The exhilarating return of "The Game of Thrones" also brought back the pleasure of New Yorker writer Sarah Larson's recaps.
Larson's witty takes on the HBO sensation speak for fans like me who had never read George R.R. Martin's books before finding ourselves captivated by the show's storytelling, gorgeous scenery, fascinating characters, sexy themes and special effects.
While finding comic value in her incomplete knowledge of Martin's mythology, Larson delivers astute insights into the show's appeal.
For those fans seeking deeper understanding of the Westeros themes, Jason Concepcion's "Ask the Maester" column is back on HBO's "Ringer" web site. I thought "Ask the Maester" had disappeared with the demise of ESPN's "Grantland," and was glad to discover it lives on like those GOT characters who keep bouncing back from the dead.
The new season's opening episode unfolded with strong spoken dialogue: Jon Snow and Sansa, Arya and Walder Frey's widow, the Hound and his pals, Sam and the Archmaester, etc. The long expository scene between Jaime and Cersei was clunky.
After all of that talking, the wordless return of Daenerys to Dragonstone proclaimed that visual imagery is the show's strength. The dragons in flight, the ships, Daenery's kneeling in the sand, her procession down the hall to the icon pulses with the visceral appeal of old movie serials like Flash Gordon, reviving our childhood sense of wonder.
With her three dragons and strong allies, Danerys looks like the best bet to triumph over Westeros, if she can turn out enough dragon-glass swords to throw back the White Walkers.