Game of Thrones (S08E01) “Winterfell”

It has been nearly two, very long years, but Game of Thrones is finally back with its 8th and final season. The finality of what they say and do makes this epic conclusion bittersweet. With all the familiar faces back on our screens, this is going to be a hard goodbye, knowing that many of them will not survive through this.

Before you go any further, if you have not watched the episode and do not want spoilers, go no further.

Life in Westeros has changed, and each character has gone on their own, personal evolution. The long-awaited homecoming brings allies to Winterfell, and a family is reunited once more. They have all been through so much, yet they are all still standing. Just barely. Bran (Isaac Wright) is at the ready, always watching, and seeing so much more.

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Sansa, icy and guarded. (Photo: Google)

There is undeniable friction between Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), but that is to be expected. The North doesn’t trust many outsiders, they have been burned one too many times. Even with the show of their vast army and deadly dragons, they can’t help but keep themselves guarded. None of those conflicts matter though, not when the dead are rapidly approaching.

With winter at their doorsteps, Cersei (Lena Headey) still can’t manage to put her own selfish nature to the side. After procuring a significant army, by hiring The Golden Company, the Iron Throne is still on her mind, when it should be the unstoppable onslaught of the dead. Euron (Pilou Asbæk) has worked his arrogant charm, and it has rewarded him with a spot in her bed. It seems as they are both conniving, but in this world, trust doesn’t exist.

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Death will come for them all, even Cersei. (Photo: Google)
What is dead may never die

While Euron is busy enjoying the “spoils” of war, this gives Theon (Alfie Allen) and the rest of his crew the opportunity to save Yara (Gemma Whelan). At last, he does something right, although it doesn’t redeem him from his past, it’s something. All roads seem to lead back to Winterfell, bringing the journey full circle.

There are so many layers to this story and so many noteworthy interactions. Between the touching reunion between Jon and Arya (Maisie Williams), and the dragon ride we have all been waiting for, this episode seemed to have it all. It’s was Sam’s (John Bradley) truth that brought everything to a screeching halt, an unexpected reality. Not only was he blindsided by the death of his family, but it was also his duty to tell Jon of his lineage. Jon is the true heir to the iron throne, he was never a bastard, always a Targaryen, Aegon Targaryen. Will this change their love affair? I doubt it, but it adds an interesting twist.

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What comes next? (Photo: Google)

We get a brief, yet effective glimpse into the aftermath of the fallen wall. The dark and eerie silence brings an unsettling feeling, yet there are survivors. Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and Beric (Richard Dormer) are alive, but all is not well. The dead are between them, and Winterfell. The troubles are just beginning, but if we know anything about this group of survivors, they don’t scare easily. There seems to be more to the “cryptic” messages the Night King leaves behind.

An old friend finally arrives at Winterfell, and as we know, The Lannisters always pay their debts.

 

You can catch the next episode of Game of Thrones on Sunday, April 21 on HBO.