The Beginning of the End for Game of Thrones Hits all the Right Notes *Review*
Last Sunday premiere of Game of Thrones seventh season had a lot going on in it. Of course it needed to be an appropriately strong follow-up to season six classics like "The Winds of Winter" and "Battle of the Bastards". But beyond that, it needed to be a great episode because "Dragonstone" marks the beginning of the end. Season seven and season eight have both been confirmed to be relatively short compared to prior seasons. It seems fair to view the upcoming twin seasons as the proverbial Act 3 of the saga that is Game of Thrones. Starting season seven off with a whimper, as has happened occasionally in prior seasons, would have been a great disservice to the entire story. Fortunately, that was not an issue as the cast & crew met or surpassed almost all expectations.
Jeremy Podeswa's "Dragonstone" hits all the right notes for a good Game of Thrones episode: it has political intrigue, humor, and a good burst of death. Beyond that, "Dragonstone" works excellently as an introduction to season seven by giving the audience an update on what almost every major character has been up to.
Will "Dragonstone" go down in history as one of the best episodes of Game of Thrones? Probably not. The most popular episodes of the series tend to be ones with huge battles and a ton of tragedy. Speaking of character movement, who was on the move this episode? A lot of people: Daenerys & her crew (including Tyrion), Euron Greyjoy, Arya Stark, Sandor Clegane, and Bran Stark to just name the major characters. Each one of them either arrived at a critical destination (Bran to The Wall, Daenerys to Dragonstone), made substantial progress on their journey (Arya, Sandor), or started on a new quest (Euron). Character movement is the heart of Game of Thrones. It is the catalyst for big reactions - both those with violent ends and those that end with the wheeling & dealing of information.
There were a few beautiful moments. Cersei & her map, the quiet march from Dragonstone port to the castle, Sandor burying the dead while the threat of winter lingers near, and the kneeling of the Umber & Karstark families to the King in the North. These enchanting scenes, along with the substantial plot movement and moments like Sam's disgusting and hilarious montage, make "Dragonstone" an excellent start to the end of the beloved series.
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