FULL SPOILERS BELOW
Thank the old gods and the new, Game of Thrones is back!
This episode was exactly what I needed after almost two years away from Westeros. First of all, that was one of the best title sequences the show has ever had. Starting by showing the wall being broken and the encroaching ice making its way through the north set the tone perfectly for what was to come.
Once the show actually started it hit us right in the face with a shitload of reunions. I have to say, even though Jon and Arya haven’t seen each other since the beginning of Season 1, my favorite reunion by far was Arya and The Hound seeing each other for the first time since she left him for dead in Season 4. These two always had a level of mutual respect for each other, and this is never more evident than when they see each other after a long absence and it’s all business and no hugs or any of that other bullshit. They’re each happy to see that the other is alive, and they move on.
Sam finding out directly from Daenerys that she killed his father and brother was a particularly heart wrenching scene, but one that I think we deserved. That decision held less weight when it happened, but watching the agony on Sam’s face brought it right back to the forefront and made us confront how we feel about Daenerys as a protagonist.
I have to say, that dragon riding scene reminded me so much of the pod-racing scene from The Phantom Menace. Yes it was visually stunning, but for fuck’s sake, did we need it? The only purpose I can think of that it served is to let the viewer know that Jon is definitely a Targaryen because he can handle a dragon (but we already knew that).
“When that kid came back to life at the end I just about shit my pants.”
One of my favorite bits came towards the end when Tormund and Beric Dondarrion are lurking in the tunnels beneath the wall. This was like something out of a Resident Evil game, and I fucking loved it. Then when that kid came back to life at the end I just about shit my pants. I hope this season is filled with quasi-horror motifs like that, because we are in the end game now, and I want the full brunt of the White Walkers to come front and center as we inch closer towards the final fight between the living and the dead.
Final thoughts: Jon and Arya reuniting gave me the feels, big time. Jaime seeing Bran at the end is a moment that I think will go unnoticed by most, and that was so huge. These two characters altered each other’s lives in unimaginable ways, and this is the first time they’ve seen each other since Episode 1. The Sansa/Daenerys rivalry feels a bit obvious, but let’s face it, it’s GoT and no two women characters have ever liked each other at first.
Winter is here. Now go watch Veep.