Game of Thrones, season 7, episode 1: Dragonstone review – bloodiest show on TV can still shock and surprise 



How much simpler the world seemed back in June 2016, when the sixth season of Game of Thrones was drawing to a close. After 13 months of real-world political bombshells and power shifts, and the rise of a would-be dynasty who will seemingly stop at nothing to gain and hold onto power, one might wonder whether the biggest, bloodiest, most Dragon-heavy show on television would still have the ability to shock and surprise. The answer, happily, is yes.

Originally adapted from George R R Martin’s series of books, A Song of Ice and Fire, the source material was spent by season five, and even the most ardent fans no longer know which direction the series, now its own entirely original story, will take. 

The seventh season of HBO’s epic fantasy kicks off with what, at first, would seem to be a flashback. Grizzled, gout-raddled old Walder Frey (David Bradley) is congratulating his men on their nifty work in mass murder at the Red Wedding of season three, and rewarding them with a feast.

We know that Frey is dead now, his throat slit last season by Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) after she’d fed him a meat pie made of his own two sons, and it quickly becomes clear that this isn’t a flashback at all, but, instead, a Jonestown-style massacre, the assembled Freys choking to death on poisoned flagons of wine.



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