All to­gether now: Char­ac­ters con­verge on Wes­teros in ‘Game of Thrones’ sea­son 7

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - YOUR TV TIMES - By Kyla Brewer TV Me­dia

Sum­mer may be kick­ing into high gear in most parts of the coun­try, but win­ter is about to ar­rive in prime time. That’s good news for mil­lions of diehard fans who can’t wait to see what hap­pens in the Seven King­doms this sea­son.

The Lan­nis­ters, Tar­garyens, Starks and the rest whisk view­ers back to Wes­teros and be­yond in the sea­son pre­miere of “Game of Thrones,” air­ing Sun­day July 16, on HBO. Based on Ge­orge R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” se­ries of fan­tasy nov­els, the sweep­ing drama chron­i­cles the lives of sev­eral pow­er­ful fam­i­lies that in­habit a fic­tional me­dieval-es­que uni­verse.

By the end of last sea­son, many of the key char­ac­ters were on the move and, af­ter fol­low­ing sev­eral dis­tinct sto­ry­lines for the past few sea­sons, fans are hop­ing things will fi­nally come to­gether this sea­son. For years, the Stark fam­ily motto, “win­ter is com­ing,” has loomed over the se­ries — a warn­ing of what’s to come. In sea­son 7, win­ter has ar­rived, and the char­ac­ters bat­tle for con­trol of the Iron Throne in an epic war that will surely take out some key play­ers by the time the dust, or snow, set­tles.

Writ­ers had to pack all of the ac­tion into just seven episodes this sea­son, which pre­sented a se­ri­ous chal­lenge. In an in­ter­view with Entertainment Weekly, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer David Be­nioff ex­plained their ap­proach.

“So it’s re­ally about try­ing to find a way to make the sto­ry­telling work with­out feel­ing like we’re rush­ing it — you still want to give the char­ac­ters their due, and pretty much all the char­ac­ters that are now left are all im­por­tant char­ac­ters,” Be­nioff said.

Among the lead­ers march­ing off to war is the newly minted King of the North Jon Snow (Kit Har­ing­ton, “Pom­peii,” 2014), who’s man­aged to unite the North and re­take the Starks’ an­ces­tral home of Win­ter­fell. He’s joined by a small but for­mi­da­ble group of loyal friends, such as tough-as-nails wildling Tor­mund Giants­bane (Kristofer Hivju, “The Fate of the Fu­ri­ous,” 2017) and small-but-fear­some Lyanna Mor­mont (Bella Ram­sey, “The Worst Witch”).

It was once be­lieved that Snow was the late Ned Stark’s (Sean Bean, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fel­low­ship of the Ring,” 2001) bas­tard son, but it’s re­cently been re­vealed that he is ac­tu­ally the son of Stark’s sis­ter Lyanna and the long-dead Rhae­gar Tar­garyen, giv­ing him a le­git­i­mate claim to the throne, al­though he doesn’t know it yet. How­ever, fans who be­lieve that this makes Jon safe this sea­son should be on no­tice that Har­ing­ton told the pub­li­ca­tion Games Radar that his char­ac­ter was in “mor­tal dan­ger like any­one else.”

Also this sea­son, Jon’s long-lost half­sis­ter, Daen­erys Tar­garyen (Emilia Clarke, “Me Be­fore You,” 2016), crosses the Nar­row Sea af­ter years in ex­ile in a bid to re­claim her birthright. She ar­rives in Wes­teros along­side her Dothraki, Un­sul­lied, Dor­nish, Tyrell and Greyjoy al­lies — as well as her drag­ons, of course. The Mother of Drag­ons is poised to take the Iron Throne, but first it ap­pears she’ll re­take her right­ful place at erst­while Tar­garyen fortress Dragon­stone.

If Daen­erys wants to sit on the Iron Throne, she’ll likely have to face ruth­less, and some might ar­gue mad, Queen Cer­sei (Lena Headey, “300,” 2006), who de­stroyed the Great Sept of Baelor with wild­fire at the end of last sea­son. She and her lover-brother, Jaime Lan­nis­ter (Niko­laj Coster-Wal­dau, “Black Hawk Down,” 2001) are left to rule and de­fend their king­dom af­ter the deaths of their three chil­dren.

Fan fa­vorite Peter Din­klage (“The Sta­tion Agent,” 2003) por­trays Cer­sei and Jaime’s brother, Tyrion, who now serves as an ad­viser to Daen­erys. Only time will tell if the Lan­nis­ter sib­lings will be re­united, but it’s doubt­ful it would be a happy re­union. Cer­sei de­spises Tyrion, blam­ing him for the death of their mother, who died giv­ing birth to him, and now for the death of her fa­ther, whom Tyrion mur­dered in sea­son 4.

Tyrion’s es­tranged wife Sansa Stark (So­phie Turner, “An­other Me,” 2013) is also a ma­jor player in the fight for the Iron Throne. Heav­ily fea­tured in the sea­son 7 trail­ers, Sansa has helped Jon unite the North, and she has a num­ber of scores to set­tle in the South. All the while, she’s shad­owed by Pe­tyr “Lit­tlefin­ger” Bael­ish (Ai­dan Gillen, “The Wire”), a brothel owner and po­lit­i­cal wheeler and dealer.

Sansa’s sis­ter Arya (Maisie Wil­liams, “The Fall­ing,” 2014) is fi­nally mak­ing her way back home af­ter years of train­ing with the Face­less Men. Mean­while, Bran Stark (Isaac Hemp­stead Wright, “Closed Cir­cuit,” 2013) is pre­sum­ably the only one who knows Jon’s true parent­age.

Nu­mer­ous other char­ac­ters will come to­gether this sea­son, and, if the past is any in­di­ca­tion, some of them may not make it out alive. For now, the en­sem­ble cast also in­cludes Al­fie Allen (“SoulBoy,” 2010) as Theon Greyjoy, Gwen­do­line Christie (“Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens,” 2015) as Bri­enne of Tarth, Jerome Flynn (“Rip­per Street”) as Bronn, and Con­leth Hill (“Two Down,” 2015) as Lord Varys. Pilou As­baek (“Bor­gen”) con­tin­ues his role as new vil­lain, Euron Greyjoy.

Knights in shin­ing ar­mor, flam­ing swords and fire-breath­ing drag­ons aren’t ex­actly typ­i­cal prime-time fare, but view­ers can’t seem to get enough of the crit­i­cally ac­claimed show, which is among the most highly rated se­ries on tele­vi­sion. Its view­er­ship has in­creased ev­ery sea­son since it pre­miered April 17, 2011, to a “mere” cou­ple of mil­lion view­ers. In con­trast, sea­son 6’s fi­nale at­tracted nearly nine mil­lion live view­ers, and the av­er­age num­ber of view­ers per episode ap­proached 25 mil­lion last sea­son when mul­ti­plat­form views are ac­counted for, mak­ing “Game of Thrones” a hit of epic pro­por­tions.

The Seven King­doms saga con­tin­ues in the pre­miere of sea­son 7 of “Game of Thrones,” air­ing Sun­day, July 16, on HBO.

Kristofer Hivju as seen in “Game of Thrones”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.