Game Of Thrones Season 7 Review
Convenience giveth, convenience taketh away. Game Of Thrones’ seventh season was defined by propitiousness — characters being saved in the nick of time by others who make sporadic appearance, villains finding out the location of the good guys without any kind of guidance, important plot information contained within useless documents — that made it the most suited for television, yet easiest to follow. I’m not sure whether that speaks to the standard conventions of television tropes or the power of the show’s writing. Regardless, the ups and downs combined to create a powerful season, but not one of it’s best.
At only seven episodes, the effect of shedding the extra three installments was immediately felt. Characters frequently made use of fast traveling — trips that would take entire seasons on the show were completed in fifteen minutes. It’s necessary to get to the end game, which is coming up extremely fast, but it robs the show of the weight that it traditionally held. When Jon Snow and company can travel halfway across the continent and make it back home within the same episode, I begin to question why Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister’s treck in Season 2 took so long.
Dialogue stayed consistently strong, especially with stand out characters Tyrion Lannister, Ser Davos, Sandor Clegane, and Tormund. The unique voice and quality of conversation each member of the group brings with any other member of the cast is gold. I frequently turned on the closed caption to read along with their conversations to laugh at what they said and see the context of how it was written. The conversation between Tyrion and Varys in the Dragonstone throne room had to have been one of the best of the series. The brief exchange involved Varys opening a letter meant for Jon Snow. What ensued brought a tear to my eye from laughter.
Every episode this season packed enough action to be considered an adventure movie. Where in previous seasons we were treated to entire installments of exposition dumps, season 7 made it clear that that time has passed. Whether it was living versus the dead or living vs living, scenes were beautifully shot, choreographed, and filled with believable CGI. Dany’s dragons have never been as menacing as when gliding through the Lannister forces, spewing scorching fire without any means of restraint. Until then, I didn’t believe that Dany could take on an entire kingdom with three dragons. Now, I see why they were such a big force in Westeros and were forced to be chained up.
For the sake of plot, we were introduced to a number of characters from previous seasons that we may not have needed to see again — I’m looking at you, Gentry. I’d honestly forgotten what he looked like. When he did join the team, and shared similar banter with Jon that Ned and Robert Baratheon shared, he became a valuable member who survived more than episode, much to everyone’s surprise.
The standout of the season was “Beyond The Wall” where Jon Snow and his merry collective went to capture a Wight to convince Cersei that the White Walkers are real, because “plot.” Their journey was fierce, tense, and extremely beautiful. Each character along for the journey had moments of emotional exploration, clever dialogue, and enough action to satisfy them for the rest of the season. The death of Viserion at the end of the episode was a serious punch in the gut to longtime fans of the series. We watched the dragon go from a mere speck into a giant, living and breathing nightmare. His resurrection at the end by The Night King made it all the more haunting.
peaking of the world’s quietest villain, The Night King’s presence alone made him a force to be reckoned with this season. We’ve never heard him speak but everytime he’s on camera, his facial expression says everything that he needs to. Theories on the internet saying that he is a version of Bran Stark are extremely interesting and make watching his every move all the more entertaining.
It’s a shame that we have to wait another year or two to figure out what happens in Westeros and beyond, but this season did a great job in continuing the story. There were problems with convenience and fast travel, but these were means to advance the plot as much as possible in a short amount of time. The strong dialogue and action scenes helped to elevate a good season into a great one filled with memorable sets throughout.