TV Review: “Game of Thrones” Season 7 Episode 1 – And So It Begins

Written by Sydney O'Keefe July 22, 2017

game of thrones

After the longest break in its history, Game of Thrones has returned with a vengeance. The season 7 premiere set the stage for the shorter season. It’s been promised to be the most fast paced and exciting season yet. While there are so many uncertainties when you play the game of thrones one thing that’s clear is that there will be major character developments this season.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

In the first episode of this season we enjoy some long-awaited moments and some moments we were not expecting. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) arrives in her birth place; Arya (Maisie Williams) avenges the death of her family and begins her journey to King’s Landing; and Bran (Isaac Wright) arrives at the Wall. Some unexpected moments include Ed Sheeran’s cameo as a singing Lannister soldier.

“Leave one wolf alive, and the sheep are never safe.”

Game of Thrones fans have been waiting for Daenerys to arrive in Westeros since the first book A Game of Thrones was published in 1996. Twenty years later they finally got their moment, and it was epic. The tranquillity of the music and the characters’ silence  really illustrates how long this has been coming for the character and her droves of fans. Similarly, the recap juxtaposed the first episode with season 6’s finale of Daenerys’s journey, from being sold by her brother for a crown to leading her own armada headed for her home. The difference between the girl who was sold and the one who arrives at Dragonstone with the ominous line “Shall we begin” really shows the development of her character. She’s coming into her role as the last dragon. Her scenes in this episode is a preface to the final arc of her character – as well as other characters – really sets the tone for what’s to come.

game of thrones

The revenge that we witnessed in the season 6 finale with the death of Walder Frey and his oldest (and most nefarious) sons was satisfying. But we get to watch Arya take this one step further and poison the Frey men as they toast the death of her brother, mother, and pregnant sister in law. Directly following this, Arya bonds with some Lannister soldiers who offer her food. This is one of few precious moments of character development for Arya; just like the Freys not every foot soldier deserves to die for the acts of their patriarchs. This seemingly innocuous scene is the hinge on which Arya’s humanity rests. She’s back in Westeros free to travel to her siblings and home in the North but instead begins a bloody quest to kill the Queen. Along the way it is inevitable that innocents will get caught up her vengeance.

“I don’t plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me.”

Other smaller stories have also begun: Bran arrives at the Wall finally; and Sansa (Sophie Turner) has tension with Jon Snow (Kit Harrington). The most important development we’ve seen is the Hound (Rory McCann) who has joined the Robin-Hood-like band of merry men, the brotherhood without banners. Arya and the Hound’s stories mirror one another where we see a moment of humanity. He revisits the house of a father and daughter he previously mugged while he was on his journey with Arya. At the time he had acted without mercy while Arya was repulsed by his callousness. However, now the audience sees Arya murder a banquet of men and the Hound bury the dead and honour them with his version of a prayer. This is the new side of the Hound, the man who previously ran down Arya’s defenceless friend Mykah (Rhodri Hosking) without mercy. Now they have switched roles: the Hound is seemingly on a path to redemption while Arya is one a path of destruction.

game of thrones

The upcoming season of Game of Thrones is set to bring about major character developments in our beloved heroes and villains. Whether they’re turning a dark corner like Sansa and Arya, or on their path to redemption like the Hound, nothing will be the same after this. The season premiere didn’t have the wow factor that many relate to Game of Thrones following shocking episodes like the Red Wedding, the Purple Wedding and, most recently, the Battle of the Bastards. But the subtle cues and ground work laid in this inaugural episode will be necessary for the developments to come.

My Rating: 8/10

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