Game of Thrones Season 7 begins with a bloody good cold open and then only improves. It is a deep breath khổng lồ savor before the final plunge.

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But as one music superstar bạn dies, another is born in Arya’s next scene when Ed Sheeran appears as a Lannister soldier singing a ditty that not-so-surprisingly catches Arya Stark’s ear. Like her, I did not recognize it, và Ser Sheeran informs us that it’s a new tuy nhiên. Considering this is a world where there appear to lớn be only two other musical compositions of record (“The Rains of Castamere” và “The Bear và the Maiden Fair” for those keeping count), this is a really big giảm giá. Yeah, Arya, you do need to investigate that!

Upon sitting with Lannister men, we are informed on a few intriguing details. First, Arya is now tough và brave sầu enough to lớn not only be traveling alone (something that terrified her in season 4), but to vị so on the King’s Road. Part of the reason it took her forever khổng lồ get anywhere in the early seasons was because she always had to stay off this war-torn highway. Yet here she is marching toward King’s Landing.

It’s intriguing, as I assumed she’d head North once she heard that Jon Snow & Sansa Stark have sầu retaken Winterfell, & that she has living blood relatives. But no, vengeance has consumed her so completely that she is heading toward King’s Landing & her final major targets: Queen Cersei Lannister và Ser Gregor Clegane. She even confides as much lớn these soldiers, who in addition to enjoying pop star-unique musicality are also the kindest & sweethử nghiệm hearted band of brothers this side of a Spielberg movie. For once, there is nary a threat of violence against Arya’s toàn thân by total strangers in Westeros. What a novelty.

Nevertheless, Arya can’t resist telling them that she still intends khổng lồ kill the queen. It’s fascinating khổng lồ watch Maisie Williams in this moment for there is noticeable disappointment flickering in her eyes as they laugh it off. Surely, what kind of teenage naive would actually volunteer a penchant for treason? But these boyos take it in better stride than protestors at a production of Julius Caesar. This is a disappointment lớn the she-wolf, because even after hearing their sob stories, Arya seemed lớn covet the idea of them taking offense or raising a sword against her. Nothing lượt thích a good workout of fencing & dismemberment. But it wasn’t khổng lồ be. Maybe that’ll come next week as Arya’s story continues to unfold in such bloody good ways.


Farther khổng lồ the North, Arya’s siblings make good on that teasing in the press of a “Jon vs. Sansa” season. In their very first scene, conflict is immediately & publicly sown when Sansa vocally disagrees with her king over sparing the ancestral homes of the Karstarks and Umbers. In the scene, Jon rather progressively reveals he is going khổng lồ draft women to lớn fight his wars. The moment itself is curious since it seems he hasn’t learned much from the successful mutiny at the Wall that took his first life. Rather than convincing his vassals that they absolutely need women khổng lồ fight for them, he simply decrees that they shall, và then shrugs at the opposition.

Thank the Seven for Lyanmãng cầu Mormont. The Lady of Bear Isl& proves to be a better communicator than her king as she shuts the opposition down like the pint-sized, woke little warrior that she is. But Jon again shows a tendency lớn be his adopted father’s son when he forgives the Karstark & Umber heirs without batting an eye or even extracting a tax.

The scene is meant, I suspect, khổng lồ show the humanity of Jon và the curdling cynicism that is growing in Sansa. While obviously, Jon’s folly in the moment is having made this decision apparently without consulting his sister or any potential counsel, the living Karstark và Umber faces are presented as wholly good and desperate for Jon and the North’s approval & kinship.

That’s all well và good, but that feels more akin khổng lồ David Benioff và D.B. Weiss drawing heavy handed lines in their conflict, as opposed lớn George R.R. Martin’s patented ambiguity. If the heirs really were this young and eager to please, they almost certainly are then susceptible lớn their own family’s adult advisers who might be less forgiving. Consider that while Lord Karstark và Lord Umber died at Bastard Bowl, the men who confided in them about betraying the Starks are still alive, & likely whispering in these children’s ears since Jon refuses to punish his enemies. Seven Hells, even Ned Stark knew lớn take Theon Greyjoy as hostage after the Iron Island uprising.

Honestly, this is not that far removed from Jon ignoring Stannis’ advice và keeping Ser Alliser Thorne at Castle Blaông chồng, as opposed khổng lồ whichever Night’s Watch post placed the maximum amount of distance between them.

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But in the context of this show, I suspect that the lingering doubt that should be placed on Umbers & Karstarks will be swept under the rug, and Jon is humane for sparing their families, & Sansa is cruel for wishing anything but that. Yet Sansa in the over is worthy of her own doubt, if for no other reason than she continues khổng lồ keep Littlefinger around. While I bởi not think she’ll betray her brother, it is troubling that she tells Brienne that “I know exactly what he wants,” because so vì chưng we. He wants to be king with her as his wife. The quickest way of achieving both goals would be making Jon Snow disappear.

While I don’t think Sansa is consciously thinking about this, on a subconscious màn chơi it is worth at least pondering over. Jon is wrong to not heed his sister’s advice after she saved the Battle of the Bastards from his blundering. But he has one small point: It does sound lượt thích she admires Cersei Lannister more than she considers Jon’s verifiable fears. And she even sounds lượt thích the Lannister Queen when she condescends dripping disdain toward Petyr Baelish. He deserves it, but it is still a more Lannister like confrontation than it is of a Stark dealing with her aide. Then again, Sansa did note the last two Stark patriarchs ended up without heads, và if Jon continues governing like he did at the Wall, his might vanish again one of these days.


As for the real Cersei, the big takeaway of the evening is that she is joining forces with Euron Greyjoy. This is fairly remarkable since Euron proves lớn be as lousy a negotiator as he does a tactician. He boasts of his derring-vày và of setting Lannisport abLaser, but as Jaime Lannister so wryly points out, it led lớn the slaughter of many Greyjoys… plenty of them at the Kingslayer’s hand.

Euron’s retorts are charmingly hilarious for audiences. “It was getting too crowded, anyway.” But his mismanagement of the Greyjoy Uprising is not that different than his more recent power grab on the Iron Islands. He claims lớn be a cunning man worthy of Cersei Lannister’s hand in marriage, but he so fumbled his ascension in the Kingsmoot throne that he let the best Navy in the world be usurped right out from under him by his niece và eunuch nephew.

And here he is pretty much pledging allegiance khổng lồ Cersei on an offer of marriage that she did not consent lớn, nor will she. While she might actually be flattered by his interest, và that she is now called the most beautiful woman in the world again (take that Margaery, ye corpse!!!), but Cersei has gone her entire life resentful that she was born a woman & condemned to lớn be a bargaining chip via her bridal bed. She will never take another husband again, và especially one as uncouth as a Greyjoy.

He has only two points in his favor: He knows how to lớn push Cersei’s “Must Kill Tyrion” button, and he has a Navy. He might hail from a tiny và unimpressive islvà, but lượt thích the fighting English at the height of its empire, his isle has the best maritime military out there. Well, other than the one he let his niece steal… và he gave up his second-best fleet to lớn Cersei without any guarantees in return.

Truly, these Iron Islanders will always be the also-ran, “the South shall rise again!” types of Westeros. Oy.

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As for Cersei and Jaime themselves, Cersei might enjoy having a suitor of a kind in Euron, if only khổng lồ annoy her twin-cest lover a little more. However, theirs is the real romance, even as it bleeds out. Jaime wants lớn talk about the death of Tommen, their last son, but Cersei is nhảy đầm around the room of her very own life-sized Dungeons & Dragons board, lamenting enemies everywhere. “Olenmãng cầu, the old cunt, another traitor; enemies to lớn the North, Ned Stark’s bastard has been named King in the North, and that murdering whore Sansa stands beside hlặng.”

The more she whines, the more Jaime looks at her in pain, seeing the spectral shade of the Mad King he once slayed in a different shape. While she is surrounded, she is also being consumed by total power và the madness it’s wrought on her psyđậy. Talking about a dynasty that will reign a thous& years when all of her children are dead, và it is unlikely that she’ll never have another (certainly legitimately, as her taking a husband is remote), is not Tywin-lượt thích. It’s Aerys Redux.

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They’re all that’s left, & instead of drawing closer, Cersei retreats further inkhổng lồ her delusions of power. If Varys was right to say in season 2 that power is a trick on the wall, Cersei is running headlong inkhổng lồ it. And Jaime can’t stop her, not when she’ll throw Tyrion’s name at hyên ổn if he even raises the smallest of objections. Their path is a doomed one, and it’s all the more gryên ổn that only he is faintly aware of the encroaching shadows.