The Dose: Winter is here, and so is justice

The Dose: Winter is here, and so is justice

The Dose: Winter is here, and so is justice
July 18
16:51 2017

Michael Vu and Katie Jenkins | Staff Writers

Winter is finally here — in July.

The wait is over as the seventh season of Game of Thrones kicked off with a bang as the series begins its second to last season. The season premiere let us catch up with what our favorite characters did leading up to this new season, and has begun to set up for the explosive war to come.

To start things off, the show’s increased budget is visible within the first few seconds of the premiere episode. The world of Westeros is now in such detail and scale, for both the title sequences and the wide scene set shots, and it’s marvelous to look at. The show’s cinematography also shines through more than ever within the sweeping shots of various locations, such as the newly reclaimed Dragonstone and the gorgeous shot of Winterfell.

Aside from the show’s beautiful cinematography, the season seven premiere was full of plot points that give off a different tone than we have seen before in this violent show — the idea that justice can be served.

“Leave one wolf alive, and the sheep are never safe.”

The episode’s cold opening set the stage for the finality of what’s to come, with Arya Stark having some of the best lines in the show. Originally, I thought somehow that it was a flashback, since the only actual flashback we’ve seen on the show was in the season 5 premiere. However, I’m pretty glad it wasn’t. Stark pretty much avenged the Red Wedding then and there, and then some.

“I will not punish sons and daughters for the crimes of their fathers.”

A favorite scene from the episode, during the meeting of the Northerners and Wildlings, came with the discussion of whether to give the castles of House Umber and Karstark to a new family due to the events of the Red Wedding. Sansa agreed to that idea, while Jon disagreed, following the footsteps of Ned and even Robb before him: to not punish an entire family just because of the deeds of a few bad apples. Snow’s just decision shows the evolution of Snow from him going from just a whiny teen having to join the Night’s Watch, to a full-on leader and proclaimed King of the North.

A small but heartbreaking detail was whenever Jon called forth for the Lords of House Umber and Karstark showing that, like Lady Mormont, they are also children and not old men. They’re more terrified and inexperienced than Mormont, which shows the reality of the world they don’t fully understand but are brought forth to lead and protect. 

On another note, the young actress that plays Lyanna Mormont knocks it out of the park again playing a character that had to grow up a lot faster to run a house. You go girl.

Sam I am

Poor Samwell.

Every time he’s put into a new environment — whether that be his home, the wall or the citadel — he seeks to change himself and to become someone worthy. Yet everywhere he goes, Sam is thrown to the bottom of the food chain. Now that he is at the citadel, fulfilling his dream of becoming a maester, all Sam gets to do is empty bedpans and put away books.

He doesn’t even get to read about how to stop the white walkers, because those books lie in the restricted section.

The edit to compile his monotonous, daily processes into the scene was admittedly hilarious though, and it shows us how Sam is not content with where he is at the moment. Once again, Sam finds himself playing the thief in a rebellious act towards authority. Those above him will never give him the time of day, so Samwell will take the knowledge he needs.

The Hound’s religious journey

The Hound’s character has changed dramatically from what he started as in season one. Similar to his brother the Mountain, Sandor “the Hound” Clegane was a brutal warrior who did what he pleased while serving violent rulers. His first shift away from this destructive personality started with his saving Arya many times as she ran away from her family’s murderers all across Westeros.

However, even after experiencing harsh moments of grief and suffering himself — like being left for dead by Arya, and later being the only survivor of his new religious friends of The Seven — the Hound is still pushing forward to find justice and the right way to live.

In this first episode, he is pulling a total My Name is Earl by visiting the scene of his last crime and burying the sad corpses of a father and daughter he wronged. The Hound conveniently denies believing in a just world in the season premiere, speaking to Beric Dondarrion about his disbelief in divine justice. However, he is soon shot down from this idea as he, a man afraid of fire, sees an important vision in the flames from the Lord of Light. I believe the Hound’s redeemed character will guide the role of religion in the wars to come, especially since we have already seen what a corrupt religious order can do.

Now is the time for a divine justice that is actually just.

It may be easier to see the Hound’s transition to good when we compare his journey with his brother’s, the Mountain. Clad in kings guard armor, the Mountain is looking scarier than ever this season, and perhaps it is time for a well deserved “Cleganebowl” in the coming episodes.

“Huh, that guy looks like Ed Sheeran. Wait…”

The show has had its fair share of cameos from musical performers throughout the years, such as Gary Lightbody (the lead singer of Snow Patrol) in season three and Will Champion (the drummer of Coldplay) in the infamous Rains of Castamere episode. All had brief and very subtle appearances throughout.

I thought it was interesting that not only did international pop sensation Ed Sheeran have a more notable scene, he actually spoke a few lines as well, including singing a popular song from the books.

School is back in session, and everyone looks different.

A lot of characters have done some growing up since the end of season six, especially the Starks girls. Arya Stark’s character is ready to draw blood, however she seems to be transitioning away from the neo-Lady Stoneheart role many fans hoped she would take. If you do not know who Lady Stoneheart is, then you should listen up: In the books, Catelyn Stark is brought back from the dead by a red priest. She was named “Lady Stoneheart” because her throat was slit so deeply that she couldn’t speak, and also because she becomes a murderous zombie who would kill any Lannister, or Lannister ally, in sight.

Fans were hoping that since Lady Stoneheart never made an appearance in the show, Arya would take her place since she has a score to settle with many Lannisters as well. However, we can safely say that Arya will not be turning dark zombie on us. She showed restraint against killing a group of Lannister soldiers in the woods, including Ed Sheeran, and instead shared their food and companionship.

This doesn’t mean that Arya is going to give up on her revenge list, but she is  learning that the house a person belongs to doesn’t always dictate their intentions and actions. Some people are cast into bad situations and they’re just following orders and doing their jobs. This scene humanizes not only Arya, but those Lannister soldiers as well.

Sansa Stark is also joining the character transition train in the season seven premiere. It was only about half a season ago that Sansa was finally freed from the abusive Ramsay Bolton. In a sneak peek video released by HBO before the GOT premiere, the actress who plays Sansa, Sophie Turner, revealed her character actually is changing, as she admitted her greatest acting challenge was “playing out a character who now has power that she’s never had before.”

Sansa undermines Jon a little bit when they are communing with the Northern houses, which highlights her desire to be in control and to have a say. Jon also compares Sansa to Cersei, and Sansa doesn’t exactly deny their similarities. She even mentions how she has learned from Cersei.

Sansa knows that if the Starks are going to survive any longer, then their game plan needs to be different from their father’s and mother’s. They can’t just hope the old gods and justice will be on their side. They are going to have to break some rules to survive, and Sansa will be waiting to get her hands dirty.  

Mad Cersei is Here

After the season finale of season six, which included the infamous scene of Cersei wiping out everyone in the Sept of King’s Landing with a destructive display of wildfire, fans of the show became sure of the path her character would take. Just as the Mad King Aerys did before her, Cersei is becoming obsessed with wildfire and with crushing her enemies.

“Enemies to the east, enemies to the south– enemies to the west. Enemies to the North.” She sees enemies everywhere, just as the Mad King did before burning them all.

Some of her logic starts to seem a little twisted as well, when she says “[Westeros] is ours now. We just have to take it.” Her phrasing here hints at her entitlements as queen, but also that she will only be happy if she has it all.

Though there will always be plenty more to dissect from this informative premiere, viewers are ready for more. War is always coming for Westeros, but this time it could be just a pretext for the journeys many beloved characters will take.

Everyone may end up dead for all we know, but good and evil are choosing their players and getting ready for ultimate dodgeball — ice and fire style.

Featured Image: Courtesy | HBO

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Katie Jenkins

Katie Jenkins

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