Winter Is Here
After what’s felt like an eternity, Game Of Thrones returns with its final season. With the wall destroyed and the White Walkers unleashed on the Seven Kingdoms, we return to Westeros some time after the last season. Winter has arrived and with it, Daenarys and Jon’s army. As they ride side by side into Winterfell, the various Northerners watch on suspiciously. At the front of the crowd stands Arya, who watches the various faces of the past arrive, both good and bad, with mixed feelings.
A dick joke between Tyrion and Varys opens the dialogue for the season before Jon reunites with his family. Bran puts a stop to the pleasantries though, advising them the wall has fallen and the Night King has her dragon. As the various parties converge in the Great Hall, Tyrion informs everyone that the Lannisters will be joining them in the great fight to come. This causes a murmur of unhappiness to rise in the ranks before Sansa interjects with her steely, cold confidence. “How are we to feed this army?” She asks, “And what do dragons eat anyway?”. It’s a bold statement and one that no one has any real answers for.
After a touching reunion between Jon and Arya, down in the south Cersei is informed the wall has fallen. “Good,” She replies nonchalantly, watching as the Greyjoy fleet arrives to her shores. While she gets closer to Euron and unifies their bond, Bronn is given a task of his own. Handed a crossbow, he’s told to kill Jaime and Tyrion in what appears to be poetic justice.
Continuing with the breakneck pacing from last season, Theon returns and saves his sister from the Greyjoy fleet and they head off on their separate ways. Theon is keen to get back amongst the ranks and fight whereas Yara is not. It appears this may be the last time we see her too as she takes a boat and flees back to the Iron Islands and as far away from the Undead Army as possible.
Back in Winterfell, Dany and Jon discuss their future. As Jon gets his first taste of riding a dragon, we get our first glimpse of Winter in the North from above. Blanketed in a thick layer of snow, Winter has very much arrived here. As the two engage in a breathtaking flight through the forests, they arrive at a beautiful waterfall. “We could hide out for 1000 years,” She suggests, as the two embrace in one of the most contrived scenes of the episode while the dragons watch on.
As the in-fighting between the Starks continues, Dany goes to see Sam, offering her thanks for him saving Ser Jorah from his grey-scale. She offers him a position on her council once she claims the throne before revealing what happened to her father, Randall. Before Sam gets a chance to grieve, Bran approaches him, telling him he needs to tell Jon the truth about his lineage. Informing him he’s not Jon’s brother anymore and can’t do this himself, Sam goes and sees Jon, revealing the truth about the Targaryen blood in him. We leave Jon to deliberate over what he’s told while Jaime and Bran lock eyes again in a chilling moment.
Meanwhile, Dondarrion, Tormund and the others creep through the snowy ruins up North, clearly unharmed from the wall collapsing last season. They mean to ride for Winterfell but before they can, the Night King’s left them a present. A strange corpse wheel, reminisce of the one seen in the first episode way back in 2010, spells an ominous sign of things to come. As the strange wheel screams, they burn it and watch the flames light up the room where we end the episode.
Much like last season, Game Of Thrones is a pale imitation of the show it once was. With an abundance of one-liners and some really contrived dialogue, gone are the days of witty, profound writing and politically charged affairs. It’s all about the end-game now and given the way this season was cut down to 6 episodes, this one really didn’t have much substance to it at all. Aside from the various reunions for our characters which, admittedly, was certainly nice, and Jon being told the truth about Daenarys, the in-fighting and pointless familial drama from last season is very much a thing here too.
Daenarys and Jon unfortunately have little chemistry on screen together either and some that is thanks to their writing which leaves a lot to be desired. Still, there’s enough here that fans will enjoy and as Game Of Thrones moves ever-further into Hollywood territory, given the lack of book material to work from, the final season will almost certainly divide opinion. With no action to paper over these cracks, the lack of meaningful dialogue really does stand out here. This episode is really used to move the pieces ready for the fight to come and although this is unlikely to be an episode to remember, there’s just enough here to keep you watching to see how this one is going to end.