Game of Thrones: What I liked about Episode 701, Dragonstone

I have recently moved to a new home, the main reason why I have not been writing much lately. However, I took some time last Sunday to watch Game of Thrones, which I enjoyed.

The Opening Scene

Many non-book readers were probably puzzled to see Walder Frey having dinner with his kin. I immediately realized that there was something different in his demeanor and that Arya was wearing his face. The expression ” . . . now that winter has come . . . ” is a confirmation that Arya is wearing Walder’s face. Of note is the fact that she can adopt Walder’s misogynist speech with no issue (she does not want to waste an expensive beverage on women). Of course, she studied Walder Frey before killing him. Furthermore, based on the books, it has been theorized that a Faceless Man acquires some behaviors and feelings associated with the face he or she is wearing. There is something about the previous owner that remains in the face. Overall, it was an intense opening scene, exquisitely performed and written. However, I tend to disagree with Arya’s comment about the “North Remembers.” Not all the houses supported the Starks against the Boltons.

Later Arya meets some Lannister soldiers. They offer her food and drink, and they long to be with their respective families. In the past, Arya never saw decent people in the Lannister army but only criminals. I think the interaction with them will change how she perceives many in her death list. Of note is the beautiful song she hears before meeting them, which is from A Storm of Swords.

The Visions Beyond the Wall

Bran’s vision reveals that the army of the Night King includes “wight” giants, which means it will be easy for them to bring down any castle at the Wall. Later, in a meeting with the Northern Lords and the Lords of the Vale, Jon sends Tormund to defend Eastwatch by the Sea, which is the first castle the Night King might want to strike first due to its proximity to Hardhome. However, it does not matter whether Jon is right on this one. As seen in previous episodes, “Hardhome” and “The Door,” the Night King has the power to teleport his army.

Sandor is another character who has a vision of what is beyond the Wall. He sees the army of the dead attacking most likely Eastwatch by the Sea. Next, he sees a mountain that looks like an arrowhead. Based on Sam Tarly’s findings at the Citadel, there is a mountain of obsidian (dragonglass) at Dragonstone. The Targaryens used obsidian to decorate their weapons but never knew its real purpose. Therefore, Sandor’s second vision is telling him which weapon to use to eradicate the White Walkers.

The Significance of the Gyroscope

At the Citadel, Sam is investigating how to destroy the White Walkers. He questions the Archmaester why nobody wants to believe him about the Night King’s threat. To his surprise, the Archmaester believes him based on the similarities from several sources about the Long Night and because the history of Westeros is cyclical. He believes the White Walkers will be defeated since they were beaten in the past. According to him, the Wall has stood through several apocalyptic events and that every winter that has come ended. This notion of cycles applies to the four seasons in the real world. However, is it possible for this cycle to be altered permanently? Will winter prevail? If the Wall comes down, will its fall break the cycle?

A Misogynist Society

There is the scene in which the Northern Lords meet Jon to establish what to do with the Last Hearth, the seat of House Umber, and Karhold, the seat of House Karstark, houses that sided with the Boltons. Sansa wants those houses to be given to those who were loyal to the Starks, and that all traitors need to be killed. She does not hesitate in voicing her opinions aloud diminishing Jon in front of everybody. Her opinions are based on her experiences with the Lannisters and the Boltons, families who emphasize the extermination of enemies. What Sansa does not see is that eradication of a house does not solve the problem – it creates a cycle of revenge. Furthermore, it seems that she is not aware that the Lannisters are in a precarious situation. Jon’s decision is a better option. He needs allies and big numbers to fight the White Walkers (that includes men, women, and children). He believes that children should not pay for the crimes of their parents, which is something that applies to him and Daenerys. It applies to the Stark children, even though Ned was innocent.

Of note is the fact that Cersei and Sansa (especially the TV version) do share a similar history of abuse. It does not help when Jon mentions that his decision is absolute and final. It brings Joffrey to Sansa’s mind, something that she expresses to Jon. Of course, Jon does not wish to be compared to Joffrey so he took a little bit of an offense there.

The Craving for Power

At King’s Landing, Jaime is trying to make Cersei see that they are in danger. They do not have allies and are surrounded by enemies. She no longer holds the Seven Kingdoms together. Furthermore, she cannot mobilize an army because of winter. All their kids are dead, so her goals of creating a long-lasting dynasty are unreachable. She decides to invite Euron Greyjoy to consider him as a possible marriage candidate. The craving for power is something that both Euron and Cersei share, but she is dubious of him since he is delighted with killing his kin and watching them die, killed by others. His demeanor is ruthless and aggressive, and he does not hesitate in telling Cersei that she should try killing a brother in regards to Jamie.

The Rebirth of Sandor Clegane

The Hound is dead and what viewers see is a new version of Sandor. Members of the Brotherhood refer to him as Clegane. The changes in Sandor are emphasized in the scenes at the house of that family that he stole money from. He hesitates to go in. One wonders whether Beric and Thoros knew that Sandor played a role in the horrible death of the father and his daughter. They can see things in the fires. Based on the lifestyle that Sandor has led, he is not a religious type of person. He does not believe in divine justice. Nice people die whether others like him, who have committed crimes in the past, do not. After having the vision in the fire, he decides to bury the dead, his victims. He starts thinking whether there is a supernatural entity watching him and needing him for a bigger role. Of course, the change in Sandor began when he lived in the small village with the Septon, as seen last season. Of course, all of them were killed, but he survived. These recent experiences are overwhelming him and making him a better human being. I wish Arya joins him soon to neutralize the hatred she feels inside.

Thanks for reading! I cannot wait for next episode.

 

 

 

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