The Stark reunion is nearly complete and with growing closer to Daenerys comes Jon Snow having his first opportunity to influence her decisions. Leading to her making herself known to Jamie personally.
A Series of Reunions: Arya, Brienne, Sansa, Bran, Little Finger
Arya, Bran, and Sansa
After so many years, three of the six Stark children are back together in Winterfell. Something Bran doesn’t make a big deal of since he seemingly is mentally setting aside his former life to accommodate the Three Eyed Raven he has become [note]Leading to an unfortunate end with Meera after all they’ve been through[/note].
However, when it comes to Arya and Sansa, it is a noteworthy occasion. One which includes lots of hugs but also measuring each other up. After all, Arya isn’t some simple tomboy and Sansa isn’t some young girl dreaming of her royal wedding anymore. They both now are women a bit more weary and quite experienced in their chosen fields. Arya sees how Sansa has taken on a stronger leadership role, perhaps even politics, and then Sansa gets to see what Arya has learned.
Arya and Brienne
Even after all this time, Podrik still seems to be a novice when facing Brienne. However, has Brienne effortlessly training Podrik made her rusty or could it be Arya’s skills match, if not barely surpass Brienne? This is a question which has to be asked for Arya, forever being the girl who wants to learn how to better use a sword, asks to be trained, to spar if you will.
Brienne starts off lightly for, after all, when she knew Arya she wasn’t that talented with needle. Much less didn’t have the dagger Bran gave Arya [note]That Little Finger gave him and clued him in on knowing it was meant to kill him.[/note]. Something she learns is a mistake to do with Arya for not only is she talented, but she is fencing for real. Damn near embarrassing, to say the least. For it isn’t just Podrik watching but also Sansa and the ever lurking Little Finger. Two people amazed by what Arya can do, much less the fact she not only bested and evaded the Winterfell guards but held her own against Brienne who, after some time, went full force.
Bran really brought down the reunion hype. To the point, I’m honestly ready for him to move on from Winterfell because he is such a buzz kill. I mean surely, there must be some tree he is supposed to be held up in right? Can he just live in a secure tower and, similar to The Hound, be seldom seen but occasionally we are reminded he exists? Hell, surely the children of the forest need him, right? Can they take him off of Sansa and Arya’s hands?
Bran being a Debbie Downer aside, I loved how Arya was showing off what she knew in front of Little Finger and Sansa. For, before her little sparring/training session with Brienne, I think there was a mutual appreciation of survival. Arya survived, practically on her own [note] Acknowledging she was with The Hound for a good part. [/note] and Sansa survived thanks to a series of people. Of which, with one mistake, one snitch, she would have ended up like their father.
Yet, I think there came a realization, while Sansa watched Arya fight, that Arya is truly self-sufficient. She can survive without someone looking out for her. Meanwhile, Sansa is still reliant on Little Finger, Jon, Brienne, and a slew of others. Which I don’t think has made Sansa jealous of her sister, but definitely has her taken note that she isn’t that little dweeb tomboy anymore. She is the real deal. So maybe Sansa may flex what she has learned as well in the future. [note]I understand many thinking she was jealous or had a realization of how independent Arya is compared to herself. Yet, I feel it was more than that. For, it isn’t like Sansa hasn’t learned a thing or two over the years. If anything, a part of me wonders if she fears that if Arya can best her guards and one of her best soldiers, how safe is she really in Winterfell? [/note]
But, with that said, you have to wonder what does Arya’s future hold? I personally can’t see her sticking around and just hanging out until Jon gets back. In my mind, Arya is going to be the one to kill Cersei and following that, one of the faceless men will end up killing her. For with the death of Cersei, her debt will be paid to her father so then she would have to pay her debt to the many faced god.
Leaving one last thing to talk about: Little Finger. He seems to have been dormant and just observing for a little too long now. You know the man has to be planning something, but the question is what? A long time ago it seemed he to vied for the Iron Throne. However, one could argue he has abandoned that to be around Sansa in his every waking moment. So will he be satisfied acting as an advisor to her or may one day return to the original dream?
A Time To Bond: Jon Snow, Daenerys, Missandei, Tyrion
Missandei and Daenerys
Missandei is worried about Grey Worm while Daenerys is rather confident. But as Missandei starts getting a little attitude in her voice saying “He’d better” Daenerys takes note. She follows up questioning why is she talking about him in such a way and learns her two closest advisors have been intimate. Full details get cut off because Jon Snow interrupts them.
Jon Snow and Daenerys
Before they are to mine the dragon glass, Jon Snow shows Daenerys that Dragonstone used to be a home to the children of the forest. On top of that, he shows also that the first men were allies of the children of the forest against white walkers. This is all seen in cave drawings. However, no matter the evidence Daenerys says, “Bend the knee then I’ll help you.”
Daenerys, Tyrion, Jon Snow
With news that her allies have all been killed off, and of what happened at Casterly Rock, so comes the words of Lady Olenna ringing in her ear. She begins to question Tyrion’s strategies as they are putting her closer and closer to square one. So, being that she is still a little indecisive, she turns to her newest friend Jon Snow for advice. Leading her to do something dangerous, but also vengeful.
At this point, I think the only answer to Daenerys and Jon’s problem would be marriage. For it is clear there is some sort of friendship developing, and Daenerys is going to have to think of who will be the heir to her throne. Otherwise, all that she is doing will mean naught. After all, she is the last of her name so it isn’t like a cousin or uncle could take over. Much less, with her death, what would that mean for her dragons?
So, being that Jon is too proud to bend the knee, and Ser Davos is already speaking of the idea, a marriage seems fated. Much less, considering the mind of Tyrion, what other way could he come up with? Daenerys needs to help bolster her numbers and needs to secure Casterly Rock. So alongside making it so the people of Westeros invade King’s Landing and not just a bunch of foreigners, this seems like the best idea. If not the only one which is mutually beneficial to both parties.
The War Truly Begins: Jamie, Daenerys, Tyrion
Jamie, for some time, was under the impression delivering the gold to Cersei to pay off Lannister debts would be easy. After all, High Garden fell, Lady Olenna’s banner men betrayed her so who would stand in his way? Well, it ends up being the Dothraki and Daenerys. She burns the entire caravan as the Dothraki wipe out legions of Lannister soldiers. [note]We are told by the senior Tarly the gold made it to King’s Landing so what Daenerys has burned is the food and grain which was going to King’s Landing. Meaning, while Cersei may have paid off her debt, now the people will starve. So while she may think she can focus solely on buying an army, she’ll have to add food to that list now.[/note]
However, as always with Daenerys, she gets a little cocky. In that moment, Bronn is able to get a hold of Qyburn’s spear launcher and while he misses the first time, the second time hits Daenerys’ dragon in the shoulder. It isn’t enough to kill it, but it does force it to the ground. Leading Daenerys to be exposed as she tries to pull the spear out.
To make matters worse, Tyrion is watching in the distance and sees Jamie charging toward Daenerys. This is without acknowledging that while the dragon is down, it is not dead and it has destroyed the spear launcher. Yet, before Jamie gets to end the way and kill Daenerys, her dragon exhales flames and if it wasn’t for a last minute save, Jamie would be dead.
However, with him being knocked into what seems to be deeper than a stream but perhaps a river, we end things watching him sink toward the bottom. A place which, with one hand, made of iron, and a full suit of armor, who knows if maybe saved before drowning.
You have to admire how reckless Daenerys is. Riding on the back of a dragon, multiple stories in the air, knowing full well that all it would take is a spear and she could fall off or even be crushed by the weight of her own dragon. But, what kind of queen would she be if she sent others into battle while she sat pretty on her throne? While this is a new age of queens in Westeros, Daenerys seems to like the king’s way of handling their enemies better.
Though, with that comes the risk we saw. With no allies riding with her on her dragons, much less a weapon or armor, if something happens to her dragon, she is vulnerable. Hence how Jamie damn near ended a war within one single battle. One his people were losing. But, being that Bronn hit the shoulder and not the head, Jamie almost ended up killed himself.
And I say almost for I just can’t imagine Tyrion allowing his brother to die. Especially since Jamie has been rather good to him over the years. So I figure, for all the times Jamie saved Tyrion’s life, he will save his. Granted, he will be living his days as a prisoner of Daenerys, but that is better than death right?
But with that said, the destruction of the caravans means no gold to pay the Iron Bank and no new armies. So does that mean that the death of the White Walkers will be the next season and death of Cersei this one?
Other Noteworthy Moments
Arya’s sparring session with Brienne and her reunion with Sansa.
Jon Snow and Daenerys growing closer, alongside him taking her through that cave. Giving her the story of the children of the forest aligning with the first men to fight the White Walkers.
Daenerys roaring into battle with the Dothraki.
Daenerys and Missandei having a normal moment between each other in terms of what Missandei and Grey Worm did before he left.
Bran Stark bringing down the high of us seeing 3 of the 6 Stark children being brought back together.
On The Fence
The fate of Jamie. Not sure if I want him dead yet. I do want him to deliver Lady Olenna’s message.