REVIEW: ‘Game of Thrones,’ Episode 1 – Winterfell

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Calling all Game of Thrones fans, season eight is finally here. It’s the moment that many have been waiting for since 2017. Last season, the show left off with a section of The Wall being burned down by the Night King (Vladimir Furdik) and the reanimated dragon Viserion. Now, his Army of the Dead was now marching towards the Seven Kingdoms.

The last season also revealed that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) was the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, confirming the longstanding fan theory that he was born as Aegon Targaryen, the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. If that didn’t leave fans excited for season eight then I don’t know what would.

Season eight picks up with Jon, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), and her armies arriving at Winterfell. Upon arriving, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) informs them that the White Walkers have broken through the Wall. To form a plan, all Northern lords and their allies gather at Winterfell. But, not everyone is particularly happy to see Daenerys. Having to kneel to the daughter of the Mad King and learning that the Lannisters are joining their forces are too much for some.

On a brighter not, Jon finally reunites with his family, Sansa (Sophie Turner), Arya (Maisie Williams), and Bran. That being said, both Arya and Sansa have made it perfectly clear to Jon that they don’t trust Daenerys. With Arya reminding him that he is a Stark.

Meanwhile, Cersei (Lena Headey) shows no worry when she learns about the breach in the Wall and meets with Euron (Pilou Asbæk) once he returns with the Golden Company. But Cersei’s plotting doesn’t stop there, she hires Bronn (Jerome Flynn) to kill both Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Jaime for seemingly joining Daenerys and becoming. While Euron is with Cersei, Theon (Alfie Allen) infiltrates the Iron Fleet and rescues Yara (Gemma Whelan). She tells Theon to go fight with the Starks back in Winterfell.

I have to give the show major props for pulling off an incredible flying sequence. Seeing Daenerys and Jon ridding dragons all throughout Winterfell and the surrounding areas was fantastic to watch. At no point did it look like the CGI was overused or not used enough. Seeing Jon’s worry of trying to ride a dragon made the entire scene much more authentic, rather than him getting on and knowing exactly what to do.

Tensions are at an all time high with no one in Winterfell but Jon having full trust on Daenerys. It makes sense for Sansa and Arya to have doubts, especially after everything that they’ve gone through. It shows that they both have grown and know better than following other people’s orders.

Even though the siblings have spent a long time apart from each other, its apparent that they care for one another. I’d imagine they’d do anything to make sure that their family remains together. I wouldn’t be surprised if all this tension doesn’t bring its own set of consequences in future episodes.

My one complaint about the episode is that it was a bit lackluster. It focused on setting up a lot of different plot points, which would normally be the kind of thing that a show does with its first episode of the season. However, given that it’s a six episode season, I would’ve expected a lot more to happen. By the time the episode ended, I thought to myself “Wow, that’s it? Alright then.” There was definitely a lot of hype behind the show coming back, but the episode itself didn’t seem to deliver much.

Overall, I enjoyed watching the episode. Yes, I spoke about the complaint I had with it, but it still had enough to keep me interested in the story and the characters. The reunions between the Stark siblings were worth the wait. Sam’s big reveal will surely bring up even more tension.

Like many fans, I’m eagerly waiting to see what the plan is to deal with the Night King and who will ultimately sit on the Iron Throne after the battle.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9pm EST / 6pm PST on HBO

Final Rating: 7/10