And so the final season Game of Thrones is finally upon is. It has been quite a wait. Especially if you have been with the show since 2011 as I have been. And yet, I feel like I have a good idea what this season is going to be about. I am mostly interested to see what arguments are made by the producers to underpin their choices. But first – a review “Winterfell”, the season premiere.
I am not going to mention every plot detail that happened. For that you can either watch the show or read the summary on Wikipedia. Instead I want to discuss the more salient aspects and the quality of the episode as a whole.
The episode focuses mostly on the forces of House Stark and Targaryen settling in Winterfell. That means many reunions, some happy and some not. In fact this episode has a problem from not focusing on that. While it may feel refreshing that all secrets are now laid bare. It also means that there is not enough focus on the confrontation with the Night King.
Not that the army of the dead are absent though. Through some more medieval teleportation little lord Umber manages to travel to Last Hearth to rally his people. Only for the survivors of the Night’s Watch as well as Beric and Tormund to find all the Umber’s slain by the end of the episode. Little lord Umber himself being made a center piece in the display of severed body parts which reminded me more of Hannibal than Game of Thrones.
While such displays of gore as well as Bronn’s gratuitous nude scene are typical for the series neither advanced the plot. If the Night King wanted to pass a message with the gruesome display of body parts – then what was the message? It feels like the show’s producers are attempting to be clever.
I have mixed feelings about this episode. As it is the first in the season it is obligated to set the stage. And so it did. Jon now knows the truth if his parentage. Sansa and many in the north dislike Dany and Samwell knows the truth about this father and brother.
And yet I was expecting more. Perhaps the episode lingered too long on the nostalgic reunions and the old arguments that are just for arguments sake. It feels like I have to wait a whole another week for the show to really get started. I had hoped that this episode would already feature a showdown between Jaime and everybody else. Only if Dany and the Starks can accept that bygones are bygones do they even have a chance at defeating the Night King.