This week’s episode finally laid out Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) military policy, with the Dragon Queen hoping to avoid TOO much death and win over the common people by holding back her foreign armies (the Dothraki and the Unsullied forces) and instead take King’s Landing using local soldiers, aka the Tyrell and Dornish armies. It’s basically a military version of those “grown in Britain” supermarket stickers.
However, we might have already seen her restraint backfire as her Iron fleet was smashed by Euron’s own Iron fleet (really, they should differentiate their banners more – it’s very confusing) and her Sand Snake allies were killed or captured.
So was Dany right to listen to Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) when he said to hold back, or should she heed Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) and “be a dragon” instead? Guess we’ll just have to see how their big assault on Casterly Rock goes next week…
2. What did Arya mean when she spoke to her direwolf?
After years apart, tonight’s episode saw Arya (Maisie Williams) reunite with a much-loved old friend – and no, we’re not talking about Hot Pie (though it was great to see his baking prowess has only improved).
Rather, we were excited to see Arya face-to-snout with her old direwolf pal Nymeria, released into the wild waaaay back in series one and unseen on screen since. However, Nymeria didn’t stick around too long, rejecting Arya’s offer to come back to Winterfell and wandering off as her erstwhile mistress wistfully commented: “That’s not you.”
But what did she mean? Was that not Nymeria after all? Well, no – we’re pretty sure that this was Arya referencing a line of dialogue also from series one (see video below), when she had an exchange with her dear old departed dad Ned (who coincidentally appeared in statue form for this week’s story).
Back then, when Ned told Arya of his planned future for her getting married, having warrior sons and wearing nice dresses, she sadly replied “No – that’s not me,” with series showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss confirming the callback.
“‘That’s not you’ is a direct reference to what Arya herself said to her father when her father painted this picture for her of the life she could have as a lady of a castle and marrying some lord and wearing a nice frilly dress,” Weiss explained in an Inside the Episode video.
“Arya’s not domesticated, and it makes total sense that her wolf wouldn’t be either. Once the wolf walks away, at first she’s heartbroken to have come this close, and then she realizes the wolf is doing exactly what she would do if she were that wolf.”
Benioff added: “This scene hearkens back to Season 1. … When she finally finds Nymeria again, or Nymeria finds her, and she of course wants her to come back home with her and be her loyal companion again, but Nymeria’s found her own life.”
So there you have it – straight from the direwolf’s mouth.
3. Has Sam’s dad joined Cersei?
We spent a bit more time with Sam’s dad Randyll Tarly (James Faulkner) this week as Cersei and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) tried to win over the other Lords of the Reach (a southern geographic area presided over by the Tyrells traditionally) by painting Daenerys in demonic colours.
But will the honourable-ish (he did threaten to kill Sam, after all) Lord Tarly really turn on his liege lords? Will he lead the charge against Daenerys? And why was he so worried about Daenerys taking after her dad when Cersei’s burnng people with wildfire the whole time anyway?
More questions, few answers as of yet.
4. Is Daenerys the Prince (or Princess) that was promised?
Melisandre (Carice van Houten) returned this week to meet Daenerys and fill her in on Game of Thrones’ big prophecy, The Prince That Was Promised. Yes, another prophecy, perk up at the back there.
In basic terms this prophecy is about a legendary Chosen One who will be reborn to save the world from darkness, and fans have long speculated on whether it could be Daenerys or Jon who’s set to fill the role – and now this week’s episode has confirmed that Daenerys is at least a contender, thanks to tricksy Valyrian grammar meaning that the “prince” part could apply to either gender.
Expect to see plenty more of this prophecy as the weeks go on – as well as the possible revelation that the Prince could be more than one person…
5. Can Sam save Ser Jorah?
We’re guessing that Sam’s (John Bradley) illicit peeling of Ser Jorah’s (Iain Glen) infected skin will take care of his greyscale, but perhaps at some cost. After all, the archmaester (Jim Broadbent) did warn that such techniques were forbidden, so Sam’s good instincts could have just got him kicked out of the Citadel.
And if he is cured, what’s next for Ser Jorah? Will he find his way back to his Khaleesi – or will he find she’s managing perfectly well without him these days?
6. Are all the Sand Snakes dead?
Well, no – but it did get a bit confusing. You see, the end of tonight’s episode saw Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) launch a surprise attack on his niece Yara’s (Gemma Whelan) fleet in stunning scenes, crushing Daenerys’ naval might at a stroke and capturing Yara into the bargain.
And in the course of this the Dornish Sand Snakes met some unfortunate ends. As far as we can tell two (Keisha Castle-Hughes’ Obara and Jessica Henwick’s Nymeria – clearly there’s only space for ONE Nymeria at a time) were actually killed in combat with Euron, while Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) and her mother Ellaria (Indira Varma) were captured. We’re betting Euron’s “gift” to Cersei could be Ellaria or Tyene’s death, given that Ellaria killed Cersei’s daughter Myrcella back in series five.
7. What’s next for Theon?
The selfsame battle also saw Theon (Alfie Allen) struggle with his PTSD after his torture by Ramsay, failing to save his sister when she was captured by Euron and diving into the sea to escape instead.
But what’s next for Theon? Will he return to Daenerys, or try to save his sibling? Has he finally hit rock bottom, or will this be just the spur he needs to finally start becoming the old Theon again?
After all, to quote the Greyjoy motto: “What is dead may never die but rises again, harder and stronger.”
8. Will Jon meet Dany next week?
Here’s something that does seem pretty definite – the trailer for next week’s episode appears to show Jon (Kit Harington) visiting Daenerys on Dragonstone after overruling his Northern Lords, desperate to get his hands on her Dragonglass mine to fight the White Walkers.
This meeting has been a long time coming – Jon and Daenerys have been central characters in this series for seven years without even sharing a continent until now – but what will it be like? Will Jon and Dany get on like a house on fire, or will there be an icy atmosphere? And will Dany agree to help Jon in the coming war, or will she be too preoccupied with seizing the Iron Throne?
So far, we only know one thing – the pair can definitely bond over their excellent haircare regimes.
9. And finally….WHY did Daenerys and co bother carving a custom map piece for the Unsullied?
We try not to get too nitpicky over Game of Thrones – it’s a show with dragons and ice zombies in it, after all – but we couldn’t help but find it slightly unbelievable that in the mere days since Daenerys took over Dragonstone she bothered to have an ornament carved to represent the Unsullied on the fortress’ map table.
And don’t give me that “Stannis might have had it already” – we’ve seen Unsullied with different armour and helmets, so this specific piece was definitely designed with Daenerys’ army in mind.
Couldn’t they just have picked up a rock, said “This will represent the Unsullied – all agreed?” and saved lots of effort? And did they also have those dragons carved specially, or were they just kicking around in the back of a cupboard somewhere from the old days?
Truly, this is the one Game of Thrones mystery that will haunt us over the next seven days.
Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres exclusively on Mondays on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV at 2am, repeated at 9pm on the same day