Tonight’s Game of Thrones made me listen to the sound of a horse dying after having its leg sliced off on a burning battlefield and for that, if nothing else, I will never forgive them. The episode opens on the Lannister army in the Reach, marching home from Highgarden with hella money taken to pay back the Iron Bank. Cersei didn’t even need the two weeks she asked for because, you know, the whole Lannisters and their debts thing. It’s season seven. We don’t need to say it. Jaime is clearly upset. Getting your shit rocked one last time by the saltiest woman in Westeros will do that to you. Knowing that he has to tell Cersei that Olenna did in fact get the ultimate last word probably isn’t helping.
Bronn: Did the Queen of Thorns give you one last prick in the balls before saying goodbye?
Jaime: Uh yeah you could say that. *imagines his son dying by poison at her hands*
Bronn wants a castle. Instead, Jaime sends him with the Tarlys (aka Sam’s mean dad) to steal the harvest of local farmers to feed their armies. Not quite the same thing.
The episode will also end in the Reach and it will be FAR more interesting, believe you me.
Baelish is attempting some bonding with Bran in his ongoing attempt to be a weird stepdad/husband hybrid to the children of his unrequited love. Honestly, let’s see this man attempt to win over Arya. Petyr gives him the dagger that was used in the attempt on his life back in season one, the very event that started the War of Five Kings and got everyone into this mess.
Baelish: This dagger made you what you are today.
Bran: Okay well first of all, fuck this dagger.
Petyr very much knows that Bran is the Three-Eyed Raven, or at the very least that he’s seen some shit. You can tell he’s already trying to figure out how to get his proximity to the Jaden Smith of Westeros to work in his advantage, but is interrupted by Meera. Remember her? It’s cool, Bran doesn’t either.
She’s come to tell him that she’s finally going home, and if she was hoping for any sort of emotional response to that news she is sorely out of luck.
Meera: Well you don’t need me anymore…so I guess I’ll go home.
Bran: You’re right, I don’t.
Meera: Okay no, that’s not how that conversation was supposed to go.
Meera reminds Bran of the long list of people who have died for him to become the Three-Eyed Raven, and with one of his now trademarked cryptic messages about existence.
Bran: I remember what it was like to be Brandon Stark, but I’m not him anymore.
Three-Eyed Raven? More like the Three-Eyed Fuckboy. Bran was one second away from telling Meera their relationship “wasn’t that serious” and they’d never agreed to be exclusive. You can give a man all-knowing powers and he’d still have no clue how to talk to women. SMDH…
More importantly, ARYA IS BACK.
She initially gets turned away from the gates of Winterfell by some idiot guards, who are no match for her in either intellect or fighting. They lose sight of her and immediately run to Sansa, who knows exactly where her sister would go: the crypts. No one in this family is known for their levity.
On a scale of Stark Reunions, this ranks above Bran but still so far below Jon. Would it kill these people to express emotion? It’s like watching myself reunite relatives I can’t stand at Thanksgiving.
Arya: Do I have to call you Lady Stark?
Sansa: Damn fucking straight.
Their conversation is shy and stilted, almost like they haven’t seen each other in seven years or something. Both are mere shadows of the girls they were when they were separated, hardened by time and suffering. This first interaction seems more like a time to size each other up rather than catch up on lost time.
Instead of bothering with small talk about their tortured existences, Arya gets right to the point: She’s a serial killer with a list of victims.
Sansa: What list?
Arya: I have a list of people I plan to kill.
Sansa: Okay honestly I know we’ve all been through some shit but can anyone just be like “Wow Sansa nice to see you.”
Pleasantries aside, Sansa lets Arya know that she’s not the only missing Stark to roll into Winterfell recently. They both head out to the Weirwood to find Bran, who musters up a semblance of a hug for this long-lost sister at least. Hey dude, last time I checked your arms still worked fine. *cough* fuckboy *cough*
Bran knows that Arya was about to head to King’s Landing to kill Cersei, at which point Sansa appears to finally come around to this list. Then he shows them both the dagger that Littlefinger gave him and hands it off to Arya. Sansa is immediately suspicious of anything that was gifted by Baelish, because she knows it comes with about 1,000 strings tied to it.
Brienne seeing the remaining Stark babies back together:
Baelish seeing the remaining Stark babies back together:
Brienne quickly recovers from her brief moment of sentimentality to embarrass Podrick in some training drills. Arya waltzes in and gives us all a brief, shimmering hope for a buddy cop spin-off starring her and Brienne when she asks for some personal training lessons. Sansa and Baelish watch from above, and it’s clear that Sansa is a little jealous that she has to share her bodyguard with another Stark girl.
The fight scene that follows is impressive, but what’s really notable is Littlefinger’s lingering glances on someone who isn’t Sansa. Either he’s impressed by Arya or sees another opportunity to manipulate the situation in his favor, but she’s having none of his knowing glances.
So, just to recap:
Jon: I rose from the dead!
Bran: I am an all-seeing bird person!
Arya: I’m a faceless child sword prodigy.
Sansa: I’m like, meaner now?
Back on the set of everyone’s new favorite romantic comedy, Missandei is talking to Daenerys about her concern for Greyworm.
Dany: Wait, what did I miss.
Missandei: OH GIRL.
Jon interrupts, completely oblivious to girl talk, to show Daenerys their progress. Let’s just say, Sam really came through on this one. There is a fucking mountain of Dragonglass below Dragonstone.
Jon: There’s something else I wanna show you, your grace.
Me: THIS DICK
While not his dick, what Jon has to show Dany is still pretty impressive. Below Dragonstone, along with all the Dragonglass, are a bunch of carvings left behind by the Children of the Forest.
The carvings show that the Children and the First Men fought together against their common enemy, the White Walkers, much like Dany and Jon need to do. Let me just say that the cave drawings of the White Walkers are highly detailed for some hieroglyphics. It got the Night King’s cheekbones looking like they just sat through a Kim K makeup session.
Dany: I will fight for you. Will fight for the North.
Dany: When you bend the knee.
Jon: NOT DOPE.
Man, you could cut the sexual tension in this scene with a goddamn knife. Discussing allegiance by firelight? This is basically a first date by Westeros standards. Too bad Dany is probably Jon’s aunt. Though, considering we’ve all been trained to root for a twin-on-twin couple for seven seasons, I doubt the aunt/nephew thing will stop anyone.
Outside the cave, Tyrion and Varys are waiting with news to significantly dampen the mood. Davos and Jon being there while Daenerys found out that Tyrion’s strategy had lost her the last of her allies was like when your mom made you stand by while she wrecked one of your siblings, just so you knew that you could very well be next.
Daenerys: Maybe you’re not trying to defeat your family after all.
Tyrion: I came out to have a good time and destroy my sister and I’m honestly feeling so attacked right now.
In a move that is only cementing their love in my mind, Dany turns to Jon for advice. She wants to fly her dragons directly to the Red Keep and burn shit down, but he tells her that doing so would make her just like every other shitty ruler that Westeros had ever had. Her victory depends on her making new, impossible things happen, not returning to the ways of her father and Cersei.
Later Davos tries to get into some good old boy talk with Jon about Daenerys, obviously forgetting that the King in the North is too busy constantly brooding and talking about the White Walkers for silly things like romance.
Davos: What do you think of her?
Jon: Idk she has a good heart, I guess.
Davos: Underneath some good boobs AYOOOOOOO.
They run into Missandei, who has some questions about Jon’s name. Apparently she comes from a place where bastards aren’t an issue because no one gets married. What a dream. When asked why she serves Dany, Missandei comes through like a true best friend should. She tells them both that Daenerys is their queen not because her blood, but because they chose her to be.
Missandei: She is our queen and we love her.
Davos: Listen up lady, no one loves anything as much as I love this angel haired grouch standing right here.
In that moment, their last remaining ally arrives on the shore: Theon and the men who saved him. You want to talk awkward reunions?
Theon: Hey buddy…didn’t realize you were here….
Theon is spared only because of his part in saving Sansa from the Boltons. He’s come back to Dragonstone to ask Dany to help him save Yara. Unfortunately, she is otherwise engaged in the most insane battle scene we’ve seen in a long-ass time.
Meanwhile, Back At The Reach
Okay so before we even get into the sheer dopeness of The Battle at the Reach, can we talk about how the show just introduced some hot-ass man named Dickon and then tried to distract us from the fact that there was a hot-ass man named Dickon by staging a battle? Jokes on them, though, because i would never forget a jaw this square. Never.
Okay, but back to the battle…
The Battle at the Reach is the reason we watch this show. It was beautifully shot and horrifying to watch and had viewers around the world weeping over the fate of a bunch of horses who honestly did not sign up for this bullshit. They don’t understand politics?? Can we just let them be??
This is the face of a man who knows he fucked up and the face of a man who knows he’s not getting a castle:
The Dothraki ride into battle the way my friends roll in the last bar of the night: Screaming and ready for fucking blood. It doesn’t matter how long Jaime’s armies have trained in combat, they don’t fucking compare to these wild creatures who came in screaming and standing on the backs of horses while they shot arrows into the faces of their enemies.
Dany: *finally rides a dragon into battle on Westeros soil *
It was wild. Words can’t describe. Can’t wait to get fired for rewatching this at work every day this week.
While the Dothraki were busy decimating Jaime’s forces, Dany was riding around on the back of Drogon and setting fire to all the wheat that had been collected to feed the Lannister army. You know what’s rough to watch? Men being turned to ash. Both Jaime on the field and Tyrion on the sidelines are visibly shaken. For men who usually sit in safety while other die for their cause, this was a firsthand look at what their war actually means.
Jaime: WE CAN HOLD THEM
What really made this scene intense was the fact that there are fan favorites on both sides, very close to death. Jaime may be a flawed guy with questionable loyalties, but he’s got a good heart. Bronn is one of the few sources of comic relief left in this show. Dany is riding around, armor free, wildly unaware that there is a weapon on the ground that could actually take her and Drogon down. Tyrion is in the vicinity of fighting which always just makes me nervous. I don’t want any of these people to die but, realistically, some of them are. Probably most, if not all of them. I hate this show.
One single Dothraki goes after Bronn like it’s his fucking job, and his efforts are rewarded by taking a dragon-sized crossbow to the chest. Qyburn’s secret weapon made its way to the battlefield, and when Bronn managed to get one shot off into Drogon I screamed as if my own mother had been stabbed.
Slowed but not stopped, Daenerys circled back around to light the weapon on fire before landing and attempting to pull a 12-foot javelin out of her baby’s neck. Tyrion and Jaime see her at the same time, and the former sits in near silent horror as he watches his brother race full steam ahead at his queen.
Tyrion: You fucking idiot.
Jaime: Hold my beer.
Drogon sees Jaime and stops being injured long enough to shoot an entire stream of fire at him. He is thrown from his horse at the last minute by someone who might have been Bronn, and both go flying into a lake. This seems like a good thing until you remember that the guy is wearing what’s gotta be 20 pounds of metal armor. The screen fades to black as he sinks and the credits roll in silence except for the sound of every person in the country hyperventilating at the same time.
Is Jaime likely alive? Yes. Will that stop me from having stress dreams about this moment until we have 100% proof that he survived? Absolutely not. There are only three episodes of torture left, which means we’re all going to be living with raging adrenaline highs for the next three weeks. Stock up on inhalers, friends, the finale is coming.
By now, you’ve probably figured out that this weekend is the season premiere of Game of Thrones. Whether one of your roommates is randomly obsessed with it or you’ve been pretending to care so your hookup thinks you’re cool, the time has come once again for you to pretend you give a fuck about dragons and horses and shit. It will be unavoidable, and you will hate your life. Here’s what you need to do so you don’t feel like an absolute idiot for the next ten weeks, apart from just buckling down and binge-watching all the episodes in one night.
1. Read The Wikipedia Page
Learn some of the characters. Not like all of them, oh God no, but just a few that you could throw into a conversation if you really get cornered. Daenerys is the badass chick with the dragons, and Tyrion is the really short guy. Cersei was hot but she got a fugly haircut, so we don’t love her as much anymore. Jon Snow is hot and came back to life. Sansa is annoying AF. Got it? You’re doing amazing sweetie.
2. Prepare Another Topic Of Conversation
Naming a couple characters is useful, but don’t be afraid to change the topic if you get in over your head. For example, there is never a wrong time to talk about Beyoncé’s twins, and your coworkers will no doubt have plenty to say about her name choices. Other safe topics include sports (if you’re into that kind of thing), Russia, and The Bachelorette. Who cares about dragons? Let’s talk about Dean’s favorite kind of dinosaur!!
3. Distract Yourself
That should cover things when people are talking about the show, but what if someone makes you actually watch it? If you have to go to a watch party you should be okay, just because the other people there will have their eyes glued to the screen so you can text in peace. If someone makes you watch an episode one-on-one, pick a couple songs you really like so you can just play them over and over in your head. It’s practically like going to therapy, you’ll love it.
4. Prepare Your Excuses
This brings us to the most important thing: if someone finds out that you don’t watch GoT, you must have a solid excuse ready to go. Here’s our recommendation: “I realllllly want to watch it, I just want to give it the time and attention it deserves, and I haven’t gotten around to it yet.” That way, you’re not making it sound like you don’t want to watch it, you’re just saying that you were too busy in the last six years to literally find any time. Sounds right.
So stay strong this weekend betches, and don’t let anyone peer pressure you into watching a show that makes you want to carve out your eyeballs with a large sword. We’ll get through this together.