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What follows are my initial, mostly-non-spoilery impressions of the premiere episode of what looks to be the best season yet of Game of Thrones.

What jumps out at you right away is that this show has raised the bar yet again, when it comes to the visuals. The locations, the sets, the costumes, the effects… everything just looks top-notch. And it is all gorgeously shot. This is easily the best looking show on television and, in my opinion, nothing else even comes close.

In the premiere episode, we pick up where we left off last season, with Sam running from the White Walkers and their army of undead. The scene is intense and atmospheric and ends in a way that I didn’t expect. It leads into the opening credits, which feature King’s Landing, Winterfell, Harrenhal, Dragonstone, the Wall and Astapor. The rest of the episode is dedicated to catching us up with the various players in the story, including those in King’s Landing, on Dragonstone, beyond the Wall and across the Narrow Sea. Many of these scenes do double-duty, not only catching us up on past events but also setting things up for later in the season. It is great to watch the chess pieces being moved into position yet again and what that may mean for the storylines this season.

And what of those storylines? Every one wants to know how closely this season will hew to A Storm of Swords. Well, I’ve obviously only watched 1/10th of this season, so my perspective is limited. But it seems that they are still following the main storyline, but are taking a different path to get there, at times. There are a number of new scenes in this episode, which weren’t in the book, but which very well could have been. Others that are wholly different from what was presented in the book, but are there to streamline events and characters. Most of the changes I am okay with and seem like smart adaptation choices, although there is one in particular that I wasn’t a fan of.

Source: Full Review @ film-book.com

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