The long awaited season 7 of Game of Thrones is finally here. With only seven episodes this season, one would think that the series would move at a blistering pace.
I'm not going to talk much
about the first episode because, well... nothing really happened. It felt more
like a set up for the seventh season rather than part of the season itself.
However, I would like to acknowledge the incredibly satisfying dialogue. Those scenes between Jon and Sansa and then Cersei and Jamie showcased once again the incredible actors this show has. Another thing that deserves praise is the scene where Dany arrives at Dragonstone. It took us seven long years to get here and her return matters. The fact that it took place at Dragonstone matters even more.
The second episode, "Stormborn", finally gets the ball rolling.
"Stormborn" starts where "Dragonstone"
leaves off: with Dany and her advisers beginning their war council. This
council was particularly interesting because it was both funny and cringe-inducing.
Don't get me wrong; their plan was solid. The only problem is that they're
assuming that everyone else is playing fair.
The scene exposed one of Dany and Tyrion's flaws in playing the game (of thrones). They both have incredible political minds but neither of them have the instinct for war that the likes of Robb Stark or Robert Baratheon has.
From my point of view, the logic behind taking Casterly Rock is a solid one. But I don't believe for a second that Cersei gives a crap about The Rock. The resources on the Westerlands have all but been depleted because of the realm's constant wars. It isn't as valuable as it was before.
I don't mind their reasoning for not invading King's Landing immediately either, but doing so exposes them to so many openings. These openings give Cersei the chance to prepare to take them out. Cersei is covering all the bases using the information she has and maximizing her opportunities. She's even factored the dragons and is coming up with ways to counter them in the field.
As usual, there isn't much to
talk about in the North. Jon Snow's storyline is moving at a glacial pace even
though he is now the King of the North.
Then, there's the matter of Euron Greyjoy. Because of him, Dany has no ships. Even if she wanted to take King's Landing, she will have no means to do so by sea. As it stands, her forces are divided and a third of them are immobilized.
That leaves us with my favorite sequence of the season so far: Arya.
I'm not going to lie. I squealed like a little girl when Arya decided to abandon her quest to King's Landing and return home to Winterfell. Arya then reunites with her long-lost direwolf Nymeria, only to be rejected and left alone. The scene ends with a throwback line from season one where she says "That's not you."
First off, having Arya looking
genuinely happy for the first time at the prospect of going home is a smart set
up for what's to come. Arya looked like she was back to a place in her life where
things were happy and simple. So when it seems as though she was about to be
reunited with Nymeria, it was all too perfect.
Alas, it wasn't so.
In that one scene, their bonds were severed. Oddly enough, Arya seems to be okay with it; displaying her own maturity in the process. She and her direwolf have accepted who they are and have resolved walk their own separate paths.
Now onto "The Queen's Justice".
These sermons from Dany are getting tired. I get that she's been through a lot, but does she really have to rant in every scene? I understand her skepticism with Jon Snow's zombie apocalypse story, though. I would also argue against leaving Cersei alone as well, as it wouldn't be very wise to do so while they're off fighting White Walkers in the North.
The Lannisters' maneuver of
using Casterly Rock as bait was a stroke of tactical genius. I've stated this
before: the Rock doesn't really matter that much anymore.
With the mines of the Westerlands depleted, the most valuable commodity now are Highgarden's bountiful lands. Cersei was wise to address this immediately and now, with the apparent backing of the Iron Bank, she's financially set for this war.
Dany lost her Westeros army just as fast as Varys got it for her. The whole debacle highlighted Tyrion's ineptitude at war.
Now with her back against the wall, Dany has a few options left. She could either march her Dothraki army to Highgarden and take back The Reach, or surprise Euron with a dragon attack from the air.
I'd be leaning more to the
former because of the value The Reach has. It would be advantageous to strike
now before Jaime turns his sights on Greyworm and the Unsullied. If Euron is
still at The Rock, Greyworm will have nowhere to go and the Unsullied will
easily be erased.
One of the downsides of trying to wrestle Highgarden from the Lannisters is that they can't just fly dragons there and burn the whole place down. That defeats the purpose of acquiring The Reach's extremely rich lands.
Normally I'd want Dany to go for Euron first. Destroying the Greyjoy armada would be a great way for Dany to regain some footing in this war. After all, Euron Greyjoy is the primary reason she's in the position she is currently in.
The only reason why I'd advise against attacking Euron right now is because the man is crazy. I wouldn't be surprised if he had a dragon-killing weapon hidden in one of his ships.
All of this paved the way for Olenna's last speech.
It's interesting that with only a few episodes left, the game of thrones will essentially be decided by the one with the best imagination.