Winter may be finally leaving, at least depending on where you live, but it has come in full force in TV land thanks to the debut of the eighth season of Game of Thrones. We got the first episode last night in the form of “Winterfell”, and while it was a bit slow at times, it was still a solid first foray into the show’s final season.
Below you will find our recap of the episode’s main moments, as well as our choices for the top scenes featured in the episode. Obviously major spoilers will be present.
The episode opens with the grand arrival of Jon and Dany’s forces at Winterfell, who receive a much chillier reception than I think anyone thought they would. Arya watches from the crowd unassumingly as the Unsullied, Dothraki, and Dany’s two dragons make their way to the great Northern castle.
After their arrival, Jon and Dany waste no time in holding court in Winterfell’s Great Hall. Unfortunately for them, no one in the North is pleased with Jon bending the knee to get Dany’s support, so he catches some grief from Lady Mormont and other Northern Lords. Sansa also is quite chilly towards Dany, and she makes it clear that she ain’t got much love for her yet, because she’s an outside. In between icy stares at Dany, Sansa also send little Ned Umber back to his castle to bring more people to the fight, but as we will find out later, little Ned ain’t coming back with an army.
We then get a fun talk between Sansa and Tyrion, and it shows how much different their roles have become since they last met. Sansa is now a very confident leader, while Tyrion is shook adviser, and one that may not be so good at advising anymore. Sansa makes a point to call Tyrion foolish for trusting that his sister would send the Lannister army north, and it’s made clear that she’s lost respect for his ability to play the game of thrones.
After this exchange we finally get the Jon and Arya reunion we’ve been waiting for, but it didn’t quite play out the way Jon probably thought it would. First off, Arya sneaks up on him like the ninja we know her to be, but it shocked him, because he still has no clue who his not-sister has become. He also wonders if she’s had to use needle yet, so clearly he’s got some learning to do. Anyway, while trying to enlist Arya to his side in support of Dany, he’s baffled to learn that Arya has backed Sansa, and reminds him to put his family first, which technically he is by supporting his Aunt Dany.
The episode then heads south for a bit to check in on Cersei and Euron, who has delivered the Golden Company and its Captain Strickland to Cersei. Before doing so though, Euron taunts Yara a bit, who is still his prisoner. Euron also finally gets his prize for his persistence, because Cersei, after some protest, does let the Greyjoy sleep with her, and I think she quite liked it.
Next up we check in on Bronn who is having an orgy with some lovely ladies who are more interested in talking about dragons than doing their jobs. Qyburn approaches him about a job that will make him richer than he ever imagined, and this job is assassinating his two former Lannister bros, Jaime and Tyrion. He’s even given the crossbow Tyrion used to kill Tywin to do the job. I kinda saw this plot line coming, but can’t wait to see how it all plays out. I’m guessing Bronn won’t be able to do the deed, but it’ll cost him.
Anyway, Theon raids the ship that Yara is being held on, and he frees her quite easily. She plans to go back to the Iron Islands to retake the throne, and to use it as a haven against the White Walkers, who can’t cross water. She allows Theon to go to Winterfell to fight for the Starks against the Night King’s marching forces though.
In what may be the best moment of the episode, we get to see Jon fly on Rhaegal as he and Dany take a joyride on the dragons to go make out at one of Jon’s old hunting spots. Dany does reveal that the Dragons aren’t happy in the North, which is leading to them not eating as much, but the dragons seem to love hanging with the two Targaryans, so it was an awesome scene all around.
After the dragon date, we get to see a couple of big Arya reunions as she runs into both the Hound and Gendry. Her meeting with the Hound goes as expected, and the two don’t seem to have changed how they interact with each other. Her reunion with Gendry is a little more cordial, but more importantly, she gives him a weapon design to forge, which will surely come into play during a major moment later this season.
Meanwhile, Sansa and Jon are arguing over how to rule in the North, and she is still suspect of his choice to bend the knee. She ultimately accuses him of doing so because of his love for Dany, which he doesn’t deny, but it’s clear that both she and Arya still don’t feel what he’s doing with the Queen, and they aren’t scared to express their views to him plainly.
Dany continues to upset people when she goes to thank Sam for his work on Jorrah. Through their conversation she learns that Sam is related to the Tarly’s she executed, so that revelation comes out, and it clearly upsets Sam like we’ve never seen him upset before.
He storms out of their talk and runs into Bran, who tells him that he must inform Jon about his true parentage. Sam tracks Jon down in the crypt, and eventually drops the truth bomb on him, which he doesn’t take well at all. You can tell he knows Sam isn’t lying, but his reaction hints that Jon himself doesn’t want to believe what Sam just told him. He reacted in a way that implies that if he could change the past, he would ensure Sam never told him that he was heir to the Iron Throne. Very heavy stuff indeed.
The episode finally checks in on Tormund and Berric, who are working their way through a destroyed Northern castle. They eventually run into Edd and the remnants of the Night’s Watch, and they all stumble upon a White Walker pinwheel art piece, which include the remains of little Ned Umber, and other body parts laid out in a way to create the same pinwheel image we’ve seen associated with the White Walkers since the beginning. They also reveal that the Night King is between them and Winterfell, so it’s only a matter of time before the castle will be under siege.
The episode closes with a shot of a traveler entering Winterfell, and the traveler is revealed to be Jaime. It just so happens that Jaime is the man Bran told Sam he was waiting for, so the two exchange glances and the episode ends, which mirrors how the first episode ever of the show also ends. Awesome stuff!
- The arrival of Dany, Jon, and pretty much all other interesting characters to Winterfell. Seeing Arya’s reaction was the best, and I loved how she got disappointed when Jon didn’t recognize her during the procession.
- When Dany first arrives her two dragons buzz the Northern crowds, and the smile she gives knowing how scared everyone is was just too great.
- Pretty much any scene between Sansa and Dany. These two have perfected being bitches to each other without being outright bitches to each other. Some masterful shade throwing and digs by these ladies!
- Of course the reunion of Jon and Arya, and mostly because how it didn’t go down the way I expected.
- JON RIDING THE DRAGON WITH HIS NAMESAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- The reunion of the Hound and Arya and Gendry and Arya. I especially loved how chilly the Hound and Arya were to each other even though we know deep down that they do care for each other, at least in their own captor/captive way.
- Sam telling Jon about his real parents was something I was hoping to get early on, so the fact we got it in episode one was awesome. Jon reacted just like I thought he would, and it was just a great payoff scene for die hard GoT fans.
- Jaime and Bran lock eyes at the end, which mirrored the end of the first episode from the show’s series premiere.
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