Can we talk about how good the transitions have been in Game of Thrones lately? Thrones is a show that might jump half a world away from one scene to the next. But visually and story-wise it almost always finds a way to tie in neatly with the next scene. ‘Stormborn’ exemplifies the care Thrones takes to stitch their scenes together, especially when jumping to a new location. Let’s take a look at some of the best cuts in ‘Stormborn’.
The episode opens with Daenerys in Dragonstone, so the first big jump comes at the end of her scenes. Daenerys invites Jon Snow to come to Dragonstone “and bend the knee.”
The arrow we see slamming into the target may as well have a scroll attached to it. If there was any doubt this arrow represents Dany’s missive, it’s quickly quelled. The scene zooms out to show the yard of Winterfell, and pans out on Jon and Sansa discussing Dany’s letter.
Later, Jaime is trying to sway Randyll Tarly to fight for him. Buttering him up a little, he ends the scene by saying “I can think of no better man than Randyll Tarly.”
Cut from Randyll Tarly to:
Yup. Samwell Tarly. Cold! Really just adding insult to the injury of Sam stealing (or deservedly claiming) the Tarly’s ancestral Valyrian sword, Heartsbane.
We watch Sam treat Jorah, and he’s called away at the end of the scene. He walks towards the camera, and the shot fades completely to black.
Out of the blackness, walking in the same direction, is another man who’s not quite a maester–Qyburn.
This is a really gorgeous sequence of shots. The visual transition is as smooth as butter.
Qyburn talks with Cersei for a while. He reveals to her the ballista designed to kill dragons, and the scene ends on this absolutely stunning shot of the pierced dragon skull.
Cut to: The Mother of Dragons. The woman at whom these ballista bolts are directly aimed.
The episode manages to daisy-chain the plots together, showing how each story will eventually come to a head with the ensuing plotline. Thrones is doing a better job than ever of keeping the complexity as manageable as possible.
The most gruesome transition follows Sam’s surgery on Jorah. The scene ends with Sam peeling away Jorah’s grayscale, in shots that are disgusting but should put Game of Thrones on the shortlist for the next ‘Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup’ Emmy.
Cut to: A delicious, steamy spoonful out of a beautiful pot pie. Mmm. What’s that? Not hungry? Couldn’t possibly imagine why.
After leaving the pies and Hot Pie, Arya decides to ride north, armed with the knowledge that Jon Snow is still alive.
Cut to: This beautiful map of the North. You could trace Arya’s journey to Winterfell on it and it might well run right under Jon Snow’s hand.
Also, interesting to note Jon’s hand is right over ‘The Neck’. It’s even written on the map. Jon’s hands will be wrapped around Littlefinger’s neck shortly.
Finally, not a visual transition, but a rather nice cut is following Arya’s scene with Nymeria. We see Nymeria depart, and then we cut to Euron’s ships. The first Sand Snake we hear talking? Nymeria.
Did you catch all of these little moments? Did I miss any? Let me know.