Review: Game Of Thrones Season 8, Episode 1 - 'Winterfell'

on Sunday, April 21, 2019
Words: Diana Von R

After a seemingly endless wait, the first episode of Season 8 of 'Game Of Thrones' graced our screens last Monday at 2 am. For me, I was on holiday in Sweden and planned to wake up at 3am to watch it live. Thankfully sense prevailed and I just watched it the moment I woke up at 6am to avoid any spoilers on social media. As expected though, spoilers for 'Winterfell' (S08E01) are ahead.

The unfamiliar opening credits for 'Winterfell' jarred me awake. As it moved through the broken wall, it went past a building I wasn’t very familiar with - The Last Hearth. We did later see it in the episode in that jump scene, but I doubt it will be of much importance later on in the series as the Night King and his army moves South towards Winterfell and the rest of Westeros. Or will it? It makes me wonder why they bothered to include the Last Hearth in the opening credits just for one scene in episode 1? Time will tell...

The credits then moved on to Winterfell & Kings Landing. For both buildings, there was a huge emphasis on the Crypts of Winterfell and underneath Kings Landing - where the Dragon bones are kept. If you live in the Game Of Thrones Facebook group, you’ll have heard of the possible reanimation of the Stark bones at Winterfell (and I guess perhaps dragon bones of Kings Landing) by the Night King. How they would move without ligaments and so on is beyond me - the Night King seems to be able to bring up the dead in the frozen north as they had not decomposed, but hopefully he can’t do anything with skeletons.

This episode had a whole load of very satisfactory reunions, of characters who haven't seen each other in seasons. Arya and the hound. Arya and Gendry. Tyrion and Sansa. The one I was looking forward to the most was Jon and Arya, although I was disappointed by how Jon seemed to underestimate her abilities. He has an assassin as a little half-sister (well, cousin), but seemingly thinks she's only killed one or two people. In fact, does anyone know that she killed all the Freys? To be fair, he does have more on his mind, like the incoming army of the dead (and perhaps some energy diverted to his other head).

In 'Winterfell', we realise just how much growth Sansa has had. “I used to think you were the cleverest man alive.” Putting aside she didn't say “most clever”, she's the only one smart enough to see through Cersei’s promise. She also has the stamp of approval from Arya, who seemed to side with Sansa over Jon. Her reaction to Daenarys’ arrival was understandable, but perhaps side eyeing the Queen and owner of two large dragons may not be her smartest move.

From one queen to another - Cersei. In the season eight trailer, we saw the look of sorrow flash across Cersei’s face. I had wondered for a while what it could be for - I certainly didn't expect to see it in episode one. I expected to see it perhaps when the Night King and his army attacks Kings Landing and she has to drink poison to kill herself (mirroring Stannis’ sacking of Kings Landing).

Is she sad because she lost her baby with Jamie? Or maybe she was never pregnant with Jamie's baby in the first place and simply pretended to get Jamie and Tyrion on side. And now needs to make a baby with Euron to continue the lie?

Was she just disgusted that she had to sleep with the dirty pirate to keep the ships and the army? Maybe she knows she can't have kids (menopause, as mentioned by Olenna earlier on) and she's upset by the thought of having no more kids. In any case, she seemed very sure she would only have three children as per the prophecy from the witch when she was young.

One fan theory favourite is the idea that Tyrion promised Cersei’s child can rule after Daenarys dies, as Dany has said many times she cannot have children. Could that be a reason for her procreation with Euron?

Another fan theory for the ending is that Cersei will give birth to a dwarf, and Jamie will kill Cersei to bring forth the Lightmaker sword to defeat the Night King (prophecy of Azor Azhai). The Sansa and Tyrion will bring the child up. Heavily discussed in the books but more so in passing in the TV show, will the Azor Azhai prophecy come in to play?

Oh, and we don't even have time to get into Bran and his awkward looks. I do think we are meant to see him less as a person, leading us to accept what happens later on in the series...oh, and that cliffhanger with Jamie...“sorry I pushed you out of the window when you were just eight”.

Find more from Diana Von R at She works as a freelance photographer and lives in North London with her 2 children and husband.

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