Like everyone else in America, I watched the first episode of the new season of Game of Thrones last night. It was good to see the old gang again.
I loved the first scene of the new season, but then I candidly just can’t get enough of Arya Stark killing the Freys. In fact, I’m really kind of sad that she’s apparently ruthlessly murdered every figure in the Frey clan, from creepy Walder on down to the most obscure cousin once removed. I’m almost hoping that we’ll discover some rump branch of the Frey family, so that she’ll have the chance to gut or poison them, too.
Arya was just part of the Stark Ascendant theme that’s playing out in Westeros these days. With Arya gleefully knocking off Freys and now heading south to take on Queen Cersei, Jon Snow and Sansa ruling in the north and training every man, woman, and child to fight the White Walkers, and eyeball-rolling Bran finally on the Westeros side of the wall, we’re seeing the best days for the Starks since poor Ned lost his head. Unfortunately, there’s already friction between Jon and Sansa, and it doesn’t look like the remaining members of the Starks will have a family reunion — at least, not yet — but it’s good to see the Starks back as a force, even if it probably will only be temporary. And with the considerable support of the formidable Lyanna Mormont, who isn’t afraid to call out and face down every aging, bearded windbag leader of a northern house who punked out on the Starks in their time of need, who’s to say that the Starks can’t win in the great game? If I were going to war, I’d definitely want the awesome Lyanna Mormont on my side.
As far as the great game goes, the pieces are all in position. Cersei’s got her ally in the Iron Islanders and their horny leader, Daenerys has finally reached Westeros with her dragons, her Dothraki horde, and especially Tyrion behind her, the White Walkers are on the move south, and we haven’t even heard yet what the House of Dorne and the Martells are going to do to stir up trouble. For now, we can just appreciate the fact that there are unoccupied castles, like Dragonstone, handy and available for the taking if one of the players decides they can use a forbidding base of operations.
I hadn’t realized how much I was looking forward to the new season until I watched the first episode and enjoyed seeing these familiar characters and their fictional world once again. Now, if only we could get the next book in the series out of George R.R. Martin . . . .