Welcome to my review of GOT season 7 so far! In this exciting installment, I'll be reviewing episodes 1-6 of the season. Yes, where's episode 7, you may ask? I'll probably do that next week. It just hasn't aired yet!
So the series started off with high hopes then, but for me episode 1 pretty much summed up the worst of Game of Thrones; Big ''surprises'' which weren't all that surprising (Arya wiping out the Freys), slow moving storylines - slowed down by unnecessary scenes (Sam cleaning out chamber pots in Old Town) and a flash of the show's ego (thinking that giving Ed Sheeran an all to obvious cameo would be a good idea). Thankfully, things improved somewhat after the dour opening episode.
Euron Greyjoy has been one of the season's successes, for me. A wide-eyed, wise cracking madman, Greyjoy has provided us with many memorable moments. His attack on Yara's fleet was well staged, amusing (the sight of Euron roaring as he descended onto the boat was hilarious!) and satisfying (goodbye two of the sand snakes).
Arya encountering Nymeria was also satisfying, and her character arc this season has been particularly sinister and dark so far. Her encounters with Sansa have reminded us of how dark her character has become, and their tense encounters in episode 6 were spot on, as far as I'm concerned. Many have complained about Arya threatening her sister with death, and how dumb Sansa must be, but we mustn't forget how cold and murderous Arya's character has become, and how clever Littlefinger has been in engineering their potentially deadly sibling rivalry. Littlefinger has also shone in this season, and it's been great to see him back in top form - calculating, ruthless and dangerous, rather than the lovestruck and soppy dumbo version of him we've seen in the last couple of seasons. Overall, the events at Winterfell have been intruiging and interesting to watch.
Dragonstone has been more of a mixed bag. Emilia Clarke's acting has often been poor (poorer than usual) this season, as has Kit Harrington's. Tyrion and Varys have (as usual) made interesting and amusing viewing at times, but perhaps haven't had enough screen time. Instead, we've been given an awful lot of Jon and Dany time. The meeting of the Dragon Queen and the King in the North has been a slight anti-climax. I'm not entirely sure why, or what I was expecting really, but probably more than the ''Man meets woman, they argue a bit, they gradually soften towards one another, they fall in love'' storyline we've been given. Mind you, their action scenes have been memorable (to say the least), and generally a triumph.
Dany's attack on Jaime Lannister's so called ''Loot Train'' in episode 4 provided us with and incredible battle sequence of special effects, epicness, grittyness and brilliance comparable to the very best Thrones battle sequences.
Jon's foolish venture north of the wall with his hotch potch mix of dodgy comrades also provided us with a memorable sequence, as we finally got to see the spectacle of a Dragon attacking the white walkers (not to mention one being brought down by the white walkers).
Generally, season 7 has been an interesting, sometimes tense, often atmospheric and spectacular season. But it certainly hasn't been one of the best - for one major reason: the writing.
It's been a case of ''too many surprises spoil the broth'' (Aforementioned Frey slaying scene, Dany saving the day on Drogon north of the wall, Jon almost dying once again, but surviving, Jon and Dany falling for one another..amongst other things). The writers seem to have forgotten the art of putting things on hold for a few episodes. Surely the venture north of the wall could have been stretched over two episodes, just to simulate the amount of time that Dany would have taken to received the ravens and come to Jon's aid? Perhaps one or two proper character deaths (maybe the Hound, or Gendry, as well as just Thoros of bloody Myr and the bleedin' sand snakes) would have helped too. In a show where anyone can die, it feels increasingly like the good guys and big characters are the ones being spared. After all, who would dare kill off Kit Harrington for good?
Perhaps the worst thing of all has been the fact that due to messy writing, big holes have appeared in certain parts of the plot, and it seems that we're now expected to ignore them.
For all it's tension and spectacle, episode six was a perfect example of the best and worst of the series. Fantastic character interaction and tension, both in Winterfell and in the early scenes north of the wall, followed by a spectacular FX scene, but ultimately not vintage Game of Thrones because of the below par writing.
Generally, season 7 has suffered because it's been too short. Seven episodes is not enough to capture all the events of this season in a realistic timeline.
It's not been a bad watch, just a bit of a disappointment. With just six episodes, I don't hold out too many hopes that next season will deliver in the way that the older seasons always used to either.