Dragonstone is a pretty typical “getting back into the groove of things” premier episode for Game of Thrones that is abnormally heightened because of the inherent stakes involved. With only two shortened seasons left, ever scene of the show felt so much more grandiose simply because setups simply don’t have the time for multiple seasons waiting for the payoff anymore. Things are coming to a head whether we are ready for them or not.
A great example of this is Samwell’s Harry Potter-esqu treck into the forbidden part of the great library. I’m betting he will pay for his misdeeds within the next two episodes, ultimately proving that importance of the information he gained outweighs his breaking of the rules. With such little time left, each storyline has so much weight to it. Nothing can be taken for granted and no scene has time to waste. Having this breakneck speed could screw with the successful slow burn quality of previous seasons but if Dragonstone is to be any indicator, they know how to pace themselves.
The actual story of the episode is about what we had expected, the notable exception of the amazing Arya/Frey massacre. Dany has her emotional return to Westeros (amazingly shot by the way) and Cersei recommits to keeping herself in the throne. Jon lays down the law while Bran is making his way south via The Night’s Watch. All pretty much according to the most popular fan theories. Right now, thats fine but I have faith that Thrones still has a few tricks up its sleeve.
- Some beautiful shots in this episode. I was almost in awe of Dany’s walk up to Dragonstone. That could have been a real castle for all I know.
- I found it a little weird that all those years ago when The Hound killed that family we are expected to believe that he just happens to stumble upon the same house. Maybe it’s destiny?
- Impressive performance by David Bradley in a surprise cameo from Walder Frey. It must be so hard to play a character pretending to be another character.