After over a year of waiting, with all the hype and theories that came along with it, “#Game of Thrones#Season 7 is finally here. In typical “Game of Thrones” fashion, the #Season Premiere wasn’t exactly action-packed, but it still managed to provide enough setup and characterization to keep the fan base satisfied.

With only the essential characters still remaining, pretty much everyone’s fan favorites got plenty of screen time in last night’s episode. This is a trend that will only continue from here on out, especially with only 12 episodes remaining between this and the final season.

Recap

The episode opens up with Arya, disguised as Walder Frey, poisoning the entire Frey family under the guise of a celebration.

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Arya then tells one of Walder’s wives who witnessed the whole incident to tell everyone else, “The North remembers”. The next shot shows the army of the White Walkers walking towards the Wall with giants now added to their legion of the dead. Bran and Meera are then seen at the Wall where Dolorous Edd, the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, allows them through the gate.

Jon begins discussing with the rest of the Northen houses on all the necessary arrangements to defend the North from the upcoming war with the White Walkers. During which, Sansa questions Jon’s judgment in front of all the Northern Lords after Jon decides to allow the Umbers and Karstarks to keep their homes and land even though they initially sided with the Boltons. After Jon and Sansa discuss Jon’s leadership, Jon receives a letter from Cersei telling him to bend a knee or face the same fate as the rest of his family.

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This transitions into Cersei discussing with Jamie how exactly they will go about defending themselves from Dany’s massive army with all their allies essentially gone. Cersei tells him that she’s found a new and powerful ally in which the next shot is that of Euron Greyjoy and the Iron Fleet arriving at King’s Landing. Euron then negotiates with Cersei telling her he’ll join her side if she agrees to marry him. But because of how untrustworthy he is, she says no to his proposal. Euron then tells her he’ll bring her a priceless gift to prove himself to her.

We then cut to a montage of Sam’s life at the Citadel where most of his maester training seems to revolve around cleaning chamber pots, carrying books, and being a cafeteria worker. While helping one of the archmaesters dissect a former maester, Sam talks to him about the White Walkers to which the archmaester surprisingly believes him. However, although he believes him, he doesn’t believe anything really needs to be done about them since mankind has survived other “world-ending” events before.

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Sam then steal the keys to the gated off section of the Citadel’s library in order to take some books that he believe will help him find important information to fight the White Walkers.

The following scene is that of Littlefinger trying to further corrupt Sansa by doing what he does best; scheming. Unfortunately for him, Sansa seems to care very little for what he has to say. We then cut back to Arya camping out with a group of Lannister soldiers as she continues to ride towards King’s Landing. After getting to know them, they eventually ask her why she’s going to King’s Landing to which she simply replies, “I’m going to kill the queen”. After a dramatic pause, they all have a good laugh over her answer.

The Hound is then seen traveling with the Brotherhood Without Banners north. They stop by an abandoned home which just so happened to be the same home he and Arya visited in season 4. [VIDEO] However, when the Hound enters their home this time around, he sees that the family that graciously allowed them into their home the first time around had killed themselves. As the Hound continues to question how real the Lord of Light actually is, Thoros asks him to come by the fire so he can tell him what he sees. Although he was dismissive at first, the Hound then begins to see visions of the White Walkers and the Wall in the fire.

Sam is then seen tirelessly reading as much he can while Gilly advises to him to get some rest. Despite the fact that Sam is on the verge of passing out, he continues reading which ultimately results in him finding out about the plethora of dragon glass located on Dragonstone. While Sam continues going about his daily duties as a maester in training, he comes across Jorah Mormont in which we see that his greyscale has gotten much worse.

The final scene is that of Dany and her entourage arriving at Dragonstone. The entire scene goes on for roughly five minutes without a single word of dialogue being spoken. Just shots of Dany looking at her former home in awe. The last shot of the episode is that of Dany and Tyrion looking over a map of Westeros with her ultimately asking him, “Shall we begin?”

Review

Maybe it’s just because of the long absence of “Game of Thrones” episodes, but I thoroughly enjoyed the season premiere. While there was certainly a lack of the graphic violence and nudity that the fans have come to expect from the show, the episode felt as though it was wasting no time setting up for the rest of the season. The whole episode flowed very nicely balancing out every character's storyline while never feeling as though it was dragging.

The dynamic between Cersei and Euron will certainly be fun to watch this season, as well as the interactions between Jorah and Sam. Not to mention that the opening scene of Arya poisoning all of House Frey may have arguably been the best opening to any season premiere of “Game of Thrones” ever. However, of all the scenes in the episode, the ones I found myself enjoying the most were the scenes revolved around Arya, Jon, Sansa, Euron, and Dany.

As I already mentioned, the opening scene with Arya was magnificent, but oddly enough, I also found myself enjoying her interaction with the Lannister soldiers almost as much as the opening scene. It felt remarkably refreshing to see Lannister soldiers actually act like decent human beings for once instead of the usual vicious thugs and war criminals they’re usually portrayed as. The scene also displayed an interesting contrast between the lowborn and the highborn of Westeros. While the highborn wish to have sons to carry on their family name, the lowborn wish to have daughters so that they’ll take care of them when they get old, especially since the sons just get sent off to fight in some war.

But most importantly, the scene showed something that is essential to Arya’s character; her humanity. After all the things she’s seen and the training she has gone through, Arya has become a cold-blooded killing machine. When Arya initially rode up to the Lannister soldiers, most of the fanbase probably expected her to kill them. But instead, she sat down with them and bonded with them. This scene showed that despite everything she’s gone through, at least some of Arya’s humanity has remained intact.

Watching Jon lead as King in the North was also fun to watch in which the scene of him meeting with all the Northern Lords really showed how far Jon has come since season 1. But more importantly, Sansa brought up some very good points that Jon should listen to. While Jon is doing a good job at being an honorable leader, he also needs to be smarter. His father Ned and his brother Robb were also just as honorable, but at the same time, it was that very same quality that led to their deaths and the downfall of House Stark. While Sansa may not admit it, Littlefinger has certainly rubbed off on her which is blatantly shown by her questioning Jon's decisions in front of every Northern house. The dynamic between her and Littlefinger will definitely be something to watch out for this season.

Perhaps the scene I enjoyed the most in the entire episode was Euron negotiating with Cersei in the throne room. A lot of people complained that Euron came off as a bit oafish during his introduction last season and that he just didn’t really seem all that interesting. But after last night’s episode, I’m sure those very same people have changed their minds about him. Euron displayed a certain swagger that made every word and gesture he made very fun to watch. This is especially good for the show since there’s a lack of villains at the moment. Not to mention that I think just about everyone is very interested to see what his “gift” is going to be.

Last but not least, I have to talk about the final scene with Dany. The fact that the entire scene had all but three words spoken throughout it was brilliant. It really helped emphasize the absolutely speechless catharsis Dany must’ve been feeling at that point. Her, along with the entire fan base, have been waiting for her to arrive in Westeros since season 1. Fast-forward seven long years later, and here we are. The table is finally set for the epic conquest we have been waiting ever so patiently to see. The only words that anybody could’ve thought of by the end of that scene where the very same words spoken by Dany, “Shall we begin?”

Overall, I give the season premiere a solid 8/10.