“Game of Thrones” returned for its season seven premiere Sunday, ending a longer-than-usual wait for fans craving its unique weekly offer of sex, violence and dragons.
HBO had delayed production, meaning four more months of anticipation ahead of the season debut — already one of the television events every year across the world.
Episode one of Game of Thrones season 7 is titled ‘Dragonstone’, and as the name suggests, marks Daenerys Targaryen’s homecoming to the stronghold of the same name. However, that’s not the most chills-inducing moment of this season’s premiere.
Trained poisoner and throat-slitter in chief Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) exploded out of the blocks in a shocking opening by taking vengeance on the killers of her family at the infamous Red Wedding.
“Game of Thrones,” tells the story of noble families vying for control of the Iron Throne, all the while keeping one eye on the “White Walkers” leading hordes of the undead toward an invasion from the North.
The show, which has more Emmy Awards than any other narrative series and pulls in more than 20 million US viewers per episode, moved beyond George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels in season six.
It is due to run for a shortened seven episodes this year before returning for a six-episode final season.
“As per every premiere episode of ‘Game of Thrones,’ the pace is slow,” wrote Lorraine Ali in the Los Angeles Times.
“Setting up each new carefully constructed season — the complex weave of story lines, the huge cast, the breathtaking locations — takes time.”
But she concluded that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had “pulled it off once again, if not with a bit more humour than in previous seasons.”