(Caution: A few spoilers.)
To a person watching Game of Thrones for just the battles and the gore, the first episode of the new season is the quiet before the upcoming storm. Maybe too quiet. But if you’re one those nerds dedicated to the many intricacies of the song of ice and fire, you have quite a few reasons to rejoice.
In the first episode of the seventh season, titled Dragonstone, Sansa and Jon are at Winterfell, Cersei is on the iron throne, Arya is on her way to King’s Landing to kill the queen, Sam is at the Citadel trying to find a way to help Jon defeat the white walkers, Meera Reed is dragging Bran through the snow, and Daenerys Stormborn is on her way to her ancestral island of Dragonstone.
The first episode is building up to a battle, the promised song of ice and fire. Enemies are being identified, strategies being created and alliances being sought – even if they come in the shape of characters known to be unreliable. Sansa Stark has Brienne of Tarth to protect her and Jon’s army of the North to avenge the deaths of the Stark family. Jon Snow, meanwhile, is rallying forces to fight the white walkers.
Everything’s coming together to Dragonstone – the title of this episode, and the location of what could be the eventual battle. The six minute dialogue-free sequence at the end lets the magnitude of Daenerys’s homecoming sink in, but the real battle is only beginning.