Warning: Spoilers ahead if you have not yet watched Season 7, Episode 1.
ICYMI: winter is officially here. The day we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived with Game of Thrones‘ season 7 premiere, “Dragonstone,” and the episode seemed to be over before we could even blink an eye. So much happened it’s hard to wrap our heads around it all (we watched it twice!), so we’ve recapped the entire episode, complete with our favorite quote of the night. Read on for a quick refresher!
We start out the episode with a feast at House Frey and good ol’ Walder (David Bradley) giving a toast (he loves giving toasts). But wait, didn’t Arya (Maisie Williams) kill him last season? Ahh, yes. It quickly sinks in that this is indeed not actually Walder Frey, but Arya disguised as the murdering old man. He (she) raises his wine glass to his army and the great work they did taking out the Starks at the Red Wedding. As he details all the horrible things they all did on that night, it becomes clear to everyone in the room that something is not quite right. Once everyone starts coughing up blood, Frey reminds them that they missed a Stark, and after the room has pretty much dropped dead, she removes her mask. “When people ask you what happened here,” she says, “tell them the North remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey.” Mic. Drop.
We next get an eerie glimpse at the Night King and his army of White Walkers doing what they do best: walking. A little snowstorm ain’t stopping this army, complete with undead giants. Yikes. Naturally, the scene cuts to Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) as he snaps out of the terrifying vision; he and Meera (Ellie Kendrick) have finally arrived at the Wall. “He’s coming for us—for all of us,” says Bran of the Night King, and the men at the wall bring them inside to warm up.
Over at Winterfell, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) has gathered his team for an important meeting re: How they’re going to defeat the White Walkers when they inevitably show up. Jon says that all men, women, and children will learn to fight because in order to defeat the Night King and his army, they’ll need all hands on deck, but one of the men is not thrilled about having his granddaughter fighting in battle. Coming in as a close second for our favorite quote of the episode, Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) declares, “I don’t plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me. I might be small, old brother, and I might be a girl, but I am every bit as much a Northerner as you.” This little lady is the feminist icon we never knew we needed.
Sansa (Sophie Turner) challenges Jon’s stance on how they should deal with the two Northern houses, Umber and Karstark, who betrayed their loyalty when they sided with that psycho Ramsay Bolton. Jon didn’t appreciate being undermined in front of everyone, but Sansa’s not keen on being so forgiving to traitors, having learned a thing or two from Cersei. They agree to disagree.
While at Winterfell, we also see that Littlefinger (Aidan Gillan) is still hanging around. He later creeps up on Sansa to ask if she’s happy, and we thought to ourselves, is anyone really ever happy in this show? He presses her for an answer, and girlfriend is not having it. Shot down.
Over at King’s Landing, Cersei (Lena Headey) is admiring her new floor map of Westeros, which details the locations of all her enemies (read: everyone). She wants to head straight into battle, but Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) reminds her that winter has come, and believe it or not, they’re going to need some allies if she is to remain atop the Iron Throne. As the practical one in the relationship/siblinghood, he tries to talk some sense into the queen, but we think it was in one ear and out the other. He also points out that they haven’t really talked about Tommen’s death, and it seems that Cersei isn’t really up for that discussion. She seems a little unhinged.
Speaking of unhinged, Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) shows up with his fleet of a thousand ships and talk of murdering his family. Jamie is not impressed, but Cersei seems reservedly optimistic that this could turn into something good for her. She doesn’t have a lot of options at this point, and beggars can’t be choosers, right? He proposes marriage to her, which she turns down, thank you very much. But he promises her a priceless gift if she’ll change her mind, and says he won’t return until he has it for her. We’ll be waiting.
We finally get to see what Sam (John Bradley-West) has been up to at the Citadel as he trains to be a maester, and it does not look pleasant (we won’t go into details—it’s pretty gross). Jon has sent him on a mission to read all the books and find out all the things about defeating White Walkers, but he’s not high up enough in the ranks to gain access to the restricted section of the library (that’s obviously where all his answers are). He finally just decides to steal the keys, and he comes across some useful reading on the whereabouts of dragonglass. This is top priority info, and he sends a note off to Jon.
In a later scene at the Citadel, we get another glimpse of Sam’s day-to-day life (it looks miserable). As he goes around to the cells collecting dishes, we literally jumped out of our seats when a scaly-looking hand shoots out. Oh hey, Ser Jorah! We realize this is where he’s been all along, seemingly locked up in quarantine. He asks if Daenerys has arrived yet, and Sam tells him he hasn’t heard anything. We hope he’s doing okay in there.
In another Arya scene, she comes across a group of young House Lannister soldiers singing in the woods. And look who it is! Ed Sheeran is leading the harmony, because of course he is. The men invite Arya to join them for some rabbit (yum!), and she reluctantly sits down with them around the fire. They inquire about where she’s going, and she tells them she’s going to King’s Landing to kill the queen. Looking around at each other, not quite sure what to say, they all burst into laughter. If only she were joking, guys.
As if the episode hasn’t been amazing enough already, we get complete confirmation that The Hound, aka Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann), has a good heart after all! We knew it. The big softie is traveling through a blizzard with his new pals Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr (we love his manbun) when they come across a farmhouse that they can take shelter in for the night. Clegane immediately recognizes it as the house of the kind man and his daughter who once took him and Arya in, only to have Clegane rob them and leave them to starve during the impending winter. Clegane has done a complete 180 from the not-so-nice man we knew him as in the beginning of Thrones, and it’s obvious that he really feels bad about what he did to them. When they go inside, he discovers the skeletons of the father and girl, which reveal that the father killed his daughter and himself instead of suffering through starvation. Dark. We later see The Hound digging graves so he can give the two a proper burial. He’s a changed man.
The scene also offers insight into Dondarrion’s many resurrections and Thoros’ powers as a red priest of the Lord of Light (he’s basically the male version of Melisandre). Thoros starts a fire and tells Clegane to look into it and tell them what he sees. He’s reluctant, but when he focuses on the flames, he’s clearly shook as he’s able to see the thousands of White Walkers as they infiltrate the Wall. And just like that, he’s a believer.
The final scenes of the premiere are pretty epic as Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) finally returns home to Dragonstone. We see Dany and her crew—complete with all three dragons, of course—reach land at the deserted castle that was previously inhabited by the late Stannis Baratheon. We literally got chills as she looks upon her sprawling fortress. After a bit of exploring, they reach the war room (we love all the dragon decor), where she finds a map of the Seven Kingdoms, just waiting for her to plan her next moves. The only words spoken in this entire ending sequence: “Shall we begin?” Yes, please!