Game of Thrones S8 E1 – Winterfell Review

Greetings my TV Geeks!

Warning for Spoilers!

It’s back. After a long 595 days wait, Game of Thrones has finally returned. After seven seasons of build-up we’re here to see how it all ends and who will sit upon the Iron Throne. Now the Season 8 Premier has debuted it’s hard to believe there are only five episodes left. From the Pilot Episode where we saw the White Walkers attack the Scouts from the Wall to a reanimated dragon destroying The Wall in the season 7 finale, and yet they hold off on the White Walker action save a small scene at the end. (5 episodes left!!!)

Season 8 Premier is a sedate affair, using the 54 minute runtime to whet our appetites and ease us back in after a long hiatus. The pacing was good save for a couple of scenes that could have been better served with a little extra runtime. But overall, it was the usual season premier to re-establish who the characters are and where they are positioned on the Westeros Chess Board.

Winter Has Come

The opening scene of a young boy running through and climbing to watch the arriving Unsullied and Dothraki armies arrive in Winterfell mirrors that of Bran climbing to see Robert and Cersei arrive in episode 1. Early on we can see they are staring to tie up all the loose ends that have been dangling from season 1, with the closing scenes of Bran meeting Jaime Lannister for the first time since he threw him out of the window. It cut to black, but we all know Bran holds no grudges!

Armies are arriving at Winterfell to aid in the fight against the dead. The Unifying of Westeros to battle the Greater Threat isn’t going as smoothly. The Northerners complain that they crowned Jon Snow as King of the North and not Daenerys Targaryen. There are still rumblings under the surface of the unease caused by the wars. Jon is still expecting for Cersei to send her armies North to aid in the battle. But with the arrival of Jaime at the end of the episode suggests he will tell them she won’t be sending reinforcements.

Loose Ends

There are reunions throughout the episode, with Jon and Arya, who haven’t seen each other since he gifted Needle to her in Season 1. The aforementioned Jaime and Bran reunion will be fleshed out in episode 2. There were reunions for Jon and Bran, Arya and the Hound, and Arya and Gendry. There is also the reunion of the Greyjoy siblings, as Theon rescues Yara from Euron’s ship, which seemed a little too hasty and clean. It was a stealthy rescue that seemed to take mere minutes from start to hasty finish. Theon then quickly departs for Winterfell as Yara goes back to reclaim Pyke from Euron’s men. It’s one of the disadvantages of the shorter runtime and reduced episode number for the season.

But there is another moment that seemed a little disjointed. At first we see Tyrion, Varys and Davos starting to ‘Play the Game’ from the ramparts of Winterfell as they wonder if Daenerys and Jon would be good leadership for the country. But it then turns into a quick jaunt on the dragons that had more in common with a Disney film than Game of Thrones. It’s clear that they want to push the romantic tension between Jon and Daenerys. But when they add in a moment of Jon being eyeballed by Drogon for kissing its mother, have they taken the levity too far? It is the calm before the storm I suppose!

R+L = J

But there was also the reveal that Ned wasn’t Jon’s father with Sam and Bran deciding it was time for Jon to know. A nice reveal set down at the foot of Ned’s tomb, but again this is one of the threads that we won’t see the end of any time soon. It also gives the earlier scene between Jon and Daenerys have more weight, even if it did end with the eyeballing dragon. This opens up a rift between Sam and Jon, as Daenerys admitted to Sam that she killed both his father and brother. Will Sam kill Daenerys? I can’t see that yet, maybe when she’s carrying Jon’s baby then it’ll be a death worthy of Game of Thrones.

Overall

Overall the episode held up. It set the scene, we saw all the major players and where they are. This season looks like it will go into more detail and expand character development. The opening titles echo this by focusing on the opposing rooms of the Houses, such as the Great Hall in Winterfell and the Throne Room in King’s Landing. We only have five Game of Thrones episodes left and none as short as this. We are in for a treat and despite its slow start it can only get bigger and hopefully better from here.

Thank you for reading. Did you enjoy the episode? Was it worth the 595 day wait? Let me know in the comments or @MovieUltimate. There are more articles on the website that you may enjoy, like our recent Shazam Review.

List of Game of Thrones Episode runtimes because I’m nice!

Winterfell – 54 minutes

Two – 58 minutes

Three – 82 minutes

Four – 78 minutes

Five – 79 minutes

Six– 79 minutes

Nathaniel Jepson

I am the Ultimate Movie Geek and I love movies. I also have a movie based podcast called the Man About a Dog Movie Pod or MAaD Movie Pod.