Well, it’s safe to say that was a pretty incendiary episode of Game of Thrones. After years of buildup, Daenerys finally unleashed one of her dragons on a proper battlefield, annihilating a large chunk of the Lannister forces at a stroke and blowing up an awful lot of King’s Landing supplies in the process.
But amongst the chaos, the episode ended with a bit of confusion – so here are our biggest questions as we begin the wait for next week’s edition.
First off, a bit of behind-the-scenes housekeeping. This week HBO (who make Game of Thrones and broadcast it in much of the world – in the UK it’s shown on Sky Atlantic) were hit by a hack that stole some of their data, including episodes of certain shows and what appeared to be a script summary for Game of Thrones episode 4.
The burgeoning romance (Snowmance?) between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen (Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke) was taken up a notch this week, with the pair sharing some tense scenes in a Dragonglass cave and Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) commenting that he’d noticed Jon “staring at her good heart” (ahem).
So will this unlikely pair finally create the alliance that Westeros needs? Well, we’d hope so – were it not for the fact that they’re secretly aunt and nephew, a fact they don’t know themselves yet. In fairness, in a show like Game of Thrones that relationship would be practically wholesome.
3. Why did Sansa look so worried about Arya?
This week saw another big Stark family reunion, with Sansa (Sophie Turner), Arya (Maisie Williams) and Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) coming together in Winterfell for the first time since the first series.
And while the sisters Stark seem to be getting along better than they used to, there was a little tension as Sansa learned just how deadly Arya has become since their King’s Landing days, with the Lady of Winterfell looking concerned as Arya sparred with Brienne (Gwendoline Christie).
But will Sansa’s fear drive a wedge between the sisters? Or will she realise that having a Faceless Man for a sister could be very handy in the cut-throat world of Westerosi politics? Hmm…
4. Did all the gold get burned?
The opening of tonight’s episode spent a while emphasising the importance of the gold the Lannisters looted from Highgarden, with the booty intended to pay back the Iron bank of Braavos and improve relations so the bank might lend Cersei (Lena Headey) some more money in future.
But with Daenerys attacking and destroying so many of the Lannister wagons, was all that precious gold destroyed? Well, we don’t think so – if you listen carefully before the battle, you’ll hear Randyll Tarly (James Faulkner) tell Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) that the gold is already in King’s Landing, so it seems like Drogon mainly torched the new supplies headed to the capital. Still a massive hit on the Lannisters, but they’ll still probably be able to pay off the bank.
5. Is Jaime dead?
In other bad news from the Lannisters, the episode ends with Jaime making a charge towards Daenerys, only to pull up short when Drogon looks set to make a meal of him.
Luckily, someone dives and knocks him off his horse (we THINK it was Jerome Flynn’s Bronn, but it was hard to see), leaving Jaime sinking to the bottom of the river in his heavy armour.
So is this the last we’ll see of the Kingslayer? Coster-Waldau himself seemed to hint at that possibility in a slightly ambiguous tweet before the episode aired, after all…
However, we’re not so sure – if this really was Jaime’s death scene it would feel a little rushed and unearned, so we’re betting he manages to swim to safety sometime next week. Hopefully with Bronn in his arms.
6. So can ANYTHING kill a dragon?
Tonight’s episode saw the Lannisters try out their secret weapon for the first time – the “Scorpion” crossbow designed by Qyburn to kill dragons – but it wasn’t a massive success, with only one of the bolts winging Drogon and the machines easily destroyed by the then-miffed dragon.
But could they be more successful at closer range, or if Bronn had managed a headshot? Assuming Qyburn has a few more to try out, we’re betting we’ll see in the coming weeks. Lucky they had it with them at all, really.
7. Why did Daenerys only use one dragon?
Of course, the Scorpions’ efficacy might have been a moot point if Daenerys had brought along a few reinforcements – so how come she only brought along one dragon to the battle, instead of taking the full set?
Some fans have suggested that it might be easier to control one at a time, but given she’s used all three at once in the past (most notably the Battle of Slaver’s Bay last series) that theory holds about as much water as a scorched Lannister canteen, so we’ll just have to assume she was playing it safe just in case something happened. Why risk all three dragons when one was so deadly anyway?
Plus, of course, it can’t but have helped the battle’s budget and direction to only have one dragon to concentrate on…
8. Is Daenerys going power mad?
Still, it’s possible the victory could have gone to Daenerys’ head, at least based on the trailer for next week’s episode (above). In the footage, it seems like Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) are getting worried about their new Queen, especially when she begins threatening to burn those who won’t bend the knee.
9. And finally…are the White Walkers about to attack?
Oh yes, gosh, almost forgot the unstoppable army of zombies marching towards the Wall. Nice of them to move slowly enough that other storylines can resolve themselves.
Anyway, in the next episode trailer, it’s said that the Walkers are on their way to Eastwatch, the castle at the end of the Wall currently manned by Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) and his wildling army on Jon Snow’s orders. But are the Walkers about to attack, or just walk around the edge of the Wall on frozen waters, as some fans now believe is their plan?
Guess we’ll just have to wait and see – but to repeat Ser Davos’ slight paraphrase of the Stark family motto from the new trailer, it certainly looks like “Bad things are coming.”
Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres exclusively on Mondays on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV at 2am, repeated at 9pm on the same day