Note: This thing is so full of spoilers it's insane! As in, don't read it if you haven't seen the show!
The Story thus far ... like, from last year
Jon Snow died, Cersei went to jail, Tyrion hung around Meereen and the moon-faced Arya Stark went to work for the House of Black and White whereupon some weirdo wizard and his bitchy daughter treated her like utter shit. The little boy king killed himself, Margaery a-sploded, Jon Snow came back to life, winter kept on a-comin' and Sansa traveled around to get help from the various mayors of neighboring lands. The dickless Theon escaped the seaside town of wherever-the-eff with his sister, She-on, but their uncle pursued, really hoping to kill them all hard. Jon Snow's buddy moved into … some town. Daenerys burned a bunch of fools alive and presided over Meereen, Ramsay Bolton straight got his face eaten off by his own dogs, Bran picked up the power of seeing through time and space from a fucking tree-man and we finally learned that Hodor actually equaled "Hold the Door" for some reason. And lo, the ice zombies still cometh soon (oh, and we also learned from whence they came)—this is Game of Thrones for Noobs Part III, y'all!!!!!
The good news is that my dumb friends will maybe stop complaining about the wait for this show, the bad news is that I already forgot so many names of people and places and things. Still, when the janitor from Harry Potter gets up to speak about a double-feast schedule, everyone is like, "Yeah, feasts are good." He's gathered every Frey who means a damn thing … and Frey is probably some kind of last name. Wine is handed out to everyone and life seems good, but oops—looks like he poisoned everyone. When are people going to stop falling for that shit?! It's the oldest trick in the book and—HOLY FUCK! It's Arya "Moonface" Stark! No wonder the aged janitor was making that speech about how they shouldn't have left a Stark alive. She mad, but she walks out all cool and slow in a fashion that wouldn't be out of place had there been an explosion behind her, a wry smile crossing her lips.
Smash cut to icy plains, the debris of snow whips through the air, some sort of intense gas arises in the distance. Music swells, the gas moves closer. Inside, a lone asshole on a horse moves as slow as he possibly can. But wait, no, it's no lone rider—it is the ice zombies, and that one giant who was pals with Jon Snow last year is one of them now! Drag. Across the land, or at least someplace else, Oat-Bran Stark and his woman-servant arrive at the wall (The Wall), but the guys who work there don't wanna believe it's him. They're skeptical, but Bran is like, "You've been on vacation or in a war in all these different Westeros hotspots," and that's, like, good enough for them. They pull his dogsled-like conveyance into the fortress, but the guy in charge of the door is still pretty spooked.
Elsewhere, Snow gives a lecture to his constituents about how dragonglass is a great element for killin' an ice zombie. Everyone is so totally blown away by this one tween girl who's also a mayor or jarl or something. She's tough. Not, like, Arya tough (she's never disguised herself as a British janitor to poison a feast as far as we know), but pretty tough all the same. Sansa is like, "I'm here, too!" and everyone is like, "Word up." She fights with Snow in front of everyone about parliamentary procedure or some such, but he's been dead before and knows about the endless nothingness of such a plane. So it goes. Snow is like, "I used to be the president of The Wall, you should listen to me!" And Sansa is like, "Man, I should just go back to being a young X-Man." A couple kids pledge allegiance to Snow and Peter Baelish, who I guess was hiding in the shadows is like, "Fuck yeah, you nerds seen my facial hair?!" Still, it doesn't save Snow from a good talking-to from Sansa who is all, "You king weird, bro, but I guess people think you're pretty cool." Will they make out later? Probably. But not today, because some mailman arrives with a letter from Cersei that reads, "Hope you guys are having a cool summer! Come visit King's Landing before the winter slaughter if you can!"
Speaking of King's Landing, we rejoin Cersei, now queen, as she's getting a cool map of the world painted on her balcony. Her brother Jamie (whom you may recall has boned her a few times … gross) comes in to let everyone know how sorry he still is for Gods of Egypt. They talk about Daenerys and Tyrion's whole sailing around together to bolster dragon power thing and Jamie knows they'll probably stop in the seaswept town of Dragonstone to fill up on gas and get snacks. A bunch of Greyjoys (you know, Theon's buds) appear by ship to be allies to Cersei, but she's a little more interested in having an expositional argument with Jamie that may as well feature lines like, "Don't forget, this and that happened in the time before right now."
The Greyjoy leader (Theon's uncle, I think) announces how he wants to murder fools together. Jamie recites history at the guy all smarmy-like and Cersei watches quietly from the throne. You know the one … that throne; the sword one. The Greyjoy guy tells them how cool his boats are and that he'll sail for them so long as Cersei will hook him up with some babes. "Naw, dawg," she says. "You're wack." This doesn't phase him much, though, so he says he's gonna go look for a nice gift to change her mind.
We rejoin Jon Snow's friend Pudgy Junior as he gets used to his new job as a librarian/shit collector/soup technician at some kind of multi-use hospital/library/soup kitchen. It's books by day, shit by night and soup under the balloons for this asshole, but he never ever pukes despite a truly disgusting montage of him dry heaving to the similarities of soup and shit. What the what?! Why? Aw, who cares, he just knows he wants to get into the forbidden wing of the library (who does he think he is? Harry motherfucking Potter?), and he longs to learn of astronomy and the ways of the world. He should actually be focused on growing a proper mustache, but when he observes some superior librarian/shit collector, he really doubles down on his desires. The next thing you know, he's stealing that library key, and he's gonna learn what the philosopher's stone is all about even if it kills him.
Back at Jon Snow's house, Brienne (who still reminds me of Charlie Bucket), trains the kids how to swordfight while Baelish and Sansa exchange forced pleasantries. "I want you to be happy," he says. She's just like, "Gross, dude. I'm fine, OK?" Still, he pushes her, but she has no need for such trifling emotions. Brienne appears to shit-talk the guy but Sansa reminds her that Baelish has a lot of friends with swords and stuff.
We find the moon-faced Arya Stark out in the woods whereupon she discovers some singing campers (including fucking Ed Sheeran … as if this show wasn't dumb enough already). They offer her some rabbit, but she'd rather Ed Sheeran just quit music forever. Still, she's hungry and joins this wayward choir of forest dorks. "Why are you so obsessed with sex and toxic masculinity, Ed Sheeran?" she queries while he sits there like the creepy ginger he is. Little do they know she just killed about a bazillion Freys and, since they don't want to pay Ed Sheeran for more than one line, he silently offers her food and blackberry wine. Arya is pretty nice, they think, but she's still pretty open about how she'll kill Cersei. They all give her "Oh, right on …" looks and laugh politely like it's a joke. They're lucky to be alive.
Over in some other icy zone, this dude Clegane, about whom I don't really know anything, ponders death with some pals and starts hallucinating by staring into a fire. His scars glint in the firelight and he relates to them the many wonderful things he can see in the flickering flames. Nobody understands why this is happening, but nobody much cares, either, because Clegane freaks them out pretty big time but nobody is impolite enough to just say so. It's rough, not least of which because the house they're holed up in has some skeletons of people Clegane maybe knew once upon a time. He doesn't say. He's quiet like that. And then this effing show takes up 45 solid seconds with the sounds and sights of holes being dug to use as shallow graves for these dead friends of his. What a nightmare. Even Clegane's pals are bummed on him. Like them, I give up.
We cut back to Pudge Junior who, along with his illegally acquired books, hangs with his family, probably smelling of poo and learning more about dragonglass. He learns there's a whole damn mountain of the stuff near that town called Dragonstone (wait a second, isn't that where Daenerys is headed right now?) so not only is it a net gain for the non-ice zombies, it turns out their forefathers really knew how to name a town. Jon Snow would probably like this information, but it's back to the hospital for Pudge. He runs into Jorah whom, you may recall from last season, suffers pretty badly from stone-itis. Whatevs. He shouldn't have touched those dudes who are all stone-itis contagious if he didn't wanna live in Pudgy Junior's horrible hospital world of nightmares.
Elsewhere, Daenerys "Dragon-Tits" Targareyan, Tyrion "No Nickname" Lannister and homegirl's dragon pals arrive at Dragonstone. The dragons take to it immediately, flapping about the castle walls and arguing over who gets to sleep in what room. Daenerys seems to know this place, and since all of the stonework resembles dragons, we can only assume she probably belongs here given her whole mother-of-dragons thing. The doors swing open to reveal a wildly annoying stairway up the mountainside, and everyone pops on in like they own the place. When they finally do make it inside, they discover a throne that's pretty badass. Like, I've got news for you if you think that throne 'o' swords was tough—this one's all huge and built of diagonal stones and looks like a place where one sits when they hold lives in their hands. Seriously, it's the kind of chair a gal could get used to. They wander around saying nothing to each other for entirely too long, which is weird, but they uncover more dragon stuff and a really cool war room with a nice-ass table. Glances are exchanged, moments are had and things are definitely coming.
The shit collecting, however, was gross. Like, real gross.
This season's premiere picked up much faster than last year's, and pretty much everyone we were concerned about got a little moment to shine. Arya killing a roomful of punks was good stuff.
It's annoying when people stand around in movies and TV not speaking to one another. Nobody really does that. And yeah, we know, it's a fantasy show, but still.
The Grade: B-
Good on the show runners for checking in on pretty much everyone and also the giant-turned-ice-zombie was pretty neat, I guess.
The next episode for noobs is here...