TL;DR – In the first episode of the final season all the characters are moved into place, before the onslaught of the coming doom.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
And so it begins. When that first episode aired back in 2011 everything was different, and it changed the television landscape in a way we are still feeling today. It is with this that I come to the final season with a little trepidation. I don’t know how the show will end, but I know a lot of the characters that we have come to love over the years probably won’t make it and if any show has prepared us for an unhappy ending, this is it. Well, today we delve into the first episode of the final season as the growing disaster looms.
So to set the scene, at the end of The Dragon and the Wolf all hell broke loose as the big bad used Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) reanimated dragon to blow a hole in The Wall allowing the undead to march through. As we prepare for what is about to hit, armies are moving into place as John Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys arrive in Winterfell with their Unsullied and Dothraki armies … oh and two dragons. Word has reached Winterfell of The Wall’s fall, so Sansa (Sophie Turner) has ordered all of her bannermen to retreat to the capital as the last stand because that is where all the armies, even the coming Lannister’s will go to, but then Cersei (Lena Headey) has other ideas. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
is something of an interesting episode because on the surface not a lot happens
and since there is only six episodes to go before the end that should feel like
a travesty, but it doesn’t. That is because this is an episode where everyone
is arriving where they need to be, but more than that, it is an episode where
everyone gets a chance to have a character moment. Some of these moments are
big momentous set pieces as Daenerys and John flying through the air on the
back of dragons landing near a waterfall and giving John serious “we can kill
you” eyes as he embraces Dany. They are often times quite emotional, like when Samwell
(John Bradley) finds out that his father and brother have been killed and that
he is the last heir of the Tarly family. Or they are moments of Sansa and Arya
(Maisie Williams) showing once again that they might be the only ones left
actually playing the game.
It very much feels like this was an episode that they used to clear out all the past subplots left dangling in the series, well most of them. We get John finally finding out who he really is, we get Theon (Alfie Allen) finally stand up and rescue his sister Yara (Gemma Whelan), we see that the bad alliance of Cersei and Euron (Pilou Asbæk) is continuing, and we get all caught up on the issues around John not being the King in the North which is a bit of a big deal. This is also an episode of reunions which we see right from the very start as Arya sees first Clegane (Rory McCann) and then Gendry (Joe Dempsie) arrive. Part of this is helped by the fact that I think they just leave Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) out in the courtyard so he can run into people.
We have advisers advising, we have Lyanna (Bella Ramsey) throwing all the shade, some sexposition, and the coming dead leaving macabre artworks. It feels like it is a best of the episode giving you a last chance to reminisce about everything before the coming dawn. Indeed the opening of the episode feels almost identical in tone to the arrival in Winter is Coming all those years ago. Though that tonal shift of the complete change up of the opening title sequence hits you in a way I was not expecting.
In the end, do we recommend Winterfell? Yes, yes we do. I might be talking as someone caught up in this cultural moment, but it felt great to be back into this world, even though I know that pain is coming. However, I will say that while it was good to have all those moments, having something tangible to walk away from that episode with could have helped.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Trailer – Click
Here to View (all trailers have heavy spoilers)
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Game of Thrones
Directed by – David Nutter
Written by – Dave Hill
Based off – A Song of Fire and Ice by George R.R. Martin
Created for TV by – David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Music by – Ramin Djawadi
Production/Disruption Companies – Home Box Office (HBO)
Starring in Season 8 – Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Liam Cunningham, Nathalie Emmanuel, Alfie Allen, John Bradley, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Gwendoline Christie, Conleth Hill, Rory McCann, Jerome Flynn, Kristofer Hivju, Jacob Anderson & Iain Glen with Pilou Asbæk, Anton Lesser, Richard Dormer, Gemma Whelan, Ben Crompton, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, Daniel Portman, Rupert Vansittart, Bella Ramsey, Marc Rissmann, Megan Parkinson and Richard Rycroft, Harry Grasby, Lucy Aarden, Marina Lawrence-Mahrra, Josephine Gillan, Staz Nair, Felix Jamieson, Syd Ralph, Eileen McCloskey & Katie Tumelty