We’ve heard the phrase before, more than once. It is a common phrase in the north, one that’s meant to be as intimidating as it sounds.
The North Remembers. The North is one. And they will never, ever forget.
Arya Stark utters the phrase in this episode, and though she’s not home, is not heading that way and will, perhaps, not reunite with the rest of her family anytime soon, she symbolizes the rebirth of house Stark as much as Sansa and Jon do.
Bran is at the Wall, and he’s presumably heading home. Jon is choosing to rule like Ned Stark would have ruled, or maybe like Ned Stark would have wanted to rule, had he not been bound by conventions. This might be a bad thing for a Stark, but in a way, it seems like a really good thing for a Targaryen.
Especially because, squabbles or not, Jon has Sansa. The Starks might not always see eye to eye, but they’re not the Lannisters. They do not turn on each other. And that’s why, after so many seasons of suffering, their time for revenge has come.
So let us examine the different storylines in this episode, and hope that, sometime soon, they’ll all be one big storyline, which is basically what I’ve been hoping with the books for eons.
“When people ask you what happened here, tell them the North remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey.”
Remember the days when Arya was a little girl learning water dancing from Syrio Forel. Me either. All I can see these days when I look at Maisie Williams is a warrior, one who went through trials and tribulations and came out on the other side not just stronger, but way more certain that she is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and what she needs to do is get her revenge.
And boy, how sweet it is. It’s easy to come to the conclusion that the Walder Frey who speaks at the beginning of the episode is not actually Walder Frey, and yet by the time each and every Frey in the vicinity has been poisoned, the feeling is half elation, half bewilderment.
Because things never go well for the Starks, and when they do, they don’t last.
Though, perhaps that was in the past. Maybe while it was summer the Starks were made to suffer, but now that it’s winter, the North is set to rise again.
If that’s so – then we can be sure that the revolution, the revenge, doesn’t really start with Jon. It stars with Arya. After all, someone has to govern and someone has to …well, kill the Queen, of course.
JON AND SANSA
For longer than I can remember the actors, the writers and everyone involved in Game of Thrones has been trying to sell the antagonistic relationship between Jon and Sansa, to tease that they might not see eye to eye, that there might be conflict. To which I’ve always said – bring it.
Because this is what I want from these two characters, this. Not platitudes and the pretense of getting along, no, but two people comfortable enough in each other’s presence, despite the shared past that might not exactly have prepared them for it, to say what they mean.
To disagree. To maybe, compromise? Because Jon’s way is good, Jon’s way speaks to my heart, but Sansa’s way? That works. And, in the end, what’s more important? To be kind and good and fair, or to be alive and well?
Let’s ask Ned Stark what he thinks.
So, disagreements? I hope they keep coming. I hope Jon shows Sansa that despite her previous experiences you don’t always have to be ruthless to survive and I hope Sansa can teach him that you can’t always be so damn noble. This is the lesson – the lessons – they’ve got to learn, and we should be thankful that they’ve got each other as they attempt to learn them.
JAIME AND CERSEI
Oh, Cersei. Or should I say, oh Jaime?
Can this end well? Because right now, it doesn’t seem so. Jaime is many things, but a fool is not one of them. He’s a warrior and a terribly prepared and intelligent military man who understands much better than Cersei what’s going on in Westeros and what they need if Cersei’s going to stay on the throne. And what does she do?
Well, not exactly listen.
And – is Euron Greyjoy better or worse than others, when it comes to partners? I’m not exactly sure. They’re both so despicable that they might actually be a match made in heaven, and if Jaime were smart he’d just run to Winterfell and Brienne and leave them be.
But this is Jaime Lannister we’re talking about – thinking before acting has never exactly been his thing. So he’ll stay, and he’ll get angry, and he’ll be humiliated and then he’ll probably valonquar the shit out of her and, hopefully, get out of there alive so the good ship Jaime/Brienne can …
Wait, what? Oh, yes, this is Game of Thrones. But a girl can dream, can’t she?
“Shall we begin?” Daenerys asks as the episode closes, and was I the only one getting goose bumps? This is, after all, what we’ve been waiting for. She’s home, and she will take what is hers, with fire and blood.
Goose bumps. For real.
The question, of course, is – what does she do now? She’s got the army, she’s got the ships, but to get to King’s Landing, to defeat Cersei, she’s going to need something more. And that’s without taking into account the white walkers. So, right now, Daenerys needs allies, and we all know who we want her to ally with first.
And it’s not even because I want Jon in the same room with Yara, Daenerys, Sansa and Brienne. Nope. Not for that.
(A little bit for that. And also because, you know, Song of Ice and Fire …)
Other things to note:
- Bran is at the Wall, joy of joys. I mean, it’s not that I’m angry, I’m not, I just …it sucks that he got there just when Jon is gone. But I guess a raven can be sent to Winterfell. A reunion of more than 2 Starks is close.
- The white-walker army sure isn’t wasting time. And Wun Wun! My heart weeps.
- Game of Thrones Season 5 was …whatever it was. Then Season 6 gave the power back to the women. And now …Jon’s like, well, girls can fight too, and yes, we know girls can fight, but for a moment there I was like – is this Game of Thrones that I’m watching?
- And I mean that in a good way.
- No one’s gonna tell Lyanna Mormont what to do.
- Rule #1, Sansa, don’t fight amongst yourselves IN PUBLIC. Do it in private.
- Didn’t you just agree to work together like 2 seconds ago?
- I loathe Littlefinger. LOATHE.
- Sam’s whole storyline was about him basically figuring out what fans have known for centuries = Jon and Daenerys need to unite to defeat the White Walkers and save the world. Because theirs is a song of Ice and Fire …
- Euron Greyjoy looks – ahem, way better. I can’t get to handsome because he psychopath, you know.
- “Littlefinger: What do you want that you do not have? Sansa: At the moment, some peace and quiet.” BURN. BUUUUURN.
- Ed Sheeran, my man. I knew you were probably going to be in this and still I screamed.
- Clegane bores me. But hey, I’m glad he’s seeing things in the fire too, I guess.
NEXT WEEK, ON GAME OF THRONES
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.