Alright, deep breath everyone.
*WARNING : SPOILERS AHOY*
We can’t possibly cover EVERYTHING that happened in massive detail - we’re going to have to pick and choose what to talk about. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
First things first - A NEW INTRO!
Drink it in, folks. Judging by the creeping ‘ice path’, this will continue to grow and evolve as the season progresses - which tells us that the White Walker threat will probably not stop at Winterfell, and will continue down to King’s Landing.
You heard it here first.
The Lords Are Not Happy
As Jon, Dany, the Unsullied, the Dothraki and the Dragons ride into Winterfell, they are greeted with understandable suspicion. What was merely Stiff Upper Lip™ Northern hospitality at first morphs into semi-rebellion as our favourite Northern Lady, Lyanna Mormont, tells Jon to his face that he has betrayed the North.
Jon replies rather matter-of-factly that he chose the North over being King - which is understandable as he repeatedly reminds the Lords that it doesn’t matter about titles if they’re all dead.
Aside from the fact that Jon is right (who cares if they’re all zombies?), the Lords understandably bristle at more King’s Landing-sourced intrusion on them - a fact borne out by Lord Glover refusing the call and keeping his men at home in Deepwood Motte.
The preparations for the war with the Night King are not off to a good start. With the revelation from Sansa that Winterfell’s resources probably won’t last very long with the extra strain caused by all these extra mouths (and dragons) too feed, we’ve got a rather incendiary situation on our hands.
Speaking of things that can cause fires...
Jon & Dany; Rhaegal & Drogon
Jon mentions to Dany throughout the episode that respect from the North is earned - something which she immediately forgets upon getting rather uppity about Sansa’s frosty reception of her. Is she really threatening Sansa in front of Jon?
Dany needs to cut out these errors of judgement if she ever hopes to become Queen without any rebellions brewing. Thankfully, she doesn’t pull Queenly rank when Jon and her are alone - the two become lovestruck teenagers when no one is watching, with Dany actively encouraging Jon to ride her… dragons (No apologies for this one - nope).
Since we know Jon is a Targaryen, the fact that he can handle Rhaegal (named after his father, Rhaegar) comes as a surprise to absolutely no one. Still, it’s nice to have it finally hinted at to the peanut gallery (Davos, Varys and Tyrion in this case) - and sets us up for two dragon riders to enter the war against the Night King.
Dany’s rather suggestive ‘we could stay here for a thousand years’ line seems to be a throwback to Jon and Ygritte’s own desire to ‘stay in that cave’ - a reminder of how far Jon has come and how much he’s lost to be here.
PS : Has anyone ever had their pets or kids in the room whenever they’ve gotten hot and heavy with their partners? No reason - asking for a friend and her dragon.
Bran, Sam and R+L = J
Bran rather hilariously throws Sam under the bus in this episode. "He trusts you more than anyone" is his rather snooty response to Sam’s understandable trepidation at telling his best friend this rather sordid piece of news.
Bran spends most of the episode giving people who are standing three, thirty and three hundred feet in front of him the thousand-yard stare while rattling off proclamations like they’re going out of fashion.
He does greet Jon far more warmly (relatively speaking) than he did his sisters - something we’re going to keep note of as the season progresses.
Back to Samwell Tarly - it is rather fitting that Jon finds out the truth of his heritage in front of Lyanna Stark’s statue, in the Winterfell crypt.
John Bradley’s performance throughout his two scenes in this episode show off the brilliance of his acting - from the complicated grief of finding out his father and brother have died (and probable relief that Jon didn’t know about it), to the immense difficulty of having to utterly destroy Jon’s world.
Sam also reminds Jon that Jon has shown he is willing to give up being a King to save the realm - something that a proper King would happily do for his subjects. He then plants a rather seditious / truthful seed in the head of Rhaegar’s son - would Dany be willing to do the same?
Arise, King Aegon. The kingdom is yours!
- Samwell, Jorah & Dany - Samwell finding out that Dany executed his father and brother was brutal.
- Gendry & Arya - Is love in the air? Oh crap - that surely means one of them is going to die, isn’t it?
- The Hound & Arya - “You’re a cold little bitch, aren’t you? No wonder you’ve survived.” The closest we’ll ever see The Hound to expressing affection, we think.
- Jon & Arya - Their reunion in front of the Weirwood heart tree is probably the most emotionally uplifting moment of the entire episode. Arya’s reminder to Jon about family seems to be loaded with foreshadowing.
- Jon & Sansa - Their moments basically boil down to “Don’t you trust me? I do, I just don’t trust her.”
- Lyanna Mormont - Never change, please.
- Davos, Varys, Tyrion - Davos is proposing joint-rule, with both Dany and Jon on the throne. Where are they going to find another thousand swords to make a second one?
#2 King’s Landing
Euron, Cersei and An Army
We happen upon King’s Landing and Blackwater Bay as the Golden Company, with Euron Greyjoy accompanying their commander Harry Strickland, arrive.
Cersei is rather pleased when she finds out that the Wall has fallen - as if the Night King is fighting her battles for her! Cersei’s survival instinct has usually shown itself to be her saving grace, yet at the end of Season 7 and in this first episode, she’s exhibited a rather dangerous inclination to underestimate the threat of the White Walkers and whomever she’s speaking to.
This tendency shows itself again in her dealings with Jaime (who leaves her to fight in the North) and now, Euron. Cersei seems to have the upper hand at first with her trademark fierceness - “You want a whore, buy one; you want a Queen, earn her.”
And yet, Euron prevails. “I’m not a lesser man,” he quips to Cersei after reminding her that he’s provided her with an army and a fleet - an obvious threat that though he giveth, he may also taketh away. Cersei realises she owes a debt and… Euron has his way with her.
It's an almost stunning turn of events, which makes us wonder if the Mad Queen, having lost it before, is ever going to get it back. Surely after losing her children and her lover, she’d be far more circumspect? And yet...
Lord Bronn of the Blackwater
Oh, Bronn, the Hero of Blackwater Bay. How cruel fate has been to you!
We find him about to hussy it up with three of King’s Landing’s finest, only to be rudely interrupted by a creepily hovering Qyburn. Naturally, the Hand of the Queen has a mission for him, and it’s a doozy.
The symbolism of the crossbow is obvious - the targets, not so. We can understand Cersei’s motivations to get rid of Tyrion. However, the second target is what makes us convinced at this early stage that Cersei is not a favourite for the Iron Throne.
Her desire to separate Jaime from his life, the one person on the entire planet who could possibly find a way to keep her alive out of love, smacks of short-term vindictiveness. As Aerys Targaryen has proven, being a petty murderer of everyone that disagrees with you will only lead to your own death.
The question now is, will Bron actually carry out this mission?
I’m a Greyjoy - Get me out of here!
Yara and Euron trade some barbs early on in the episode - a bit of fun for Euron as his crew are all silent (thanks to his decision to rip out all of their tongues). Yara for the most part doesn’t really rise to Euron’s bait. The latter decides to skip off to the Red Keep… leaving Theon and his black ops team an opportunity to rescue Yara!
To her credit, Yara doesn’t immediately break out into a smile, choosing instead to (understandably) smash Theon’s nose with her forehead. After a knowing look and a hand offered in peace, they hightail it out of there. The real plot point of interest happens after this, as they both discuss what to do next.
Yara wants to re-take the Iron Isles, to give Dany a place to retreat to if the war in the North goes badly. Theon wants to fight at Winterfell, alongside Jon.
We hope the Greyjoys are reunited happily ever after, but we have our doubts.
- Euron & Cersei - Cersei’s knowing look when Euron tells her he wants to put a baby in her has us wondering if she’s actually pregnant or not. We’re sure that Qyburn can find a way to terminate any unwanted pregnancy she has - so is the look one of security from knowing that, or is it from knowing that she can’t get pregnant again?
- Euron’s silent crew -A bit useless to have a crew that can’t call for help when they’re being attacked, right?
#3 Last Hearth
Westeros Avengers + Men In Black
Huzzah! Tormund, Beric and the remaining Westeros Avengers are alive! Ed Tollett and the remaining members of Night’s Watch (less than a dozen, at a quick glance) are alive too!
You know who’s not alive? House Umber, and their young Lord, Ned.
As the most northern castle in, erm, the North, they were always going to come up against the Army of the Undead before anyone else - hence Jon’s command for Ned to come south and evacuate Last Hearth.
It seems that White Walker advance was a lot quicker than expected, resulting in poor Ned being strung up like a kipper, surrounded by the mysterious spiral that the White Walkers just love using as a calling card.
Tormund, Beric and Ed have a quick conference about what to do - they have to find a way to get back to Winterfell ahead of the Undead Army.
#4 Last but not least
Ser Jaime Lannister, meet Bran Stark.
We’ll see you for Episode 2!
The highly-anticipated final season of 'Game Of Thrones' will be invading your TV screen starting 15 April and you get to watch it the same time as the United States on HBO (Astro Ch 411, 431).
Here's the best part: the episodes will be uncensored!
If you're not a fan of the series but you're afraid of being left out when your friends discuss how awesome that week's episode is, you can actually catch past seasons of the series on Astro On Demand and Astro Go.