Take whatever expectations you had for the Season 7 of Game of Thrones, and crank them up even higher. After an explosive opening episode that kicked viewers in the teeth from the opening minute, Thrones fans look like they're going to get every bit of action they crave in the show's final season.
WARNING: The following reactions will contain spoilers on the first episode of Season 7, so carry on at your own risk.
In the premiere episode's cold opening, the audience traveled back to a familiar place, inside the walls of The Twins in The Riverlands. Walder Frey, slain in the final moments of Season 6, appeared to be giving an impassioned speech to the men gathered inside his halls. But as he encouraged his men to drink goblets of wine while invoking the memory of the Red Wedding, it quickly became clear what was happening.
The unmasked master of disguise killed every soul in the building except for a lone bystander, who she asked to share a message. "When people ask you what happened here," said Arya Stark, as the bodies hit the floor around her, "tell them the North remembers."
Needless to say, people lost their goddamn minds at the success of Arya's revenge plot.
Arya Stark gonna average a triple-double this season #GameOfThrones— DaKofs Seaworth (@KofieYeboah) July 17, 2017
ARYA LETS FUCKIN GOOOOO— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) July 17, 2017
That, that was a good start.— Carter Rodríguez (@Carter_Shade) July 17, 2017
RED. WEDDING. 2.0.— Big Baller Bowtie (@TlMBERWOLVES) July 17, 2017
"Leave one wolf alive, and the sheep are never safe." ARYA PLAYING NO GAMES— Complex Pop Culture (@ComplexPop) July 17, 2017
But it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for the North. Mere moments after Arya's triumph, a massive group of White Walkers came storming through your TV screen, with several notable figures now apparently converted to their undead legion. One of the new recruits, the former Free Folk giant known as Wun Wun, was a particularly devastating addition to see with those cold blue eyes, and Thrones fans were upset about his jump the the dark side.
THEY GOT WUN WUN?!— Roc (@hardROClife) July 17, 2017
As per usual, the locale shifted throughout the episode, checking in with the shaky leadership at both ends of Westeros. We spent a lot of time following Jon Snow and Cersei Lannister, both trying to navigate the early stages of sitting on their respective thrones. The latter beat back romantic (and strategic advances) from Euron Greyjoy, while the former was forced to deal with some dissent from his partner-in-crime, Sansa Stark. Half-sibling rivalry will play a huge role in Season 7, and Thrones fans are watching the relationship between Jon and Sansa closely.
Jon and Sansa already beefing smfh, and in public no less— Complex Pop Culture (@ComplexPop) July 17, 2017
Sansa is bringing the legit knowledge to Jon right now, and he was a dick. Come on Jon, you had a moment, no need to power trip— Winter is Coming (@WiCnet) July 17, 2017
jon snow tellin sansa to stay in her lane like lavar ball— 4:44/ShamsIntellect (@HPJArt) July 17, 2017
Oddly enough, the most controversial moment of the episode—at least among fans—was a brief cameo from singer Ed Sheeran, who was part of a traveling group of soldiers that briefly spoke with Arya Stark during her travels. His appearance was met with pretty heavy skepticism from Thrones fans, with a lot of viewers hoping he would get iced during his short time on screen.
If Arya beheads Ed Sheeran I'll quit my job and follow her around like the Grateful Dead— Luke Zimmermann (@lukezim) July 17, 2017
OH SHIT ED SHEERAN! #GameOfThrones— Aaron Dodson (@aardodson) July 17, 2017
Eh.— Jimmy Donofrio (@JimmyDonofrio) July 17, 2017
Boooooooooooooo— Vann R. Newkirk II (@fivefifths) July 17, 2017
ED SHEERAN YOU GOT TO BE FUCKKING KIDDING ME ldkfjaslkjfsalkdf— Roc (@hardROClife) July 17, 2017
But most critically, the premiere of Game of Thrones Season 7 marked the return of Daenerys Targaryen to Westeros, with Khaleesi pulling up in style to Dragonstone, the seat of House Targaryen and the place from which she will launch her claim on the Iron Throne. It took several minutes for Khaleesi to utter a single word, and she got to end the episode with a very simple question: "Shall we begin?"
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥— New Team, Who Dis? (@BaconvilleNH) July 17, 2017
Khaleesi really home. This place is perfect for her. I feel like im watching HGTV and she just found THE spot pic.twitter.com/vtUvXax2iT— elexus jionde (@Lexual__) July 17, 2017
There are lot of questions left unanswered by the premiere. Will Jon and Sansa work through their sibling rivalry, or will the confrontation lead to something more? Will the North get their hands on dragon glass in time to fight back against the White Walkers? Can the Lannisters band together enough support with a leader who stole the Iron Throne by killing hordes of her own subjects?
Those musings will have to be put on hold for now. But there's not a whole lot of time left in the Game of Thrones universe, so don't expect to wait long on the answers.