Mediocrity was not something I expected from the season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones. Can HBO afford a mostly filler episode with only 12 left in the show? Regardless, I can’t say the episode was bad. After all, there hasn’t ever been a bad episode of Game of Thrones. Some, like this one, just reek with mediocrity in the wake of some of the best episodes of television ever written.
The episode kicks off with an entertaining, but predictable bait-and-switch Arya scene. This pre-credits segment serves as a microcosm of what was to come for the next hour: entertaining, but predictable.
The Cersei, Jon, Bran, and Arya segments were all severely underwhelming. Only a minuscule amount of plot development weaseled its way into each. Such conservative writing is not something Dan and Dave can afford in the penultimate season.
I also found myself surprisingly disappointed with Daenerys’ closing scene. We have been anticipating her arrival in Westeros since episode 1 of the series. In the wake of such a bland episode, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed by this lackluster scene. They tried to trade naturality for epicness, but the swap didn’t pay off. It came off as tragically melodramatic- something I hope doesn’t run off onto the rest of the season to come.
Both the Sam/Citadel segments and the Brotherhood Without Banners/Hound segments were perfect.
Everything I wanted from Sam’s arc has come to fruition in this comedically entertaining, but immensely plot relevant chunk. Sam is finally coming into his end game position, and It’s so damn satisfying. I can’t neglect how refreshingly real the Citadel felt as an environment. I also must not forget to mention the surprising, but welcome return of Jorah, a character that I thought the writers would neglect to bring back. He may have some purpose in the grand narrative after all.
The Brotherhood Without Banners’ segment was perhaps the most satisfying regarding both narrative progression and emotional weight. It helped bring back some well-needed, non-contrived perspective into the show. The game of thrones may be important now, but the War for the Dawn is the end game.
I also appreciate that the Hound now has a robust narrative purpose, a reason for being written back into the show other than fan service. There is even subtle implication that R’hllor may have been the force to save him from his life threatening injuries in the wake of his battle with Brienne.
- If the White Walkers cross into Westeros from Eastwatch and not Castle Black, it will be severely unsatisfying.
- Euron is going to give Cersei the dragonbinder, no doubt about it.
- It’s now clear how Daenerys and Jon will cross paths- the Dragonglass deposit at Dragonstone.
Although I did enjoy the episode, I hope it isn’t an indication of the writing quality for the season to come. I guess next week will be the true test.