Game of Thrones is back: Season 8 Episode 1 reviewed and Episode 2 predictions

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Rhaegal watches intently (Credit :HBO)

Game of Thrones returned for season 8 back in the middle of the night, like a murder-loving Santa and Getintothis’ Nathan Scally has taken a glance at Westeros.

With absolutely no regard for those not living in the United States, early Monday morning was the only way to not risk getting the first instalment spoiled.

We’ve waited since August 2017, and Game of Thrones is back with intent.

*** SPOlLER  ALERT! Details of Episode 1 Season 8 of Game of Thrones follows*** 

A whole new title sequence, completely dismissing all but four locations in all of Westeros. Starting with the Dale Winton-worthy, hole in The Wall, before a brief stop at Last Hearth, and rounding off with some in-depth looks at Winterfell and Kings Landing.

Most notably, a deep dive into the crypts of Winterfell, all but confirming a popular theory that something (probably The Great Other) is down there.

You can expect the title sequence to change each week.

If we get a new one each week (we probably will) then it’s going to give us gussers a break on what’s happening.

Each week we’ll get a teaser of what’s to come in the next instalment. And as predicted, there’s no battling. Just preparations for possibly the largest the show has ever seen.

Let’s cast our minds back to the end of Episode 1. Bran has been waiting for an old friend, little did we know that’s attempted-murderer Jaime Lannister.

The Kingslayer has grown a lot since they last met, he’s almost an entirely new man. His arc is one of the most drastic in the series – going from absolute dickhead to he’s pretty cool actually.

His dressing down will take up the first 10-15 minutes of the episode. Expect threats and apologies galore. Follow by an emotional-and-handsome-apology for pushing Bran out of a window.

The majority of the instalment number 2 is going to be spent prepping for those pesky dead people. Tormund and Berric are going to crash the party, with the old ‘the dead are coming’ party pooper.

Quick predictions for Epsidoe 2:

Jon will come centimetre-close to telling Dany about his true parentage and bottle it.

Greyworm will get a loooooong goodbye. (He’s dead)

Jorah will have his fourth farewell with Dany. (Also dead)

It’s going to be all farewells. With a quarter of the cast dying next week.

They’ll be nothing close to the happy-chappy first episode one which included some probably unintentional references to popular culture.

The child dashing through the crowd and up a tree to get the ultimate Unsullied-watching spot has hints of Bran from the pilot. However it’s almost a homage to the perpetual Christmas Coke truck advert.

After the message from Westeros‘ sponsors, we got a quick preview of Arya’s This Is Your Lifefeaturing her brother/cousin Jon Snow, former companion/enemy The Hound, and long lost friend Gendry.

Later, Jon Snow ditches the VR headset and opts for the slightly more realistic version of the popular movie franchise, How To Train Your Dragon ending with a stare down not unlike that seen in Meet the Parents.

This then followed by a huge callback to a scene in Season 3. Dany stating “we could stay hear a thousand years” is almost exactly the same as Jon and Ygritte‘s plea in the cave.

Overall, the episode felt rushed yet composed. Which is entirely understandable. The writers had been tasked with bringing together even more characters than last season. Some who haven’t yet met (Dany and almost the entire North) and those who are yet to meet since the first episode (Jon and Arya, Jaime and Bran). All while setting up the season’s main events.

So far Bran is dithering between random exposition generator and 20 year old computer trying to run the latest software.

The poor lad has so much going on in his head, he’s only really in the moment for a few moments each episode – the rest of the time, he’s staring directly into the soul of anyone catching his gaze. Which is everyone, he’s been sat in the courtyard for a whole day.

Arguably Bran’s second most-important outburst prompts Sam to spill everything to Jon regarding his lineage, throwing up some moral issues he now faces i.e. the Ruler of the Realm. And that’s before he figures out he’s now in love with his Auntie.

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As well as one of the most anticipated moments in the show, it’s notable for the next stage in Sam’s arc.

Since setting off to become a maester, he’s robbed his family sword, ‘borrowed’ some books from the Citadel, and defied orders to save Ser Jorah Mormont with the latter leading him to learn of the fate of his father and brother.

No longer the self-proclaimed coward from Season 1, he’s got a distinct fire in his belly when demanding Jon accept his true lineage.

We also see Theon rescue Yara in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it SAS-esque sneak attack on Euron’s fleet – instantly quashing our theory he’ll die during the attempt. Instead we can expect to see his and Jon‘s ‘you can be a Stark and a Greyjoy speech come full circle following Sam’s bombshell.

Kings Landing is a mere afterthought, only appearing a few times to introduce Harry Strickland and his elephant-less Golden Company, give us a glimpse into Euron’s intentions and also show Cersei will do anything for power.

It’s evident she hasn’t got a complete grip on what’s going on – Bronn has grown too much of a conscience to assassinate the Lannister brothers.

What is on the surface, an Arya reunion with The Hound and Gendry, its covertly showing us Dragonglass is definitely malleable. From makeshift daggers to fully fledged axes and arrows, the living might just stand a chance.

Gendry and Arya share a moment (Credit HBO)

This episode is packed full of drama, there’s proposals of proposals, clashes between our main characters and reunions aplenty. One of the few comic relief moments is executed perfectly.

As stated early on, there’s not much use in The Night’s Watch manning the wall anymore. Gifting us the ‘Stay back, he’s got blue eyes…’ ‘I’ve always had blue eyes!’ Interaction between Dolorous Edd and Tormund.

The Lord Commander and leader of The Free Folk have found house Umber wiped off the board and drafted into the army of the undead. With nothing left but young Ned Umber‘s corpse and a swirl of limbs we’ve seen since episode 1, the Night King and his army are making some serious ground on their way to spring whatever lies beneath Winterfell.

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This episode with little action has perfectly set up almost every character to do big things over the next few weeks. You can expect to see Jaime get a light grilling before Tormund, Edd and Beric have everyone manning the battle stations for the first big battle in Episode 3.

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