WELCOME BACK, FRIENDS.
I’m thrilled to be recapping the second-to-last season of Game of Thrones, and I hope you’ve all missed me as much as I missed Podrick Payne’s sweet little baby face, which is quite a lot. Last night’s premiere was a ridiculously delicious and full hour involving face swapping, homecomings, musings about the dead, poop montages, and, for some reason, one of Taylor Swift’s ex boyfriends, so let’s not delay, right?
Pluses, Or, That Cold Open Though You Guys AHHH
-Right off the bat, I’m going to give plus 3,000 points to the extremely stylized, gorgeously edited recap. Everything has to be epic from this point on, and I’m glad even the “previously on” segments are included in that.
-If you’ve been reading my recaps throughout the seasons, then you know I’ll usually tell you the overall vibe of my packed living room during vital scenes, whether it’s silence, screaming, or a full out brawl (which only happened the one time, don’t worry). This cold open was a ROLLERCOASTER. A glass case of emotions, if you will. First there was groaning over Walder Frey’s soggy old Filch face, followed by a pensive silence, followed by muffled, ecstatic squealing when we all realized what the game was. Plus 5,000 points for the sublime emotional journey.
-So let’s talk about the cold open, which has only happened a few times in the show’s history (the pilot, and one with the Hound) and has been worth it every time. PLUS 10,000 POINTS. WE HAVE HIT PEAK ARYA, YOU GUYS. The only note I have from that entire scene just says “I’M SCREAMING.” There’s like, a million thinkpieces today about how great it was, and I honestly don’t even have words except to say when the episode replayed we watched it a SECOND time, and, GAH. “The North remembers. Winter came for House Frey.” I will never stop screaming. Am I allowed to say I’m shook? I am SHOOK. SHEWK. SHOOKEN. SHAKED. Jesus. Plus 5,000 more points.
-In case you were worried, Lyanna Mormont is still a goddamned queen, and she still does not have time for your shit. Plus 8,000 points.
-Littlefinger appears to be in his same dark Smirking Corner in the banquet hall from the end of last season, where he does nothing but make evil googly eyes at Sansa and follow it up by trying to get into her voluminous skirts. No points. I don’t know what to do with this dude right now. I will give away points like Halloween candy if he ever makes a move on Sansa only to have Brienne knock his slimy teeth out.
-Also, no points for Mommy and Daddy fighting at the dinner table. I don’t like when the Starks argue.
-I DO like, however, this steely-eyed Sansa we’ve got going on. Girl has seen some shit and is ballsy enough to pick a fight with her King of the North older brother in PUBLIC. Sibling rivalry is real, even for royalty, and Sansa still doesn’t have time for anyone’s nonsense. Plus 500 points.
-Okay, so, Cersei has officially lost her shit, but tbh, her personal style is better than ever. Plus 1,000 points.
-Jaime re: the Greyjoys: “They’re not good at anything.” I think losing a hand made him funnier. Plus 500 points.
-I KNEW that Euron was going to set his sights on Cersei once he arrived in Westeros, and I like this little scavenger hunt he’s going on to win her hand. I mean, I don’t, but I’m sure it’ll play out in some grotesque, fascinating way, which should be the tagline of this entire show. No points yet.
-Euron, honey, don’t make sudden movements around the Mountain. Murder zombies aren’t there to be reasoned with. Plus 200 points because maybe the Mountain will eat him next time.
-I’m gonna come back to this, but Sam’s scene had a single bright spot: Professor Slughorn! I love Jim Broadbent. I want to have Christmas dinner with him. Plus 500 points.
-I kinda zoned out during the Hound’s Brotherhood blah blah blah, but it’s comforting that he, like me, hates topknots. Plus 1,000 points.
-I’ve shit on Friendzone Jorah a lot, but I’ve gotta feel pretty bad for him now. No points yet.
-And finally, let’s talk about the closing sequence, which has Dany returning to her ancestral home and Emilia Clarke finally filming somewhere normal!!!! Daenerys, flanked by her band of trusted weirdos — Missandei, Grey Worm and Tyrion, her Hand of the Queen — has finally started shopping at Queens R’ Us just in time to finally set foot in Westeros, and I’m not ashamed to say that I fully got chills when she opened the doors to what is definitely her rightful home. (Also, of course Dany takes old stone steps 2 at a time. In heels.) Emilia Clarke had THREE words in this episode and it still fucking ruled (also let’s also consider Peter Dinklage had none, but he’s stupid talented and we all knew that already). Plus 15,000 points. Yes, we shall begin.
Plus Total: 49,700 points / Dany’s countless dragon decorations
Minuses, or, I’m Never Eating Any Sort of Stew Again
-NOOOO, WUN WUN. I am DEVASTATED to lose our favorite gentle giant to the Wight Army. Minus 500 points unless that wasn’t actually him, in which case, I don’t care.
-Friend of the blog (and Portland bar expert) Alex messaged me last night astutely making fun of Euron’s ridiculous glam-rock outfit, and I wish I had ANY answers about why this is happening. I thought he was trying to be King of the Iron Islands, not Brandon fucking Flowers. Pass. Cersei would never marry a guy who wears that much eyeliner. Minus 1,000 points.
-I don’t like gagging noises. I, like most humans, don’t love the sight of feces. I get that Sam is living out the worst episode of The Office ever, but I didn’t need the “Assistant to the Regional Maester” montage to be THAT GROSS. I already don’t like Sam scenes. I was not aware they could get worse. Minus 20,000 points. Also, minus another 800 points for Sam’s haircut inexplicably also getting worse. It’s like he’s TRYING to piss me off. I feel personally victimized.
-PASS ON THIS ED SHEERAN NONSENSE. PASS ON CELEBRITY CAMEOS. Game of Thrones is no place for “spot the tabloid fixture,” and I don’t need my favorite hour of the week to be ruined by Taylor Swift’s fucking ginger ex. This is my cross to bear — I can’t stand Ed Sheeran, personally — and I’m extra offended that we had to deal with an Ed Sheeran cameo that did not end in him getting speared through the face. What’s next, Kylie Jenner mean-mugging for the camera in the background at Winterfell? Christ. Minus 5,000 points. Also, we didn’t even get to see the perfect, incorrectly spelled tattoo that Saoirse Ronan, international hero, gave him.
Minus Total: 27,300 points / endless buckets of poop
That all being said, WHAT AN INCREDIBLE PREMIERE. It was epic, gorgeously edited, impeccably shot, and struck a perfect balance between laying the groundwork for what’s to come while remaining, you know, interesting, which is not always an easy tightrope line to walk (remember how slow Breaking Bad could sometimes be?). I don’t have much more to say besides that I am literally writhing until next Sunday. This season is going to be a doozy, kids. Buckle up, and I’ll see you then.