Game of Thrones S8E1 Review: ‘Winterfell’ aka Everyone is in Winterfell!

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Directed by David Nutter, written by Dave Hill.

After almost 2 years of waiting the fans of Game of Thrones finally saw the beginning of the end on Sunday night. As a book reader and show watcher, it’s hard for me to believe that all will be revealed over the next few weeks. Season 7 certainly ended with a bang and a flash, but I have no doubt the final episodes of the show will meet or exceed the drama of even episodes like Beyond the Wall.

Spoilers ahead for seasons 1-7, subsequent warning for this episode will be provided as well.

There were a few key pieces of information that had to be addressed in Winterfell. Namely, Jon Snow’s true parentage. Many fans have known the truth for years, but it was still somewhat jarring to hear it straight from the
Three-Eyed Raven’s mouth last season! The other major feature of this episode is seeing how the people of Winterfell respond to Jon’s decision to ally with Daenerys. Obviously, she has the power in the sky and on the ground, but no doubt some residents of the snow-covered north will have issues working with a Targaryen.

Not all of the action in the episode centers on the North though. Euron Greyjoy arrives in King’s Landing to treat with Cersei. They make an interesting pair, though I don’t really feel any chemistry between them. Cersei has some serious cougar vibes going, which isn’t a horrible look on her. I think she could crush Euron, and I wouldn’t mind seeing that happen. Everything happening in the south feels a bit futile however in light of the events at the wall.

Some Spoilers ahead for Season 8 Episode 1!

Following the destruction of the wall and the loss of a dragon last season,
Daenerys’ remaining flying friends have some adjusting to do. Understandably, they don’t enjoy the North, which leads to an epic/cringey flight montage with Dany and Jon to show off how cool Drogon and Rhaegal look now. This scene is also somewhat meta since Jon gets to ride the dragon named after his own father shortly before learning he’s half Targaryen. The dragons do seem to have a certain affection for Jon that they lack for others.

In additional to the dragons, this episode makes it a point to show the huge number of named characters who have found their way to Winterfell. Sandor Clegane, Gendry, Samwell, all of the Stark children (minus Rickon), Brienne, Tyrion, Varys, and Jaime are all together for once. It’s kind of an unprecedented meeting of major characters, which means things will inevitably go poorly.

Most of the northerners have misgivings about joining Daenerys in the war against the dead, but there isn’t much sense in infighting. Despite this, Jon seems conflicted after learning about her tyrannical murders on her way into Westeros. She may be a little crazy, but it’s also a little crazy to fight the girl with the dragons. I did appreciate the way Dany was forced to face the consequences of her murderous rampage through Samwell. What better character to make her (and all of us watching) remember that people are more than just adversaries to overcome.

Meanwhile, Cersei thinks she can send Bronn off to Winterfell to kill Jamie and Tyrion. I somehow have a feeling that his mission will end with the 3 of them getting drunk and swapping war stories. Sorry Cersei, bros before…Queens? Everything about Cersei’s current plans could quickly be ruined by dragons, zombies, snowstorms, or some combination of all three. I see no way season 8 ends happy for her.

Let me know your predictions for future episodes! Do you think Danaerys is losing it like her father? Have you found the chemistry between Jon and Dany? Let me know on Twitter!

Follow me on Instagram for more of my nerdy thoughts, and check back next week for my review of the next episode!

All photos courtesy of HBO.

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