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Though surprisingly bloodless, hard-fought reunions, bone-chilling surprises, and unexpected humor help "Winterfell" set the stage for what should be an epic final season.
Peter Dinklage is simply outstanding, in a performance of genuine magnificence.
It was the most dramatic moment of an otherwise restrained scene-setter, largely composed of reunions and introductions. With only five more episodes of the show left to come, the lack of urgency did feel slightly frustrating.
I found myself thrilled by getting to go inside the cuckoo clock, but mostly I was reassured by the underlying implication. After so many years of sprawl, Thrones now wants to go deep, not wide.
If anything, this episode made me marvel at just how much has changed since this whole journey began, which is clearly what Benioff and Weiss intended to do before they knock down the next set of dominoes.
After a two-year gap and a dragon's-feast worth of hype, fans probably wanted grand plot movements. Instead, they got a buffet of inevitabilities... Yet I'd argue that this was one of the best Thrones episodes in a long time.
It feels like the show's burning through the stuff it knows we're expecting so it can start doing the stuff we aren't.
We know these characters intimately, and that earns us a level of depth and nuance which would be wasted on a whole season of flat-out war. It would be an insult to the show to start simplifying everything now in order to air a Hobbit-style battle scene.
Game of Thrones again used his premiere to let us know where each character was and what were doing [Full Review in Spanish]
As it happened with the seventh season, it seems that the creators are going to hurry to close all the narrative lines that have been open for eight years. And we just hope they give us enough time to savor them. [Full Review in Spanish]
Winterfell was content with merely laying the groundwork for possible things to come. In a sense, it was a giant series of family reunions.