Review: ‘Game of Thrones’ heats up as winter arrives

(CNN) The following contains spoilers in regards to the seventh-season premiere of “Game associated with Thrones. ”

With thirteen episodes remaining to wrap up the particular series spread over two months, there’s not much time to waste. Even though HBO adaptation of George L. R. Martin’s story has never specifically dawdled, there was a bracing element to Sunday’s episode that every picture conspicuously advanced the larger story — or, in the case of Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) exacting vengeance for the Reddish Wedding, fabulously paid off something that got come before.
At the forefront of it all is usually Jon Snow (Kit Harington), rallying the forces of the North within anticipation of battle against a good existential threat from White Ramblers and the Army of the Dead. Somewhere else, Queen Cersei (Lena Headey) continues to be fighting the last war, looking for ways to combine power as she sees possible foes on all sides.

While “Game of Thrones” has understandably focused on those playing for the mantle of leadership, this particular episode also deviated to sparkle a light on ordinary folks swept up in this mystical world’s brutal battle for survival. That included each Arya’s encounter with a group of normal soldiers, and her former vacationing companion, the Hound (Rory McCann, simply terrific in this hour), having to revisit the home of a peasant whom he had ruthlessly victimized.

Even a comedy sequence involving Sam (John Bradley) fed directly into the larger plot, together with his scholarly pursuits offering hope associated with delivering weapons that will serve Snow plus company against the Night King great horde. The writers also still have considerable fun with Snow’s barbaric pal Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and his lecherous interest in the towering knight Brienne (Gwendoline Christie).
It continues to be a genuine testament to showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, in addition to their sprawling cast, that the program’s scope — from the huge soldires assembled to the billowing wings of these dragons under the control of Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) — hasn’t overwhelmed the human component. If anything, these storylines have become richer and more satisfying as the far-flung plots begin to intersect, bringing key characters into connection with each other.
In the event that there was one quibble to be authorized with an otherwise-splendid hour of tv, singer Ed Sheeran’s cameo — playing one of Arya’s wayward troops — while sort of cute, seemed the kind of stunt to which the collection needn’t resort. Besides, when you’re in the industry of establishing a rich, thick fantasy world, there’s little feeling in incorporating a distraction that will breaks the spell, however fleetingly.
Then again, due to its enormous popularity “Game of Thrones” operates amid a relentless press frenzy, one that dissects and evaluates its every move, sometimes inanely, knowing that it reliably generates visitors and circulation.
Despite the weighty expectations placed on it, “Game of Thrones” offers consistently risen to the challenge. And when the season premiere is any indicator of what’s ahead, this season’s arc is likely to again demonstrate that whenever it comes to lording over the TV galaxy, this one-for-the-ages drama is no pretender.