Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 1 “Dragonstone” Review
Spoilers Ahead on Game Of Thrones Season 7 Premiere
“Shall we begin?” Game of Thrones Season 7 Premiere entitled “Dragonstone” is immensely satisfying. After an extra long hiatus, it’s just a treat to get back into the Game of Thrones universe. The producers have promised a faster pace. One down and only 6 more to go this season. Even though there wasn’t a tonne of action in this premiere, the measured pace felt perfect for what it was trying to achieve. Okay, maybe for some viewers the pot montage is a bit much, I found it amusing.
“Dragonstone” is about laying out the land. Literally a map of the realm is painted onto the floor in Kings Landing and Dany runs her fingers across the Dragonstone table. The realm is within Dany’s reach and it’s hers for the taking. I liked that rather than a talk heavy scene, the images captured the epicness of Dragonstone and Dany’s journey back home to her birthplace.
Just like how the Targaryens came with dragons to conquer Westeros, Dany is repeating history. She took 7 seasons to get across the Narrow Sea. Finally. It feels like the beginning of the end for both the show and Westeros as we know it. This feeling is contrasted by Sam’s Archmaester who basically says that the world keeps on going whatever big historical event happens. And he says this knowing that the White Walker threat is real.
This brings us to the other running theme in the premiere which is establishing the threats and what’s at stake for each major character. Jon Snow, aside from the obvious White Walker threat, cannot make the same mistakes as the Starks before him. In a way, the Jon Snow/Sansa dynamic has some similarities to Robb/Catelyn. Jon cannot let Sansa undermine him but he also needs to know when to listen to her advice.
Jon handled himself very well in the great hall. Because Winterfell was previously taken away from the Starks, he didn’t want to take away the ancestoral home from the Karstarks and Umbers. Jon also gave the young Karstarks and Umbers a chance to make their own decisions without the sins of the father held over them, something that wasn’t afforded to him as a bastard.
I don’t know if I should be taken aback by Cersei’s heartless and callous talk about Tommen. If Cersei had one redeeming quality it was in her children, now all she has left is herself and Jamie. Cersei is in a most vulnerable situation, trapped on all sides. But this lioness is most dangerous when cornered. Jamie asked Cersei if he should be worried for his life. In actuality, Cersei should also be careful of Jamie. Who’s to say that a kingslayer can’t also be a queenslayer if a difficult decision has to be made?
Cersei is not going to give up the throne without a fight. The wild card factor is Euron Greyjoy. Euron is arrogant but he doesn’t strike me as foolish either. He knows he’s going up against Dany, her armies and alliances including Yara Greyjoy. Oh yeah … and three fire-breathing dragons! This doesn’t seem to faze Euron in the slightest which should tell you he has something up his sleeve. If you’ve read the books, then you may know what I’m referring to. So while Cersei doesn’t know she might have a means to defending King’s Landing, Dany doesn’t know about the White Walkers and that she’s sitting on top of a mountain of dragon glass that can be used to defeat them.
As satisfying as it is to open the episode with Arya taking out basically the entire House Frey in one sweet act of vengeance, I appreciated her second scene quite a lot. I liked seeing Arya genuinely smile instead of getting beat up by the waif over and over again. Arya was treated with kindness and generosity in this lighter scene, something we don’t see much of in the show.
I also liked seeing the perspective of the ordinary folk who are caught up in other people’s wars. The soldier’s comment about wanting a baby girl who will grow up to look after the elderly parents is ironic considering he probably won’t live to a ripe old age. It’s also ironic knowing the girls in the North will have to take up arms and rightly so, because there’s an undead army coming that won’t be taking any prisoners, even if they are children or the elderly.
Perhaps the best character development scenes belonged to Sandor Clegane. For a character breakdown on the Hound read Game of Thrones: The Best Underrated Characters. Clegane’s scenes shows how far he has come along. It’s the idea of being forged by fire. Getting half his face burned as a child by his brother, shaped him among other reasons into a being a mean-spirited man. Seeing a vision in the fire from the Lord of Light is taking him down another path. This version of Clegane has a conscience and is acknowledging personal responsibility for his actions. His vision also emphasizes that the Eastwatch is going to be pivotal location this season, the same place that Tormund is going to.
“Dragonstone” had the weight of excitement and anticipation on its shoulders. I think it delivered mostly the right notes for a premiere. I enjoyed immersing myself back with the characters and machinations. The set up for Season 7 is promising. All signs point towards the White Walkers breaching the Wall at Eastwatch. Dany and her dragons are locked onto the Iron Throne. Perhaps Arya will bring back some other old faces? Cersei is desperate for alliances. And Jorah wants to reach out and touch someone with his greyscale hand. Eww.
What are your favorite moments from the premiere? Do you have any predictions or theories?