Game of Thrones season 8 premiere was spectacularly satisfying



Early into Game Of Thrones’ season eight premiere, as Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) meets Sansa (Sophie Turner) for the first time, who in return gives her the iciest stare as she begrudgingly concedes Winterfell to the queen, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) interjects: We dont have time for this. As he explains, the Night King now has one of Daeneryss dragons, The Wall has fallen and the Army of the Dead is coming southward.

While previous seasons of GoT would have lingered in that meeting-the-family awkwardness, its as if creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are acknowledging to the audience that yes, there are only six episodes left and, yes, we have a lot of ground to cover. Lets not waste time.

Fittingly, the premiere episode Winterfell moves along at a brisk pace. Jon (Kit Harington) is finally reunited with Arya (Maisie Williams) and Bran, while Cersei (Lena Headey) schemes from Kings Landing, stupidly focusing on her own revenge fantasies (i.e. hiring Bronn (Jerome Flynn) to kill her treasonous brothers with a crossbow, naturally) rather than the imminent war with the Army of the Dead. Theon (Alfie Allen) rescues Yara (Gemma Whelan) from their uncles deathtrap ship, before heading out to Winterfell to fight alongside the Starks. The Night King and his crew murder some people in a grotesque fashion. And in the final scene of the episode, a cloaked, shaggy-haired Jaime makes eye contact with Bran, the kid he presumed dead after pushing him out of a tower when he accidentally saw him macking on his own sister.

Yet for all these milestones, we were also treated to some deliciously indulgent moments too, like lovebirds Jon and Daenerys big dragon flying adventure and Arya and Gendry (Joe Dempsie) flirting in the dragonglass workshop.

The episodes most consequential moment came when Sam (John Bradley) dropped the biggest bombshell on Jon. Not only is his new lover actually his aunt, that means hes also the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

This is something the viewer pieced together last season and even before that if youve been following the r/freefolk subreddit but it was still shocking to see it revealed as it generates so many questions. Will Jon and Dany stop their love affair? Will Jon fight for the crown? What if Dany, who is assumed to be infertile, is actually pregnant with Jons baby? Seeing as the world as they know it could be over soon, is their incestuous relationship even that big of a deal?

With only five episodes left, well find out all those answers soon enough.

This final season marks the end of the era, not only for Westeros, but also a certain type of prestige TV.

When Game of Thrones first aired in 2011, it joined a new vanguard of shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men, dramas where everyone watched together on the night it aired and dissected online and in person the next day. While there was still an abundance of critically successful shows during that time, it doesnt compare to the bounty there is now. If you were a serious TV watcher, it felt doable to keep up with everything, whereas now, it seems impossible. Or by the time you do get around to watching something, everyone else has already binged it, made their memes to post on Twitter and Reddit and moved on to the next shiny series.

Game of Thrones feels like the last vestige of a different time in TV. And judging from the premiere of season 8, its going to be spectacularly satisfying.

Game Of Thrones (season 8) airs weekly on Sunday nights through May 19 on HBO Canada and streams on Crave.


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