TV Review: Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1 "Winterfell"
Writer: Dave Hill
Director: David Nutter
Review by James Stone
After making us wait nearly 2 years, Game of Thrones has finally returned. If you were clever like me and watched the Sky Atlantic recap show, then you will have had no problem remembering who was who and what everyone was doing. This was a fantastic, really well executed episode that may have lacked a little action, but set things up nicely for the chaos that is about to unfold.
WARNING: Spoilers follow from this point on
WinterfellAs the title suggests, the location of Winterfell is the main focus of the episode. The Lady Sansa has been calling all the banners from the north to relocate here for a united stand against the armies of the dead. John Snow and Daenerys Targaryen finally arrive with their armies from the south, and two fully grown dragons.This was the first time since season 1 that all the Stark siblings have been together in Winterfell. Sansa, who doesn't seem pleased to see the arrival of Daenerys, gives her brother a somewhat cold reception. Arya has a very touching reunion with John, while also reminding him who his family is. John gives Bran a warm embrace and comments on how much he has grown, Bran not giving much in return as he seems to have slipped more and more in to his persona of the Three Eyed Raven.
King's LandingPlotting as always, Cersei meets the arrival of the Iron fleet and invites Euron to her bed. Aware that Jamie and the majority of her army have marched North to join the battle against the white walkers, she is pleased to hear that the wall has fallen. What ever Cersei has planned she is keeping it close to her chest, but I'm sure it will have devastating consequences as the season progresses towards it's final conclusion.The moment that had me in complete shock was when Cersei recruits Bronn to travel north and ensure her brothers, Jamie and Tyrion don't return from battle. Jaime, who has been the one person Cersei has truly loved over the past 7 seasons, now appears to be surplus to requirements. The big question is, will Bronn carry through with his orders having been close friends with both Jaime and Tyrion?
White Walkers Are ComingTormund, Beric and Edd of the Night's Watch meet up at Last Hearth. The home to the house of Umber, who have already fallen to the white walkers. A body is found attached to the wall with a spider leg like pattern coming from her body made up of severed human limbs; a message from the Night King. I have no idea what this message is supposed to tell us but I'm sure that Beric Dondarrion will know its relevance and maybe even know of a connection to his Lord of Light.
King And QueenThe unsettling situation at Winterfell, with multiple houses living and fighting together who have previous been at each others throats, John and Daenerys seem to be taking it all in their stride. Having given up his title King of the North to go in search of Queen Daenerys, he's not only returned with her armies, but also her heart. The two take time out to fly the dragons around the north, providing a display to the rest of Winterfell. Much to the enjoyment of Tyrion, Davos and Varys who are busy, discussing the future of Westeros and how the 7 kingdoms need a King and Queen.
ConclusionThis was a brilliantly crafted episode, delivered with a movie quality finish. There wasn't the usual blood and guts or excessive nudity we have become accustomed to, but there was some clever storytelling accompanied by brilliant acting. This episode gave us plenty to think about, and still leaves us none the wiser as to who will win the Game of Thrones. With all out war against the white walkers still to come, I feel that the remaining episodes will be truly outstanding and will be remembered in TV history forever.
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