Season 8, Episode 1
Let me begin by firstly saying welcome back and secondly with a caveat. As I’ve stated before, at one time Game of Thrones was my favourite thing within popular culture. More so even than Star Wars. I checked out around the same time as Shireen Baratheon but the show has gradually won me back. That being said, I’m no longer immersed enough to go back and watch it all over again like many have. What I’m driving at is that you should expect mistakes in these reviews. More so than in my usual writing…
OK so a lot to get through here despite Winterfell being, on the whole, a pretty dull episode. The last time a king rode into Winterfell it was our boy Robert Baratheon, who had taken a break from hunting, whoring and drinking to recruit Ned Stark to his cause. That event, or if we are being picky, the death of Jon Arryn, started a chain reaction that acted as the catalyst for everything that comes after. This time, it isn’t Robert, it is Dany. Most strikingly there is no Cat, no Robb, no Maester Lewin. Seeing what’s left of the Stark clan is… well… a stark reminder of how far we have come in this series. There is some grumbling from the northerners (it’s what we are best at) about Jon giving up his title but this first sequence only seems to exist to facilitate the various reunions and first meetings between all our remaining characters.
Elsewhere, Bronn is interrupted from his orgy by that old cockblocker Qyburn while Euron Greyjoy fares better with Cersei. It’s unclear whether Cersei beds Euron to spite Jamie, to strengthen her position with the Iron Fleet or merely because she is bored and probably a bit pissed. Either way, Euron can die happy now that he has finally bagged himself a goddamn queen. He wont be as happy with the escape of Yara however. This did serve one purpose with the audience though as it reminded us that Theon, somehow, remains alive.
Back at Winterfell we see Jon and Dany share some terrible dialogue and very little chemistry near a waterfall, the Hound calls Arya a cold bitch, which seems to be a compliment, and Samwise Tarly reveals the truth of Jon Snow’s parentage to the man himself – something that we have known for ages and is therefore kinda toothless here.
This is not a bad Game of Thrones episode but it isn’t really a good one either. An awful lot of this feels like it could have happened last season and after a two year wait that is kinda disappointing.
- One thing that can’t be ignored is just how effective the title sequence is in this show. Along with the stirring theme tune it has surpassed even The Simpsons and Sopranos in terms of how iconic it has become.
- You know its been a bad episode for dialogue when even the Hound doesn’t have any decent lines. The steady decline in character interaction has become a real issue in recent seasons.
- Jon and Dany riding around on the dragons was a bit… lame. I thought she was going to break into I CAN SHOW YOU THE WORLD at any moment.
- More of Gendry and Arya please.
- Someone get Cersei a frickin’ elephant!
- Guys, I know Bran is vital to the story (apparently) but he is seriously the worst. Imagine having a party or a poker night or something and he shows up. Total Buzz Killington.
- Absolutely loved seeing Jamie Lannister go full Skywalker at the end with the beard and the staring into the middle distance. J-Lan has been my favourite character since when he still had two hands so to see his redemption be so complete is incredibly satisfying.