There are no books to work from on Game of Thrones this season — even George R.R. Martin might be surprised with what’s happening on the HBO series — and things could get confusing. To help you out, after every new episode, two resident Thrones experts will answer your five most pressing questions.
1. Can you please explain the significance of Dragonstone?
Ryan: I know, I know. It’s been over a full year since we’ve had a new episode of Game of Thrones and it’s hard to remember where the heck anyone is, where they’re going, or why. That’s what we’re here for. And for Daenerys, her five minutes of (mostly silent) screen time this week involved landing on the island Dragonstone, which is a big deal for a number of reasons.
First off, Dragonstone is the ancestral seat of the Targaryens, their first stronghold after leaving Valyria and the Doom that befell it. It’s also where Dany was born, so it’s a significant moment for her to finally return from exile. That’s significant for book readers as well, since we’ve been waiting 21 long years (or, as long as it feels like since A Dance With Dragons was released) for her to stop messing around in Meereen and finally get back to Westeros.
Most importantly, Dragonstone is the perfect place to launch a conquest of Westeros, as proved by Daenerys’ ancestor Aegon the Conqueror when he kicked off his Bend the Knee or Burn Tour way back when. Location-wise, it’s a really bad situation for Cersei Lannister as King’s Landing is literally where King Aegon landed after a very short voyage from Dragonstone. And it’s conveniently vacant, since former lord of the island Stannis Baratheon apparently took everyone up north with him to die terrible, pointless deaths.
Dragonstone also happens to be full of dragonglass, which may or may not come in handy over the next season or two.
Josh: If only another character, maybe someone with a close connection to one of Dany’s family members, could put the dragonglass pieces together.
A newly-emboldened Samwell broke into the off-limits section of the Citadel’s library, where he “borrows” multiple books, including one that tells him where a heap of dragonglass can be found: Dragonstone. (This may seem obvious, but to be fair, there are currently no kings in King’s Landing.) Like Ryan hinted at, this knowledge should come in handy, because dragonglass, or “obsidian,” is one of the few known ways to kill a White Walker. Sam sent Jon Snow a raven to tell him where he can find this all-important weapon against the ultimate evil, and the show moves that much closer to the King of the North and the Mother of Dragons finally meeting (and maybe more).
2. What were Jon and Sansa arguing about? Something about a Karstark?
Ryan: What we witnessed was Jon Snow making the same kind of wishy washy “Kumbaya” leadership decisions that got him stabbed multiple times back on the Wall. While Jon’s decisions could be seen as just and right, being “good” hasn’t exactly helped the Starks over the past several seasons of the show. Sansa sees this because she’s got a masters degree in cutthroat politics from the University of King’s Landing, along with more bonus mentoring from professional manipulator Littlefinger than she’d probably care to admit.