Game of Thrones? More like, Game of "Holy Shit that was F'in Crazy!"
So I decided I'd make sure to get my reaction post done right away. Here we go.
I love that Tyrion is back into a position of consequence.
Tyrion is one of the most enjoyable characters to watch try to work out a problem, or solve a problem. He's a decent person who still has sense enough to know that he's in danger pretty much every hour of every day. As I predicted last week, Dany's storyline got way more interesting with his insertion into it.
I don't know if Qyburn is an interesting character, or if he just picks up all the exposition about the workings of the world, which is my favorite part of the show.
I love the politics of the story, the different players, the movements of pieces across the board. And Qyburn spent like five minutes basically relaying to Cersei all the happenings in the realm with regards to the various Lannisters, as well as the Sparrows (who are still all shits by the way). Qyburn himself is basically just a necromancer, which is interesting enough, but probably doesn't warrant the enjoyment I feel in watching him on screen. Nevertheless, someone has to fill that role so that we viewers know what's going on in the world, and he reaps the rewards in my eyes.
It was interesting watching Cersei go through the stages of grief.
Anger, bargaining...whatever the other ones are. Obviously not so much acceptance just yet.
When Sam said, "He always comes back" about Jon, I honestly thought Jon was done for.
We're getting close to the point where I don't know what's going to happen at all anymore, because we're passing the book's content. But there's no question that Jon's life is very much in play, as are the rest of...well, basically everybody in the North. The Boltons, Sansa, Theon/Reek, Stannis, Davos, Melisandre, Shireen, Stannis' wife (who I would not miss at all), Sam, Gilly, Edd, Aliser Thorne, Olly, Tormund, and all those other wildlings up in Hardhome, every one of them was a potential casualty this episode, and remains a potential casualty for the rest of the season. Which leads into my final point...
This episode was a great example of a high-action, high-drama episode that didn't require the death of a major character.
In looking back to episode 9 of last season, the battle at The Wall, there's no arguing that the deaths of Grenn and Pyp brought a weight to the situation that might not have been matched if only big-name wildlings had died (Ygritte and Magnar of Thenn). It was definitely frustrating to see them die, and because they didn't die in the books, felt unnecessary, but that may have only been because I enjoyed the characters and didn't want to lose them.
This episode introduced the only characters who died: the other Thenn, that sassy mom wildling, and the white walker who Jon ate up with his Valyrian steel sword, which, by the way, was an awesome information addition. Anytime we learn any more about this world (see Qyburn up top) and how it works, that's a good thing.
I thought this was a really good episode. I'm hopeful that the last two are equal to it. I'm nervous for Stannis, who I haven't liked at all until the very end of last season and the beginning of this season. I'm expecting to finally get some payoff from Arya's story (perhaps in the form of a diced up Meryn fucking Trant, whose arrival with Mace Tyrell in Braavos is imminent). I'm hopeful that there'll be more conversations involving Tyrion and strategy, with whomever. I'm expecting Jorah to die. And I have no idea what to expect in Dorne.
See you next week!
EDIT: Oh shit, I almost forgot, that final scene with the Night King raising all of the wildlings into his army and smirking at Jon Snow? BADASS. Finally some supervillain flavor to these guys. Everything before was so slow and, well, "dead." I've always felt that there's no way that George R. R. Martin would've created the White Walkers and not given them some kind of motivation or backstory or reason for being what they are. That scene was probably the most important scene of the season so far, as far as establishing the White Walkers as the true villains.