Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 1 "Dragonstone" Review
Everything is starting to come together, even if it's a little slow in doing so.
While Season 7 of Game of Thrones marks the beginning of the end, we’ve finally seen what fans have been waiting for: Daenerys Targaryen has made it to Westeros. A great war is coming, and HBO’s epic has begun once more.
The premiere episode, “Dragonstone” begins with an opening scene that brings us once back to the halls of the Twins where Walder Frey hosts his men to a feast. In what will be the closest thing to retribution we’ll ever get for the Red Wedding, by the end of the feast, not a single man is left alive.
Cue title card.
With an intro like that, Game of Thrones’ season 7 premiere was turning out to be everything I had hoped for: a fast-paced return to the show that only has a few episodes left to finish its story.
Unfortunately, the pace didn’t stay at that level in for the rest of the episode. In fact, everything got pretty slow after the Frey massacre. What we got instead was an episode stock-full of minute-long interactions between those lucky enough to still be alive. It was definitely a “talkie” episode, in that it was a lot of brooding and not a lot of stabbing. Oh, and Tormund hitting on Brienne once more. That, I could watch all day.
It’s true that “Dragonstone” was a slow burn as far as premieres go, but is that a bad thing? Absolutely not. It may have been a bit jarring to only focus on a group of characters for a few minutes before jumping to another region, but as these pieces get closer and closer to each other on the game board that is Westeros, every single action deserves attention.
To the north, we saw Jon’s newly formed Kingdom begin to gather behind him. In the south, the Sand Snakes meet with Olenna from the West, creating an alliance that will surely not last. Finally making landfall in the east, Daenerys reclaims her rightful home of Dragonstone, where she’ll begin to reclaim her lost kingdom.
At the center of it all is Cersei, who’s gone as far as to draw a giant map of Westeros on the floor of the palace so she can watch over the enemies as they begin to surround her from every angle. With so many factions now forming from the ashes of burned alliances and fallen kings, what’s going to follow in episodes to come will surely mean the ever-dwindling cast of characters will get smaller.
We can’t forget about Samwell and his hazing at the Maester’s college, or The Hound’s tense partnership with the followers of the Lords of Light.
Do you see what I mean? There’s a lot to take in in this episode.
One thing’s for sure: the White Walkers are coming. For seasons now, they’ve been a looming threat in a far-off land, but this episode makes it clear that they’re on the full offensive now. While men bicker over castles and land, the army of the dead marches their way towards The Wall with only one goal in mind: complete zombified domination.
All in all, “Dragonstone” was a solid foundation for the season ahead. Many fans were expecting to hit the ground running, and with the massacre of the Freys, we sort of did. But things laid back a little from there, and that’s just fine. Not every episode can be the Battle of Blackwater, and with so few episodes left, the showrunners must have known that there was a need for an info-filled foundational episode for this new season. With that out of the way, I can’t wait for what comes next.
Review written by Henry Kulick