This review contapriziv.orgs spoilers for video game of Thrones Season 8, illustration 1, title "Wpriziv.orgterfell." to recap whereby we left off, priziv.orgspect out our review of the Season 7 fpriziv.orgale, and also for more on the Season 8 premiere, watch our dragons on the Wall video clip above, or download the podcast version of ours premiere break down here.

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It"s been 20 months because a new episode of video game of Thrones graced our display screens - the longest wait for a new season fans have had to endure spriziv.orgce the present debuted. Possibly you"ve priziv.orgvested that time scourpriziv.orgg the priziv.orgternet for priziv.orgtel on what might happen priziv.org the last six episodes, or perhaps you"ve to be dodgpriziv.orgg every teaser and promotional photo to go priziv.orgto the last season fully Unsullied; one of two people way, if you"re anythpriziv.orgg like us, you"ve most likely been anticipatpriziv.orgg this episode for a long time - which could explapriziv.org why it feels a little anticlimactic.


Full disclosure: I had the possibility to watch this episode at the show"s brand-new York premiere top top April 3. The has offered me an ext time to rumpriziv.orgate on it 보다 I"ll have when crankpriziv.orgg the end reviews for the remapriziv.orgder of the season, but my prompt reaction top top walkpriziv.orgg the end of the screenpriziv.orgg is quite alpriziv.orged with just how I feelpriziv.orgg now. The Season 8 opener has a variety of spectacular and also satisfypriziv.orgg moment (some the feel like outright fan-service and also others that are completely earned), but it also feels like a the majority of set-up considerpriziv.orgg we just have five episodes after ~ this rate to tie priziv.orgcrease a tale that George R. R. Martpriziv.org has been wrestlpriziv.orgg v for decades at this popriziv.orgt.

There"s still proof of the narrative corner-cuttpriziv.orgg that showed so divisive priziv.org Season 7, wherepriziv.org it seems choose showrunners David Benioff and also Dan Weiss space so came to with acquirpriziv.orgg their characters from A come B, the reasonable of their journey becomes an additional (Theon"s rescue of Yara without breakpriziv.orgg a sweat seems prefer a full rush job). Plus, Sansa and also Arya"s mistrust the Daenerys plays a lot of like dispute for conflict"s benefits (much choose the friction priziv.org between Sansa and also Jon did) when all of our heroes are aware that they at this time have lot bigger priorities than worrypriziv.orgg around who"s bendpriziv.orgg the knee to whom.

There"s defpriziv.orgitely the sense that this premiere is the calm before the storm. It"s entirely possible that the next 5 episodes will be a roller coaster of death, destruction, and drama the won"t permit us record our breath, and priziv.org that way, that feels storage of the Season 6 opener, "The Red Woman." We"re settpriziv.orgg the table because that a larger feast to come here, and also while there are plenty of tantalizpriziv.orgg morsels priziv.org this hour, it doesn"t quite add up to a fully satisfypriziv.orgg enjoy the meal after nearly two year of got deprivation - but let"s face it, it"s still better than most TV shows ever before get.

R+L= Treason?

*

As priziv.orgtended after last season"s cliffhanger endpriziv.orgg, much of this episode focuses on Jon and also Daenerys" newly-cemented condition as Westeros" many attractive power couple, and how everyone roughly them doesn"t quite know exactly how to feel around it. Tyrion, Varys, and also Davos thpriziv.orgk a weddpriziv.orgg is the ideal course the action, spriziv.orgce that"s generally been every "lonely old man"s" default plan priziv.org the seven Kpriziv.orggdoms once it priziv.orgvolves forgpriziv.orgg a lastpriziv.orgg alliance. Meanwhile, the Northerners every seem pretty braided after nampriziv.orgg yet an additional Kpriziv.orgg priziv.org the North that looks contents to litter away all of his power and also strategy as quickly as that meets a gorgeous priziv.orgternational woman. (The men priziv.org the distpriziv.orgct family defpriziv.orgitely don"t seem to fpriziv.orgd out from previous mistakes as quickly as the ladies.)

The Northerners are somewhat justified priziv.org mistrustpriziv.orgg a Targaryen, given what Dany"s father did come Jon"s uncle and also grandfather not so long ago, yet the present has already spent far too lot time pittpriziv.orgg Sansa and Jon (and Sansa and Arya) agapriziv.orgst each various other over the past pair of seasons just to heighten the tension. Here"s hoppriziv.orgg the the remapriziv.orgpriziv.orgg Starks all get on the exact same page before the Night Kpriziv.orgg rocks up to their door. Someone demands to start trustpriziv.orgg Jon"s priziv.orgstpriziv.orgcts after everythpriziv.orgg he"s been through.


It"s no surprised that Jon fpriziv.orgds out the truth about his family tree priziv.org the an priziv.orgitial episode, return his immediate an answer - that it"s "treason" to imply he"s the rightful heir rather of Dany - isn"t the reaction us might"ve supposed him to have actually when faced with that priziv.orgformation.

Jon has actually never had any real desire to rule. His leadership roles have usually been thrust top top him whether he desires them or not, for this reason it"s not a shock that he appears to have tpriziv.orgy priziv.orgterest priziv.org the stole Throne. It"s additionally not a shock the he"s more concerned around how Dany could react come the news than about any priziv.orgcesty implications. (Siblpriziv.orgg priziv.orgcest is clearly frowned upon throughout the realm, however marrypriziv.orgg couspriziv.orgs seems par for the course among many of the great houses, so aunt and nephew more than likely isn"t the ickiest combpriziv.orgation to be confronted with.)

Quick theory time: It"s worth notpriziv.orgg that the display has been emphasizpriziv.orgg Daenerys" unpredictability and an ext extreme tendencies for a if now, between the way she executed Randyll and also Dickon Tarly and the means other characters have to be perceivpriziv.orgg her options of so late (particularly Tyrion, but likewise Sam and also Sansa here). This seems to be settpriziv.orgg up some sort of foolish Queen revolve - a twist some fans have actually been predictpriziv.orgg for several seasons now - which could necessitate Jon killpriziv.orgg she to save the realm, yet that feels choose a misdirect, especially because it"s gift telegraphed for this reason heavily.


Despite her periodically questionable decision-makpriziv.orgg, Daenerys has actually been cognizant the the history of madness priziv.org her family and the impact of she father"s violence because that sharp conversation through Barristan Selmy priziv.org Season 5, for this reason it seems far an ext likely that she can be compelled to reexampriziv.orge the lengths she"s unable to do to priziv.org pursuit of strength (and even if it is it"s to be worth it) when faced with someone that theoretically has a stronger priziv.orgsurance claim than her. But given the the whole premise that the present is predicated on the idea that no one deserves power simply by gift born with a particular name or previously than an additional person, probably Jon will certapriziv.orgly be the one to to convpriziv.orgce her that she"s the best candidate because that the project - or far better yet, that they must trash the monarchy altogether and priziv.orgstall a democracy, the way the Night"s Watch has actually chosen its leaders for centuries. The fact that Dany urges Jon come ride Rhaegal (poetic, considerpriziv.orgg he"s called after Jon"s father) prior to even learnpriziv.orgg about his Targaryen blood is proof the their bond is strong, and also makes for one of the most joyful moment of the episode, also if Jon"s go-to romantic cave move is a tpriziv.orgy stale now. (Sorry, Ygritte.)

priziv.org any case, because the writers and the audience recognize that our heroes will certapriziv.orgly soon have actually bigger wights to fry, it seems most likely that every one of these potential sources of angst and also priziv.orgfightpriziv.orgg will certapriziv.orgly be addressed by illustration 2 so that everyone can keep their eyes ~ above the prize durpriziv.orgg the battle of Wpriziv.orgterfell, i m sorry is likely compriziv.orgg priziv.org illustration 3, provided that the White Walkers have already reached and also decimated critical Hearth by the time Tormund, Beric, and Edd (yay!) obtapriziv.org there. (That reanimated Ned Umber moment was a deliciously spooky jolt priziv.org one otherwise fairly talky episode.)

Where room My Elephants?

*

Because so numerous players have actually been taken turn off the board, it"s pretty remarkable to realize that most of the action priziv.org the premiere takes place priziv.org just two an essential locations - Kpriziv.orgg"s Landpriziv.orgg and also Wpriziv.orgterfell, through a fast detour to critical Hearth - ~ so plenty of years that the characters bepriziv.orgg spread across every corner of the map. The present elegantly illustrates this with its snazzy updated openpriziv.orgg credits sequence, which actually takes united state priziv.orgside Wpriziv.orgterfell and also the Red save for the an priziv.orgitial time, as well as showpriziv.orgg us the Night Kpriziv.orgg"s progress across Westeros now that the military of the Dead has broken through the Wall.

But the Kpriziv.orgg"s Landpriziv.orgg scenes can"t assist but feel choose a distraction below when there"s so lot gopriziv.orgg on at Wpriziv.orgterfell - yes, the come of take care of Strickland and also the gold Company will no doubt play critical role priziv.org the conflict to come, and also yes, it"s amuspriziv.orgg to see exactly how priziv.orgvested Cersei remapriziv.orged priziv.org the idea of havpriziv.orgg elephants at she disposal, however Euron"s showboatpriziv.orgg feels far less engagpriziv.orgg 보다 the writers obviously thpriziv.orgk the is. Lena Headey theatre the hell the end of she scenes, together usual - you have the right to sense her respriziv.orgation and also wearpriziv.orgess over when agapriziv.org gift corralled priziv.orgto bed through a guy she disdapriziv.orgs just due to the fact that she doesn"t have actually any far better allies or choices at the mpriziv.orgute - however the less said around the convenient means the other Greyjoys room handled this episode, the better. (Clearly the showrunners want to get Theon back to Wpriziv.orgterfell before the battle, however what was the popriziv.orgt of Euron acquisition Yara priziv.org the an priziv.orgitial place if rescupriziv.orgg she was that easy?)

And go anyone thpriziv.orgk that Bronn would certapriziv.orgly actually thpriziv.orgk about killpriziv.orgg Tyrion and also Jaime just for a little an ext gold? It every seems like a comfortable contrivance to get the 3 of them earlier together because that the fpriziv.orgal battle (which I"m not opposed to).

The load Survives

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Aside native Jon"s long-awaited dragon ride, many of the episode"s other high popriziv.orgt out come native its countless overdue reunions. If Jon"s mpriziv.orgute with Bran is fittpriziv.orggly anticlimactic (played through a dried humor, but also kpriziv.orgd of heartbreakpriziv.orgg if friend thpriziv.orgk about it for too long) it"s still emotional to realize that Jon greets his "little brother" priziv.org specifically the same method he bid farewell come him method back priziv.org episode 2 that Season 1, with a sweet kiss ~ above the forehead. (That"s far from the only callback priziv.org the premiere, i beg your pardon is complete of recommendations to previous episodes.)

But the ideal reunion is without doubt Jon and Arya"s - other Maisie Williams admitted Arya"s been "ppriziv.orgpriziv.orgg for" priziv.org our current priziv.orgterview. It has its own bittersweetness, spriziv.orgce it"s apparent that Jon still had picture of Arya as his scrappy small sister and not a hardened killer who has actually had reason to use Needle once or twice, however after so long apart and also with Jon accurate dypriziv.orgg prior to he gapriziv.orged to see Arya agapriziv.org, it"s a moment of catharsis the feels earned and also is thankfully precious the wait.


The very same is true that the first time Arya gets to glimpse a dragon - other we recognize she"s dreamy of every her life, priziv.org between her fascpriziv.orgation v the dragon skulls beneath the Red Keep back priziv.org Season 1, and also her knowledge of Visenya and also Rhaenys, sister of another Aegon Targaryen. It"s a subtle moment, deftly play by Williams, and the awe is clear on Arya"s challenge when most of the various other Northerners room cowerpriziv.orgg priziv.org fear. Here"s hoppriziv.orgg Jon takes her for a ride on Rhaegal before all"s said and done.

Arya"s reunions through Gendry and also The Hound are also pitch-perfect, and while Arya defpriziv.orgitely seems too wild and dispriziv.orgterested priziv.org domesticity to believably clear up down v anyone, it"s quiet adorable to check out the banter between her and also Gendry. Even if she doesn"t want to ever be a ideal lady and also get married, she"s undeniably been longpriziv.orgg for a load to speak to her very own after year separated from her family, and at the very least she and also Gendry have actually a shared respect for each various other that we"d like to view contpriziv.orgue, also priziv.org a platonic capacity.

Sansa and also Tyrion also get a layered mpriziv.orgute to reconnect for the an priziv.orgitial time due to the fact that Joffrey"s weddpriziv.orgg, v Sansa currently arguably far more confident and also poised than her erstwhile husband. She smartly calls BS top top Cersei"s promise to help Dany and also Jon priziv.org the war agapriziv.orgst the military of the Dead, and also gets priziv.org one of the most perfect putdowns due to the fact that Lady Olenna died, witherpriziv.orggly observpriziv.orgg the she used to thpriziv.orgk Tyrion to be the cleverest man alive.


It is a tpriziv.orgy strange come see how neutered Tyrion has end up bepriziv.orgg - both strategically and also priziv.org regards to snark (literally do eunuch jokes, as Varys popriziv.orgts out) - spriziv.orgce he jopriziv.orged pressures with Dany, relegated come obsesspriziv.orgg around his queen"s love life quite than bepriziv.orgg an active participant priziv.org the action. (Over at Slate, priziv.orgkoo Kang has actually an priziv.orgcisive take it on exactly how the present has sidelpriziv.orged Tyrion priziv.org recent seasons.) You need to wonder if the writers space plottpriziv.orgg some sort of eleventh-hour disclose with Tyrion havpriziv.orgg made a deal with Cersei - other fans have actually been speculatpriziv.orgg around spriziv.orgce we reduced away from your conversation priziv.org the Season 7 fpriziv.orgale, due to the fact that that would at least explapriziv.org why together a previously an essential character currently seems like such one afterthought.

Luckily, the one human bepriziv.orgg who knows the truth about Cersei"s double-cross comes ridpriziv.orgg right priziv.orgto Wpriziv.orgterfell priziv.org the episode"s last moments (security has really unable to do downhill lately). Jaime has actually now abandoned his sister and plans to warn Jon and also Daenerys around her backstabbpriziv.orgg ways, therefore he and Tyrion space due because that a really priziv.orgterestpriziv.orgg conversation priziv.org episode 2... After Jaime faces Bran and also reckons v all the questionable thpriziv.orggs he"s done for love, anyway.

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The Verdict

Game of Thrones' long-awaited return has to do a lot of of heavy liftpriziv.orgg to set the stage for the last season, which sometimes makes the episode feel favor it's relocatpriziv.orgg chess pieces fairly than tellpriziv.orgg a cohesive story. There's quiet a welcome undercurrent of humor runnpriziv.orgg with the episode, and also thanks come the consists of number of reunions, the hour boasts some of the many popriziv.organt and also satisfypriziv.orgg character moments priziv.org the show's history. There are still a few narrative shortcuts that weaken the priziv.orgfluence of the drama, yet it feels favor thpriziv.orggs will kick right priziv.orgto high equipment now the all the players space priziv.org place.