It has finally come. No, not winter, of course… Even if Maester Slughorn fell asleep on his white raven duties, we’re pretty sure it’s already been winter for a solid season. We speak instead of the beginning of the end: the final season of Game of Thrones, created and penned (and come the final episode, directed) by masters David Benioff and Dan Weiss (D&D). And thus, we are here yet again, watching the episode live and blogging our reactions in the comments.
Our reactions to this episode
I was honestly not looking forward to this. But you know what, it definitely was in that sweet, sweet “so bad it’s good” territory. Just the staging in general was amazing. Pop-up Qyburn, cock-blocking Drogon, Bran parking himself in the courtyard for possibly 3 full days to announce the plot and shame Larry…a thing of beauty. I’m actually fully hype to be back and commenting for one last season.
Highlight: I mean, she was demonized all episode for it, but my highlight was Sansa making 100% valid points, and also us seeing the consequences of exactly what she was talking about. Also Lyanna ripping into Jon. Good! I’m glad the Windvane Lords at least sometimes point in the right direction. Heck, even Arya defending Sansa, as out of place as it was given last year, made me feel happy things.
Lowlight: I have to go with Dragonrider Jon. Who gets to be a dragonrider should be one of the more exciting, momentous things that happens on this show, and the framing was more like, “oh hey I’m bored; give it a try.” Then we were treated to—as Katie called in the comments—a set-up for their theme park ride. Because seriously, why were we sitting through 5 minutes of swoopy dragon CGI? Dave Hill, I expected better.
I feel like Rebecca Bunch doing that “Math of Love Triangles” reprise, I can’t believe I’m back here again. I think we can put the rest any fear/hope that this season will be more coherent than seasons past.
Highlight: The only really enjoyment I got out of this is the confirmation that we really do have the ability to predict every cheap trope this show will employ. That, and how upset Cheryl was that there were no elephants. We used to have elephants at our zoo, but then people got upset about how they lived inside for 6 months of the year, because Canada, and then they moved to California. So I understand. No elephants sucks.
Lowlight: Leave Sansa alone! How many times did someone mention that she doesn’t like Deadpan? Because she mentioned how armies need to eat food in a meeting once? And she was mean to Tyrion. So I suppose we can look forward to a whole season of her being framed as the sower of all discord or something.
When Jon said that line about her thinking she was so smart to Arya, I seriously wanted to throw my tequila at the TV.
Also, I think using the Baratheon theme at the beginning when they arrived at Winterfell was a really dumb choice.
Oof, that was a long episode of very little happening, huh? I understand that this had to be a logistical episode, setting things up for things to come. But it felt very arbitrary, an endless string of characters reuniting without the emotional pacing for it to mean much of anything at all. Can something feel overstuffed and empty at the same time? Yes, apparently?
Highlight: I do like the Sansa is backed up by Lyanna Mormont (and Arya!) in her annoyance that Jon bent the knee on his trip south. It’s probably too much to hope for, but I want to believe that they aren’t just setting her up to be the jealous monster figure. Arya’s whole interaction with Jon was quite nice, and I enjoyed it by peacefully imagining how nice this moment would be – and how affecting Jon’s question would be – in a better show.
Lowlight: I’m tempted to name dragon-riding as my lowlight because it felt so silly and meaningless, and any scene resting on the Jon-Dany romance is going to immediately send me to sleep. It also went on for so long! But it’s also very lightweight, so I’m more inclined to be annoyed at the way they make Sam reveal Jon’s parentage. It’s overwrought to the point of being a little bit silly (“My dad I hate is DEAD and your girlfriend killed him so YOU should be the rightful king” is a subtext underlining everything) but it’s clearly supposed to be one of the main fulcrums of the season. There are plenty of good ways to raise these problems, and it’s understandable that the North would distrust Dany and her herd-decimating dragons. Let that simmer, and let conflict emerge organically. Instead we get lots of firelit angst (though John Bradley’s giving it his best go).
Also, just, poor Bran? Yikes.
First few rambles (if any)
Initial reaction: it wasn’t terrible. It was very warm milk. There were a few good lines, a few awful moments. But mostly average. Though again, what even is pacing?
Highlight: The Jon Snow and Arya reunion was cute. The dialogue was good and made sense, there was a touching moment when he asked if she’d ever used needle, their hug was believable and it was set in front of the heart tree – all around nice.
In general, too, I thought the acting was good. It didn’t make sense necessarily, but Kit Harrington made emotions AND so did Emilia Clark. And John Bradley (Sam) is WAY TOO GOOD for this shit.
Lowlight: Two things. First and foremost, why was Sam so sad to hear about his father dying? I could maybe get on board with hearing about his brother (though we have no evidence they were close at all), but his father was his abuser. Why would he be upset? Or at least THAT upset? Maybe if it was tied more to his house – maybe concern for his mother, for instance – but I don’t get the strong reaction to the dad portion.
Second, why must Sansa and Daenerys be catty with each other? And why would Lyanna Mormont not be behind a queen of the seven kingdoms? I guess the general lowlight is the continued cattiness of feminine coded women (note that Arya is so far exempt). Also, do the northerners not realize that is Jon Snow marries Daenerys then he becomes king of the seven kingdoms? Why wouldn’t they want that??
P.S. Whoever left Bran outside overnight is neglecting their duties, he totally would’ve died in the northern winter night time air.
Welp, we’re definitely off to a glorious start. Come back tomorrow for Jess’s review, and we are definitely going to need good fortune in this war to come!
Image Courtesy of HBO