Warning: This article contains spoilers for Game Of Thrones season seven, episode one.
After more than a year of waiting, Game Of Thrones season seven has finally exploded back onto our screens and, goodness, wasn’t it worth the wait?
The first episode of the new season saw us have a good old catch-up with all of the key players in Westeros, and it even included a pretty massive cameo from Ed Sheeran.
But before we get into all of that, let’s talk about the serious levels of girl power that Game Of Thrones continues to deliver.
First up, the series started in arguably the most ‘Thrones way possible: Mass murder.
Arya Stark continued to seek revenge on the Freys as she donned slain Walder’s face and called for every member of the Frey family to join him for a celebratory feast, only to kill the lot of them after delivering a moving speech about how downright cruel the Red Wedding was.
The murder of Arya’s brother Robb, mother Catelyn, and Robb’s pregnant bride may have happened a whopping four seasons ago but Arya isn’t over it and, to be honest, neither are we, so it was brilliant to see the show get off to a suitably bloodthirsty start.
Luckily for the rest of Westeros, that was the only bit of true violence in the entire episode, with the rest of ‘Dragonstone’ focusing on each of the character’s personal development as they all prepare for the inevitable war.
Over at Winterfell, everybody’s favourite sassy 11-year-old, Lyanna Mormont, was back on form as she fully supported Jon Snow’s very modern idea of bringing equality to the North by getting women to join men on the battlefield.
When faced with scrutiny from the older men, little Lyanna snarled: “I don’t plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me. I may be small and I may be a girl, but I am every bit as much a Northerner as you and I don’t need your permission to defend the North”, well and truly securing herself a place in every Game Of Thrones’ fan’s heart.
Meanwhile, Jon locked horns with his sister, Sansa Stark, over the best way to deal with their traitors, with Jon poignantly refusing to condemn the families of the men who died fighting for Ramsay Bolton in last season’s Battle of the Bastards.
Instead he got the new heads of the households to pledge their allegiance to House Stark – a wise move considering Jon will soon have both the White Walkers and the Lannisters to contend with, which will require one heck of an army.
Speaking of the Lannisters, Cersei is still as hard-hearted as ever over in King’s Landing, but she is in way over her head – as her brother Jamie kindly pointed out. The Lannisters currently have more enemies than they can shake a stick at, including Olenna Tyrell, who is probably concocting a dastardly plan to avenge the murder of her grandchildren, Margaery and Loras, as we speak.
The only potential alliance in the Lannisters’ future is with Euron Greyjoy, who has vowed to bring the queen a “gift” in order to make her his wife – and if his impassioned speech is anything to go by, we have a feeling that this “gift” might just be the head of one of Cersei’s (many) enemies.
True to form, Cersei’s biggest threat, Daenerys Targaryen, continues to move at what some may call a “slow and steady” pace, finally arriving at Dragonstone with the episode ending as she prepared to come up with a foolproof battle plan alongside her advisors.
However, with Samwell Tarly urgently messaging Jon after discovering that a mountain of dragon glass, one of just two materials that can kill a White Walker, is buried underneath Dragonstone, we have a feeling that he has set the wheels into motion for Daenarys and Jon to finally cross paths.
About time, eh?
Other notable events from tonight’s episode:
Bran Stark finally found refuge in Castle Black, which could spell trouble for the Night’s Watch.
Brienne and Tormund’s uncomfortably flirty relationship is still going strong.
We can only assume that it was Jorah’s scaley arm that scared the life out of Samwell at the Citadel, creating yet another link between Sam/ Jon and Daenarys.
With Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr’s guidance, Sandor Clegane learned that he can read patterns in the fire, and he saw the Night King’s army marching from the North.
Arya ate a squirrel next to Ed Sheeran after she happened upon him singing a tune in the middle of the woods, in what was perhaps the most unsubtle celebrity cameo of all time.
Until next week, Westeros, until next week.