Game of Thrones Review by John Keegan

Game of Thrones 7.01: Dragonstone

Game of Thrones 7.01: Dragonstone

Written By:
David Benioff and D. B. Weiss
Directed By:
Jeremy Podeswa

After a longer than anticipated wait for the premiere of the penultimate season, the shortened seventh season begins with an episode that sets the stage for a number of important developments.  There is still the sense that the storytelling is a bit accelerated, if only to convey the sense that the endgame is upon us, but that urgency is appreciated.  With so little material left until the end, every minute matters that much more!



Arya Takes Names: The episode begins with Arya continuing her vengeance against the Freys, and it definitely gets the season off to quite a start.  If there was any doubt that Arya was going into dark territory last season, that ought to be settled at this point.  It’s also a strong statement for the season as a whole; entire Houses can be wiped out in a matter of moments.  No one is holding back anymore.


While a later scene seems included to give Ed Sheeran a nice little cameo, it serves another purpose.  Arya has spent the past few years developing a mentality of suspicion and violence that it is shocking to her for anyone to show such quick kindness.  She’s not going to regain the measure of humanity she has lost overnight, but encounters like this could serve to remind her why she’s fighting, beyond simple revenge.  (On the other hand, this is Game of Thrones, so this could turn on its head in a terrible way in the next episode!)



Winter Arrives in the North: Meera and Bran arrive at the Wall with visions of the growing and nearing army of White Walkers, which puts the pressure on the newly minted King of the North.  Jon is beginning to show some promising signs of leadership skills, but as anticipated, Sansa is being less than cordial in her disagreements with him.  On the one hand, he needs someone to challenge his thinking, to keep him honest and force him to consider his options.  On the other hand, Sansa is being rather confrontational about it.  It’s great to see Sansa throwing her weight around, and even using the lessons she’s been forced to learn, but she’s far from subtle.


But Sansa does have a point: he may understand the dynamics of the North fairly well (and certainly in a more nuanced manner than Sansa), but she understands the South all too intimately.  She’s right to be worried and to consider the needs of allies to the South, especially those commanded by Littlefinger, if only as a buffer to prevent the Lannisters from causing trouble.  If nothing else, it plants another seed for an alliance between Jon and Daenerys, since she can definitely gather other allies to keep the Lannisters nice and distracted.



The Last of the Lannisters: If it seemed like Cersei was losing her grip on reality, it’s fairly well confirmed when Jamie outlines all the reasons she ought to be worried and Cersei wants nothing of his logic and insight.  Between the two of them, they deliver the audience a nice set of reminders that King’s Landing is literally surrounded by enemies.  And so, of course, Cersei looks elsewhere for allies, and the obvious (and obnoxious) option of House Greyjoy arrives just in time.  Euron needs to die horribly, and how better than as a prelude to whatever the Lannisters have coming to them?


The Hound’s Redemption: Well, the Hound may not be getting a redemptive arc, per se, but he is getting the chance to play an larger and ironic part in the scheme of things.  Not only is it good to see the dangling thread of the Brotherhood Without Banners getting a purpose, but sending them to the same location as Tormund’s band of wildlings sets the stage for a major battle between the White Walkers and at least some of the followers of the Lord of Light. 



Sam Learns a Thing or Two: One small stretch of comedy comes in the disgusting tasks of Sam Tarly, who is clearly at the bottom of the totem pole in Oldtown.  Despite delivering the most dire of warnings, much of what he says is ignored or minimized.  Even so, he manages to find a key plot point or two: not only is Daenerys about to take custody of a huge mound of dragonglass (thus making her an important ally for Jon for several reasons), but also Jorah Mormont, whose condition is worsening.  Both of these items are sure to factor into the narrative soon.


Dany Comes Home: The end of the episode delivers a sequence that is light on action, but deeply satisfying, as Daenerys Stormborn finally returns to Dragonstone.  The sight of dragons flying over the castle once again stirs Dany deeply, and much of what happens is communicated without dialogue, simply letting the visuals and the score sell the moment.  By the time Dany stands at the end of the map of Westeros, uttering “Shall we begin?”, the audience already knows that the turning point has truly arrived.  This is truly the beginning of the end for the saga.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • The stage is quickly being set for big moments in the near future
  • We’re finally getting some of the plot turns we’ve been wanting for a long time now
The Bad:
  • If Euron is supposed to be the new character everyone wants dead, I hope it happens soon

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Game of Thrones by - 7/17/2017 8:40 AM168 views

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