Age Lift, they're probably referencing a less recent tournament, though.
  • The Namesake: The Place referred to in the title only appears in the final scene.
  • Nay-Theist: Sandor reiterates this view of the gods by countering Beric's remark about "divine justice" by saying there's no such thing, or else the peasant family whose house they've sheltered in would have lived instead of him.
  • New Meat: It's implied that the band of young Lannister soldiers Arya encounters are this, given how they seem freshly-separated from their families and make several naive mistakes regarding Arya.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Cersei makes a point of mentioning that Tyrion is acting as advisor to an invading army; the same Tyrion that Jaime freed from his cell.
  • Non-Human Undead: The army of the dead shown marching through the icy wastelands in the first scene also includes zombie giants.
  • Not So Different:
    • Euron invokes this to Cersei, noting they're both monarchs who've been betrayed by close family members (Tyrion for Cersei, Yara and Theon for Euron), that those family members now serve Cersei and Euron's common enemy, and that they want those family members dead. He doesn't mention the rather obvious point that both of them are usurpers.
    • The young Lannister soldiers Arya meets left home with thoughts of grand adventure but now they are just homesick and want to reunite with their families. Arya is clearly disturbed by how much she can relate to them and how at one time she was just as innocent and naive as they are.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: This is the first episode in the series without Essos in the titles, for the obvious reason that Dany has finally come home.
  • Only Sane Man:
  • Oh, Crap!: When Clegane looks into the fire and sees a vision of the Wall, he learns that the White Walkers have found a way around it, using a mountain pass near the sea.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Arya, impersonating Walder Frey, feels the need to casually address the fact that throwing two feasts in a fortnight may sound a bit too jovial for Walder Frey, but he is only doing so to celebrate that he now is Lord of the Riverlands. If they were at all suspicious in the first place, that placates them. From The Books 
  • Pet the Dog: Arya is as kill-happy as ever, but stops Walder Frey's new wife from drinking the poisoned wine (though it's also to Spare a Messenger). It's also implied that she limited her massacre to those Freys actually responsible for the Red Wedding. This fits with her Faceless Man training when she was taught only to kill her target, not just anyone who happened to be in the way.
  • The Place: Referring to Stannis' former seat, Daenerys' birthplace, the ancestral seat of her house, and her current seat.
  • Properly Paranoid: Cersei refuses Euron's offer of marriage because of his history of backstabbing, something she's all-too familiar with and even comments on as his ships approach. He decides to get her a gift to earn her trust.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The Lannister soldiers Arya meets are a good-natured bunch who seem to have no interest in the politics or morals of the war — they just want to get it over with so they can go home to their families again. Plus, they're only there to serve as peacekeepers since there are no strong houses to enforce laws in the Riverlands, which means they aren't even on villain duty.
  • The Purge: Arya casually poisons all major male Freys, making them another great house to be effectively eradicated in the series' run.
  • Psychological Projection: Cersei keeps insulting her enemies with mocking gendered insults. She identifies Dorne as being run by Ellaria and "her brood of bitches" (which, to be fair, is accurate), Olenna is "the old cunt", and the North is ruled by Ned Stark's bastard and that murdering whore Sansa Stark. Bear in mind that Cersei is the one who had organised the death of Robert Baratheon to put her own bastard son on the throne, she cheated on Jaime Lannister with their cousin Lancel, backstabbed Olenna Tyrell and murdered Olenna's family, subjected Sansa to emotional and psychological abuse and allowed Joffrey to have her beaten and humiliated, and Cersei is much more self-conscious about her age than Olenna (who is far less conservative than Cersei).
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Cersei wants Jaime to fight a four-front war to protect their dynasty. Jaime is quick to remind her of the problems with that: 1) winter is here and they need food, food which the Tyrells control and aren't going to provide, 2) with the Freys dead, they have no allies to fight with, and 3) their children are dead and they have no dynasty left to protect.
    • When the Northern Lords favor razing the castles of Houses Karstark and Umber to the ground as punishment for their disloyalty, Sansa is the one who points out that: 1) the castles are just buildings that are incapable of committing treason, and 2) they kind of need all the strongholds they can get right now.
    • The Night King and his army may not be able to cross the Wall, but there's nothing to stop them from simply going around it.
    • Sam was initially thrilled to arrive in the Citadel as he was allowed access to a massive library until they sorted out his "irregular" situation. Now we see his days are filled with hard work and doing menial tasks which makes total sense as 1) he is a novice now and a Maester's life is about service; 2) it takes years of hard work to become a true Maester; and 3) the actual Maesters at the Citadel spend nearly all their time researching, so of course they are going to pass the lesser duties onto the newer students.
    • Arya, having completed her Training from Hell, comes to Westeros to enact vengeance... and finds out she has virtually no targets: with the exception of Freys, people who wronged her are dead or moved on, nowhere to find, and random enemy soldiers are not worth killing. The only remaining target is Cersei, and killing her is probably a Suicide Mission, even for Arya.
  • Realpolitik: Cersei gives an audience to King Euron Greyjoy, who entertains the idea of an alliance between the two. While she realizes they are unstable, backstabbing "allies", and that Euron formerly attacked her homeland, she's in need of help more than ever now. She ultimately rejects Euron's offer because he insists on her hand in marriage, but it's still on the table if Euron can get something sufficient enough to prove his loyalty.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Euron proposes to Cersei in front of Jaime by saying he has "two good hands" to offer her right in front of Jaime. Later, when she asks why she should trust him since he murdered his brother, he suggests she try it for herself, also in front of Jaime (with just enough plausible deniability that he was referring to Tyrion).
    • When asked by a group of Lannister soldiers why she is traveling to King's Landing, Arya tells them it's to kill the queen. They laugh and she lets them believe it's a joke.
  • Retcon: Of the Revision type when Jon and Sansa talk about how Ned "never cursed in front of his girls because he was trying to protect [them]." The protection part is almost certainly true, but the fact remains that Ned was never even implied to have cursed in front of his sons either until this moment, and even his brother Benjen recalled the given example without cursing.
  • Sacred Hospitality: The Lannister men serve Arya first as she is a guest, which kind of troubles Arya since it makes it harder to kill them if she needs to. She doesn't have it in her heart to kill them, and fortunately they are kind to her.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Arya blatantly admits she is going to King's Landing to kill the Queen to a group of Lannister men. They take it as a joke and laugh it off with her.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: After being stonewalled by the maesters, Sam just steals the keys to the restricted section and takes the books he needs.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Similar to Tyrion in his conversation with Theon at the end of Season 6, Jaime gloats to Euron that the Iron Throne kicked his ass after the first Greyjoy Rebellion, forgetting that when Lannisport was sacked, it was Stannis Baratheon who crushed their fleet at Fair Isle (which was in the Westerlands and as Stannis noted in Histories and Lore, it proved that the Baratheons were bailing them out and defending their region better than Tywin did) and that Jaime was part of a big alliance to invade the Iron Islands, led by Stannis (who suppressed the biggest island and was the true MVP of that campaign), Ser Barristan, Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon, Jorah Mormont and Thoros of Myr. The Lannisters arguably played the smallest role in that entire conflict even if they were the first to be attacked.
  • Shaming the Mob: Part of Arya's speech as Walder Frey is to "praise" the men of House Frey for murdering a pregnant woman, slitting the throat of a mother of five, and slaughtering their guests at a wedding. It's about this point that they realize something is wrong. By then it's too late, though, as they already drank the poisoned wine.
  • Silence Is Golden: Dany's march to Dragonstone is silent, save for the roars of her dragons as they first approach by sea. Her first line (and the last of the episode) only comes after she's moved past the throne room and to the war room, to begin planning her conquest.
    "Shall we begin?"
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Averted. Jon refuses to punish the Karstark and Umber children because their fathers fought (and died) with Ramsay when Sansa calls for their houses to be given to loyal families. The kids, for their part, are quick to pledge their loyalty to Jon, especially since they know publicly what the alternatives were (Yohn Royce wanted to torch their castles, while Sansa wanted to redistribute their land), and who they owe their livelihood to.
  • Skeptic No Longer: Sandor Clegane finally getting to see a vision in the flames with the help of Thoros of Myr seems to be eroding his contempt for the Lord of Light's presence and powers. He's still not happy about the whole "manifesting in fire" thing, though.
  • Slasher Smile: Arya gives one as she walks through the mass of dead Freys at the end of the opening scene.
  • Smug Snake: Euron is oozing with confidence during his meeting with Cersei, mocks his countrymen as inferior to him and sees himself as the best captain of the fourteen seas. This is the guy that lost half his fleet to his niece and nephew.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Sandor Clegane suddenly becomes an even bigger Jerkass than usual when he returns to the farmer's cottage with the Brotherhood, but it quickly becomes clear that insulting Thoros and Beric is his way of coping with the guilt he feels for robbing the man, which led directly to his death and his daughter's.
  • Stay in the Kitchen:
    • Sansa and Jon's conversation reflects how differently Ned raised his sons and daughters. Jon and Robb were taught martial arts, politics, and more or less spoken to with Brutal Honesty and given training on people skills, while Sansa was more or less spoiled and allowed to be a child, since Ned intended her to be married and as such not in need of the same education, and largely not taught the ways of the world. This also accounts for the divide between the two siblings and how their dynamic has changed.
    • Also there between Cersei and Jaime. Cersei is contemplating the map she specifically constructed, and surveying her positions strategically, noting that this is what Tywin prepared them for, whether they knew it or not. Jaime snarks that Tywin did know it, he made him memorize every town, castle, and road in Westeros, while Cersei was obviously not given the same training.
    • The Northern Lords also react with groans when Jon Snow insists that women will train alongside men to battle in the wars to come, only for Lyanna Mormont of Bear Island (where women are trained to fight to address the threat of Ironborn raids) to shut them down.
    • One of the Lannister soldiers notes that he wants a daughter because he's worried that his son would have to fight in battle while his daughter would stay at home and look after her father and be around the house, which is a milder version of the trope, and grounded in love, but also internalizes the gender dynamic.
  • They Really Do Love Each Other: Invoked in that despite being exasperated with Tommen's passive nature and his becoming a puppet of the High Sparrow, Jaime still loved the boy enough to be hurt by his suicide and angered by Cersei's brusque insistence Tommen betrayed her as justification for refusing to mourn him.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The young Lannister soldiers Arya meets seem oblivious to what type of story they are in. They set up camp without posting sentries, they put their swords out of reach and make their presence known through loud singing. They do not find it suspicious why a young girl, wearing a sword, would be traveling through the war-torn Riverlands on her own and instead offer to share their meager meal with her. When she tells them that she plans to kill their queen, they laugh it off as a joke. Given that they're young soldiers and remark on how worried they are about recently leaving their families, it seems like they're green conscripts because the Lannisters are scraping the bottom of the barrel for manpower at this point.
  • Unperson: Ramsay is referred to as just "Ramsay" by both Sansa and Lyanna, because Sansa did tell him after the Battle of the Bastards his house would be forgotten.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Poor Sam can't help but keep gagging at the chamber pots during his Hard-Work Montage.
  • Wham Shot: A panning view over the Night King's army, where it shows in addition to the thousands upon thousands of human wights the Walkers command, they are capable of even turning giants into undead slaves to their will.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Arya sits down and has food with some otherwise faceless Lannister grunts who turn out to be friendly people with lives and family of their own.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Sandor burying the dead farmer and his daughter late at night when everyone's (supposed to be) asleep and attempting to say burial rites (when he could have easily done and said nothing).
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Sandor remarks: "It's my fucking luck that I end up with a band of fire worshippers."
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Euron tries flattering Cersei by saying that all his life he dreamed of marrying this trope, making no mention that originally Daenerys was the bride he had in mind.
  • Wretched Hive: King's Landing under Cersei is described as a place where the citizens would skin you if they thought your hide was worth a few coins. One of the Lannister soldiers Arya encounters also mentions that it seems to be under some kind of martial law; no one is even allowed within one mile of the Red Keep's walls, the Great Sept was destroyed, etc.
  • Wrong Insult Offence: In-universe Jon reacts like this when Sansa compares him to Joffrey. Sansa realizes it seconds later and assures Jon that he's nothing like Joffrey.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Euron's plan of taking Westeros by marrying the queen is still in motion, he just changed the queen.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Sandor tells Beric that he's known plenty of men who were better than Beric but died, and says that if the Lord of Light was truly just, he would have brought the farmer's daughter back to life instead of Beric. Beric doesn't disagree, and confesses that he's constantly tormented by doubt as to why he was chosen.
  • You Will Be Spared: Arya spares all the Frey women, and while posing as Walder Frey snaps at his child-bride to not drink the wine. The girl is no older than she is, after all.

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