Unfortunately for Game of Thrones, when you end a season with an icy battle with giants and major character deaths, the upward climb through ten episodes to another huge climax always starts a little slow. In the premiere episode, foundations were laid for some major story lines and took us from the chilly north to across the Narrow Sea, but the short scenes that bounced us from character to character made the premiere feel a little choppy. Let’s just be honest, the only purpose of the first episodes of each season of Game of Thrones is to see how big the dragons got. Spoilers: FECKING HUGE
We really loved the prologue flashback with a young Cersei’s fateful visit to the fortuneteller and thought the actress was exceptional. It was foretold to the young lady of Lannister that she would be usurped by a younger and prettier queen. Right now, all bets are on the scheming Queen Margaery. Flashbacks are certainly new for the show, so here’s to hoping it becomes a standard part of this season and future seasons. Give us Prince Rhaegar, is mostly we’re saying.
Dynasties old and new are put to rest this episodes in parallel scenes of the toppling of the Harpy of the former slave city Meereen, the funeral of the Great Lion, Tywin Lannister, and the execution of the King Beyond the Wall, Mance Raydar.
Several new plotlines are set up, including the adoption of the Wildlings to the cause of King Stannis and his red priestess. Cersei continues to drink her grief and fear away (honestly, we could watch Cersei drink wine and ignore Loras for an entire episode) Tyrion Lannister is stashed away in Pentos, but given a mission to seek out Danaerys and help her win the Iron Throne, and boy does she need the help. Dany has locked her remaining two dragons deep under the city to protect her new subjects from the uncontrollable beasts. However, rebels from within the city are executing her prized soldiers and calling for a re-enslavement of her freed men. Bonus tidbit: Littlefinger is plotting with darkness Sansa and Brienne and Podrick are wandering close by.
Missing from this episode was an appearance from Arya Stark plus her new outfit and the much hyped debut of the Sand Snakes of Dorne.