I finally discovered a television show that made me break down and pay for HBO. Yes, it’s Game of Thrones. I’m a latecomer to the series and after rolling my eyes and feeling superior these last six years while everyone raved like idiots about the show, now, damn it, now, I’m one of those idiots. At least watching Game of Thrones during its seventh season allowed me to join in with the fan reactions for every big moment during the weekly show. And there were plenty of those “Holy moly!” scenes. They often contained dragons.
This season moved at a breakneck speed. You can tell that the writers are putting everything in place for the final season. We finally have all the players in Westeros, and two queens, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), determined to sit on the Iron Throne. Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), who is now King of the North, cares little for the throne. He fears the army of the dead led by the Night King and the White Walkers.
With a shortened season of seven episodes—though often with longer running times—Game of Thrones often achieved greatness in a few episodes, but also showed a lack of connective tissues in a few others. Big surprises in the plot often felt as if the reason it was a surprise was due to missing scenes leading up to it. Yet there were moments like Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg) getting in the last word or Arya (Maisie Williams) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) getting in some swordplay practice, and any scene with the dragons that were outstanding. A dragon facing the Lannister forces is one of the most exciting sequences on television.
This was also a season where characters we’ve watched and cared about for six previous seasons were reunited or met for the first time. We also worried as some of our favorites faced each other in battle. It was a season where what we expected to happen did not, unless you paid attention to the script leaks on the Internet. I succumbed to the lure of knowing what happens—I HAVE NO WILLPOWER, PEOPLE. Please let there be minimal leaks for season eight.
Game of Thrones gives us the greatest sets, costumes and special effects, but it’s the story and characters that keep audiences watching every Sunday night for seven seasons. Include me in that group. I like yelling “Holy moly!”