1. If Arya thought the Boltons were alive, why wasn't she trying to save Sansa?

arya

Arya had a nice little arc this episode. After learning that the North has been retaken by her brother-cousin Jon Snow, Westeros' newest mass murderer started to trek towards Winterfell. It was only when Arya met and was subsequently shunned by her wild direwolf Nymeria that the youngest living Stark realized that running home wasn't part of her path. Though it was a meaningful moment for the character, it also didn't make any sense at all. 

Remember, Arya only started heading up to Winterfell AFTER she was told by Hot Pie that the Boltons were dead. Before that, she was making a beeline for Cersei's jugular in King's Landing. But Arya should have already been going North in the first place -- for all she knew, Ramsay was still holding Sansa hostage. Wouldn't that be more than enough cause for someone to make The List?

Even weirder? Arya should have known all about the demise of the Boltons. She was, after all, behind enemy lines, hiding among the Freys.

House Frey and House Bolton both worked together at the Red Wedding, so they're about as chummy as dickcheese backstabbers can be with one another. You'd think that Arya, someone always in constant eavesdropping mode, would have picked up on some chatter about the huge ass Battle of the Bastards while among some of the Bolton's strongest allies. You could argue that word hadn't gotten through the ranks yet, but most other major events on the show seem to be transmitted telepathically to all relevant characters. You might even say that we don't know when the Frey murders took place, and that would be true, because trying to figure out the timeline of this show is like reading a newspaper underwater.

In the end, what characters know and when they know it isn't tied to any kind of logic, but instead storytelling conveinence. This same loose artistic license also applies to grudges. 



2. Shouldn't Tyrion be just a LITTLE more pissed at the woman who murdered his niece?

tyrion

Tyrion has always been something of a cool customer, but he's been known to fly off the handle when it comes to people he cares about. Despite their differences and rocky history, Tyrion still harbors a great love for his brother Jaime, for instance. This should also apply to Tyrion's niece, Myrcella, but he doesn't seem to show the same kind of affection for her. On  Dragonstone, Tyrion is in the same room with Ellaria Sand, the woman who killed his own flesh and blood, and all he musters is a weak jab. Hell, that barb is so vague that it's easy to forget that Tyrion and the deceased were related.

I get that plenty of people in the war room have large, jewel-encrusted axes to grind and everyone has to work together to help Daenerys. But this moment felt like it deserved more than one of Tyrion's lesser quips.

3. Where the hell is Bran?

bran

Last we saw Bran, he had just been dragged to the North side of the Wall. That was the first episode of the season. In episode two, he's nowhere to be seen. Characters in this show apparate across the world in the span of 20 minutes, but Bran (one of the only truly magical characters on the show) takes forever to get everywhere. Things move a bit slower when you have to be carried on a sled, but this dude is like a black hole -- time seems to slow down all around him. 

At the very least, someone on the Night's Watch could have sent a coded message to Winterfell via a raven. After all, this is the same episode where Dany decides to summon Jon Snow and we immediately jump to a scene where Jon has already read the letter. 

Granted, Bran is probably going to show up in the next couple of weeks, but it would be nice to give him something else to do other than nothing, off-screen.


4. Has no one thought about peeling off greyscale before?

jorah

Sam and Jorah's adventures with disease are pretty low scale (get it??) compared to the rest of the show right now, but they have one of the most memorable moments of the episode. With the help of excruciating special effects, Sam gets to work on the secret cure for greyscale: Peeling off all that burnt marshmallow skin. Wait, that's it?

People with this disease know that they're in pretty dire straits -- Jorah was heavily implied to be contemplating suicide rather than succumb to its effects, for instance. So you'd figure that peeling off the infection spreading across their body would be the very first thing that a desperate person would try, should they be infected with greyscale. And yet, this crude procedure is hidden away in a textbook like it's some kind of lost knowledge. Yeah, there's a chance of infection for the person doing the peeling, but it's hard to imagine that two people with greyscale wouldn't come up with a "You do me, then I do you" kind of solution.

Is it really just the added salve that Sam applies that makes all the difference? I guess that wouldn't be the first time magical bullshit has saved someone's ass on this show....



5. So is Euron just an invincible asshole or what?

euron

Season 7 needed an active villain to be out in the thick of things, and since Cersei and the Night King are slowly brooding in the South and North respectively, it's up to Euron Greyjoy to be this season's Ramsay Snow. It wouldn't make sense to kill the "new" villain off in the second episode of the season, but that line of thinking is how you get scenes like this: 

Euron took an incredible amount of punishment and just cackled all the way through it. It's not frustrating because he's killing the Sand Snakes, who have pretty much always been poorly handled -- it's frustrating because Euron seems to know he's got a full set of plot armor that guarantees he's invincible for at least three or four more episodes. What should have been (and honestly, what still was) a cool battle scene was made much more cartoony by this supervillain who can do whatever he wants just because the show needs you to hate someone new for a while. 

That being said, that payoff with Theon was fantastic. 



6. Okay, hear me out -- what else was Theon supposed to do?

theon

This is less a gripe about the show and more of a justification for viewers trashing Theon's character. I know it's easy to be mad at a guy for abandoning his family, but there wasn't really any other way it could have gone down.

Let's set aside for the moment that this guy is obviously suffering from PTSD from his time as Reek, and that folding under pressure is completely understandable for someone who's experienced so much trauma. Even if Theon hadn't been repeatedly brutalized by Ramsay, he didn't have many other options when Euron grabbed his sister. 

game

When it comes down to it, Theon's options were:

1. Charge Euron. Watch his sister get her throat cut and die to the show's new Invincible Asshole. 

2. Talk it out. Eventually get shivved by one of Euron's many men who are still hanging out on board, torturing survivors. 

3. Jump off the boat. Live with the shame, but live to see another day. 

Tough not to choose the route Theon went with when presented with that. 

Back in the first season, Bronn was admonished for his shady tactics while fighting for Tyrion's life in a trial by combat. "You don't fight with honor!" Lysa snarled. Bronn pointed to the dead man. "No. He did." In a show full of cunning and conniving players, that might be the smartest thing anyone has ever said. 




Tristan Cooper can be found on Twitter.