Game of Thrones returns for it’s penultimate season, with only seven episodes (though by all accounts the last two will be near-or-actually feature length) and so far, so good! The main thing is seeing all these individual storylines that have played out far away from each other the past six seasons start to come together. Characters that have never met before meet for the first time, and old allies re-find each other. It’s very rewarding viewing! Plus, plenty of battles and all that usual jazz. Let’s take a closer look!
Jon Snow organizes the defence of the North with the help of his sister Sansa, while Cersei tries to even the odds against her new enemies: Daenerys, Tyrion and their large army, who soon arrive on Dragonstone Island. Meanwhile Samwell discovers crucial information about how to defeat the White Walkers and Arya Stark completes her revenge…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Cast of Characters:
Cersei literally with the land under her heel… Plus Jamie.
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) – The Queen of Dragons (amongst a million other titles) has finally made it back to the place of her birth, with the intention to rule the 7 Kingdoms…
Jon Snow (Kit Harington) – After returning from death Jon Snow has accomplished a lot: uniting formally un-unite-able people, becoming King of the North… and putting up with his sister (or cousin, I guess…?) Sansa…
Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) – The ever more heartless Queen Cersei is still on a quest to avenge the people she feels responsible for the death of her children… oh, and ruling the 7 Kingdoms. That as well.
Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) – Arya’s quest for vengeance against those who wronged her family is now half complete, but will she head straight for Cersei, or take part in a Stark reunion?
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) – Tyrion is now the top advisor for Daenerys, and he’s hoping he’s both backed the right horse and that his strategy at the battle of Black Water wasn’t a one off…
Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) – Jamie is becoming more and more conflicted and he sees his sister/lover turn into a power mad, cold monarch. He’s still in charge of the Lannister army, at least… that’ll keep him busy…
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) – Sansa is a little peeved at her bastard brother (although, well…) for gaining the seat of power she expected, but she is at least being somewhat nice about it… Somewhat…
Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) – Kind-hearted and a getting less naïve as the days pass, Samwell is trying his best to use the knowledge of the great library of Oldtown to help his fellow allies at The Wall, as well as potentially everyone in the 7 Kingdoms…
Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann) – Formally nasty and violent soldier, The Hound has found himself travelling with The Brotherhood Without Banners, apparently to stop the on-coming threat of the White Walkers, something Clegane could scarcely believe… until he sees it for himself.
and many… many more!
I may be dead, but “Ha-ha!”
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, the long-form storytelling is really paying off here. The standout moment has to be the meeting between Jon Snow and Daenerys, two characters who have spent 6 seasons in completely different locations with completely different storylines. Neither came off as particularly strong (Daenerys was a bit too arrogant, and Snow was still a bit too nice and inexperienced), but the interplay between them later was interesting. The highlight of the whole meeting on Dragonstone was definitely the talks between Jon and Tyrion, who haven’t seen each other since the start of the show.
Cersei is certainly a great “lead villain” (though lets face it, most “good guys” in the series aren’t exactly pure hearted….) and the war between her armies and Daenerys has already got off to an interesting start. Admittedly, I can’t help but look back at other times in the series where the “bad” forces have got the upper-hand before losing right at the end, so the fact Cersei and her forces have technically beat her 2-0 so far (or 2-1 at best, though the unsullied at Casterly Rock didn’t exactly “win”) doesn’t mean a lot, but it has been a fun set up.
Jamie Lannister is one of the main characters to keep an eye on. He has clearly had doubts at several points about his sister/lover, and his talk with Olenna at the end of Episode 3 shows this clearly. Will he become the oathbreaker again and slay a mad ruler who sees nothing wrong with killing innocents? Or will his love for her lead to his death? Great stuff. Also great was Olenna having the last laugh, drinking the painless poison and then quickly telling Jamie that she was the one of poisoned his son all along, too late for him or Cersei to do anything about it.
Arya and her revenge quest possibly being put on hold when she hears of his brother leading the North from Winterfell is interesting, plus now that Bran and Sansa are there, we might finally get a Stark reunion at Winterfell, a call back to the very first episode (minus a fair number of Starks, of course…) The Hound only appeared in Episode 1, but I do like his new found heart, while still maintaining his … rough exterior.
I can’t say I ever really cared about the people from Dorne, though I will say that the punishment put on Ellaria Sand and her daughter is heartbreaking, though at the same time very much poetic justice…
Also, the Samwell stuff is nice, mostly because he’s genuinely the only truly nice guy. Seeing him cure Jorah Mormont and getting rewarded for it was nice, both for Sam and for Jorah, who deserves to fight alongside Daenerys during her big battles to come.
Every season needs an unashamed bastard character!
Although there were some good moments, the sea battle at the end of Episode 2 was a bit hard to see what was going on a lot of the time, the problem with night battles during medieval-like times, I guess. Also Theon Greyjoy will have to do something brave eventually… Surely? I mean, I know he was mentally broken, but come on…
So I understand we were supposed to feel sorry for Sam during Episode 1, but did we really need such a long montage of him clearing out shit (literally) and nearly being sick over it? Once or twice would have been fine, really… I swear the montage nearly reaches 5 or 10 minutes!
It’s almost like a weird cross-over, despite the fact they’ve been in the same show this whole time!
Season 7 is off to a great start. It’s building up to several big conflicts and finally pulling together some previously independent plot-threads. It still has the usual mix of great dialogue, well-directed episodes with a high budget. There have been times when this show has stuttered a bit, but this is Game of Thrones going full-throttle, and it’s great viewing!