“Game of Thrones” Returns for Season 7

Here we are, in mid-July, with our sanity melting, our norms crumbling,
and the Larsen Ice Shelf breaking up and heading straight toward us. But
cheer up: winter, in “Game of Thrones” form, is here! I don’t know what
you have been doing in the off-season, but I’ve been anxiously
favoriting trenchant political tweets and escaping to a realm beyond the
Seven Kingdoms called
where a lusty, crime-solving vicar takes my troubles away. Meanwhile,
“G.o.T.,” like the Holy Spirit or democracy’s decline, has been all
around us.

At a wedding I attended recently, text celebrating the marriage of
Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo was read alongside a poem by W. H.
Auden. (It was a delightful ceremony, in contrast to Dany and Drogo’s
actual wedding, which was more focussed on swordplay-to-the-death and
plein-air copulation.) At Madison Square
in March, Ramin
the “Game of Thrones” Live Concert Experience, where green fire blasted
around the stage, we listened to “The Rains of Castamere” and watched
scenes of the Red Wedding and people yelled “Shame!” in a spirit of
euphoria. It was fun—like a disturbing, very elaborate “previously on”
montage. And this week, White Walkers roamed around
London—adding fun, for once in their lives, not subtracting it.

Now, on Sunday night, we’re back to the real thing. Bring on the
imploding Lannisters, the avenging Starks, the scheming Littlefinger,
the randy Tormund Giantsbane, and the no-nonsense tween Lyanna Mormont,
who’d rule that realm, and likely the United States, as well as anybody.
As last season began, we were in a desperate and vulnerable place: Jon
Snow was dead, but Jon Snow couldn’t be dead, and so on. Now that’s
sorted out and we have other issues to deal with. (For one thing, Ed
Sheeran is going to show up at some point—I’d love to see him fight
Brienne of Tarth, but I suppose that’s too much to ask.)

As Season 7—the second-to-last of two final, shortened seasons—begins,
the young Starks, uncharacteristically, are in decent shape. They took
Winterfell back from the Boltons, and Ramsey, a villain we’d been sick
of for what felt like decades, got eaten by dogs. Arya, no longer blind
(ugh!), began avenging the many wrongs visited on her family, by feeding
Walder Frey a toe-filled pie. (For a Stark kid, that’s a moral victory.)
Now they’ve got to sort out the Lannister situation, and then some.
Cersei, post-fireball, sits…

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