'Games Of Thrones’ Season 7 Episode 1 Review: Here’s What Critics Had To Say About The Show’s Return

There are some spoilers in this story. You have been warned.

It was the moment many TV fans had been waiting for and on Sunday (16 July) night, ‘Game Of Thrones’ season seven finally premiered - well, it did for fans in the US.

Annoyingly we have to wait almost 24 hours later to see the episode here in the UK on Monday (17 July at 9pm), but that hasn’t stopped critics from sharing their thoughts on what happened.

Now, while these review snippets aren’t jam-packed with spoilers, they obviously include references to the episode’s key events. Consider yourself warned, ok?

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark

“How you felt about tonight’s opening episode, which was largely concerned with power and how to wield it, will probably depend on your tolerance for large chunks of exposition. Overall, I was OK with the odd clunky scene: at this stage in the game, there are a lot of pieces to manoeuvre into place and, by episode’s end, things were nicely set up for the season.”

“Sheeran got himself a few lines of dialogue, which he executed quite well, and a place beside The National, The Hold Steady, and Jerome Flynn in the pantheon of musicians who have brought new ‘Game of Thrones’ songs into the word.”

“The four-minute cold open of the seventh season of ‘Game of Thrones’ is the most satisfying beginning of any ‘Game of Thrones’ season to date, more concise than the pulse-pounding White Walker attack that kicked off season one, and more fraught with suspense than even the discovery of an (allegedly) dead Jon Snow in season six.”

“One of Game of Thrones’ weakness has long been how quickly it must rattle through plot points, and there was a prime example near the end tonight in which The Hound ridiculed the Brotherhood without Banners over their faith, only to briefly see a vision in a fireplace moments later and swiftly do a 180.”

“This is a season based far more on alliances than personal struggles, allowing the plot threads to finally come together straight away. This episode is slower than the last premiere, to the extent that multiple scenes are given to a rather put down upon Sam dealing with the feces of the Maesters.”

The crisp editing of the Arya sequence, exploiting dramatic irony right up to the breaking point, was one among numerous scenes that seemed to indicate ‘Thrones’ isn’t just keeping up to its old standards but actually learning new tricks.

‘Game Of Thrones’ airs on Sky Atlantic on Monday 17 July at 9pm.

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