The long wait is over and has returned with an impressive , which tackles a multitude of storylines in an entertaining and effective way. The return of Thrones, though, brings many, many questions with it. One of the best things about HBO’s epic fantasy show is the speculation, , and discussions about what’s going to happen. With that in mind, it’s time to talk about the questions we have after episode 1. It goes without saying that if you haven’t seen the episode yet, the following feature contains A LOT of spoilers. If you have seen it, read on and find answers to the nine most burning questions we all have after watching Dragonstone. Who’s in charge of the Riverlands now? What’s the gift Euron will bring Cersei? What did Tormund say to Brienne AND WHY COULDN’T WE HEAR IT?! If you’re looking for a more detailed analysis of the episode, , but if you’re ready to start speculating, read on and add any comments you have below.
1. Who will take charge of the Riverlands/Twins now?
Because I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s not a single Frey left alive at the Twins. Arya saw to that. Normally, once the head of a House dies, the title and responsibility for the surrounding lands would be passed down to the next male heir, but the Frey House is a bit thin on the ground with male heirs at the moment. Arya didn’t kill any of the women and children so there must be someone left alive who could be Walder Frey’s legitimate heir, but I doubt we’ll see a toddler or a woman taking charge of the Riverlands in episode 2.
Now would be the perfect time for House Tully to take back Riverrun, but most of them are dead as well, so the most logical option seems to be that Edmure Tully will break free of his imprisonment and take charge of both houses. His son will probably be the closest thing to a Frey heir anyway and he’s definitely the rightful heir of Riverrun. It’s a shame Ayra didn’t find him when she was at the Twins. The Lannisters probably aren’t giving up the Twins and Riverrun easily though - like Jaime said, they need all the allies they can get, so will Edmure be put in his place by Queen Cersei with his young son held hostage to make sure he stays on their side? I think this is the most logical way to have a legitimate ruler of the Riverlands who does as he’s told.
2. Will Cersei's army march north?
The Queen wasted no time in sending a raven to the new King in the North asking him to bend the knee and, unsurprisingly, Jon Snow thinks that’s a really bad idea. There’s a chance Cersei would let him rule Winterfell, but only if he agreed to everything she wanted, which is unlikely, so Jon isn’t planning on getting within a hundred miles of King’s Landing. The problem is, this would be seen as treason by any monarch of the Seven Kingdoms and would require their army to march north and defeat the nobleman who refused them.
Jon can’t afford a war on two fronts - Cersei to the south and The Night King to the north - but he makes a good point when he says the army would be mad to travel this far north in winter. Jaime is unlikely to lead an expedition so far from home when there’s not enough food to feed the army, and the Lannisters have problems enough to deal with further south but, as Sansa says, there’s no way Cersei is letting this go. If Jon refuses her, then he’s on her shit list and she won’t forget it. So, will she send her army north? Probably not until it’s really inconvenient for Jon… like, as he’s about to go to battle with the White Walkers.
3. What gift will Euron bring Cersei?
This episode saw a wedding proposal - yay! Euron Greyjoy wants to tie the knot with Cersei Lannister, but I highly doubt it’s because he thinks she’s a swell lady. He wants to make an alliance with the Lannisters, the same way he was planning on joining forces with Daenerys before his niece and nephew beat him to it. Cersei refused him despite his sexy pirate charm because he’s untrustworthy (pot, kettle, black? Yes), so he promises to prove his loyalty and affection by returning to King’s Landing with a gift for her… and somehow, I doubt it’s a bunch of flowers and chocolates.
It’s more likely to be a person Cersei wants dead and that’s a long list at the moment. A good bet would be Tyrion - she’s been after her little brother ever since season 4 when she (mistakenly) believed he killed her first born, Joffrey. But Tyrion is at the heart of Dany's council and unlikely to enter the fray of battle which makes him a hard person to capture. It’s more likely to be someone Euron will defeat in battle and deliver to the Queen. Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes would be a gift she’d value highly, or perhaps Yara and Theon… but if Euron gets his hands on his treacherous niece and nephew, I think it’s more likely he’d murder them outright rather than hand them over to the Lannisters. Still, it’s a better wedding gift than a toaster and a chafing dish.
4. What did Tormund say to Brienne?
And why were we not allowed to hear it?!? Goddamn you HBO! When Brienne is training with Pod, it’s not long before Tormund creeps up to them with a look on his face that says ‘I wish you’d kick the crap out of me like that’. As Pod falls to the ground (again), he tells him he’s a lucky man before making his way over to Brienne... but before he reaches her, the scene cuts to Sansa and Littlefinger who are watching from the gallery. Wtf?! As they look down on the pair, you can see Tormund saying something to Brienne before she briefly replies and walks away, but Littlefinger is too busy yapping for us to hear anything.
Was he whispering sweet nothings in her ear? Probably... At least by Wildling standards. He could have been asking if she’d like to go a few rounds with him seen as Pod can’t seem to keep his big sword up (*wink wink*). Either way, it doesn’t look like he’s having much luck, but these things take time. One day, soon, I’m sure Brienne will see Tormund’s charm and they’ll live happily ever after. Please?
5. What did The Hound see in his fire vision?
It seems the Lord of Light isn’t done with The Hound as he had a fire vision in this episode. But what did he see? The Hound looked into the fire and described a place where The Wall meets the sea, with a mountain that looks like an arrowhead, and the dead were crossing in their hundreds. If you didn’t know, the place he’s describing is Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. The Night’s Watch stronghold Jon is sending Tormund and the Wildlings to man because it’s the most likely place the Night King and his army will try and cross. Like all of the Night’s Watch strongholds it’s severely undermanned and if The Hound’s vision is anything to go by, the White Walkers will be successful in their attempt to cross here. This will probably mean that The Hound and the Brotherhood Without Banners will also travel to Eastwatch where they’ll join up with Tormund and eventually Jon Snow.
6. Did The Hound know the man and girl?
Yes. Hardcore fans will have known immediately the Brotherhood Without Banners sought shelter in. The rest of us need a little reminder. Remember in , episode 3, Breaker of Chains, when The Hound and Arya were travelling through the Riverlands toward the Vale of Arryn? They took shelter from a storm in the house with the farmer and his daughter. Over dinner, The Hound agrees to do some work for the farmer in exchange for silver, but in the morning he beats him up, steals the silver, and leaves despite Arya’s protests, telling her: “They’ll both be dead come winter.”
Obviously, he was right but his reaction to seeing their dead bodies - knowing that the father killed his daughter and himself to save them the pain of starvation - shows how much he’s changed over the course of the show. The Hound we used to know wouldn’t have cared, would have even boasted that he was right, and certainly wouldn’t have buried them.
7. Is that Arya’s catspaw blade?
When Sam is studying some of the books from the restricted section of the Oldtown library, we very briefly see a drawing of a rather familiar looking dagger. The catspaw blade has a long history within the Game of Thrones show and could be very significant for this season. It first appeared in in the hands of Bran’s would-be assassin, before Catelyn Stark took it to King’s Landing, where Littlefinger convinced her that it belonged to Tyrion. Last we saw of it, it was back in Littlefinger’s possession but it’s unclear if it still is. The reason I think it may be significant is because it’s been for the new season. It’s unclear how she’ll find it but this, along with the brief but significant cameo in the premiere, proves that it’s important.
The blade itself is Valyrian steel, which we know is very powerful and is one of the few materials which can kill White Walkers. Its inclusion in an ancient book about the Targaryens and dragonglass hints that it might have some special significance or powers of its own which will become important later on. If only Sam had paused to read that page instead!
8. Why is Jorah in Oldtown?
I was more than a little surprised to see Jorah in Oldtown after Daenerys sent him to find a cure for his Greyscale. I guess I presumed the cure wouldn’t be in Westeros, but given that Oldtown is the home of the Maesters - the supposedly cleverest and most learned people in the world - it makes sense that Jorah would seek their help. It doesn’t look like it’s going all too well though, as Jorah is being kept isolated as his Greyscale slowly gets worse. Despite this, I feel confident that he will be cured and return to Dany and the best indicator of how this will happen is Shireen Baratheon, Stannis’ daughter, who was cured of Greyscale as a child. Details on how she was cured are scarce, but it’s said that Stannis brought every Maester and healer he could find to his daughter and somehow their combined efforts cured her (although she remained scarred). Does this mean there’s a Maester in Oldtown who knows the cure? If so, why haven’t they cured Jorah, and countless others, already? Perhaps they don’t know why it worked on Shireen...
9. Why is Dragonstone deserted?
The end of the season 7 premiere saw Daenerys finally land in Westeros and return to her family’s ancestral home of Dragonstone. It was a significant moment, which saw the Mother of Dragons and her entourage walk through the abandoned stronghold tearing down Baratheon banners. But why wasn’t there anyone at Dragonstone to greet the new arrivals? Obviously, I wouldn’t expect a bustling household given that it was Stannis’ home and he’s dead, but the place looked like it had been abandoned for decades. Even if Stannis had taken most of the royal household with him to the north, he would have left someone in charge of his family’s home and there would undoubtedly be ladies of the court, and families of his bannerman still in Dragonstone, not to mention the servants and villagers. So where have they all gone?
Well, let’s assume a boatload of them died with Stannis. The rest, once they had word of Stannis’ defeat, would likely have returned to their own family homes or to other allies for safety. Once the castle had emptied of the highborn, most of the servants would have left too, and while it seems unlikely that no one is sheltering in Dragonstone given the perilous times they live in, I guess a castle isn’t exactly easy to heat! Not to mention, it’s a foreboding place given its Targaryen past and not many would be brave enough to seek refuge here.