The 5 Biggest Takeaways From The ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 Premiere
Game of Thrones has finally returned for its final season. We’re breaking down our five biggest takeaways from the much anticipated first episode of season eight. We had no major character deaths, which may surprise some, but the character drama in this episode is what we as viewers were really able to draw from. We had many reunions, we had a lot of characters find out stuff we already knew, and we’re finally seeing the plot setup for the endgame.
John, Daenerys, And The Dragons
Even though many of us had already suspected this for years, the reveal of Jon Snow actually being a Targaryen made this scene feel very different from his last interactions with the dragons. Just like Daenerys, Jon has Targaryen blood, while she assumes her dragons are being a good judge of character, it's actually the fact that they are family that gets these dragons to warm up to him so much.
Still, we couldn't help but get swept up in this roller coaster dragon flight across the North, reminiscent of Aladdin's magic carpet ride. (We fully expected them to sing "A Whole New World.")
The Royal Arrival Juxtapositions
This is the last season premiere of the show, and it seems the crew decided to get a little nostalgic. The opening scene featured a child excitedly bursting through a crowd to see the arrival of Queen Daenerys and Jon Snow, and we even see Arya step out of the way for the boy. In the pilot episode, we saw Arya doing the same thing, climbing up, desperate to get a glimpse of the arrival of King Baratheon and Queen Cersei.
Another ironic callback is that the pilot also ended with Bran Stark and Jaime Lannister, after Bran catches Jamie making love to Cersei and he throws him out of the window in an attempted murder. This episode ended with their first encounter since then, in which it appears Bran actually has something in store for him, as he said he was awaiting an "old friend."
Sam's Harsh Truths
Back-to-back punches pummeled Sam Tarly in the gut in this episode. While having a delightfully positive meeting with Queen Daenerys, Sam brings up the name of his house, Tarly, in casual conversation. Rather than letting the situation go farther, Daenerys spills the beans that she executed his father. While this hurts Sam, he is happy he can return home to see his brother.
When Daenerys reveals that he was killed, too, Sam has a noticeably stronger reaction, as his brother was a good man, and was kind to Sam (unlike his father). This triggers Sam's mistrust with the Queen, so it'll be interesting to see where the plot line goes. He quickly shares the news with Jon that Daenerys is Jon's aunt, without knowing that Jon and Daenerys had slept with one another. Jon is higher up in the royal line of succession than Daenerys and he is the rightful heir to the throne.
The other reminder with this is that when the Tarlys burned alive, it seemed the house would be lost forever. Sam, who has no plans to go back and finish his quest to become a maester, will likely get a chance move the house forward along with Gilly for the foreseeable future.
Theon Leaves To Reunite With The Starks
Theon has been one of the most up and down characters on the show. He went from friend to foe to friend to foe, from hero to coward to hero to coward. Sometimes, it's hard to keep track of where he is as a character. Knowing we only have five episodes left, it seems the endgame for Theon is to let him bravely try to fix all of the mistakes he's made.
The irony of the talk he had with Jon in the last episode is that he is a Greyjoy and a Stark, when that's an allegiance Jon will likely struggle with moving forward (between his family being Stark or Targaryen). The episode ends with Theon finally earning the respect of his sister, becoming a part of the Greyjoy family once and for all, and then immediately heading to Winterfell to fight for his other family, a poetic final arc for a complicated character indeed.
Sansa Cuts Through The Bull
We imagine most of the responses to Sansa's attitude being negative. No character that makes snide comments to Daenerys ever becomes a fan favorite, but if you think back at the entire history of the show, Sansa has very good reasons for her distrust in the decisions of Jon Snow and in Daenerys.
A telling line Sansa said last season is: "No one can protect anyone." She has seen so many people who have sworn to protect her be completely and utterly unable to do so. She's seen time and time again people make a single mistake against their enemies and perish. Looking at the remaining Stark children, Bran is some sort of god, Jon has become a king, Arya has become an elite assassin (the show even showed that she snuck up on Jon outside Winterfell).
At first glance, it's easy to think Sansa is the one that grew the least, when in some ways she grew the most. While she hates her enemies, Cersei particularly, she learned a great deal from them. People will continue to underestimate her, (RIP Littlefinger) but many are playing checkers while she is playing chess. It's notable when she tells Tyrion she used to think he was "the most clever person in the world." So far, she's the only person to see through Cersei's massive lie.