The following contains spoilers for Season 7 episode 1 of Game of Thrones.
In an incredible opening scene, Arya finds satisfaction in the revenge she sought for the Red Wedding. Actor David Bradley did an exceptional job in this scene. Arya contrasts the murder by showing mercy to the frightened and abused child bride of Walder Frey. In another scene, Arya is brought back down to Earth by a friendly and kindly group of Lannister soldiers. Arya sports a new costume, more reminiscent of her trademark costume instead of the pleated skirts, net embellishments and braided bun hairstyles of Braavos.
Dissension was found in Winterfell where Sansa and Jon argue openly about the redistribution of property. Snow stands firm in his decision. In the next scene Sansa tells him he is a good ruler. We learn that they are acting out of their respective fears gleaned from their personal battles. Jon out of fear of the Night King and the army of the dead, Sansa out of the fear of Cersei Lannister. Fans will be thrilled to see Lyanna Mormont still at Winterfell.
Hopefully, Jon and Sansa will meet up with their little brother Bran soon. That meeting is becoming more of a possibility as Meera and Bran Stark have now arrived at the Wall. It will be interesting to see Bran take up his role as the Three Eyed Raven and watch his newly acquired knowledge come into play.
In King’s Landing, we encounter Jaime and Cersei. Cersei’s redeeming factor was that she loved her children. Now her children are gone, she is a murderer and is now Queen of the Iron Throne. She expresses no remorse for Tommen’s suicide. If Cersei wasn’t beyond redemption before, she certainly is now. Euron Greyjoy meets with the Lannister twins to discuss alliances, and in a charismatic performance proved himself to be an utter creep. Jaime tries to be the voice of reason, but his words fall on deaf ears. Many fans theorize- or maybe they just hope- that he will turn away from Cersei entirely. Gregor Clegane continues to be an intimidating presence as Cersei’s monster bodyguard. The Mountain was described in the books by Tywin’s “Mad Dog”. Cersei is trying to become her father, yet she lacks the ability to fulfill that role.
Sandor Clegane is being set up for a new development of his character. The Hound is traveling with the Brotherhood without Banners, led by Beric Dondarrion. Fans might remember a fight between Beric and the Hound, where Sandor killed Beric and then saw him brought back. Although world-weary and cynical, Clegane is now beginning to embrace the Lord of Light and a more humane side of himself.
Samwell is at the citadel, and after breaking into the forbidden literature, discovers a store of dragonglass, better known as obsidian, which is desperately needed to fight the Others and the vast White Walker army that is coming for everyone. In a jump-scare scene, we learn that Jorah Mormont is now in quarantine at the citadel for his progressing greyscale illness, but his heart and mind still remain with the silver queen.
In the final scene, performed with almost no dialog, Daenerys arrives in Dragonstone. Viewers may remember that Dragonstone was where Stannis Baratheon was stationed with Davos and the Red Woman Melisandre. This is an important scene for Dany, as she had been nomadic for the vast majority of her life, and now is in possession of a home built by her ancestors. Her hand runs over the table that Aegon Targaryen built. Aegon was called Aegon the Conqueror, a role Daenerys is now hoping to fill.
This was a solid episode that was packed with a great deal of information to set characters up for the story this season.