Welcome to ELLE.com’s Game of Thrones coverage for season 7! Let’s get into it.
“[Everyone] was dead, to begin with.” -Charles Dickens, about the Game of Thrones season 7 premiere
First, a BANGER of a cold open, which we knew was going to be aces the minute we saw Walder Frey addressing a huge gathering of his wastrel asshole family, because that man had his throat slit ear to ear by a vengeful Arya Stark like 20 minutes ago, and she is obviously wearing his face like a boss. If there was any doubt, Walder has handed out marginally more expensive wine than usual to his extended clan and sketchily told his wife that she couldn’t have any. (Now, if it were me, I’d kill the women just the same as the men, but Westeros Nicole is a dark person.) While Arya-as-Walder monologues about the crimes of House Frey, everyone starts coughing up clots of their own lung tissue and dying and it’s hugely satisfying. CUT TO OPENING CREDITS.
THIS IS WHY WE WATCH THIS SHOW.
After a brief look at the dread progress of the
White Walker zombie army (Now With Bonus Reanimated Zombie Giant!), our boy Bran and our girl Meera arrive at the Wall. Jon’s Night’s Watch buddy Edd doesn’t want to let them in until Brandon says some Classic Creepy Bran Stuff about the Night King, after which Edd is like, “Alright.”
(By the way, the kid actors all look ten years older than when last we saw them. But they’re not-they’re only one year older, which only serves to make you horribly aware of your own mortality.)
Meanwhile, a li’l south of the Wall, Jon Snow is outlining his plan for said zombie army. You know, your standard issue stuff: maesters are to study dragonglass, oh, and boys AND girls aged 10 to 16 are to train in combat. Sansa gets her hackles up and wants to punish the noble families who betrayed the Starks to side with Ramsay, and give their castles to families that stayed loyal instead, but Jon gets all “a) Don’t lecture me in front of the guys, and b) I will not visit the sins of the fathers on the sons, etc.” So, the tiny children who are now heads of the relevant loser families hastily swear fealty to him, under Sansa’s gimlet eye.
(Jon has a VERY sexy, very lush fur cape, btw. I want to bury my face in it.)
While Jon and Sansa hash out their squabble (props to Sansa for reminding her brother that Dad and Robb were real dummies a lot of the time and that’s why they’re dead, because they WERE), they receive word from Cersei that Jon is to haul his cookies to King’s Landing and bend the knee to her. Jon is all “hard pass, the White Walkers are coming,” but Sansa doesn’t want him to dismiss her too quickly, being all too familiar with Cersei’s persistence when she’s nursing a grudge.
Cut to Cersei in King’s Landing, standing in the middle of a rapidly drying room-sized painting of the known world-all alone, JUST LIKE SHE TRULY IS BY NOW. Unfortunately, we don’t really get the kind of batshit Cersei energy that we’ve come to enjoy-this scene is more about setting up the season’s conflicts and less about Letting Cersei Be Cersei, which is a shame. What she really needs is a copy of The Year of Magical Thinking and a Pema Chödrön book, but it does not seem like she’s been using her downtime to calmly reflect since we last saw her. Jaime, speaking for all of us at home, gingerly says, “We never talked about Tommen. See also: All of our kids are dead?” and Cersei is just: “They’re ashes now, moving on!” …Okay.