**Spoilers are coming**
You have to hand it to Game of Thrones. If we were taking Super Bowl-style prop bets on last night’s Season 7 premiere, Walder Frey would’ve had snowball-in-hell odds of being the first character seen in the first shot. The former Lord of Riverrun is, after all, quite dead. Yet, there he was. That hook nose and those squinty eyes were resurrected as the show began. What was this devilry? Flashback?
As Walder stands at the head of his family in a scene much like the Red Wedding, it becomes increasingly clear he’s not Walder Frey at all. He says he’s gathered “every Frey who means a damn thing” so he can reveal his plans for the coming winter. He gives everyone “proper wine, for proper heroes” and they toast together and cheer. But then old Walder starts talking about the Red Wedding.
He calls everyone “brave men” for, now get this... “butchering a woman pregnant with a baby” and for cutting the throat of a “mother of five.”
The room goes deathly silent. Then, people start dropping.
“You didn’t slaughter every one of the Starks. That was your mistake.” Frey continues. “Leave one wolf alive, and the sheep are never safe.”
One by one, every Frey who means a damn thing drops dead right there — poisoned by that proper wine. Bodies lie motionless everywhere.
Arya Stark peels off her Walder mask and tells Frey’s child bride, “When people ask you what happened here, tell them: ‘The North remembers.’ Tell them: ‘Winter came for House Frey.'”
Now, THAT is how you start a friggin’ season off!
Hardcore Thrones fans likely knew they were seeing Arya in Faceless Man disguise right away, but no matter when you realized what was happening last night, it’s hard not to admit the show gave us the best start to a Game of Thrones season since the very first episode, when the White Walkers were introduced.
Scenes like this are years in the making and avenging the Red Wedding, especially, is sweet therapy for Thrones fans who didn’t get enough from Arya cutting Frey’s throat last season. We all experienced the deaths of Catelyn, Robb, and Talisa Stark (and Robb’s unborn child and Grey Wind and scores of Stark soldiers), whether it was by reading or watching the HBO series Sunday nights. We all understand the emotional impact of it. Some of us are still traumatized.
That’s why seeing little Arya come back and kill every Frey by outwitting them is so ridiculously sweet. She’s manifest justice and there’s nothing more satisfying.