Yes, a dynasty for whom?
Like Jaime Lannister, I, too, was left scratching my head as the Man With The Gold Hand tried to piece together where his beloved sister’s head was at as she spoke of survival, the importance of winning yet another war, and the difference between ash and flesh. For someone as cerebral as Cersei Lannister, her talk of dynasties, with all that’s happened, felt as though she was simultaneously loosening and tightening her grip as the queen of the Seven Kingdoms. (Three, if we’re being honest, as Jaime pointed out to try and bring his sister back into reality.) In “Dragonstone”, we’re shown the board, from the rooks to the queens to the knights to the pawns, but the game and hasn’t started and nobody has moved. At least not yet.
Arya Stark isn’t finished with the Frey family, which is very bad news for all 63 family members who basked in the Red Wedding who thought they were just in for a delightful feast. Arya had other plans, and, although she could have moved on after assassinating the eldest Frey, that wasn’t enough, as he did not act alone, and Arya Stark is not in the business of half-measures. It could have been much worse for House Frey — contaminated wine almost felt like it wasn’t enough. Almost.
Time is of the essence at Castle Black as Bran, now the Three Eyed Raven, has no time to show I.D. as every moment counts with the winds of winter fast approaching. The White Walkers are moving, and Castle Black has never been more vulnerable. The Wall, as we’ve learned throughout the course of the show, is a vital, underappreciated defense mechanism. While Cersei maps out her enemies — the East, North, South, West, Northwest, Empty Bottles Of Wine, etc. — the biggest danger of all the land is on the way and the show’s biggest wildcard — Bran Stark — awaits.
Like Jaime and Cersei, siblings quarreling was a commonplace in “Dragonstone”. But in the North, Jon Stark is king and once again flirting with the impending disaster that is naivety in this world. When Jon talks about Ned Stark, you can’t help but wonder if the Bastard still hasn’t learned. And yet, Sansa’s appeal to reason and strength and revenge, is worrisome, too. Jon may always struggle with balancing the mind and the heart, but Sansa’s evolution is perhaps a big worry, as both Jon and Littlefinger, to an extent, look to notice as the elder Stark girl is becoming more Cersei, less Catelyn.
What never seems to change on Game of Thrones, however, is the perseverance of Samwell Tarly through unimaginable levels of adversity. Still, the trials and tribulations that Sam faces in “Dragonstone” still feels heavy, even for a character like the Worst Swordsman in the Night’s Watch. There is always another ladder for Samwell Tarly to climb, but we all want to see him climb it no matter what heinous duties impede him on the way up. Because he always seems to persevere, and he does once again when he stumbles upon the information about the mountain of dragonglass at Dragonstone. Samwell Tarly just wants to help, and if he’s able to relay his findings to the North, he’ll do just that. It’s never been the end of civilization in Westeros, and it’s been the end for Samwell Tarly beating the odds.
But then there is Gregor “The Hound” Clegane. While Samwell Tarly looks for the good, Clegane has experience with the bad. It’s not that simple for the Hound, though. He’s curious, and wants, on some level, for his cynicism to be proven wrong. Seeing the bare bones of the father and daughter he left behind rattles him as the Hound is seen burying their bodies in the cold, even stumbling through an awkward, heartfelt eulogy for the fallen that didn’t deserve it. And yet, here is this man who continues to get brought back to life, but nobody has been able to figure as to why — not even the man himself. The vision that the Hound sees in the fire is alarming, sure, but there is something exciting about seeing him in this, for lack of a better word, light. Maybe there is a method to all this madness after all?
The Hound saw the light, but Daenerys Targaryen has been the light for many for six seasons now. The Mother of Dragons we met in season one would never have believed she’d feel the sand at Dragonstone ever again, but here we are. As Daenerys — along with her own version of the 2016-17 Golden State Warriors follow closely behind — reacquainted herself with her home, you can’t help but smile — no matter what lies ahead. Once Daenerys reaches the throne room, pauses, and reflects, just for a few moments, she’s ready to move forward. I’m just glad we had those few minutes to bask in the present.