As much as we love the explosive battles Game of Thrones does so well, we love the quieter, subtler moments just as much. One of the themes running through the season so far – and depicted in the most poignant ways – is that of returning. Whether returning home or returning characters, here are three standout moments so far.
Daenerys Stormborn in Dragonstone
The mother of dragons has come home, but not to roost. Since Season 1 Daenerys has been determined to return to her birthplace, Dragonstone, and the moment we’d all been waiting for finally arrived in the Season 7 premiere. It was a powerfully rendered scene, with not a single word spoken, until that instantaneously meme-able, tweet-able line: “Shall we begin?”
The last time we saw Arya’s friend Hot Pie – baker of yummy (we assume) direwolf-shaped bread – was way back in Season 4. Since then, he’s managed to do what so few people in the world of Westeros manage to do – follow his dream and stay alive while doing it. Now a baker, his scene was pivotal not only because it continued the hysterical, gross-out food theme, but also for its warmth and humour (“I can’t believe I thought you were a boy,” Hot Pie says to old pal Arya, “You’re pretty!”). Most significantly, he tells Arya that Jon is now King of the North, spurring her to change course and head home to Winterfell.
Another incredible moment of return was the reunion between Arya and her direwolf Nymeria. Last seen in Season 1, when Arya chased the direwolf away to save her from Cersei’s malicious revenge, Season 7 sees the two unite. On her way back to Winterfell, Arya tries to compel her former pet to come home with her. Although Nymeria wards off the bloodthirsty wolf pack ready to maul Arya, she refuses to join her on the journey. As the impressive creature lopes away (for now? Forever?) Arya whispers the words: “that’s not you.” This simple statement reinforces the theme of return as the line is a direct reference to Arya’s own words to her father, Ned Stark, in Season 1 when he tells her one day she’ll be a princess in a castle. Her response then?… “That’s not me.” Neither Arya nor Nymeria can be tamed.
Will the theme of return (like the oh-so-gross food theme) continue? Will we see more long-gone but not forgotten characters returning? Keep on watching to find out.
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