Between the trailer, photos, and cast interviews, we have plenty to chew on between now and the premiere of Game of Thrones season 7. Let’s take all that information and turn it towards a vital question: How do we want the first scene of season 7 to go?
Put together a carefully constructed argument about what’s going to happen or go on a wild flight of fancy. All responses are valid.
SARAH: Thanks, Dan, for allowing wild flights of fancy and giving me licence to run riot. Before I begin, I have to give thanks to my younger brother for his instrumental role in constructing this scene.
It is winter. We open on a snowy scene in the Winterfell courtyard. ARYA STARK has just arrived and dismounted her horse. In the courtyard stands JON SNOW, and for no particular reason, GENDRY.
Jon: “Here, Arya. Come to Jon, Arya! Come on, girl!”*
Scowling, Gendry gives a shrill whistle.
Gendry: “To me, Arya! Come on! Here girl!”
Arya frowns as she looks between the two men, torn between her heart and her libido. Also her heart, because she hardcore loves Gendry. Jon removes Longclaw from its scabbard and holds it aloft. It gleams as the bright winter sunlight bounces off the Valyrian steel.
Jon: “Look, Arya! A sword! Shiny sword! Swishy sword!”
Transfixed by Longclaw, Arya smiles widely and takes two steps towards Jon. Determined to attract Arya’s attention, Gendry rips off his shirt, revealing his bountiful muscles, which are GLEAMING and OILY from whatever it is he does when he’s forging steel.
Gendry: “Look, Arya! Abs! Shiny abs! Rock hard abs!”
Arya blinks at Gendry’s dazzling display.
Gendry: “And you’re legal now! We can get it on!”
Arya: “Sorry, Jon!”
She runs toward Gendry with a whoop and they fall into a snowdrift in a passionate embrace. Jon sheathes Longclaw and shakes his head in fond exasperation. In the background, THE HOUND watches the events unfold.
The Hound: “I was right not to get involved in that one.”
*I’d just like to point out that I am in no way comparing my favorite character in Game of Thrones and all fiction, Arya Stark, to a puppy, but the visual was too good for me to pass up.
DAN: Thank you, Sarah. That was weird.
Realistically, I can’t see season 7 opening in any way that doesn’t involve a sweeping panoramic shot of some significant skyline. Big things are happening, and HBO will want to highlight that. But I honestly don’t know which skyline that will be. Will Benioff and Weiss want to start in King’s Landing, with a moody shot of a hole in the center of the city where the Sept of Baelor used to be? Or will we go to the far north, and see army of the dead in its terrifying vastness marching on the Wall? Or the season could kick off with an unsuspecting fisherman somewhere on Westeros’ eastern coast; just some guy going about his business when a huge armada led by a serene blonde woman with three dragons rockets by, flabbergasting him.
I like the idea of starting with a character we don’t know and having them witness something of importance. That’s something George R.R. Martin does at the top of each of his novels, but the only time Game of Thrones has tried it was in the first scene of the first episode, when a trio of unfortunate Night’s Watchmen went beyond the Wall and encountered a couple of White Walkers. We know so little about the commoners being stomped underfoot this war machine. Why not take the first couple of minutes of season 7 to give one his or her due?
I think the most likely candidate is something north of the Wall. Hopefully, we’ll get to know some hapless wildling straggler who’s managed to stay one step ahead of the White Walkers…until now. We’ll miss you, brave nameless wildling we’ll probably never see.
Either that, or we start with Sam and Gilly reading a book and don’t stop for 30 straight minutes.
KATIE: As Sarah has already correctly deduced season 7’s opening scene, I don’t know why we continue to bother with mere predictions. I for one will be sorely disappointed if she’s wrong. After all we’ve been through, I think everyone’s due a shot of Joe Dempsie’s torso in all its oiled glory.
But in the worst-case scenario…The last thing I need to see is Bran and Meera trekking through more wintry wasteland. I want these kids at Winterfell so that Bran can reveal the long-awaited results of Jon’s paternity test. Let’s start the season off by getting that particular plot point out of the way so that Jon can have his identity crisis sooner rather than later. Fans of the series have known for ages — even I knew that R+L=J, and I haven’t even read the books.
Granted, I don’t expect season 7 to kick off with Bran telling his presumed half-brother, “Oh, by the way…” and then Maury makes a cameo. But if we can just get a little suggestion that things are heading that way — perhaps Meera and Bran at Castle Black, or being escorted into Winterfell’s courtyard — then I’ll be satisfied. It wouldn’t be particularly thrilling, but if the trailer is any indication, this year will feature enough action as it is. Meanwhile, dialogue still plays just as significant a role as dragons and massacre — arguably, its role is more significant. There are so many loose ends to tie up in the final 13 episodes. We have to start somewhere, and Jon Snow’s elusive origins are as good a place for the first domino to fall as any.
RAZOR: Look, we all know any season 7 opening scene without Lady Stoneheart in it should be considered invalid, but since I know that will never happen…JUST KIDDING I’LL NEVER GIVE UP ON LADY STONEHEART LOL!
Phew. Now that that’s out of my system, I think I can accurately depict the first scene of Game of Thrones season 7.
I think we need to focus on what wasn’t shown in the trailer, and by that I mean the Night King. A lot of the marketing leading up to the trailer featured that guy, implying that he and his minions will factor heavily into this new season. So why wait all season long for him to appear, as in the past? I believe we’ll get a kick to the groin right at the start with the Night King killing or chasing someone we care about. Here’s how it’ll play out:
We open with Bran and Meera making their way through the snow toward Castle Black, which they can see in the distance. Meera is sweating from pulling Bran and all his warm, snuggly furs through the deep drifts. Bran lounges in the sled catching snowflakes on his tongue and trying to get Meera’s attention by telling her really lame dad jokes. (Because that’s all the Three-Eyed Raven really taught him. Come on: Bran already knew how to touch a weirwood tree.)
The pair will come to the clearing in front of the Wall. Meera, who is breathing hard from pulling Bran, begins to notice her breath is freezing on her lips. The temperature has suddenly dropped. Just then, the two hear a horn blast from Castle Black:
Bran: “Oh, that’s just the Night’s Watch sounding the horn for returning Rangers. Jon probably saw me from up top, there, and wants to give me a proper welcome, I am the Three-Eyed Raven, after all.”
Meera: “Yes, yes, Three-Eyed Raven. Blah blah blah burn them all, blah blah Jon’s mother, blah.”
A second horn blast pierces their ears.
Bran: “Well, maybe they think we’re wildlings. I mean, look at how you’re dressed. That’s two for wildlings, in case you didn’t know.”
Meera: “Yes, yes, I should have known. Please don’t get out of the sled to properly instruct me. I wouldn’t want you to…”
A third horn blast is heard. Meera and Bran look at each other in terror, as they both know what that portends.
Meera: “Hey, I’m going to get help, I’ll just leave you by this tree. You’ll be okay, right?”
Bran: “WHAT?! No! Get back here, the Three-Eyed Raven commands you to…HEY! Come back!”
The gate of Castle Black begins to rise to admit Meera, who is running at a full sprint towards it, as the Night King enters the clearing and stands silently behind Bran and his sled.
Bran: “Hey, umm…look, I know what you’re thinking, but I can explain.”
RICHARD: Great stuff from every corner. Razor, I think Meera’s dialog should be adjusted to “Yada, yada yada.” Also, that GIF of the gate slamming down over and over again is really distracting, but I’ll soldier through.
I like to get silly with these things, but I’ll take a serious shot at this one.
I tend to agree with Dan’s idea that the first episode will start small, kinda telescoped into a stand-alone scene which quickly blows up into some kind of breathtaking panorama. I’d go with something involving the dragons and Daenerys’ invasion. Here’s my idea of the opening paragraph for the script:
A small Westerosi peasant GIRL walks along a beaten path winding through a sea of tall grass that heaves back and forth in the wind. In the near distance, a Lannister tower outpost overlooks coastal cliffs. Snow begins to fall and the girl looks up, surprised. She runs her hands along the tops of the grass as the snow collects there. The sound of a galloping horse makes her look up: she sees a Lannister SOLDIER riding hell-bent for leather out of the outpost, heading straight for her.
The GIRL freezes as the mounted Soldier hurtles along the path. She throws herself aside at the last second and he barrels past her. She scrambles up from the grass and sees a sweeping blast of fire strike the tower outpost; it erupts in a spray of burning splinters, flames and stones. The massive dragon DROGON soars above the cliff, turns and hurtles just over the terrified GIRL’s head. DROGON catches the Lannister rider and fries both the man and his horse, the dragon’s fiery breath leaving nothing but scorched, burning grass and a tumble of flaming bones.
The GIRL rushes to the edge of the cliff and sees the huge armada of DAENERYS TARGARYEN, with hundreds of boats discharging soldiers and horses onto the beach. DROGON wheels overhead.
What do you want from the first scene of Game of Thrones season 7? Let us know!