HBO (US), SoHo, NEON (NZ)
July 16th, 2017
Because Game of Thrones is such a big deal, the three of us all watched the beginning of Season 7, and offer our spoiler-filled thoughts for this first episode. We don’t know any further than that, so any theories are complete speculation! Even if you’ve read all the books by George R.R Martin, the show has well and truly overtaken the plot of the novels at this point, and is now forging its own path.
Michael: Game of Thrones is back baby! Okay, I may have hyped myself a little too much… but can you blame me for anticipating the return of the biggest show on television? Sure technically that’s The Walking Dead, but c’mon. Overall this episode was mostly setting up the pieces. Nothing really surprising happened, it was all rather expected. I’m hoping for some more twists and turns as we go along this seven episode season. Otherwise it’s pretty much like watching the first few moves in a game of chess. Cersei literally walks across a world map painted on the floor—talk about subtle!
Even watching the Previously On it took a while for me to click why Walder Frey was still alive in the cold open. At first I thought it was a flashback and then I remembered what Arya could now do. As fulfilling as it was to watch Arya kill the rest of the Freys, I couldn’t help but feel it was all too easy. I guess that’s what happens when you have the ability to put on a face and become anyone. Well, that, and they weren’t really anyone we gave a toss about. It wasn’t as satisfying as when Arya slit the throat of Walder Frey last season.
There’s a few plotlines this episode, especially catching up with these characters after a year. What was your favourite plotline this episode? Mine would have to be Euron Greyjoy and his snarky comments to Queen Cersei and Jamie. I know he’s a prick but you have to admire his sheer audacity to ask to join the Lannisters after previously fighting against them. His character has also been injected with some personality which will certainly help with this dour King’s Landing.
Matty: After such a long wait for the new season I was a little worried that I’d have forgotten what was going on in Westeros by now, but as soon as the episode got under way everything came rushing back; excitement, anticipation and a healthy does of utter terror! Just take a look at those marching White Walkers and their new pet giant!
Just as Michael said, I was a little underwhelmed by the first episode, only because where we left off in season 6 had got me so worked up, and because of the seven episode cap this season I thought they might have squeezed a little more in. Either way, it felt great to get back into it.
Arya’s opening scene is awesome, however it was all over a little too quickly and I think would have worked better (and I would have been able to appreciate it more) as a final scene. I loved Euron Greyjoy’s conversation with Cersei and Jamie, that was certainly a highlight. Sansa’s role is becoming increasingly interesting as well, and there’s nothing more satisfying than watching her sass out slimy Littlefinger.
But I feel I should mention the elephant in the room; Ed Sheeran’s cameo. I’ve seen a lot of backlash online about it, and it’s justified in my opinion. While I see no reason why there shouldn’t be a cameo, by anyone, it was clumsily done and exceptionally awkward and just out of character for the show. For some cameo tips I recommend Guy Ritchie’s 2017 film King Arthur: Legend of The Sword, in which David Beckham makes an appearance—much more what we’re after here.
Otherwise, I feel I’m right back amidst the mayhem, and as always can’t wait to see how things will unfold.
Michael: I entirely agree with Matty that the Ed Sheeran scene was cringeworthy as heck to watch, and I actually like Ed Sheeran! He’s not an actor and every line felt forced. Game of Thrones has done well in using more subtle musical cameos in the past (most if not all without dialogue), including the drummer from Coldplay at the Red Wedding. I understand it was a favour for Maisie Williams who plays Arya, who is a big Sheeran fan. Just seeing Ed bloody Sheeran there, a recognisable face and that head of hair, it just well took me out of what is supposed to be a fantasy world.
Andrew, that is none other than Daenery’s once right-hand-man Ser Jorah Mormont, overcome by greyscale (since being touched by the stone men). No doubt in search of a cure at Oldtown’s great library. Since they didn’t show his face I wonder how far the greyscale has taken over.