One of Blogtor Who – In Other World’s Posts.

Game of Thrones is back! Season 7 begins a shorter run of seven episodes with ‘Dragonstone’. Season 8, which will be the final run, will have only six episodes. So with the end of this global phenomenon on the horizon ‘Game of Thrones’ returned to our screens with a bang.

To the delight of Doctor Who fans they don’t have to wait till Christmas to see David Bradley in action. Sadly this isn’t in the role of the First Doctor but as the much more hideous Walder Frey. But those with good memories of the Season 6 finale ‘The Winds of Winter’ will recall Walder Frey’s demise at the hands of another actor who has appeared in Doctor Who, Maisie Williams’ Arya Stark. But then all becomes apparent. Walder Frey has done away with all the Frey’s. But then it’s not really Walder Frey. Talk about starting the season premiere with a jaw dropping moment!

Game of Thrones: Season 7 (c) HBO/Sky Atlantic

Winter is Here

The White Walkers are on the march. The Night King and his army, now including reanimated giants, are marching south. Each season of ‘Game of Thrones’ is traditionally a slow burner. Like chess pieces being carefully positioned on the board, the characters take their places. ‘Dragonstone’ follows that tradition but there is a greater sense of urgency. As you will have heard from the promotional trailers, “The Great War is here”. This fact looms large over proceedings although not everyone realises it yet.

Whilst many delighted at the positive casting of a female Doctor yesterday, ‘Game of Thrones’ reminds us that there are already positive female characters in modern television drama; Bella Ramsey as Lyanna Mormont for instance. She gets an early scene stealing moment, standing up for both women and girls. Equally notable is Sansa Stark who’s journey over the seasons continues to develop. Then of course there is Cersei Lannister.

Game of Thrones: Dragonstone – Cersei (Lena Heady) and Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) (c) HBO/Helen Sloan

Cersei of House Lannister, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms

The dramatic events of ‘The Winds of Winter’ saw Cersei take the Iron Throne. Her children are dead. There are enemies on every side. She is short on allies. Sitting on that Iron Throne has never felt so precarious. Cersei finds a glimmer of hope in a potential alliance with Euron Greyjoy’s Iron Fleet. Seems like an appropriate match. Oddly she declines a proposal, choosing to maintain the upper hand having only recently acquired it. In lesser television series Cersei would’ve agreed to this alliance. But ‘Game of Thrones’ is no ordinary show. It is a strange blend of fantasy drama, gritty medieval realism and fully rounded characters. This episode may however be remembered in particular for featuring a very pop-ular cameo.

Ed Sheeran, singer, songwriter and soldier

Ed Sheeran can seemingly do no wrong at the moment. His latest album ‘Divide’ has sold over a million copies. A recently announced stadium tour has sold out so quickly that additional dates have been added. Unsurprisingly his cameo appearance in ‘Dragonstone’ features him singing a song he probably wrote himself. Fortunately his contribution is kept limited to his song along as more established actors, including Thomas Turgoose so memorable in ‘This is England’ and William Postlethwaite son of famous actor Pete, carry the remainder of the scene. It is however Ed Sherran’s fleeting appearance which will garner the most attention, particularly on social media, probably for negative reasons. The scene adds little, merely recording that Arya is en route to King’s Landing. Someone else with eyes on King’s Landing is of course Daenerys Targaryen.

Game of Thrones: Dragonstone – Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) (c) HBO/Helen Sloan

Daenerys returns to Dragonstone

‘Game of Thrones’ is often praised for it’s glorious location work and stunning design work. Dragonstone is the design highlight of the episode and so rightly carries the title. From the refreshing air of a sand covered beach to the impressive route to the castle from the shore, there is a sense of grandeur and history about the location. Inside the castle a suitably breathtaking interior is seen with an appropriate throne plus images and carvings of dragons throughout. We also learn that a mountain of dragonglass can also be found there, emphasising the importance of Dragonstone in the war to come.

There is no dialogue until the very end. As Daenerys stands over a map a map of Westeros she simply says, “Shall we begin?” It is sublimely skillful in construction proving that sometimes less is indeed more. Simplicity is not a word used often to describe ‘Game of Thrones’ but in this case it is appropriate and proves supremely effective. The question also triggers an affirmative reaction from the audience. Daenerys’ lengthy journey seems to be drawing to a close as she makes her move for the Iron Throne. An epic battle is on the horizon. Then there is the Great War still to come…

Establishing Episode

In television there is something called the ‘establishing shot’. This is often a wide shot that establishes the location where the following action takes place, for instance. Game of Thrones Season Premiere episodes serve as an ‘establishing episode’. After a year away from the screens viewers are back up to speed with the chess pieces and their respective positions on the board. It also cleverly excites the dedicated audience for some spectacular and epic battles to come.

As any good Season Premiere episode should ‘Dragonstone’ leaves you excited for the next instalment. Where it exceeds previous season openers however is with an added sense of urgency, largely due to the impending great war. It is a spectacular start and leaves the viewer in no doubt that this is going to be another memorable series.

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