"game of thrones" season 8, episode 1 review/recap: "winterfell" is a return to greatness

     

The trò chơi of Thrones Season 8 premiere echoed the series' beginning as beloved faces met in all the old familiar places.

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Not having too much lớn do tonight, Daenerys very much is the conqueror who is surveying her new assets. It is fair lớn even ponder whether she is unconsciously disappointed that she’s taken the North without uttering “dracarys,” or that she is finally in a l& where she isn’t greeted as a liberator or “Mhysa.” She is here to lớn fight the Dead, but there is a clear tension between herself and the Northerners that is echoed when she remarks to lớn Jon that her dragons vày not lượt thích his kingdom.

One of the dragons’ brothers died in these lands, & she has already heard the child has been grotesquely resuscitated as a demon-beast for the Dead, and there apparently isn’t much food for a Long around the snowy plains of Winterfell either. There is meaning in that, for while Tyrion calls Daenerys’ dragons “fully grown,” the truth is dragons continue khổng lồ grow until the day they die—provided they eat và fly well. There does not appear lớn be enough space for Dany’s children, và thereby the crux of her power, among muốn these icy Northerners.

Mayhaps that is why Dany invites Jon to fly away with her on Rhageal. If so, it could have sầu been better articulated, because the monumental moment that all viewers have sầu anticipated—Jon Snow becoming the first & only man Dany considers worthy khổng lồ be a true Bloodrider—plays false. Narratively rushed with the frivolity of a romantic comedy date night sequence, Dany rather nonchalantly allows Jon Snow khổng lồ ride a baby in an event that should be profound, yet is oddly silly. The implications of Jon being a dragon rider are far greater than even Daenerys realizes as this former King in the North is a true Targaryen & the son of Rhaegal’s namesake. He may use this Long for more than just the coming storm of the Night King. Hence the sequence playing surprisingly flat as Dany và Jon breakaway for a little canoodling while the “children” disapprovingly stare on. It’s one of several wild tonal swings slightly undermining tonight.

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The others come at King’s Landing where important information is conveyed when we learn that Euron has successfully ferried the Golden Company to King’s Landing. It remains khổng lồ be seen if Cersei’s new army will actually head North with the intent of appearing after the fighting is done, and slaughtering whoever’s left, or if they will merely provide a new defense for the city after Drogon roasted most of the Lannister forces last season. Either way, these scenes are nothing except mostly an excuse to lớn offer a showcase for the ever graceful malevolence of Queen Cersei.

Able lớn convey more wickedness with the slight shift of position in her smirk than a thousvà blockbuster movie villain monologues, Lena Headey’s performance of Cersei remains a tremendous asset in subtlety for the series. Unfortunately, she’s left merely to play off of Euron Greyjoy, who seems increasingly lượt thích a character who accidentally got lost while headed for the sets of Starz’s defunct Spartacus series. All bellicose one-liners và double entendres, Euron is an R-rated cartoon who awkwardly seems lớn be trying khổng lồ fill the hole left by first Joffrey và then Ramsay as the character audiences are meant lớn hate. If he’s hateable, it’s for the wrong reasons.

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At least his buffoonish strutting gives us some needed insights into Cersei Lannister’s current mindphối. For starters, it’s obvious she still savors an arrogant man, and Euron has that in spades, more so than post-season 4 Jaime’s newfound nobility. Also, unlike the Cersei of the novels, Headey’s Mad Queen has seemingly remained relatively faithful to her twin—or at least as faithful as practicalities allow. Yet tonight she takes Euron inkhổng lồ her bed, much like Robert was wont lớn do with the many mistresses Cersei deemed his “whores.”

It would seem she really is severing all ties with the rest of her family, and Tyrion is not the only Lannister brother she wishes Bronn to lớn murder with a new bow. For while Bronn is relegated khổng lồ some season 1 levels of gratuitous sexposition, the subtext is all about Cersei’s state of mind. I predict that Bronn will not even come cđại bại khổng lồ using the same crossbow Tyrion held to slaughter Tywin unless it appears like Cersei has the upper-hvà (which would be very bad news for Daenerys’ dragons), but Cersei has placed Jaime in the same boat as Tyrion. She views him as equally culpable for their father’s death as the brother who pulled the trigger, & it would appear she is not thinking about the future of her house since the idea of Euron impregnating her with a prince catches her fleeting curiosity.

With a glass of wine in hvà, likely the same type vintage she refused in the presence of Tyrion during the season 7 finale, it increasingly appears dubious that Cersei is actually pregnant. If she is, Euron certainly did not notice, và if she isn’t, it would seem her sudden teetotaling posture was a ruse not just to lớn keep Jaime in her bed, but also Tyrion’s guard down. Which raises the question of what else did Tyrion and Cersei discuss when the camera cut away from hlặng falling inkhổng lồ her trap?


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But lest this Reviews appear to lớn be nothing but a slew of critiques (or nitpicks if you prefer), everything that occurred at Winterfell was, again, narrative sầu & cathartic gold of greater worth than Casterly Roông xã. Clearly intended khổng lồ be the hour of reunions, the first episode of season 8 had many familiar faces & scene-partners facing off once more. A special highlight was Sansa Stark bumping into lớn her first husb&. Despite sitting before the same royal hearth in Winterfell’s Great Hall, the two bởi vì not truly nói qua the screen until Tyrion approaches the Lady of Winterfell to lớn congratulate her on the loftiness of her title.

She returns the favor lớn the H& of the Queen. What’s intriguing about these two is that when we last saw them, she was as much a student of Tyrion’s sharp-tongued cunning as she was his hostaged child bride. Now an adult, it is Sansa who enjoys the sharp words. When Tyrion recalls Joffrey’s wedding as a “miserable affair,” Sansa dryly muses, “It had its moments.” One wonders if Tyrion really is so getting on in years that he could not properly appreciate such a jape. Then again, he’s in awe of the young woman who he notices is thriving after many, in fact all except for himself, wrote her off as a flighty fool in King’s Landing. Those doubters are all dead this cold morning, except for Cersei—a queen Tyrion has invited khổng lồ Winterfell. He genuinely should be in awe of Sansa though, as she’s the first to lớn anticipate the fact that the Lannisters are not coming (at least as friends). She calls herself a slow learner, but she did learn, và lượt thích Littlefinger warned, “Fight every battle everywhere, always, in your mind.”


But if Tyrion’s trip down memory lane with Sansa is understated, that is nothing compared to how the Hound receives Arya. Standing by Gendry, he seems to be the first lớn recognize the child who left him to lớn die on the side of a hill. His gruff attempt lớn feign indifference betrays how hurt he still is by Arya’s abandonment. It also allows Gendry a chance for a genuine meet-đáng yêu with the Baratheon bastard she knew in a different life. As the warmest & genuinely most wholesome moment of the night, it is Gendry instead of Jon who brings out some of Arya’s youthful girlish charm when he begins referring khổng lồ her as “milady” & deadpans that she’s lượt thích every other rich girl. The smile Maisie Williams intones is infectious. Clearly meant khổng lồ launch a thous& memes, the moment suggests that more than the Dragon và the Wolf, Robert’s dream of uniting the Wolf và the Stag is the most tangible “endgame” shipper’s delight on the horizon.

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This seems all the truer after the most important reunions turned out lớn involve sầu the burden of knowledge carried by one Samwell Tarly. The first begins amusingly enough with Daenerys Targaryen coming lớn thank Sam for saving Jorah Mormont’s life. Ser Jorah, with few lines, looks lượt thích the cát who swallowed the cream just to be pleasantly baông xã in the friend zone, albeit now with a lifetime’s highest seat of honor. Sam, ever the nerd, even uses this golden opportunity not to lớn ask for a pardon from the Night’s Watch though, but a pardon for stealing a handful of books from the Citadel. Things, sadly, then take a sudden sharp turn when Daenerys realizes that Samwell Tarly is the son of Randyll Tarly and brother to lớn Dickon Tarly, two men she sentenced lớn death.

Not enough credit is given lớn John Bradley. Often relegated khổng lồ the comic relief, Bradley and Sam remain a lighthouse-sized beacon of optimism in this dreary world. Its importance is evident from the way in which we witness it evaporate in a long close-up as he attempts (and fails) lớn swallow his tears, his rage, and his confusion at the revelation that the happy young woman in front of hlặng basically murdered his family. He might’ve hated his father, but to lớn learn the old man was consumed in dragonfire after surrendering lớn the Dragon Queen is no endearment. Suddenly, Dany’s show of strength in season 7 looks lớn be a major weakness and fallibility in season 8. George R.R. Martin would be proud.

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This contrast is underscored when Bran forces Sam khổng lồ only then reveal their findings to Jon Snow: You are Aegon Targaryen, the Sixth of Your Name. So it is that, perhaps lớn all’s surprise considering they were only separated for a season, Sam and Jon tóm tắt the most heartfelt embrace. At that moment, Jon is trying lớn keep his head entirely in the game about the White Walkers. They are the existential threat of nature that is coming as sure as a hurricane. And yet, if the world does not over, there will still be troubles in it, và in classic Game of Thrones fashion, it is not in the forms we expect or want.

As Sam utters repeatedly, Jon Snow is the one true King of the Seven Kingdoms. If Daenerys’ claim on the Iron Throne is legitimate, then Jon’s is even more so. That this is unveiled in the crypts of Winterfell is a visual stroke if brilliance. As Jon grapples with the childhood-shattering truth that Ned Stark lied lớn hyên, it is in the shadow of his actual mother’s grave. For all these years, the mother he yearned to lớn know about rested beneath his feet, & he had laid his eye’s on her stony countenance (or at least its approximation) more than a thousvà times. It will likely be open lớn debate which is the bigger sense of horror: learning that your father lied to you about your parentage or to know that you’re destined to be drawn inkhổng lồ another line of political machinations for control of an accursed land?

Never has a man looked more sorrowful to lớn hear he’s the chosen one than Jon bloody Snow. It was likely as much a relief as an act of love sầu when he surrendered his crown to lớn Daenerys; he never wanted lớn be Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, nor did he want to lớn be King in the North. Now he has leadership thrust on hlặng again, & by a dear frikết thúc who is only too eager khổng lồ push it. Surely Jon Snow wouldn’t have roasted his father alive! Surely Jon Snow will set things right when he takes his place as the rightful King of the Seven Kingdoms! The likelihood of Sam keeping this secret is next to none after learning his family is ash. As Sam notes, Jon gave sầu up his crown for the safety of his people, but would Dany?


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