Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1 Review: The Show of Many Meetings


The evening started with screams.

I invited my long-time friends, Mia and Bubba, to watch the Game of Thrones season premiere with me today. They came over early, which may not have been a good plan because we were as tense as a drawn bowstring during the hours leading up to it. We are all avid Thronies, so when the episode (called “Winterfell”) finally began, we trembled and giggled like antsy children.

And right off the bat, the show let us know that it meant business.

The opening sequence was changed.

Normally, when the opening credits appear and the awesome theme song begins to play, we take a tour of Westeros, soaring over a mini-map that unfolds before us, showing us the many locations that will appear in the season.

This time around, our tour was shortened to two major locations: Winterfell and King’s Landing. Instead of roaming the continent, the mini-map instead dived into the respective castles of these two places and showed us their familiar interiors.

Just that change alone had us squealing.

This episode was all about meetings. Those long-anticipated reunions we have been waiting for since Season 7 ended finally happened. Gendry met Arya, Arya met Jon, Dany met Sansa, Sansa met Tyrion, etc. If I listed every new meeting and brief reunion that occurred in this episode, I would be here forever. Even though some of these meetings were woefully short, I enjoyed each and every one.

Daenerys Targaryen arrives at Winterfell with all her pomp and circumstance. While it’s delightful to see people reacting to her dragons flying overhead, I wish people would be more accepting of Dany and the help she is bringing to them. True, Northerners are not a trusting folk, but they should at least have an idea of the threat that is looming over them. You would think they’d be marginally pleased at the big army and two dragons Dany is bringing to their aid. They seriously do not have the leisure or the time to be distrustful.

“Time” is also a commodity in short supply for the episode as a whole. Because of all these reunions, reactions to huge revelations are not always given their due. Bran, at one point, tells Dany that he has seen Viserion turned into a wight, but beyond a slight look of dismay on Dany’s face, this piece of information is not given any more time.

While Dany is getting acquainted with the North, Cersei is patiently brooding in King’s Landing. The Golden Company, the group of sellswords she hired from the Iron Bank, shows up in all its glory, but we have yet to see them in action.

Cersei may not have to face White Walkers (yet), but she does have to deal with Euron Greyjoy, her ally from the Iron Islands. He is a mega-arrogant asshole, and the strange thing is she allows him to be. I’m waiting to see what happens between them. Rather, I’m waiting to see who stabs who in the back first.

Surprisingly, Theon rescues his sister Yara from Euron in this first episode. I felt like grabbing a Staples button and pressing it so I could hear, “That was easy,” in its robotic, dulcet tones. (Let me know if you get that particular reference.) The last we see of them is Yara heading back to the Iron Islands and Theon on his way to Winterfell to help his adopted family.

By far the best part of this episode was seeing Jon ride Rhaegal. That’s right folks, Jon rode a dragon. He and Daenerys are clearly still in love with each other, and they take a flight on her dragons in order to get away for a short amount of time.

Daenerys was the one who suggested Jon hop on, and I’m really surprised she did. She must really like him a lot if she trusts him with one of her babies. Or maybe she secretly hates him and wanted him to fall off (which he very nearly did).

The saddest moment of the show occurred when Dany approached Samwell Tarly in the libraries of Winterfell. After curing Jorah Mormont of Greyscale, Samwell has unknowingly placed Daenerys Targaryen in his debt. She goes up to him, pleasantly prepared to give him a hearty thank you, but her gratitude is marred when she finds out who he is.

If you all can recall from Season 7, Dany burned Randyll and Dickon Tarly, Sam’s father and brother, when they refused to bend the knee. During her conversation with Sam, she’s forced to tell him what she did, thereby scorching any chance the two of them had of being friendly toward one another.

Honestly, you could see this coming a mile away. Daenerys was strongly urged not to execute the Tarlys, but she did anyway. I actually appreciate the fact that her savage nature (which, yeah, I have cheered on in other episodes, but still) is receiving its comeuppance.

However, I’m wincing at Samwell’s tearful response. He didn’t even like his father, but it still hurt him. And seeing Sam hurting hurts me.

Sam finally tells Jon of his true heritage after his encounter with Dany. He strongly urges Jon to take up the mantle of King of the Seven Kingdoms because he is convinced that Dany would not make a good queen after what she has done. (You can’t blame him.) Jon is left pondering what this means for him and his life.

On an equally important note, Tormund is revealed to be alive! He, Beric Dondarrion, and even Dolorous Edd Tollett survived the breaking of the Wall. They are hauling ass to Winterfell to warn the people there that the White Walkers are a day away.

The episode ends with, perhaps, the most unexpected reunion. I was completely caught off guard because I did not think of it at all. Here I was anticipating the Hound and Arya meeting up again and stuff like that, but I completely forgot about the reunion between Jaime and Bran.

The episode ends with Jaime Lannister arriving at Winterfell after fleeing from his deranged sister. The first face he sees is Bran, who has been chilling in his wheelchair by the entrance to Winterfell waiting for an “old friend.” Apparently, by “old friend,” he meant the man who pushed him out a window all those years ago.

I am so pumped for the next episode, you guys. I can’t even with this show.

Have you seen it? Are you going to? It’s one heck of a wild ride (a dragon ride, maybe).

8 thoughts on “Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1 Review: The Show of Many Meetings”

  1. My friends and I all lost it at the opening, too. I agree with you that it was good to see Dany face some sort of consequence for her ruthlessness. I’m sure this is going to come up between she and Sam before the finale.

    It was a great episode for reunions, both positive and negative. It was pretty cool to see everything come full circle. The first two episodes have done an awesome job setting the table for the chaos that is going to come. Really excited for tonight’s episode.

    Liked by 1 person

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