“I used to think you were the cleverest man alive.” Sansa Stark
The citizens of Winter Town finally get to see the Dragon Queen, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), when she, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and her large army stage a royal procession to Winterfell. The common folk give Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) the dirty looks you’d expect a Trump rally to give Colin Kaepernick if he rode by. Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) is in the crowd but is disappointed that Jon doesn’t see her. She perks up in wonder when she sees the dragons fly over her. The Lady of Winterfell, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) looks worriedly upon it. She greets Jon with a warm hug but she treats Daenerys coolly. Jon sees Bran Stark (Issac Hempstead Wright) and runs to him to give him a hug. Jon: “Look at you! You’re a man!” Bran: “Almost.” Sansa gives Jon a smile that says, ‘Yeah he’s weird’.
Daenerys and Jon meet with the royal court. They aren’t being friendly to Daenerys either. Lady Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) seems to speak for everyone, “You left Winterfell a king and came back … I’m not sure what you are now, a lord? Nothing at all?” Jon tries to explain that Daenerys is there with her army and dragons to defeat the army of the dead. Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) joins in to help Jon, but when he mentions the Lannister army is marching up north to join them, he immediately loses his audience. Sansa stays on the negative train by complaining to Daenerys that she doesn’t know how she can feed Daenerys’ army. Sansa: “What do dragons eat, anyway?” Daenerys: “Whatever they want.”
Later Sansa and Tyrion speak privately. Tyrion: “The last time we spoke was at Joffrey’s wedding. A miserable affair.” Sansa: “It had its moments.” Sansa apologizes for bolting, leaving Tyrion to take the blame for killing Joffrey. Tyrion notes that people underestimated Sansa and that most of those people are dead now. He tries to sell Sansa on the Lannister army coming to help the north. Sansa wonders why Tyrion actually thinks his sister Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) will send her army. He tells her Cersei has something to live for. Sansa looks at him and says with a mixture of pity and contempt, “I used to think you were the cleverest man alive.”
Jon is in the Godswood when Arya sneaks up on him. Arya: “You used to be taller.” Jon: “How did you sneak up on me?” Arya: “How did you survive a knife through the heart?” Jon: “I didn’t.” He picks her up in a hug. They show off their swords. Jon: “You still have it.” Arya: “Needle.” Jon: “Have you ever used it?” Arya: “Once or twice.” Jon tells her he could have used her when he was talking to Sansa. He complains that Sansa thinks she knows everything, Arya tells him Sansa is the smartest person she knows. Jon is surprised that Arya is standing up for Sansa. Arya tells him Sansa is only looking out for the family. Jon says he is too. Arya hugs him and tells him to remember that.
“You might be the most arrogant man I’ve ever met. I like that.” Cersei Lannister
Meanwhile in Kings Landing, Cersei is waiting for Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) to deliver the Golden Company to her. Qyburn (Anton Lesser) walks in to inform her the dead have broken through the wall. Cersei smiles and says “good” as she watches Euron’s fleet arrive. Euron brags to a tied up Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) that he’s kept her alive to have someone to talk to. Now he’s off to screw the queen. Euron swaggers to the royal court with the commander of the Golden Company, Harry Strickland (Marc Rissmann) in tow. Strickland has brought 20,000 men, thousands of horses, but no elephants, Cersei is disappointed, she really wanted some elephants.
Bronn (Jerome Flynn) is in a brothel with three whores. They keep wanting to talk about the dragons, but Bronn has had his fill with dragons. Qyburn interrupts the festivities when he brings Bronn an assignment. Cersei wants him to kill her two traitorous brothers with the crossbow Tyrion killed their father with.
Euron is still at the royal court flirting with Cersei . Cersei isn’t impressed, Cersei: “You want a whore, buy her. You want a queen, earn her.” Euron finally wears her down [or she’s afraid to lose his fleet], and she gives him the A-Okay. After the deed, Euron asks, “Do I please the queen?” Cersei: “You might be the most arrogant man I’ve ever met. I like that.” He pats her stomach and says, “I’m going to put a prince in your belly.” Cersei smirks as she enjoys a glass of wine. [She told Jaime and Tyrion she is pregnant, but that glass of wine says different.] While Euron is screwing around, Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) and his men have boarded Euron’s ship and rescued Yara. She greets her brother with a head-butt but then extends her hand to help him up. Yara plans on taking back Iron Island, just in case Daenerys needs a place to retreat in case the war with the dead doesn’t go well. Theon wants to go back to Winterfell to defend it. Yara understands and gives her permission. Yara: “You want to go to Winterfell to fight for the Starks. Go. What is dead may never die.” Theon: “What is dead may never die.” Yara: “But kill the bastards anyway.” The siblings say goodbye for perhaps the last time.
Back in Winterfell, Ser Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) is talking to Tyrion and Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) about the people of the north. They are loyal to Jon, but they don’t know Daenerys and they don’t take well to outsiders. She’ll have to earn their trust. He suggests that Daenerys and Jon wed. They look at the two from a distance and agree that they make a handsome couple. Daenerys and Jon are discussing Sansa, Daenerys is upset that Sansa isn’t showing her the proper respect. They are interrupted when one of Daenerys’ men informs her that the dragons aren’t eating that much. She and Jon go to check on the dragons. Daenerys suggest Jon get on Rhaegal and ride him. Jon isn’t sure about this, but she persuades him to get on board. Jon gets on Rhaegal and they take off. Daenerys gets on Drogon and joins them in the air. They fly above Winterfell and fly over the scenic beauty of the north. They finally land in front of a beautiful waterfall. Jon: “You’ve completely ruined horses for me.” Daenerys wishes they could just stay here. Jon: “It’s cold up here for a southern girl.” Daenerys: “So keep your queen warm.” They begin to make out while the dragons seem squeaked out watching their ‘mom’ make out with Jon. [Maybe they know Dany is Jon’s aunt.]
“You gave up your crown to save your people – would she do the same?” Samwell Tarly
Gendry (Joe Dempsie) is in the blacksmith shop helping to make weapons. Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane (Rory McCann) walks in and insults Gendry. Arya walks in and tell the Hound to leave Gendry alone. Hound: “You left me here to die.” Arya: “I robbed you first.” Hound: “You’re a cold little bitch, aren’t you? Guess that’s why you’re still alive.” He leaves Arya and Gendry alone. Arya asks Gendry to make a special weapon for her. The two flirt throughout their conversation.
Sansa and Jon discuss Sansa’s attitude towards Daenerys. Jon: “Do you have any faith in me at all?” Sansa: “You know I do.” Jon: “She’ll be a good queen — for all of us. Because she’s not her father.” Sansa: “Well, she’s a lot prettier.” That makes Jon smile. Sansa has a serious question for him. “Did you bend the knee to save the North?” she asks. “Or because you love her?” While they talk, Daenerys and Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) go into the library to talk to Samwell Tarly (John Bradley). Daenerys wants to thank Samwell for healing Jorah. Sam asks her for a pardon for stealing some books from the Citadel and stealing his father’s sword. Daenerys informs him because he wouldn’t swear allegiance to her, she burned him alive. Sam is taken aback, but he thinks he’ll be okay with his brother being the Lord over the Tarly estate. Daenerys tells Sam he died with his father. This is too much for Sam to take and he asks to leave. When he walks outside he runs into Bran, who tells him he’s out there waiting for ‘an old friend’. Bran tells Sam that he needs to tell Jon the truth about his parentage.
Samwell joins Jon in the family crypt. He tells Jon that Daenerys killed his father and brother. Daenerys didn’t tell Jon she had burned the Tarlys alive. Jon tries to defend her by saying he has killed men for disobedience. Sam points out Jon has also pardoned others, like the Wildlings when they wouldn’t bend the knee. Jon says he wasn’t a king, Sam tell him he was a king, even before he was named King of the North. Sam tells him that his mother was Lyanna Stark and his father was Rhaegal Targaryen, he is the rightful heir to the iron throne. Jon is shocked and the only thing he can think of is that Ned Stark had lied to him all those years. Sam tells him Ned did it to protect him from King Robert, who would have had him killed. Jon reminds Sam that Daenerys is the queen. “I know it’s a lot to take,” Sam says, “You gave up your crown to save your people — would she do the same?”
Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) and Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) are in Ned Umber’s (Harry Grasby) castle. It is in ruins because the white walkers have been there. They run into Eddison Tollett (Ben Crompton) and what’s left of the Night Watch. Eddison: “Stay back! He’s got blue eyes!” Tormund: “I’ve always got blue eyes!” After greeting each other, they all come upon Ned’s body pinned on the wall with the crazy symbol the Night King likes to leave behind as a message. His army is past them and headed to Winterfell. If they ride hard, they can beat him to Winterfell. Just then Ned starts screeching so Beric lights him on fire.
Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) arrives at Winterfell. When he gets off his horse, the first face he sees is Bran’s. Jaime’s sins have come back to greet him.
Dany and Jon have arrived at Winterfell. The northern people are suspicious of her and her large army. They don’t like outsiders and they remember her father’s reign. Dany tries to be nice, but no one is buying it. To them, she is still the Mad King’s daughter. Leading the hostilities is Sansa. She has her experiences with Cersei, so she is doubly suspicious of Daenerys. She’s afraid Jon might have bend the knee because he loves her. We know Jon did it because Dany will help them fight the Night King, but the love thing didn’t hurt. The two women aren’t hitting it off to Jon’s discomfort. It is hard to bring the girlfriend to meet the family. Arya keeps her distance from Daenerys and shows Jon the new bond she and Sansa share. Bran is indifferent to all of this, he warns them the army of the dead is fast approaching and they need to get ready. The only reunion Bran is looking forward to concerns him and Jaime.
Meanwhile, Cersei is in King’s Landing waiting for the army of the dead and Daenerys’ army to wipe each other out while she sits back with her troops and the Golden Company. She is sitting pretty high and mighty. She does have sex with Euron to keep his fleet, and maybe to pass the time away. Cersei is also probably lonely since Jaime has left her and she now only has Qyburn and the Mountain for company. Theon rescues his sister Yara, she is going to Iron Island to take it back while he is heading back to Winterfell to defend it. She understands, he needs to go back there to gain redemption for all the harm he caused to the Starks.
This was a good episode, it helped set up the pieces for the rest of the season. Everyone is in place. The quiet before the storm. There were a lot of reunions, highlighted with Jon and Arya’s reunion. I’ve been waiting for that one for a while. It did not disappoint. There was also Arya’s reunions with the Hound and Gendry. The cinematography was great, especially when Jon and Dany were flying over the countryside on the dragons.