'Game of Thrones' Showstopper Syndrome

Oc Tormund

Game of Thrones season 7 will be like nothing we’ve ever seen. Whether or not that’s entirely a good thing is up for debate.

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Game of Thrones season 7 is going to be huge. If watching the trailer didn’t effectively communicate the largeness of the upcoming 7-episode season, here’s Thrones Director of Photography Robert McLachlan on what he just wrapped:

“Season 7 is going to be fantastic. We did a showstopping, pretty epic scene in Europe just before I came back, and it’s really going to be great. I don’t know the facts and figures, but they only did seven episodes this year, but I think their budget’s probably the same, so I think you’re going to see — whereas before, we’d have one or two showstopping, major episodes per season, this season, probably at least half of them are whoppers. They’re not going to disappoint.”

For lovers of scope, scale, and the massive sequences that, this side of tentpole cinema, only Thrones can afford, this is a bard’s beautiful song. As I sheepishly proclaimed on a recent episode of A Storm of Spoilers, this could end up being a 7+ hour Michael Bay movie. Or Ridley Scott. Or, well, you get the idea. A big summer movie that goes on for weeks.

And while there’s nothing wrong with being excited about Thrones and its monstrous march toward a conclusion, I’m having trouble squaring all of this with what I’m experiencing in my #reThrones project, this year’s re-watch of the first 60 episodes. This week, my attention moved from my low-key favorite season (2) to what many would agree is the finest end-to-end season of the show, season 3. What we’ve lost along the way — I expect, having only completed half of my re-watch — is a buffet of character moments. Tête-à-têtes between magnificent screen presences acting out the playing of a sacred, bloody chess match. Will there be another scene like the one between Brienne and Jaime Lannister in the tub at Harrenhal? Will any of season 7’s meet-ups between characters match the first time Daenerys treated with a slave master outside Yunkai? Can anyone left on the show match the rich delight of watching Tywin Lannister ignore one of his children while they await him to finish writing letters in the Tower of the Hand?

No, probably not. But episode 701 will be a 59-minute extravaganza to rival any of this summer’s blockbuster movies. It’s a different sort of infectious experience. Not a lesser experience, per se. Just different. And I love that sort of thing. So why do I feel down about it? Hopefully, somewhere between now and July 16, I find that passion again. I have a feeling watching “Hardhome” again will help.

Before we move on to other business, check out our Storm of Spoilers recaps of Season 2 and Season 3, both of which were wonderful discussions:

Today in Pop Culture History

The first Donald Duck cartoon made its debut on this day in 1931.

Today is the birthday of Michael J. Fox, Johnny Depp, and Natalie Portman. Also, Mae Whitman.

On this day in 1989, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier opened in the United States.

What You Need to Know Today

The British series The Misfits, where we first learned of future Game of Thrones baddie Iwan Rheon and current Preacher spitfire Ruth Negga, is getting an American remake. Because it was only a matter of time.

Donald Glover has come out and said that (a) playing Lando Calrissian has been one of his favorite experiences ever and (b) he’s not going to be rapping as Childish Gambino anymore. If he starts rapping as Lando Calrissian, it will cause an internet meltdown.

Robin Wright will return to the DCEU in Justice League, most likely in that scene from the trailer where the Amazons show up.


More from our new interns, including Natalie Reyes on the style-over-substance of A Cure for Wellness and Sheryl Oh on Breaking Bad‘s VR future.

Matthew Monagle’s recent chat with filmmaker Trey Edward Shutls is a must-read, including the part where the Alamo Drafthouse took people into the woods to watch It Comes At Night.

New intern Emily Kubincanek has a fine essay celebrating the 60-year legacy of A Face in the Crowd.

Shot of the Day

Gearing up for my Game of Thrones Perfect Shots lists… My #reThrones continues.


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