GAME OF THRONES – Season Seven (2017)

Irrespective of what many of the series’ fans have to complain about the falling standards of writing owing to the absence of George R R Martin’s hand in the story, the seventh season of Game of Thrones did enough right for me to keep me hooked. The primary reasons for that will have to be attributed to the action, the visuals and the editing with the performances coming in as a close fourth. While this would be the most underwhelming season in terms of character development and plot twists and turns, it is easily one of the better seasons in terms of sheer scale of creature violence and war.

For the first time, the wrath of the dragons is unleashed on a full-fledged army when the Khaleesi leads them into battle against Jamie Lannister and his army who are returning after putting an end to the house of Tyrell, stealing their gold and crops and sending them on the way to the Iron Bank. This was an intricately difficult and large scale action sequence to film and the team has done an exceedingly good job in bringing the horrors of sheer annihilation to the fore. When I was watching this mayhem, I for an instant felt bad for the men that I was not rooting for.

The Dragon Queen reaches Dragonstone and for some strange reasons turns very cocky and annoyingly aggressive. She doesn’t listen to the council, she executes prisoners and she wouldn’t just believe that the supernatural threat from the North is for real. She gets into a verbal tangle with Varys after he has brought her important allies for not so much of shred of reason. What’s worse, she treats my favorite character Tyrion quite rudely. Well, all that changes very soon with the arrival of Jon snow in Dragonstone as she finds herself pulled towards his charm. Soon enough she has a firsthand experience of the threat. Emilia Clarke has been very good throughout the seasons but this was the first season when I was increasingly getting annoyed by her character.

Jon Snow takes off to bring back a Wight so that it can be used to convince Cersei and the Khaleesi of the legitimacy of the threat. This adventure takes him beyond the walls to the north where an epic battle sequence unfolds. The fight on thin ice where the Night King’s army mauls down the handful of Night Watch men and their allies is one of the best things about the series. It is a sequence ripe with new ideas and exceptionally well choreographed. Just when you think that Jon will perish, The Dragon Queen arrives with her three dragons and literally rains fire on the Wights. It turns out to be one of the most satisfying things about the whole series until the Night King gets one of the dragons.

Samwell Tarly (John Bradley ) has finally become a Maester but the experience isn’t what he thought it would be. He stays in the Citadel just long enough to cure Jorah Mormont and then packs his bags with some rare books and leaves. However, before he does that, he sends important information regarding the availability of Dragon glass in Dragonstone to Jon which I believe will assume importance in the next season.

One of my biggest beef with this season has been the unwarranted amount of screen time given to the character of Theon Greyjoy. He has long passed his expiry date. He is getting repetitive and boring and it’s high time that either his character is revitalized or he is killed off. The next issue is with the shallowness of the characters of Varys and Tyrion in this series. They have very little to do apart from standing and nodding their heads. After the first episode, they have a thought time making an impact. Thankfully Tyrion has a great final episode standoff with Cersei which somewhat rescues his character. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the character of Varys.

Having said that, the conniving bastard Littlefinger getting his throat slashed by Arya kind of makes up for some of the frustration described above. I have hated that man for as long as I can remember and when he finally gets his due, it’s wickedly satisfying. Throughout the season, there was a feeling that he was manipulating Sansa to do something bad to Arya and it was true but the manner in which that story ends is bound to leave you satisfied.

There is an epic meeting between all the major contenders to the throne in the Dragon’s Pit at King’s Landing. This meeting is primarily aimed at showing Cersei the Wight that Snow has captured and making her agree to an armistice and help the Northerners with arms and men. This scene turns out to be so much more than that as you get a chance to see the sum total of all the egos of all the major characters let loose on the faces of each other. They all hate each other and yet they have to stand each other’s company because of the imminent threat. The best part of this sequence is the dialogue between Cersei and Tyrion which thankfully resurrects Tyrion’s character from a creative rut as I mentioned before.

And now for the biggest twist in the tale. The last episode brings Tarly to Bran Stark who tells him about Aegon Targaryen aka Jon Snow. Yes! Jon is a Targaryen born out of a wedding between Khaleesi’s brother Rhaegar and Ned’s sister Lyanna Stark. Thus when the Khaleesi takes him into her bed, she is actually playing with fire which is bound to make a devastating impact in the next season. Tyrion does suspect that going by the look on his face. But my issue with this reveal was the manner in which it was laid out. Going my Game of Thrones standards, it was an extremely unsatisfying scene which felt almost rushed.

But it cannot be denied that the expose opened up some terrific prospects which I believe the next season will make extensive use of. It would really pay well to have George R R Martin write the scripts this time which would bring his sensibility to the story and it being his story, I don’t think anyone can write it better than him. Season eight will be the last season and will have only six episodes. Why that breaks my heart in more ways than one, but I can’t wait to see how this epic story ends. I believe that is the case with all Game Of Thrones fans world over.

Rating : 3.5/5 (3.5 out of 5)

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