Fans have waited a long time to watch the premiere of the seventh season of Game of Thrones. The hype leading up to the first episode, 'Dragonstone,' raised the bar of expectations. So it's possible that the episode may feel a little underwhelming. But before you unleash an attack, all the chess pieces need to be in their squares and that is what this episode does.
The show begins with the leftovers of season six. In the finale, we saw Arya Stark kill Walder Frey after feeding him his sons in a pie. That was not the end of it because the Freys have to pay for the Red Wedding. That opening was as cold as the icy eyes of the Night King.
'Winds of Winter,' the last episode of season six had Jon Snow crowned as the King in the North, Sansa by his side had felt the fear of being marginalised. This is one interesting relationship that comes to play in the first episode of this season. Sansa doesn't grasp what Jon has gone through since they both left Winterfell in season one. Same is the condition with Jon. They have Ned Stark in common and that is where the similarities end. Petyr Baelish and the life in the South has taught Sansa a lot about the politics of a court held by a king, while the hardships of the Night Watch and the fight at Hardhome have shown Jon Snow what the winds of winter are capable of. So when this tango of a relationship comes into play, it's a sight to behold. It's in this scene that the writers beautifully hide the clues of why Jon and Daenerys will need to be allies.
The other pair of brother and sister, the Lannisters, have perfected the aforementioned dance. They have stood the test of time and are once again out to get what they think is theirs for taking. For Cersei, when she burned down the Great Sept of Baelor and her son Tommen decided to end his life because he lost Margaery, her past turned to ashes. Now she wants to rule the seven kingdoms and will follow the teachings of her father, Tywin, to make it happen. It is comforting to see Jaime Lannister be the sounding board in King's Landing because the future (probably) mad queen may have smart moves but they need control.
Meanwhile, control is something Samwell Tarly would love to get rid of. The funny montage of Sam's routine at the Citadel highlights his frustration with everyone doubting his story of seeing the Night King, his army and killing a few white walkers with Dragonglass. Jim Broadbent, the show's marquee addition to the cast for season seven, utters the most beautiful line foreshadowing how the series may end after the eighth season. While soothing Sam's agitated nerves, the Archmaester says, "Every winter that ever came has ended." This is not your everyday assurance. The sentence is loaded with promises of more action to come. Archmaester lists the first long night, Aegon's reign, Robert's rebellion. All these events turned Westeros upside down. So even if the premiere feels slow, viewers need to be patient, just watch where the players are taking their places.
It would be okay if you want to be a little annoyed at the lack of action when The Hound, Beric Dondarion, and the Brotherhood Without Banners eat up the screen time without bringing anything significant to the table.
Speaking of tables, Daenerys is the last one to come to it. But she does arrive in style. Let's just leave it at that.
Kit Harington and Sophie Turner elevate each other's acting. Harington goes notches above the usual grumpiness and Turner has learned to hold the screen on her own. Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's nuanced expressions show why they are great at what they do. Maisie Williams smiles and that seems like an achievement given how far her character has come. Jim Broadbent is effortless and John Bradley-West is perfect! Composer Ramin Djawadi, cinematographer Gregory Middleton, and director Jeremy Podeswa get full credit for making Daenerys' homecoming so special.
1. Arya Stark's first line in the season will have House Stark worshippers howl with joy!
2. Lyanna Mormont is someone one does not simply forget. That tiny figure commands the room. Period.
3. Brienne and Tormund have a moment. Ficcers, this is your season premiere gift.
4. Ed Sheeran's cameo is Ed Sheeran in Lannister armour doing what Ed Sheeran does best.
5. Hottie alert: It seems Euron Greyjoy went for R&R and a full-blown makeover spree after Yara and Theon Greyjoy managed to escape to join forces with Dany. He came back with a new haircut, an awesome jacket with fringes, and more crazy packed in his head.
6. A hand makes a cameo at the Citadel. Let's leave it to you to figure it out.
Game of Thrones Season 7 airs in India on Star World and Star World Premiere HD every Tuesday at 11 PM.