Game of Thrones Season 7 begins with a bloody good cold xuất hiện and then only improves. It is a deep breath khổng lồ savor before the final plunge.
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But as one music superstar fan dies, another is born in Arya’s next scene when Ed Sheeran appears as a Lannister soldier singing a ditty that not-so-surprisingly catches Arya Stark’s ear. Like her, I did not recognize it, và Ser Sheeran informs us that it’s a new song. Considering this is a world where there appear to lớn be only two other musical compositions of record (“The Rains of Castamere” và “The Bear & the Maiden Fair” for those keeping count), this is a really big deal. Yeah, Arya, you do need to lớn investigate that!
Upon sitting with Lannister men, we are informed on a few intriguing details. First, Arya is now tough & brave enough khổng lồ not only be traveling alone (something that terrified her in season 4), but to vì chưng so on the King’s Road. Part of the reason it took her forever lớn get anywhere in the early seasons was because she always had lớn stay off this war-torn highway. Yet here she is marching toward King’s Landing.
It’s intriguing, as I assumed she’d head North once she heard that Jon Snow và Sansa Stark have retaken Winterfell, & that she has living blood relatives. But no, vengeance has consumed her so completely that she is heading toward King’s Landing và her final major targets: Queen Cersei Lannister và Ser Gregor Clegane. She even confides as much to these soldiers, who in addition lớn enjoying pop star-quality musicality are also the kindest and sweetest hearted band of brothers this side of a Spielberg movie. For once, there is nary a threat of violence against Arya’s body toàn thân by total strangers in Westeros. What a novelty.
Nevertheless, Arya can’t resist telling them that she still intends to lớn kill the queen. It’s fascinating lớn watch Maisie Williams in this moment for there is noticeable disappointment flickering in her eyes as they laugh it off. Surely, what kind of teenage naive would actually volunteer a penchant for treason? But these boyos take it in better stride than protestors at a production of Julius Caesar. This is a disappointment lớn the she-wolf, because even after hearing their sob stories, Arya seemed to covet the idea of them taking offense or raising a sword against her. Nothing like a good workout of fencing & dismemberment. But it wasn’t to lớn be. Maybe that’ll come next week as Arya’s story continues to lớn unfold in such bloody good ways.
Farther to the North, Arya’s siblings make good on that teasing in the press of a “Jon vs. Sansa” season. In their very first scene, conflict is immediately và publicly sown when Sansa vocally disagrees with her king over sparing the ancestral homes of the Karstarks và Umbers. In the scene, Jon rather progressively reveals he is going to draft women to fight his wars. The moment itself is curious since it seems he hasn’t learned much from the successful mutiny at the Wall that took his first life. Rather than convincing his vassals that they absolutely need women to lớn fight for them, he simply decrees that they shall, và then shrugs at the opposition.
Thank the Seven for Lyanna Mormont. The Lady of Bear Island proves to be a better communicator than her king as she shuts the opposition down lượt thích the pint-sized, woke little warrior that she is. But Jon again shows a tendency to be his adopted father’s son when he forgives the Karstark & Umber heirs without batting an eye or even extracting a tax.
The scene is meant, I suspect, khổng lồ show the humanity of Jon and the curdling cynicism that is growing in Sansa. While obviously, Jon’s folly in the moment is having made this decision apparently without consulting his sister or any potential counsel, the living Karstark and Umber faces are presented as wholly good & desperate for Jon & the North’s approval & kinship.
That’s all well and good, but that feels more akin to lớn David Benioff and D.B. Weiss drawing heavy handed lines in their conflict, as opposed to lớn George R.R. Martin’s patented ambiguity. If the heirs really were this young and eager to lớn please, they almost certainly are then susceptible lớn their own family’s adult advisers who might be less forgiving. Consider that while Lord Karstark & Lord Umber died at Bastard Bowl, the men who confided in them about betraying the Starks are still alive, & likely whispering in these children’s ears since Jon refuses to lớn punish his enemies. Seven Hells, even Ned Stark knew to lớn take Theon Greyjoy as hostage after the Iron Island uprising.
Honestly, this is not that far removed from Jon ignoring Stannis’ advice and keeping Ser Alliser Thorne at Castle Black, as opposed khổng lồ whichever Night’s Watch post placed the maximum amount of distance between them.
But in the context of this show, I suspect that the lingering doubt that should be placed on Umbers & Karstarks will be swept under the rug, và Jon is humane for sparing their families, và Sansa is cruel for wishing anything but that. Yet Sansa in the kết thúc is worthy of her own doubt, if for no other reason than she continues to lớn keep Littlefinger around. While I vày not think she’ll betray her brother, it is troubling that she tells Brienne that “I know exactly what he wants,” because so vị we. He wants khổng lồ be king with her as his wife. The quickest way of achieving both goals would be making Jon Snow disappear.
While I don’t think Sansa is consciously thinking about this, on a subconscious level it is worth at least pondering over. Jon is wrong to not heed his sister’s advice after she saved the Battle of the Bastards from his blundering. But he has one small point: It does sound like she admires Cersei Lannister more than she considers Jon’s verifiable fears. And she even sounds like the Lannister Queen when she condescends dripping disdain toward Petyr Baelish. He deserves it, but it is still a more Lannister lượt thích confrontation than it is of a Stark dealing with her aide. Then again, Sansa did chú ý the last two Stark patriarchs ended up without heads, and if Jon continues governing lượt thích he did at the Wall, his might vanish again one of these days.
As for the real Cersei, the big takeaway of the evening is that she is joining forces with Euron Greyjoy. This is fairly remarkable since Euron proves khổng lồ be as lousy a negotiator as he does a tactician. He boasts of his derring-do & of setting Lannisport ablaze, but as Jaime Lannister so wryly points out, it led to lớn the slaughter of many Greyjoys… plenty of them at the Kingslayer’s hand.
Euron’s retorts are charmingly hilarious for audiences. “It was getting too crowded, anyway.” But his mismanagement of the Greyjoy Uprising is not that different than his more recent power grab on the Iron Islands. He claims to lớn be a cunning man worthy of Cersei Lannister’s hand in marriage, but he so fumbled his ascension in the Kingsmoot throne that he let the best Navy in the world be usurped right out from under him by his niece và eunuch nephew.
And here he is pretty much pledging allegiance to lớn Cersei on an offer of marriage that she did not consent to, nor will she. While she might actually be flattered by his interest, and that she is now called the most beautiful woman in the world again (take that Margaery, ye corpse!!!), but Cersei has gone her entire life resentful that she was born a woman và condemned to be a bargaining chip via her bridal bed. She will never take another husband again, and especially one as uncouth as a Greyjoy.
He has only two points in his favor: He knows how khổng lồ push Cersei’s “Must Kill Tyrion” button, và he has a Navy. He might hail from a tiny & unimpressive island, but like the fighting English at the height of its empire, his isle has the best maritime military out there. Well, other than the one he let his niece steal… and he gave up his second-best fleet to Cersei without any guarantees in return.
Truly, these Iron Islanders will always be the also-ran, “the South shall rise again!” types of Westeros. Oy.
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As for Cersei and Jaime themselves, Cersei might enjoy having a suitor of a kind in Euron, if only to lớn annoy her twin-cest lover a little more. However, theirs is the real romance, even as it bleeds out. Jaime wants to lớn talk about the death of Tommen, their last son, but Cersei is khiêu vũ around the room of her very own life-sized Dungeons & Dragons board, lamenting enemies everywhere. “Olenna, the old cunt, another traitor; enemies lớn the North, Ned Stark’s bastard has been named King in the North, và that murdering whore Sansa stands beside him.”
The more she whines, the more Jaime looks at her in pain, seeing the spectral shade of the Mad King he once slayed in a different shape. While she is surrounded, she is also being consumed by total power và the madness it’s wrought on her psyche. Talking about a dynasty that will reign a thousand years when all of her children are dead, and it is unlikely that she’ll never have another (certainly legitimately, as her taking a husband is remote), is not Tywin-like. It’s Aerys Redux.
They’re all that’s left, và instead of drawing closer, Cersei retreats further into her delusions of power. If Varys was right to say in season 2 that power nguồn is a trick on the wall, Cersei is running headlong into it. Và Jaime can’t stop her, not when she’ll throw Tyrion’s name at him if he even raises the smallest of objections. Their path is a doomed one, and it’s all the more grim that only he is faintly aware of the encroaching shadows.