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Game of Thrones Season 7 (2017)

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(Note ~ 8 will be the final season.)

‘Game Of Thrones’ Recap, Season 7, Episode 1: Castle On The Hill

http://start.att.net/news/read/category/news/article/decider-game_of_thrones_recap_season_7_episode_1_castle_on-rnypost

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With author George RR Martin writing his next A Song of Ice and Fire entry at the same pace Bran Stark runs a 5K, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are officially the captains of this ship, steering this story through its two final, abbreviated seasons and into some version of the ending Martin dreamed up in 1994. And make no mistake, the end is coming; “the great war is here,” our major players are converging, and time is rapidly running out. So naturally, this season seven premiere, “Dragonstone,”devotes more than a solid minute to Samwell Tarly sifting through shit in The Citadel.

 

But really, at this point what better metaphor is there for watching Game of Thrones than a poop montage? We trudge through the sludge and the gruel, the unpleasantness and the hard labor in the we hope we get access to the restricted section, where all the really good stuff waits. Take, for example, the best scene of the episode, between Jaime Lannister and his sister Cersei—siblings who have their own shit to work though, it just also happens to be flaked with gold—who strides across a map of Westeros like the giant she so clearly sees herself as. Cersei is First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, and quite certifiably insane, a combination of character traits that means very little when enemies continue to close in from every corner of the globe.

But Cersei’s also the daughter of Tywin Lannister, and that dude drowned an entire family in their home then told someone to write a damn song about it. Daenerys has three 747-sized dragons, true, the Martells control the grain and livestock, yes, and Dorne does have a grip on the world’s supply of sexy people with vaguely Brazilian accents. But Cersei Lannister—as Sansa Stark so helpfully points out to Jon Snow in this episode— has the advantage of not giving a single, solitary shit about anyone or anything, as long as it gets her closer to complete and utter control. Case in point: she hops into bed, almost literally, with the Greyjoys and their mad pirate leader Euron, who may or may not have sailed through Valyria to learn dark magic.

As Euron Greyjoy, Pilou Asbæk still occasionally verges too close to a Captain Jack Sparrow impression for comfort, but overall was a vast improvement over the “let’s go murder them” mess he was in Season 6. His appearance before Cersei in the Red Keep’s throne room read as more intriguingly unhinged than embarrassingly underwritten, and his promise to return to King’s Landing with a “priceless gift” is fodder for fan-theorists who remember there is, allegedly, ways to slay a dragon. Not to mention Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is still doing some of the best face-acting on television as Jaime Lannister; he says about twelve actual lines throughout “Dragonstone,” but manages to grind his jaw so contentiously toward Euron I’m genuinely surprised he didn’t burst a blood vessel.

 

Which is nothing compared to the looks of sheer uncertainty being thrown around up north at Winterfell, where Jon and Sansa have apparently agreed to communicate through shadowy sideways glances. Jon, for his part, is trying his best to lead in the aftermath of the muddy cluster of death and awfulness that was The Battle of the Bastards. He stations Wildlings along The Wall—Tormund’s “looks like we’re the Night’s Watch now” was great—and declares that all able bodies, despite gender, will take up arms against the advancing White Walker threat, much to the stone-faced delight of walking internet meme Lyanna Mormont. Jon also pardons both the Karstarks and the Umbers—two houses that betrayed the Starks in favor of the Boltons—and gifts them their rightful strongholds, despite the fact they sided with a goblin bastard who fed his baby brother to a pack of dogs. Sansa, who has come a long way from stitching pillows and writing about Joffrey in her diary, disagrees in front of the entire northern council. “That is my decision, and my decision is final,” shoots back Jon, who himself has come a long way from being dead.

In the corner, Littlefinger waits in the shadows looking like he would straight up poison a small child in exchange for a halfway decent sandwich. For what it’s worth, this is Littlefinger’s natural state.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to her entire family, the littlest Stark, Arya, is making her way to King’s Landing, carving a path of death and vengeance along the way. Now, outside of Sandor Clegane roasting Thoros of Myr’s top-knot so hard he can now literally read flames, this was a largely uneventful episode in terms of forward movement. But there is no denying Arya put a decisive end to one of Game of Thrones’ longest-running threads. The Red Wedding— still the most “f***, that’s terrible” twist in a show that is 90 percent “f***, that’s terrible” twists—has been avenged. Arya not only fed Walder Frey’s sons to him before slitting his throat, but stole the Lord of Riverrun’s face, H’ghar-style, and poisoned his entire family. “When people ask you what happens here, tell them the North remembers,” she tells a cowering Walder-wife. “Tell them winter came for House Frey.”

 

Which, taken out of context, is a stone-cold line to close an incredible set-piece. But context does exist, and Arya’s Season 7 debut leads to a few follow-up questions about the validity of The House of Black and White’s training program. Arya has gotten pretty good at being a Faceless Man; she’s not just slipping on skin, she’s inhabiting these people, down to their height, weight, and gait, busting out a pitch-perfect David Bradley impression that would absolutely kill at a Harry Potter party. But thanks to the overcrowded nature of Game of Thrones, we saw Arya do little in Braavos other than clean corpses and get whacked in the face. She went from custodian to super-sleuth with one fight with The Waif. That’s like spending a summer getting beaten with a stick in a basketball locker room but leaving as LeBron James.

No matter. Arya has a kill list to finish. She’s headed to King’s Landing to “kill the queen,” stopping along the way to prove that in addition to the violence, torture, and constant dread the residents of Westeros also have to put up with the existence of Ed Sheeran.

 

While Arya ponders how easy it would be to murder seven men at the same time around a campfire, her siblings bicker over leadership semantics, Bran and Meera arrive at The Wall, and Brienne trains Pod in the art of swordplay while dodging Tormund’s visible erection, Samwell Tarly is the only person properly preparing for humanity’s greatest threat. Namely, the horde of blizzard wizards and their army of the undead lumbering from the icy north.

Sam—after running into an imprisoned Jorah Mormont, who despite his slow transformation into Rockbiter from A Neverending Story is still hopelessly devoted to Daenerys—discovers some key information in a book titled Legends of the Long Night. If Legends is accurate, there is a stockpile of the White Walker-slaying material known as Dragonglass hidden underneath Dragonstone.

Which, as luck would have it, is exactly where Daenerys, Tyrion, and Co. just landed, three actual dragons in tow. After what feels like a lifetime, the last remaining Targaryen has arrived in Westeros, striding into a fortress built on Blackwater Bay by her ancestors more than 500 years ago. And thank goodness Game of Thrones still has the budget of several small countries, because what a gorgeous fortress it is.

“Shall we begin?” Daenerys says in the closing seconds of “Dragonstone,” before touching a table that I really hope someone bleached after Stannis Baratheon and Melisandre used it to conceive a shadow demon. This war began a long time ago, is all I’m saying. For Daenerys, it’s catch-up time.

Vinnie Mancuso writes about TV for a living, somehow, for Decider, The A.V. Club, Collider, and the Observer. You can also find his pop culture opinions on Twitter (@VinnieMancuso1) or being shouted out a Jersey City window between 4 and 6 a.m.

 

‘Game Of Thrones’: 5 Things You May Have Missed From The Season 7 Premiere, “Dragonstone”

http://start.att.net/news/read/category/news/article/decider-game_of_thrones_5_things_you_may_have_missed_from-rnypost

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Game of Thrones came back with a vengeance last night — literally. The Season Seven premiere “Dragonstone” gave us a rare cold open that saw Arya “Murdergirl” Stark single-handedly take down all of House Frey with a toast. The rest of the episode gave us Dany’s arrival to her ancestral island home, Dragonstone, Mad Queen Cersei flirting with the even madder Euron Greyjoy, and Samwell Tarly handling oodles upon oodles of old man poo.

But I don’t need to tell you! You were there! You watched the episode (as soon as it was able to buffer on your HBO Go or HBO Now account). You’ve probably watched the episode again already — and read our recap! You are a Game of Thrones pro which means not much escaped you during last night’s big premiere…or did it?

Did you catch the (literary) return of a much-loathed catspaw dagger? Did you recognize the Academy Award winner slinging guts? Do you know that the song Ed Sheeran sung is from the books? DID YOU NOTICE ALL THE CRAZY FORESHADOWING? Don’t worry! We got you covered. Here are five things you may have missed from last night’s episode of Game of Thrones.

Note: you may have missed them, but you also might have totally caught them. 1: Actually, Ed Sheeran Sang A Pretty Cool Song I don’t know about your personal twitter feed, but my personal twitter feed was full of people dissing Ed Sheeran’s appearance on Game of Thrones last night. (YES, THAT WAS GRAMMY-WINNING POP SUPERSTAR ED SHEERAN.) However, if you paid attention to the lyrics Sheeran was singing, you would have noticed a sly reference to a storyline from the books. The Telegraph points out that “Hands of Gold” first appears in A Storm of Swords. The song was written and sung by a minstrel named Symon Silver Tongue and the lyrics explicitly referred to Tyrion’s illicit affair with Shae:

He rode through the streets of the city,
Down from his hill on high,
O’er the wynds and the steps and the cobbles,
He rode to a woman’s sigh.
For she was his secret treasure,
She was his shame and his bliss.
And a chain and a keep are nothing,
Compared to a woman’s kiss
For hands of gold are always cold,
But a woman’s hands are warm Over at Vanity Fair, they’re theorizing that the song probably has a new intended target on the Game of Thrones: Jaime Lannister. The lyrics could be referencing his literal gold hand and his incestuous relationship with Cersei. The next jump in logic? Well, if the song was a prelude to Tyrion eventually killing Shae in the books, does that mean the song is now foreshadowing that Jaime will kill Cersei?? (AND THUS BECOME THE VALONQAR?) That may be a stretch, but who knows? The bottom line: Ed Sheeran’s cameo was an Easter Egg in more ways than one. 2: Whoa! It's Jim Broadbent! Game of Thrones is continuing its quest to hire every actor in Great Britain (and Europe). Last night’s episode introduced Academy Award-winning actor Jim Broadbent as the “Archmaester.” That means he’s kind of the most important man in the Citadel. To whit, we meet him slopping his way through a cadaver. (Note: the naked cadaver was the only brush of nudity we got this episode — and it was full frontal, open chest cavity, male nudity.) If Jim Broadbent looks familiar to you, it’s probably from his exquisite work in films like Iris, Moulin Rouge!, Brooklyn, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and yes, the Harry Potter films. Professor Slughorn has a new star pupil and his name is Samwell Tarly. 3: Hey! It's THAT Dagger! Before Season Seven premiered, I wrote a quick and dirty primer on seven big storylines and plot points you would need to remember. In that post, I attempted to draw your attention to the very fashionable dagger that Maisie Williams sported on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. It was the same dagger that once belonged to both Littlefinger and Tyrion and that eventually found its way into the hands of a “catspaw assassin” sent to kill Bran in Season One. The theory, thanks to that cover, is that Arya will get the dagger by season’s end. Well, that dagger may be an even bigger deal than we initially thought because it totally popped up in Sam’s late night reading. The dagger was thought to be special because it was made from Valyrian steel. That’s the very rare kind of metal that the Targaryens brought with them from their doomed homeland. It’s forged with dragon fire, super light, and super sharp and deadly. It can even kill White Walkers. Photo: HBO This dagger pops up on a page that you can clearly read if you pause the screen and blow up the image (like a normal person). That page talks about how Targaryens had so much dragonglass that they adorned their weapons with it. This dagger is a specific example of a weapon that is made out of Valyrian steel, but has dragonglass in its hilt. Dragonglass is the other material that can kill a White Walker, which means… Arya Stark is probably going to get a weapon that may be able to kill White Walkers from both ends. 4: She Bangs! She Bangs! Oh Baby, She... Okay, so this is only a fun, small detail, but when Daenerys enters the Chamber of the Painted Table,* she lets her fingers run along the great “map table” of Westeros. It’s intended to be a poignant moment. Dany has finally come home to the place of her birth. She’s following in the footsteps of her ancestors, Aegon, Visenya, and Rhaenys. She’s planning her takeover of the land she loves. She’s rubbing the spot where Stannis and Melisandre did the dirty and spawned a demon shadow child. WAIT-WHAT? Don’t forget that we’ve seen this great table before. Stannis used it to plan his military engagements and he used it to engage in a little bump and grind with the Red Priestess. As our recapper, Vinnie Mancuso eloquently put it: “I really hope someone bleached [it] after Stannis Baratheon and Melisandre used it to conceive a shadow demon.” *Yes, that’s its real name. 5: The Wall Is Probably Gonna Fall There’s this fun literary device called “foreshadowing” that English teachers like to harp on when you’re reading Chekov or John Steinbeck’s The Pearl. It basically means that if you draw attention to an object, someone’s going to fire a gun in Act III. Wait, no. That’s not exactly how it goes. It’s… Anyway, last night’s premiere gave us not one, but two characters blithely writing off the threat of the White Walkers. Why were neither Sansa Stark nor the Archmaester all that pressed about an ice zombie army of the dead marching their way? Because the Wall exists and it will not fall. Guys, that means the Wall is totally going to fall. I mean, I think. I’m just speculating. I just think it’s a high probability! Of course, something else happened last night that could spell doom for the Wall. Bran Stark passed through it. If you recall last season, the Night’s King grabbed Bran in one of his visions. Once he did that, he could not only see where Bran was hiding, but he and his army could walk through ancient magic defenses that were designed to keep wights and White Walkers at bay. Hence why Hodor had to hold a door in the first place. So Bran still carries the mark the Night’s King left on him, which means he could also break other magical barriers like the one that keeps the Wall up as a magical defense against everything bad up north. Bran is going to ruin everything for everyone. This is why I’m not Bran’s biggest fan.

 

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