After what seems like an eternity, HBO’s Game of Thrones is back with its seventh season. Since the pilot was released in 2011, this fantasy show has gone on to become a cultural phenomenon. I started watching Game of Thrones after the third season had ended and, since then, I have become obsessed with it. Without a doubt, this is the most cinematic show that I have ever watched and I love the lore, the story, the characters, the world; pretty much everything. Even the weakest seasons of Game of Thrones are still fantastic television to watch.
My Knowledge and Expectation of Season 7 Episode 1 of Game of Thrones
With all of this in mind, I could not wait to watch the next instalment in this brilliant TV show. ‘Dragonstone’ was the title of the premiere episode of Season 7 which itself would only have a total of seven episodes rather than the usual ten. As a result, I felt that, as this season progressed, the pacing would be much quicker than we are used to. Additionally, I believed that there would be more action too as the War for Westeros would be the primary focus of Season 7 of Game of Thrones.
Indeed, Season 6 of Game of Thrones finished with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) sailing across The Narrow Sea towards Westeros in a bid to reclaim The Seven Kingdoms. We also saw Jon Snow (Kit Harington) being proclaimed the King of the North although his focus is on the wider picture. Indeed, the looming threat of the White Walkers is what will ultimately shape the fate of Westeros and he is well aware of the danger that they pose.
I could not wait to see how ‘Dragonstone’ would play out and to be reunited with characters that I love. Jon Snow is one of my favourite characters but others such as Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey), Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), The Hound (Rory McCann), Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) and, obviously, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) all rank very highly for me. I was eager to see their stories continue in Season 7 and I was expecting the consistent brilliance of Game of Thrones to continue.
My Thoughts on Season 7 Episode 1 of Game of Thrones
I was not let down. ‘Dragonstone’ was a brilliant way to re-introduce us to Game of Thrones and setup the rest of Season 7. Obviously, the opening scene of this episode got us right back in the groove and gave us a fantastic moment that, I would argue, is a sign of things to come (It’s death, by the way). Moreover, it gave us a great character moment with a certain Stark who I feel will play a big role in Season 7.
Jon Snow and Sansa Stark also had important moments in this episode that signalled the tension that is brewing between them. They both want the same things but have different methods and I believe that, unless they can unite over the threat of the White Walkers, then they will slowly become more at odds with each other. Additionally, it does not help when you have Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) around at Winterfell to scheme and make things even worse in order to help his own agenda.
While doubtful, I hope that Jon and Sansa will still be united as Season 7 progresses. I have to say that Kit Harington and Sophie Turner are brilliant in their respective roles and their performances have got progressively better as Game of Thrones has gone from season to season. Their characters have been well-developed too and I still have no idea how their arcs will come to an end.
An element of ‘Dragonstone’ that was a wonderful surprise was the amount of humour in this episode. Clearly, whenever The Hound is in an episode of Game of Thrones he is going to deliver some amusing moments due to his blunt and unforgiving nature. Still, he also went through a lot of great character development in this episode. The Hound has come a long way since Season 1 and I hope that we see more of him in Season 7. I also loved the montage scene that Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) was the unfortunate victim in. The comedic nature of the editing in that scene was brilliant but I did feel for him because he was in the shit (Literally). Still, the moment that had me in stitches was the moment between Tormund and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie).
In Season 6, we had brilliant moments between these two characters such as this:
And who can forget this:
And now we have this to add to the wonderful collection:
I pray that the “blossoming” relationship that these two have will be developed much more in Season 7. A relationship that seems to be on the decline, however, is the one between Jaime and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). All signs are pointing towards a split between them. We can see that Jaime is unimpressed with Cersei’s plans and attitude. Meanwhile, Cersei seems entirely devoted to revenge, no matter the cost. I could see a situation where history repeats itself with Cersei descending into madness and Jaime killing her to save scores of innocent lives, effectively becoming the Queenslayer. We will have to wait and see what develops in this particular story-line of Game of Thrones.
Honestly, I cannot fault ‘Dragonstone’. While I have seen some criticism about how this was a slow, setup episode, you need this at the start of a season of television to re-introduce us to the characters, the world and lay the foundation for what is to come. The only criticism of this episode which I can fully understand was a certain cameo which could have taken one out of the episode. For me, it did not because the scene, which involved Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), was a nice, human moment and it was refreshing to see.
Additionally, I thought that the way this episode ended was perfect. We see Daenerys return to Dragonstone, the home of House Targaryen, which brought us something that we have been waiting for since the beginning; her return to Westeros. I loved the quiet, atmospheric nature of this scene and it closed out an episode which sets the stage for a great season of Game of Thrones (Let’s be honest, every season of Game of Thrones is at least great).