I’ll have a full review up on my website when I have time, but here are some quick thoughts on the episode. I thought this could have been much better. I give it a 56.
I liked the reunion scenes. Arya and The Hound took the cake for me as the best as it was short but sweet with a nice subtle callback to their time together. It was certainly the best written out of all of the reunions. I also enjoyed the scenes between Jon/Arya and Tyrion/Sansa in particular. Bran and Jaime at the end was a great cliffhanger.
The episode had some fun callbacks. I really liked how Jon and Dany arriving at Winterfell directly paralleled King Robert’s arrival from the first episode. It was a nice touch.
Sam learning about his family was the best part of the episode. Sad stuff.
The King’s Landing scenes were fine. Euron is still a fun character, and I enjoyed his dialogue with Cersei and Yara.
I thought the visuals were spectacular. This season has been hyped to have movie quality and I definitely noticed it here. There were tons of extra detail put into the sets, more cinematic camera angles and shots, better CGI effects and a dragon-riding sequence which must have been quite expensive to do.
The dialogue felt clunky to me, as it did for some of the last season. Without Martin’s dialogue, the writers aren’t able to craft a realistic scene as easily as before and it showed here. Couple this with more fan service like the dragon-riding, and this still doesn’t feel like the Game of Thrones that I fell in love with.
I wasn’t pleased with the pacing. I understand wanting to start the season slowly, but it was out of place in this situation. The lack of urgency has made the destruction of The Wall feel like a lesser moment than it should be. The scenes we got of the group planning were really disappointing. Sansa mentions a very big problem (food), yet nobody discusses it and we get a crap one-liner from Dany instead. Also, should Dany and Jon really waste time riding dragons when certain death is incoming? And Dany doesn’t know that Jon is a Targaryen. What if he died trying to ride the dragon? Surely civil war would break out.
Did we really need to go back to Sansa vs Jon yet again? It’s not an interesting storyline and we have seen it so much! I can’t bring myself to care that Sansa doesn’t like Dany when there is an army of dead people marching to kill everyone. The episode really should be more focused on that.
I wasn’t a fan of Bronn being sent to kill Jaime and Tyrion. Surely Cersei could find some other sellsword who would be more reliable. If I were her, I would constantly worry that Bronn wouldn’t have the stomach to kill them since he knows them so well.
Theon collecting Yara so easily was stupid. How did he infiltrate Euron’s massive fleet so quickly and easily? That was such a forced moment, and it makes Yara’s capture feel entirely pointless if this was the big culmination of that storyline.
What will be done about the food? Will it lead to more conflict between characters? Where will the Dany/Sansa feud lead to? Hopefully it isn’t as dull as I think it is going to be.
What will Bran do with Jaime? Will Bran be angry or will he forgive Jaime? I’m interested to see how he Jaime will be accepted by everyone.
Dany comes to reward Sam for saving Jorah, but is instead forced to reveal the cold reality that his family is dead.