There are a few ways Game of Thrones could’ve conveyed Samwell Tarly’s monotonous misery at the Citadel. But I’m so glad they went with, of all things, an Edgar Wright-esque montage of poop and soup in the seventh season premiere, frenetically cut to the point that you have no clue whether he’s picking up a hearty bowl of chowder pre- or post-bowel. It was so delightfully disgusting, I couldn’t stop laughing and immediately regretted eating right before the episode.
Fast-forward to the second episode, and Sam thinks he has a solution to Jorah Mormont’s greyscale that doesn’t involve shipping him off to live out his days in Valyria with the Stone Men. (The cure isn’t just some Neosporin, either). But in order to apply the supposed remedy, he has to peel off Jorah’s mangled, crusty skin — and unfortunately, it’s spread quickly across his body. It’s a pus-filled mess, and in the midst of Sam’s peeling, we’re suddenly at the center of a yellow pie, eaten by a man near the Riverlands as Arya Stark looks on. It’s such a horrifying and effective transition, I’m not sure where the pus ends and the pie begins.
There are two takeaways here. One is that Sam is literally having a shitty start to the season, and at this rate I’m counting on one Citadel gross-out per week. The other is that the Thrones editing team for the first two episodes of season seven — that would be the work of director Jeremy Podeswa and editor Crispin Green, followed by director Mark Mylod and editor Tim Porter in episode two — is top-notch. They’re not vying for the Iron Throne, but they’ve been the stealth MVPs of season seven thus far.
Much of Thrones’ behind-the-scenes attention and praise is doled out to showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, composer Ramin Djawadi and the incredible special effects that bring the dragons, direwolves and White Walkers to life (and of course, George R.R. Martin for creating this incredible world). And to be clear: All of that is much deserved.
But the editing in season seven stands out. It’s even gotten some attention on Reddit after Sam’s back-to-back weeks of gross-out duty. The editing has been impressive in other areas, too — like the way they cut from the White Walkers marching south, and an undead giant’s eye socket, to Bran’s all-white pupils in the midst of warging in the premiere.
But mostly, yes, Sam’s pain is our gain. I do feel bad for him, but at the same time, I look forward to next week, when Sam will probably have to remove a cavity from Archmaester Ebrose’s mouth and we seamlessly transition to Drogon yawning at Dragonstone.
The seventh season of Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.
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