Game of Thrones S7:E1 Review (Spoilers)

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By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

This Review is Dark and full of Spoilers.

Season 7 of Game of Thrones is upon us, and after an extended break, we are finally returning to Westeros for the penultimate season of the show.

With shorter seasons going forward, you can expect very few filler episodes, this will help keep the show exciting and entertaining. With so many plots and characters to juggle, the setup will have to be executed perfectly to ensure the show does not come unstuck. But if last’s night’s opener is anything to go by, they should handle it very well indeed.

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In what can only be described as ‘The Reverse Red Wedding’, Arya, posing as Walder Frey, perfectly acts out her revenge on the Frey household. Once again the main hall fills with blood, but not a single blade or arrow is needed this time. Poison is a Game of Thrones favourite, and it does the job. Acknowledging an event from a previous season was a pleasing way to start a brand new season.

It’s safe to say that the Game of Thrones theme is very iconic, and after hearing it again, after what felt like an age, it still has the same effect. As soon as you hear it, the excitement levels instantly rise. And boy did they follow it up.

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White walkers and giants. Literal chills ran down the spine witnessing such an event. The horde is marching down towards the wall, and you fully expect the final episode of the season to see the great wall breached and the snow turned red with blood. I don’t expect them to arrive until the final episode. But they have been building up to this moment for a long time. And while some fan favourites will fall, to see the White Walkers in battle once again is going to be worth it.

Staying in the North, Jon continues in his war council gathering, and the seeds are firmly planted for the Jon v Sansa storyline that will run throughout season seven. With Little Finger in her ear (until Arya arrives at least), you can expect more of these moments. While Sansa was right in what she was saying, Jon also had a valid case for his argument.

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With Jon obsessed with the White Walkers in the North and Sansa focusing on Cersei and the Lannisters in the South, they are more divided than they think.
Another special mention to Lady Mormont in this scene, who once again is a show stealer. No one is going to tell her that the girls and women of the North are going to stay behind. They will fight alongside as equals, and rightfully so.

With plans afoot in the North, Cersei and Jaime have problems of their own to work out. Standing on a giant map of Westeros, the Lannisters are surrounded and ill-equipped to battle on so many different fronts. Enter Euron Greyjoy. In a fantastic visual spectacle, Euron sails into King’s Landing with a proposal (literally) that Cersei refuses. But, ever the insane optimist, he plans to win her over with a gift. (Be sure to check our follow up article with an answer to what we think that gift is.)

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Throughout all these scenes, the seeds are still being planted for Jaime’s redemption. Cersei is only focused on keeping her throne, where as Jaime is coming to terms with the loss of his children. I can still see Jaime killing Cersei, with the pair going out together in a Romeo and Juliet fashion.

With most of the big players having screen time to set up their stories for the season, there was only Daenerys, Tyrion & co left. And while there was not much talking, the stunning visuals of the dragons flying over Dragonstone and the castle itself, ‘less is more’ worked. With her final words, they delivered so much promise and excitement. I fully expect the next episode to pick up from here and have more setup for Daenerys.

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Additional Scenes:

We have Samwell Tarly inside the Citadel. Handy in introducing us to Jim Broadbent’s new character as well as serving as a good plot device for the dragon glass. We also got treated to that hilarious food and toilet montage. Oh, and we also got a small glimpse of Ser Jorah in one of the cells, with the greyscale taking its toll. Could Sam and Ser Jorah leave the Citadel together?

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In a rather cringeworthy moment, Ed sheeran makes his Game of Thrones cameo. And It was the only bad thing about the episode. It was so on the nose that it removed me from the show entirely. Thomas Turgoose alongside him was fine, as he’s not as well known. But Ed’s singing aside, this scene has potentially more meaning for Arya. She is so ‘kill happy’ at times, that she risks losing her humanity. If she just becomes a soulless killing machine, overall the character suffers. Here she is, dining as a guest with her ‘enemies’ and clearly they are not bad people. But I fear she will kill all of them regardless and it’ll be another dent in what is an ever developing character.

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The Hound and the Brotherhood Without Banners also had a nice bit of development. The farm they stayed at is the same one from Season 4, when The Hound and Arya passed through. So that was another nice, and meaningful, throwback to a previous season. It just helps everything gel together and makes the world more believable.

Summary:

This was a very strong opening episode, probably one of the strongest yet. There was a lot to take in, but they presented it all in an engaging and easy to digest way. Clever writing and good use of timing ensured the episode had perfect pacing. With the setup and promise of so much more to come, I already feel like Season 7 of Game of Thrones is going to be the strongest and best season to date.

What did you think to Episode 1? What are you most looking forward to this season? Let us know in the comments below.

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