Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 7 – The Dragon and the Wolf

“This isn’t about living in harmony. It’s just about living.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

This truncated season of Game of Thrones has often seemed to move at a breakneck pace, sacrificing the nuance and complexity of earlier seasons in favour of tying up the multiplicity of plotlines as fast as possible. This has led to a lot of tick-box exercises in plotting, as with last week; it’s also led to a lot of artistic licence to keep things rattling along, particularly in terms of distances. Many people have been pondering how, last week, Gendry ran all the way back to Winterfell, a raven was dispatched to Dragonstone, reached it, and Dany’s rescue party arrived in what could only have been a few hours. Continue reading “Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 7 – The Dragon and the Wolf”

Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 6 – Beyond the Wall

“We’re soldiers. We have to know what we’re fighting for. I’m not fighting so some man or woman I barely know can sit on a throne of swords.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Obviously this season’s tightly focused showpiece, this week’s Game of Thrones took us into classic war movie territory as we followed the Men on a Mission in their suicidal quest beyond the wall to capture a wight. The Dirty Dozen, perhaps, or more likely Snow’s Seven. Continue reading “Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 6 – Beyond the Wall”

Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 4 – The Spoils of War

“They fought together, despite their differences. Together. We need to do the same if we’re going to survive. Because the enemy’s real. It’s always been real.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

As Game of Thrones moves ever-closer to its conclusion, the narrative pace seems to be massively accelerating in this shorter, penultimate season. Gone are the days when you could reasonably predict a season’s structure; that there’d be an impressive battle by episode four or so, then much political machination leading to events of great magnitude in episode nine, followed by one ep of picking up the pieces. We’ve only just got through four episodes, and we’ve had an epic naval battle, followed by the seizing of both Casterly Rock and Highgarden, and now the devastating first deployment of a dragon just outside King’s Landing.

Continue reading “Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 4 – The Spoils of War”

Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 1 – Dragonstone

“Shall we begin?”

(SPOILER ALERT!)

In these ratings-hungry times, most genre shows tend to open their new seasons with slam-bang episodes full of action. There’ll be lots of explosions, or a giant space battle, or hordes of marauding zombies. Game of Thrones, secure in its audience, doesn’t need to do that (well, maybe the zombies), and its season openers tend to be more sedate. With its multitude of major characters and intersecting, complex plotlines, showrunners Benioff and Weiss usually choose to catch us up on where they all are, what they’re doing, and what they’re planning to do next. It’s like the opening gambits in a game of chess. Continue reading “Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 1 – Dragonstone”

Game of Thrones: Season 6, Episode 8 – No One

“All of us have to believe we’re decent, don’t we, to get to sleep at night? Tell me, how do you believe you’re decent, after everything you’ve done?”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Blimey, it’s fair rushed by, this season of Game of Thrones, hasn’t it? So much going on, so quickly, it’s hard to believe there’s only two more episodes left of this season. Yet again, there was loads going on this week, but what struck me most about this ep was the character work. Momentous decisions were made, dramatic plots redirected – and all because of who these people are. Benioff and Weiss, back on scripting duties this week, gave us an ep that plumbed the depths of all the characters, even those we didn’t actually see – and those characters may decide the fate not just of the Seven Kingdoms, but of all of humanity.

Continue reading “Game of Thrones: Season 6, Episode 8 – No One”

Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 6 – Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

“I’m Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home. And you can’t frighten me.”

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(SPOILER WARNING!)

After last week’s focus mainly on just two of its multifarious plotlines, this week Game of Thrones was back to business as usual with a lively ep taking in snippets of plenty of them. While there was little in the way of epic action, it was no less dramatic for that as all the patient political scheming of earlier episodes began to pay off in spades. And perhaps more than any ep I’ve seen yet, it was dominated by the show’s women, who were both the drivers and the victims in practically every snapshot this week. Continue reading “Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 6 – Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”

Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 3 – High Sparrow

“There is but one god. A girl knows his name. And all men know his gift.”

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(SPOILER WARNING!)

After two weeks of political wrangling and intrigue, it was a more mystical episode of Game of Thrones this week. The focus was very much on religion, and how it intersects with the machinations of power we’ve already seen. To this end, while the intrigue was still very much ongoing, we got various musings on the various religions of this fantasy world – the Seven, the Many Faced God, and the Lord of Light, not to mention glancing references to the Old Gods of the weirwood. Continue reading “Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 3 – High Sparrow”