My colleague, Kimberly Pierce, and I are alternating weeks recapping Game of Thrones this season. On our off weeks, though, we still have something to say. She did the recap this week, so I’m facing off with her (Get it? Like with FACE MAGIC.) by chiming in with my two cents here…
Do I need to warn that there are spoilers ahead? There are!
This week marks the second time in a row that season seven of Game of Thrones has exceeded my expectations. Beforehand, I was nervous about whether they could build on last week’s satisfying explosion of a season opener. My worst-case scenario was that we’d have a return to gratuitous female nudity and a bunch of dudes stepping over the strong women to reclaim their power. We got a smidge of the second, but big props to the visionaries behind the scenes for giving us something I’d given up on: gender parity in a nude scene!
The whole episode was strong, but the biggest surprise for me was that when Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) broke the one-episode-long dry spell for showing a woman’s breasts, she immediately helped Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) out of his clothes! I don’t think we can stem the tide of nudity on GOT, but I loved seeing some equal opportunity nakedness. Sure, one could argue that a eunuch and his lady might stay on first base for more than three kisses during their first big love scene, but we know the rules of the televised GOT universe: more naked sex; less clothes-on kissing.
Please don’t mistake me for a prude! My major complaint with GOT is that 99.99% of the sex and nudity is gratuitous, changes the tone of the original scene from the books or didn’t appear in the books at all and was slapped into the show instead of something I care about. (Ahem, Lady Stoneheart…) In this instance, I think we can even say that the sex was purposeful. Missandei seeing Grey Worm naked broke down a barrier between them. His going downtown once they made it to the bed was like icing on the cake. A tide seems to have turned on a show that acted like it didn’t know how much of its audience was female for five years or so. FINGERS CROSSED that it keeps rolling!
Aside from that big win, we got some great moments with Arya (Maisie Williams) this week. It was fun to see her reconnecting with Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey) and finally getting clued in that the Boltons are dead, the Starks are back in Winterfell and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is King in the North. There’s a fab moment where she compliments Hot Pie on his pie crust and he confides that the secret is browning the butter beforehand. She mutters that she didn’t do that with hers, and he gets excited to hear that she’s been baking pies. If only he knew…
When she leaves him to resume her trek to kill Cersei, though, she pauses on her horse, looking back and forth between the southern route she’s been on and the northern route behind her. Then she TURNS THE HORSE AROUND! Arya is on her way home, and THE PACK SURVIVES.
En route, she meets her long-lost Direwolf, Nymeria, with her pack. I keep hoping that the Starks will realize they’re all wargs, but instead of possessing her wolf and racing through the forest, Arya pleads with her old friend to join her on the trip home and is apparently rebuffed. I don’t buy it, though. Just as I’m crossing my fingers for gender parity to keep rolling, I’m holding out hope that Nymeria and her pack will either keep crossing Arya’s path as she makes her way north or that they’ll appear there when she arrives.
My other significant satisfaction this week was having the foundation laid for some big reunions / first-time meetings at Dragonstone. Jon Snow got Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) summons (filtered through Tyrion’s (Peter Dinklage) more diplomatic touch) to come to her just ahead of finally receiving Sam’s information that Dragonstone sits on a literal mountain of Dragon Glass. Between the prospect of three real dragons and a mountain of weaponry materials, Jon must go there to forge an alliance for the sake of defeating the army of the dead. (Big bonus when he leaves Sansa (Sophie Turner) in charge of the North in his absence, and I’m praying they don’t create another distracting conflict up there by having Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) manipulate her into trying to keep the North permanently. I don’t think she would cave into him anymore, but…)
I’m really hoping that this course of events converges with the outcome of Sam (John Bradley) treating Jorah Mormont’s (Iain Glen) greyscale. Until the scene where Sam is laboriously removing Jorah’s scaly, pus-concealing skin, I’d completely forgotten that Jorah’s dad was the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch when Sam and Jon joined up. So much has happened since then!
My theory (contributed to by my brother, Tom) is that Sam will get kicked out of the Citadel for sneaking out restricted books and curing Jorah against his mentor’s orders, and that the two of them will take Sam’s little family and head to Dragonstone so Sam can study Dragon Glass’ properties and Jorah can resume his duties to Dany. Also: maybe it’s time for Sam to become a wizard!