Entertainment

Game of Thrones ‘The Dragon and the Wolf’ Review (2017)

Game of Thrones Season 8 capped off its run with The Dragon and the Wolf. Check out what Screen Critics thought of the exciting episode.

So ends another season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve even watched on as Lannister soldiers got turned into tasty steak by dragons. But all good things come to an end – this week in the form of Game of Thrones, which bowed out of its seventh season. The show has raced through Season 7 with all the care of a drunken sailor, smashing through plot points and finer details en route. With so much action set the befall the show in Season 8, how would the show get us there?

The Game of Thrones Season 7 finale opened in tense fashion, with the various factions descended upon Kings Landing.This is, arguably, the moment fans have been waiting years for – the coming together of all the major players in one location. Not that the show didn’t try to crack a few jokes en route. Bronn and Jaimie’s little discussion about cocks and cockless men really felt apt in the moment – providing a small bit of humor to the tension. I also loved Jon Snow’s reaction to seeing Kings Landing for the first time “Why would people want to live like that?” You know what Jon; I’ve been wondering that since episode one of this show.

The episode opened in tense fashion, with the various factions descended upon Kings Landing.This is, arguably, the moment fans have been waiting years for – the coming together of all the major players in one location. Not that the show didn’t try to crack a few jokes en route. Bronn and Jaimie’s little discussion about cocks and cockless men really felt apt in the moment – providing a small bit of humor to the tension. I also loved Jon Snow’s reaction to seeing Kings Landing for the first time “Why would people want to live like that?” You know what Jon; I’ve been wondering that since episode one of this show.

It was also fun seeing all the little reunions that littered this episode. Bronn and Tyrion’s back and forth about gold and allegiance, Brienne and Jaime’s longing glances at each other. Heck, even the reunion of The Hound and The Mountain felt great in the little tease we got. But this opening centered around The Dragon Pit, one area of Kings Landing we haven’t really seen thus far. The set design for the Dragon Pit was excellent, really setting the perfect backdrop for the huge politics at play. Of course, Daenerys made her grand entrance on the back of Drogon, creating a huge spectacle on the way. The only person unmoved by the Drogon’s arrival was Cersei, who seemed more interested in the Dragon Queen herself. Having played the game of thrones so hard over the years, I was amazed this didn’t lead to some huge trap.

Sansa waits for a better plot.

It was also fun seeing all the little reunions that littered this episode. Bronn and Tyrion’s back and forth about gold and allegiance, Brienne and Jaime’s longing glances at each other. Heck, even the reunion of The Hound and The Mountain felt great in the little tease we got. It’s these moments that help make Game of Thrones feel great to watch from the beginning, watching character developed. But this opening ultimately centered around The Dragon Pit, one area of Kings Landing we haven’t really seen thus far. The set design for the Dragon Pit was excellent, really setting the perfect backdrop for the huge politics at play. Of course, Daenerys made her grand entrance on the back of Drogon, creating a huge spectacle on the way. The only person unmoved by the Drogon’s arrival was Cersei, who seemed more interested in the Dragon Queen herself.

The show stealing moment of this entire thing was the moment of truth – as Cersei came face to face with the undead. As Cersei’s disdain turned to outright horror as the undead burst from the box. As Greyjoy abandoned his ranks, it showcased just what kind of a man he is (Well, until the later bombshell that Cersei was courting The Golden Company to do her bidding). Things kind of came to a screeching halt though, as Jon Snow once again showcased he’s a man susceptible to a bit of stupidity. As Cersei laid down her ultimatum, Jon Snow basically blew his lines and revealed he wouldn’t stay impartial. It annoyed everyone, but ultimately impressed Dany – who at this stage is a card carrying member of the Jon Snow fan club.

From this point, the episode shifted to character moments, helping to expand the scope of events (To be fair, it’s likely the last time all these characters will meet). Tyrion and Cersei’s meeting was as chilled as ever, with the little dwarf even declaring to a puzzled Jaimie, “I’m about to step into a room with the most murderous woman in the world.” Luckily he didn’t have to head losing, as he negotiated a way through Cersei’s rubbish and manged to bring everyone together…. Until it was later revealed it was a ruse.

It’s smart of Game of Thrones to position Cersei as the ultimate big bad of the series. As menacing as The Night King is, even his chilled heart pales in comparison to that of Cersei. Her decision to hold back her forces can only spell trouble next season – pushing Jaimie away once and for all. I suspect that this isn’t the last time these two will meet. It also frees Jaimie up to be the hero fans want him to be – as he headed north to help battle the armies of the undead. With no one at her side to reign in her terrible streak, I’ll be amazed to see where Game of Thrones takes her character.

Meanwhile back in the north, the melodrama of Sansa and Aria continued to play out. The whole thing continued to spin on its silly axis as Littlefinger somehow twisted Sansa’s opinion to strike on Aria. At this stage, everyone in this storyline comes off with an air of the stupid, something not helped by the twist in The Great Hall. As it looked like Arya was about to be killed for treason, Sansa dropped the hammer hard and landed Littlefinger in the deep end. I’m in two minds over the nature of this killing – if only because Littlefinger deserved better. Far be it from me to say that he’s been wasted this year up at Winterfell, but there’s a feeling that the writers were struggling to really make him feel all that threatening. His death was a fun moment – but lacked the general gravitas a character of his size should have. But he – if it ends the stupidity of everything going on at Winterfell, I’m all for it.

Don’t annoy the neighbours…

Theon Greyjoy also got something of a little arc this week, making the big decision to save his sister. En route he had to overcome unruly underlings. The whole fight scene was amusing, with Theon able to get the upper hand thanks to his previous removal of his manhood. The problem is that there’s been so little build to this that it feels entirely unjustified. Of all the characters to make it this far. his is arguably the one I’m least interested in seeing get redemption. I guess they kind of have to because they really did a lot of damage over the last 4-5 seasons – but it feels like pointless filler at this stage to the grander moments. I wanted to see less of this moving forward, not the show adding more for the sake of it.

We also got to see a few other side stories being wrapped up. Bran finally dropped the Jon Snow bombshell, right as he was jumping in bed with his cousin. Hey, if Cersei and Jaimie can do it – those Targeryrian kids should feel right at home. We also got to see the army of the dead make their advance on the South, breaking down The Wall with minimal effort. I feel bad for all the characters parked out there – if only because the show largely forgot about them this season. After such a huge deal was made about them heading to Watch by the Sea – you would have thought they’d get a bit more time on screen than firey death. Alas, their demise will be remembered.

Ultimately I was happy with this season finale. There were some huge moments, as well as a lot of crowd pleasing instances that managed to keep fans happy during the show’s downtime. My biggest issue is that the show seems to be looking to create melodrama wherever it can, awkwardly stealing focus from the main storylines. Do we really care about the Greyjoys at this point? Does Tyrion need to be jealous?

It’s this kind of thing that bothers me about the direction of the show. Instead of just going full on with the things fans want, there’s a desire to create melodrama in the most pointless places. As the Sansa/Arya pay off showcased, it doesn’t make the best of times. But hey, it was a good episode and we can’t argue with the end result. I just wish that for all the grandstanding throughout The Dragon and the Wolf, the show backed that up with payoffs that felt deserved.

We just have to wonder how Game of Thrones Season 8 will bring it all to a close. Because right now, that undead army seem pretty unstoppable.

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