The Atlantic

Game of Thrones Gears Up for the Wars Still to Come

Three Atlantic staffers discuss “Dragonstone,” the first episode of the seventh season.
Source: Helen Sloan / HBO

Every week for the seventh season of Game of Thrones, David Sims, Spencer Kornhaber, and Lenika Cruz will discuss new episodes of the HBO drama. Because no screeners were made available to critics in advance this year, we'll be posting our thoughts in installments.

David Sims: It’s finally back. After 12 long months of waiting, 12 months of rumor, speculation, and fierce fan arguments, Game of Thrones has returned to answer the question we’ve all been asking: Just how does the sanitation system at the Citadel work? How has Westeros’s largest collection of intellects dealt with the issue of human defecation? Now we know: It’s Sam’s job, and he pours all the bedpans into a giant trough. Might as well end the show right here.

I jest, but only to honor the show that has been off our airwaves for so long and has made its much ballyhooed return in typically muted fashion, with a couple of silly tweaks that simply had to be for our benefit. With only 12 episodes remaining before this show is gone for good (we’ll get six more this year, followed by just six in Season 8), one might be pardoned for asking, as Milhouse of The Simpsons once did, when we’re going to get to the fireworks factory. Patience! “Dragonstone,” written by the show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, was the kind of table-setter Game of Thrones always prefers for its season premiere, promising carnage to come but mostly using the first hour to push the pieces into place. And, in this case, to give us a good old-fashioned bedpan montage.

“Dragonstone” actually

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