It’s been almost two years since season seven of “Game of Thrones” last graced our television screens. Finally, after what felt like a decade-long wait, the drought has ended with the eighth and final season. This season has arrived with the return of some of our favorite human and non-human characters, locations and twists we all thirst after. Winter has finally come.
Even if some of us are still mourning certain characters’ deaths, we can all stop and celebrate the return of one of the greatest television shows in history.
Warning, spoilers ahead! If you still have not watched it, stop reading this, watch it and come back when you are caught up — as you should be already.
Westeros was in a dark place when we left it. Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister try to recruit the ever difficult Cersei Lannister to side with them for the impending doom brought about by the White Walkers to no positive effect.
Back in Winterfell, Sansa and Arya trick Littlefinger in a clever scheme between the two sisters when Sansa sentences him to death, then Arya finishes the order by executing him on sight in a power move only the Stark sisters could pull off so efficiently. Meanwhile, Samwell Tarly arrives in Winterfell where he meets up with Bran Stark when they realize Jon Snow’s true heritage: a Targaryen.
This is after Jon Snow, unbeknownst to him, hooked up with Daenerys, who is his aunt. After all of this, the Night King and his army of White Walkers and wights have taken control over one of Daenerys’ dragons, Viserion, which they use to destroy the Wall that has been holding them back for years.
And this is just one episode.
Finally, we are back in Westeros after the cataclysmic events of season seven, where tensions are running high and armies are being assembled for the Great War.
The first episodes of each season usually take their time getting us reacquainted and caught up with this vast array of characters and what they are up to at this certain point in time. This episode proves to be no different from this predetermined, almost unacknowledged rule. But, I won’t use the word “slow” and especially not the word “boring” to describe this episode as so many people seem to do with these season starters.
“Game of Thrones” is a show that knows what it is doing at all times. They are simply taking the proper time setting up this new season which is destined to be full of shocks, surprises and crazy twists. We just have to be patient in getting there. This episode does it very well too because it catches us up with everybody still alive and refreshes us with whatever predicament they were left in or whatever they are now stuck in. It chugs along at its own pace, but it does not keep you out of the loop even for one a second. It is simply good storytelling, which makes for good television.
The violence and bloodshed are surprisingly muted for a season we all know is going to be exactly those things amplified to the max. However, there are still some unexpectedly creepy scenes along with some much sought-after reunions and the typical level of intrigue “Game of Thrones” always brings to the table. Also there is some good, unexpected humor in this episode, which I feel is a front before things start to get bloody again.
This was always going to be a “set-up” episode, especially in the season where everything is coming to an end. I can see why some people would want an episode full of action, especially in a nearly hour-long episode and only six episodes in the season.
However, it is simply going through the stuff we want to see and almost expect to see so it can start getting into the unexpected. We should start bracing ourselves now as they have taken surprising mercy on us in this first episode.
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