Game of Thrones 7×01 Review: Dragonstone

As maddening as Game of Thrones can be, even I have to admit that “Dragonstone” was one of those episodes that wasn’t overly offensive, which in and of itself means it was actually – dare I say it – kind of *good*.

I’ll be honest, as much as I didn’t care for Arya’s story line last season, I was damn happy to see her back in Westeros and, well, taking revenge for the death of her mother and brother at the hands of the Freys. That said, I was definitely surprised to see “Dragonstone” open with a scene at The Twins. Obviously Walder Frey was actually Arya in disguise, and while I am side-eying her decision to get rid of most of his family by poisoning them, it was still an overall satisfying conclusion for this particular house.

On the other hand, there was a serious lack of information about what is going on with the white walkers and the wights and the Wall. Sure, we got a glimpse of the army of the dead – and hey, so did Sandor, who is apparently a fire-gazer now (more on that later and no I’m not happy about it). And yes, Meera and Bran showed up at Castle Black…ish. I have to admit that I was sad that Dolorous Edd was the one who let them through, because as we know (thanks to some season six revelations) Bran coming through the Wall means that it’s only a matter of time before it falls, and I hate that Dolorous Edd, as one of my faves, is now party to that.

Not that this was the only frustrating Northern plot. Everything that happened at Winterfell was awful and great in turn. Lyanna Mormont is still badass, Pod is still alive and kicking (and training!), Brienne is still awesome (and Tormund is still in love with her), and Davos is still there (and still having moments with Lyanna Mormont, which is always going to be A++ in my book). On the other hand, I wasn’t all that fond of Sansa and Jon butting heads. They were both making good points about dealing with traitors versus loyal subjects and about fighting their enemies (the Night’s King or Cersei, respectively), both of them threw out some pretty low blows, and sure, in the end they agreed to work together…but didn’t that already happen last season? Why did we have to revisit this nonsense yet again in “Dragonstone”? (Or at all, for that matter.) At the very least I suppose I can be thankful that Sansa still isn’t falling for Littlefinger’s bullshit – in fact, in this episode she didn’t even really let him finish his spiel before pulling a “Sassy Sansa” move that can and should be appreciated by all…because while show!Sansa may not be perfect, not many characters can be as dumb as show!Littlefinger.

Meanwhile in King’s Landing, Cersei is one-upping the Dragonstone painted table with a painted courtyard…and trying to one-up Daenerys by bringing the Iron Fleet into her fold. Wait, what Iron Fleet, you ask? Why, the one that Enron Euron Greyjoy built in just a few months! Though despite the fact that Enron Euron meets with Cersei in the throne room, flatters her, and proposes their marriage/alliance…Cersei turns him down. Which is eyeroll-inducing in its own right because as Jaime said, she is ruler of THREE kingdoms (at best), not seven…although I suppose I’ll wait and see what gift(s) Enron Euron brings her. A dwarf’s head, perhaps? Or will it be more?

I was actually surprised that we got to see what Sam is up to in Oldtown, but admittedly I wasn’t fond of the weird montage they created for him. It was a bit off putting that being on the lowest rung of the totem pole there is somehow a HELL of a lot worse than being in a similar position at Castle Black…bt no sooner did I get the chance to have a bit of a cheer for Sam taking control of his story and stealing the keys to the restricted section (and stealing books, too! like, whoa!)…then I was left with the question, how the heck is Jorah at the Citadel and already suffering from a huge spread of his greyscale?

Thankfully they made up for that nonsense with basically everything that involved Sandor Clegane. Sure, I’m a Sandor fangirl, so I’m obviously biased…and no, I didn’t like the fact that he is now gazing into the flames (seriously though, what?!) and seeing the future – that being the Wall ‘falling’ and the army of the dead marching past it. But at the same time we book readers finally got a bit of a shoutout to his ‘gravedigger’ roots, which was definitely an ‘oh shit, awesome!’ moment for me.

I was also a bit surprised that we saw Arya again after her amazing reveal at The Twins in the cold opening, but it was nice to get that Ed Sheeran reveal after knowing for so long that he had a [bit] part in this season. I’ll admit that I immediately assumed that Arya would be killing him and the other Lannister soldiers in that group, but after watching that scene, I’ll be pretty darn pissed if I find out that’s what she did. She ate their meat and drank their “mead”, and she also clearly realized their humanity – one has a wife and child, another wants to go home and help his father, and so on and so forth. We didn’t get to see the conclusion of this interaction, but I’ll be honest, I’m not going to be happy if it turns out she murders any/all of them…unless of course they end up attacking her somehow/for some reason.

Now, while I know that Jon Snow talked about dragon glass earlier in the episode, I’m still at a loss as to why it was called “Dragonstone” – after all, we didn’t see that place until the last few minutes. In fact, Daenerys showed up and walked right in to her ancestral seat, which in and of itself is completely nonsensical – like him or not, Stannis was a seasoned commander who never would have left his home completely undefended, and even a few dozen people behind those walls would have spelled one heck of a fight for Dany, even with her ships and her Dothraki horde and her dragons. Yet for some reason she walks through the gates and into the castle completely uncontested, and “Dragonstone” wraps up with her standing over the painted table and saying, “Shall we begin?”

Listen, there’s a reason that I decided to stop reviewing Game of Thrones after its fifth season, and the only thing that brought me back around was the fact that due to the season seven premiere’s timing (so close to SDCC), no other Geekiary was available to write this review in a timely manner. The worst part is that despite the awkward character development/non-development, despite the nonsensical timelines and gratuitous, like, everything…I still enjoy watching this stupid show. It’s a beautiful mess – the sets, the costumes, and for the most part the acting (let’s be real, they do very well with what they’re given) – and that’s why I still haven’t ragequit it entirely. But don’t expect to see many more episode reviews from me, because even when Game of Thrones does an okay job of things, watching it still takes a lot out of me. Needless to say, I feel lucky that “Dragonstone” was one of the better episodes they’ve produced in a while.

What did you think of the Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere? Let us know in the comments!

Author: Tara Lynne

Tara Lynne is a fandom and geek culture expert, public speaker, and character cosplayer who is best known for her Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones), Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica), and Andrea (The Walking Dead) cosplays. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.



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