Let's be honest! (Can I be honest?) Game of Thrones got off to an okay start to Season 7 last week. Yes, I said "okay." We were all so incredibly thrilled to have Game of Thrones back in our lives that we forgot to pay attention to whether or not the episode was good or not and we lavished it with high scores, fresh tomatoes and insane ramblings on message boards.
But the truth is that "Dragonstone" was a refresher on where we left off and a plain ending to things started in the spectacular Season 6 finale "The Winds of Winter." (Dany got on her boat, Dany got off her boat.) What I'm saying is, we only got seven episodes this season, so let's move it along, Benioff and Weiss. Or should I say, Ed Sheeran superfans! (Speaking of overly praised... just kidding, just kidding, I don't even know who he is.)
In reality, Game of Thrones has two series finales coming up: one showing us who plants their tuchus on that chair made of pointy swords -- which could be the Season 7 finale -- and one showing us how fast a White Walker melts when being doused with dragon breath -- which could be the actual series finale. Now is not the time to dilly-dally.
So did "Stormborn" step on the gas and get things going? Not as much as we'd like, but the movement felt much more pronounced than "Dragonstone," ratcheting up the drama towards impending war even further. In fact, "Stormborn" felt like the dawn before final war more than ever before, and I loved every second of it.
So whether you're here to remember what happened or here to find out what happened so you can spoil your friends before they watch it, let's recount the important things that happened.
Dany Summons Her Nephew Jon Snow-Stark-Targaryen
One thing Game of Thrones is suffering from as it nears its end is Westworlditis, also known as Mr. Robot Fever, the television disease in which everything is so overdissected by the "wisdom of the crowd" (coming this fall to CBS) -- aka crowdsourcing theories and spoilers -- that it's nearly impossible to not know what's coming up next. And sure, this one's a gimme in that of course Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) are going to meet someday before the show ends, but watching it unfold is a matter of "OK, we know this already," just as we always knew Dany would come to Westeros, because of course she was going to. However, Game of Thrones is using this to build in some serious tension between Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Jon -- though part of me believes Sansa would have tension with a bag of rocks if she were left alone with it for too long.
Sansa's argument -- and the argument of Jon's fellow northern lords -- is that Dany is part Targaryen, and the last time a Targeryen was in power, a lot of people got roasted. Not helping things is the fact that the person who sent the summons has the last name Lannister, and the Lannisters hunt Starks for sport.
Jon's argument is that Dragonstone is basically a mountain of White Walker kryptonite, so he has to go there anyway to get enough dragonglass to kill the ice zombies, and that Dany's army will change the game in the fight against Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). Sure, it's easy for us to be on Jon's side since we've spent six seasons knowing that Dany and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) aren't like the rest of their family, but I doubt wifi is good enough in Westeros for the Karstarks, Umbers and Manderlys to get HBO Go.
This Jon-Sansa fighting isn't going to go away anytime soon, especially now that Jon is horsing off to Dragonstone against her wishes. Let's hope Sansa understands that she can't stop the inevitability of Jon meeting Dany and realizing the shipping dreams of fans who choose to ignore that the two are related.
Tyrion's Cunning Season-Extending Battleplan
THIS. This is important. While Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) and Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) are ready to knock on the door of King's Landing and shove their way inside, Tyrion has better ideas and knows that we still have 11 episodes (only 11!?!?!?) of Game of Thrones left. Rather than play into Cersei's xenophobic platform and storm King's Landing with a horde of Dothraki and Unsullied, he wants to use Westerosi men to do the fighting in order to keep things in the hood.
Instead, the Unsullied will crush the morale of the Lannisters by taking over Casterly Rock, while the Dornish army will boat up north and support the rest of the troops in choking off King's Landing from supplies, forcing Cersei to make some moves lest she run out of wine. The most important part of this plan is it means Game of Thrones won't end next week!
Cersei's Anti-Dragon Artillery
Everyone: "But Dany has dragons, why doesn't she just firebomb King's Landing to rubble with those overgrown lizards?" Well, the writers thought about that too, and they came up with a plan. Shoot them with huge sticks. Okay, it's not the most elegant anti-dragon strategy, but those massive mounted crossbows that Qyburn's engineers have been working on in the basement should do the trick the next time Drogon decides to buzz the King's Landing tower. The only downside? That's got to be a bitch to aim, and don't even think of reloading in time because you'll be toast. To quote the great Ser Aemonem from House 8 Mile, "Thou only getteth one shot." Better make it count.
Greyworm Tells Missandei That He's Scared of Her aka BUTTS
It's been so long since Game of Thrones had some fornicatin' in it that I practically forgot that it was only a few seasons ago that all the Puritans out there were complaining day and night about the abundance of sex in the show. But this bout of bangin' came with a slice of romance as Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) gave into their totally obvious desires and rolled their naked bodies around on a bed.
Grey Worm was initially hesitant because, well, Unsullied anatomy, but Missandei the pro translator knows every single language. Including body language, and nothing tells a man that it's okay like flaunting your rocking bod. Message received, loud and clear!
To be honest, I'm unsure about this. Grey Worm and Missandei don't really have any story beyond their thing, so what do they do now? Could trouble be on the horizon? Or did Benioff and Weiss realize that there are enough important things down the line that now was the right time to deliver this fan service?
The Season of Match Cuts Continues
Following last week's epic match cut from a bowl of soupy diarrhea to a bowl of diarrhea-y soup, Game of Thrones continued its love of creative edits by cutting from the lancing of a pus-filled wound to a shroom-filled pot pie.
But it wasn't the direction that was important here; it was what was on either side of the match cut. Sam risked his maester internship big time by practicing some medicine on Ser Friendzone/Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) and attempting to remove his grayscale (spoiler: he's gonna be successful). And on the other side, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) reunited with Hot Pie at the inn where he bakes. Hot Pie told Arya that Jon was King in da Norf and chilling in Winterfell, which was news to Arya so she changed her plans and headed Norf.
A Girl and Her Wolf... Maybe?
Okay this part was a little confusing, but hey, we're here so let's give it a shot. On her way up to Winterfell, Arya was surrounded by wolves and everyone and their mom was like, "OMG Nymeria is gonna come out and they will hug and I will be so happy!" And Nymeria did come out!
Or was it Nymeria? Arya seemed to think so, and Arya is well past that age where you can just replace her pet with a similar looking pet after the original one dies, so I'm guessing she'd know. Arya begged Nymeria -- who was almost full on feral and a leader of this new pack -- to come with her to Winterfell, but Nymeria backed down and turned away.
As Nymeria left, Arya said, "That's not her," with a smile. (I checked the closed captioning.) So what gives!?!? Was that Nymeria or not? What did Arya mean by "that's not her," was that another direwolf? Did Arya mean that Nymeria had changed? Did Arya smile just because Nymeria was alive and happy with some other wolves terrorizing little girls along the Kingsroad? Did Arya actually say, "It's not her," as in "It's not her, it's me," because she's changed so much since she last saw Nymeria? We may never know until someone from Reddit cracks this mystery in 15 minutes.
[UPDATE] Annnnnnd solved. "That's not you" was aimed at Nymeria, as in a life in Winterfell isn't for Nymeria because she's a wolf now. It's a reference to a Season 1 conversation between Ned and Arya, when Arya said a lady's life wasn't for her. So now you need to watch every single episode of Game of Thrones before you watch every single episode of Game of Thrones in order to understand things. Got it.
Too Bad They Weren't the Sea Snakes
Bad news for all two of you Sand Snakes fans out there. I think we're down to just sand snake, yes, singular. In a battle between Yara's fleet and Euron Greyjoy's (Pilou Asbæk), a bunch of squid people boarded Yara's ship and kicked the tentacles of Yara's army. And among those casualties were Whale Rider Sand Snake and Iron Fist's Colleen Wing Sand Snake, aka Spear Snake and Whip Snake. Obara Sand (Keisha-Castle Hughes) and Nymeria Sand (Jessica Henwick), respectively, if you want to get technical, and yes, I had to look that up. Admit it, you weren't that sad when they died.
As for Ellaria and Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers), they were probably taken hostage by Euron's men, to be used as bait to lure the Dornish army to their side, or to be used in much worse ways. Yara was also grabbed by her uncle, while Theon jumped overboard to save his own hide (I don't blame him).
I was thoroughly entertained by "Stormborn" and on a scale of 1-10, I give it somewhere around an 8.2. Now someone knock me out until next Sunday because I can't wait that long.
Game of Thrones airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on HBO.