Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 Review: Turning the Tables on Fate

As I write this, I know that people are going to be steamed at Game of Thrones. This latest episode, “The Bells,” is an emotional wringer. Characters die, and some of their deaths spit in the face of some rampant fan theories. I checked on Twitter to see general reactions, and a lot of people seem pissed that all this character development has “gone to waste.”

That’s the phrase I keep seeing.

“Gone to waste.”

I don’t think that.

Now, I’m not saying I was thrilled to see the destruction in this episode. But I do not think that a single part of the show has “gone to waste.”

One of the things I like about Game of Thrones is the idea that fate is just a word. Sure, beings like the Red God or the Three-Eyed Raven occasionally swagger forward throwing their weight around, but at the end of the day, death is the only sure thing in this world. Magic and miracles are fickle.

Death doesn’t care whether you grew as a person, got your revenge, or met the love of your life. It just is.

So even though Episode 5 of this season wiped out a bunch of main characters, I do not feel as if the whole show has “gone to waste.”

That’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

So the episode opens with Dany still mourning the loss of Missandei back on Dragonstone. She has not been eating or sleeping. She has been keeping to herself.

I felt terribly sorry for her while watching this because no one goes to her to comfort her or be with her in her hour of need. Her isolation is an awful thing, and I wish someone could have reached out to her.

Varys is taking this opportunity to write letters. Who these letters are for exactly is unknown. We do know that each letter basically contains the secret of Jon’s birth. Apparently, Varys is doing more than talking about betraying Dany. He is actually betraying her.

Tyrion decides to remain loyal to his queen. He tells her that Varys has betrayed her.

As if to underscore that point, when Jon arrives at Dragonstone, Varys approaches him and not-so-subtly tells him that he should be king. Thankfully, Jon remains his loyal self and tells Varys he is loyal to his queen.

However, when Jon goes to see Dany, she is clearly a wreck. She sits alone at a fire with a very uncommunicative Grey Worm nearby. When Jon comes in, she tells him of Varys’ betrayal and, perhaps for the last time, reaches out to Jon. Jon maintains his loyalty to her, but knowing that she is his aunt prevents him (damn) from comforting her in other ways.

Later that night, Varys is arrested by the Unsullied. He’s taken to the beach where Dany, Tyrion, and Jon are waiting.

Yes, you guessed it. Varys is put to death for treason against the queen.

It was a very sad moment because you know that Varys is acting for what he believes to be the good of the realm. When I first saw this moment, however, I couldn’t help thinking about how ardently he used to promote Dany’s cause. His betrayal felt sudden, and I couldn’t blame Dany for wanting to punish him.

Though maybe Dany should consider another form of execution instead of roasting people alive with Drogon all the time.

Just before Dany’s assault on King’s Landing begins, Tyrion begs her to keep the common people in mind, the innocents of the city. He tells her that the bells of King’s Landing will ring when Cersei’s forces have surrendered. If they do ring, Tyrion pleads for Dany to stop her attack on the city. Dany nods once.

Now, Jaime, if you recall, left Winterfell and Brienne to return to King’s Landing and Cersei. He got himself caught by Dany’s forces outside of the city. Dany tells Tyrion about this, and of course, the first thing Tyrion does when he reaches the army’s encampment is find his older brother.

What follows is one of the most emotional scenes in the whole episode. (And there are a lot of emotional scenes.)

Tyrion knows that Jaime is going back to King’s Landing to rescue Cersei or die trying. Tyrion knows that Cersei is a tyrant that Jaime can’t help loving.

But he releases him anyways.

They hug each other one last time, and Tyrion tells Jaime that he (Jaime) is the one person in his (Tyrion’s) life who has never thought of him as a monster. Then they part ways.

The day of the battle arrives, and I honestly thought things were going to go terribly for Dany’s side. Their forces were severely depleted after their fight with the Night King, only one of the original three dragons remains, and the defending army is bolstered by the Golden Company and the Iron Fleet.

But Game of Thrones got me.

Once Dany arrived with Drogon, King’s Landing was doomed.

Drogon set all the scorpions on fire. The battlements never stood a chance. He and Dany just flew by so quickly. The Iron Fleet posed no threat either. Drogon set those poor wooden ships ablaze in seconds. And the Golden Company? They were incinerated.

Eventually, the Lannister forces throw down their arms because they realize how futile it is to fight against a dragon when all you really have are swords. Cersei can only watch in displeasure as the bells of King’s Landing are rung.

Here’s the thing.

Even though the bells were rung signalling the surrender of King’s Landing, Dany decides to burn them all anyway. She starts taking Drogon on strafing runs over the entire city, over soldiers and innocents alike.

Poor Jon Snow, who was leading the Northern forces through the city, has to watch as the scene devolves into chaos. Soldiers on his side, the “good guys,” start rampaging through the streets, slaughtering women and children. Jon actually has to kill one of his own men who was trying to rape a woman.

Aside from seeing Daenerys’ face as she makes the decision to destroy everything, we don’t see her expression at all once she begins. The rest of the slaughter is seen from the perspective of the people on the streets.

However, back at the Red Keep, Cersei is finally persuaded by Qyburn to get the hell out of dodge. She, Qyburn, and the Mountain descend the stairs, hoping to reach Maegor’s Holdfast and survive the onslaught.

Two parties are trying to reach Cersei specifically at this point. Daenerys isn’t one of them. She’s just looking to set everything on fire. Jaime is trying to sneak into the Red Keep to get Cersei out of there. And Arya and the Hound are trying to get inside to murder her.

Let’s start with Jaime.

He has trouble getting into the Red Keep through the front gates, so he goes through the secret tunnel that leads from a cave on the beach to the caverns beneath the Red Keep. Unfortunately, Euron, who somehow survived Dany’s assault on the Iron Fleet has washed up to this exact spot. The two engage in a sword fight, they both get wounded, but Euron gets wounded more.

It was a lot more intense than I’m currently describing it, but all you need to know is that Euron eats it and Jaime makes it (for the most part).

Arya is as determined as Jaime to reach Cersei, but for completely different reasons. However, once they reach the Red Keep, the place is shaking and crumbling apart from Dany’s attacks on the structure. The Hound pulls Arya aside and brings her to her senses. He tells her that no one is coming out of this place alive, and she should get out while she still can. There’s no hope for him, but there’s still hope for her.

For once, Arya chooses life over death.

It was sweet to see this moment of closeness between her and the Hound. But it felt oddly out-of-character for Arya to decide to just leave him.

The Hound meets Cersei, Qyburn, and the Mountain on the stairs as they’re coming down and engages in battle with his brother. Qyburn tries to stop the Mountain from fighting the Hound and gets a skull full of rock for his trouble.

Cersei is now officially alone.

And even though she started this whole thing, I felt bad for her.

God, this episode was all about me feeling bad for people who may or may not deserve it.

The Hound and the Mountain duke it out. It’s epic as fudge. At one point, you think the Mountain is going to pull his Oberyn Martell special on his brother, you know, thumbs through the eyeholes? But the Hound stabs a dagger into his brother’s eye, then pushes him off the building for good measure. Sadly, the Hound also falls off with his brother since it was a whole-body kind of push, and the two Clegane brothers meet death together.

They either splattered on the concrete or the flames from Drogon’s fires consumed them. Either way…oof. There goes the Hound.

Cersei makes it to one of the lower floors of the Red Keep, but she’s all alone. You can see the despair on her face. And just when she needs him most, Jaime appears beside her. He’s made his way to her with two stab wounds from his fight with Euron.

Their reunion, next to Tyrion and Jaime’s hushed good-bye, was strangely the moment that choked me up the most. I never liked Cersei much. She is such a selfish woman, with no thought of kindness in her head. But I felt…moved…by her desperation.

And Jaime has changed so much since we first saw him in Season 1, but he still can’t escape his feelings for Cersei. He traveled to King’s Landing knowing he would probably die, just so he could die with his twin/lover. That whole incest thing is still weird, but now it has a sense of pure sorrow to it that feels earned.

Jaime leads Cersei back the way he came, but the tunnel he used has collapsed from the destruction Dany is wreaking up above. Together, Jaime and Cersei are crushed by the collapsing cave.

Arya’s journey through King’s Landing is the most harrowing one. Following her through the burning, crumbling avenues was exhausting just to watch. It has the same kind of chaos to it that the D-Day scene in Saving Private Ryan has. She has some near misses, but she makes it out of the city alive.

And that’s where the episode leaves us.

There is only one more episode to go before the season and the show ends for good.

With most of Season 8 done, I can look back at the show in its entirety.

And you know what?

I can honestly say no matter how the show ends, my time watching it has not “gone to waste.”

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 Review: That Escalated Quickly

The third episode of Game of Thrones left me with so many questions.

With the Night King dead, what did that mean for the story at large? Ever since the opening scene in the very first season, the threat of the White Walkers has loomed over the plot like a tidal wave you can’t ignore. After Arya annihilated the undead threat with a single stab of a dagger, I couldn’t help being a bit stupefied at the prospect of a show without them.

I mean, after facing the living dead, what sort of threat could our heroes possibly come up against that would pose a serious problem?

The answer? Themselves.

Let’s start at the beginning of Episode 4, “The Last of the Starks.”

The survivors of the Battle of Winterfell deal with their dead by burning them on great pyres they’ve built in front of Winterfell’s battlements. It’s heartbreaking to see Sansa give her final good-bye to Theon and to see Daenerys give hers to Jorah. We’re reminded that the death toll after last week’s episode was enormous because the smoke from these pyres clouds the entire skyline.

Afterwards, there’s a half-hearted feast in Winterfell’s Great Hall. Everyone is kind of morose after their losses. Who would have figured that Daenerys would be the one to lift everyone’s spirits?

Gendry, looking for Arya so that they can have some more alone time probably, is stopped by Dany in the middle of the feast. The whole room hushes as she speaks to him. She asks him if his father is Robert Baratheon, and at first you think she’s planning to berate him for past deeds that are not his fault. Instead, she names him Gendry Baratheon, Lord of Storm’s End, lifting him up from his bastard-hood and into a lordship.

This thrills Gendry so much he decides he really needs to see Arya. He eventually finds her doing some target practice with a bow and arrow, and he asks her to be his lady when he is lord of Storm’s End. We all saw this coming, but the look on Gendry’s face when she turned him down still hurt. As Arya told him, she has not, and probably never will be, a lady.

Back at the party, things are tense as fuck for us poor viewers. Everyone is having a reasonably good time after Dany broke the somberness, except for Dany. She looks so alone in the Great Hall. Everyone else is talking and laughing in groups, except for her. Missandei, her only friend, is sitting with Grey Worm, and Dany sits alone, eyeing Jon Snow with…some troubled emotion in her eye.

Obviously, she has not forgotten her rushed convo with Jon about his heritage, and it is seriously bumming her out that not only does he have a stronger claim to the throne, he also has a greater rapport with “her” subjects.

She leaves the Hall alone, and I don’t know about you guys, but I felt a terrible sense of foreboding after that.

Brienne and Jaime, unlike Dany, have a great time at the feast, playing drinking games with Tyrion and Podrick. And afterwards, the moment we all thought about but never seriously considered would happen occurred.

Jaime and Brienne had a…romantic moment.

I won’t go into it too much, since I want to focus more on the endgame of the series. However, you should know their relationship begins and ends in this single episode. Jaime looks to start a life with Brienne at Winterfell, but he ends up leaving to return to Cersei for personal reasons. He told Brienne it’s because he loves Cersei. But something tells me it might be more complicated than that.

Anyways, back to Dany.

After the feast, she heads to Jon Snow’s room, looking to finally talk to him about the bombshell he dropped on their lives. However, the talk does not go according to anyone’s plans.

Dany clearly expects Jon to keep the fact that he is Aegon Targaryen to himself. She still loves him, so she initially pleads with him to keep this information a secret. We’ve been with Dany for a long time, so we should all know by now that she does not beg easily. She is clearly desperate to hold onto what she perceives as her destiny, her reason for living.

However, we’ve also been around Jon Snow long enough to know that he’s no liar. Telling the truth comes to Jon as naturally as a fish swims in water. Dany sees this, and you can tell it is driving her to despair. Jon is also unhappy because, for one thing, he doesn’t want the goddamned Iron Throne. For another, he hates causing Dany this kind of distress. But he can’t seem to understand how the truth of his birth imperils Dany’s claim. I think he cares more about how it is affecting their relationship.

After this gut-twisting conversation, Dany leaves the room and Jon unsatisfied.

So the plan to fight against Cersei continues after the Night King has been finished. Dany plans to return to Dragonstone with her forces by sea, while Jon Snow takes what is left of his Northmen south by land. Sansa isn’t happy about this, and she isn’t shy about letting it show. However, since Jon is King of the North and subservient to Dany, Sansa has to swallow her objections.

Well, she swallows her objections to Dany directly. Both she and Arya do not hesitate to pull Jon aside and say, “Dude-bro, what the fuck is your new queen’s problem, and why aren’t you siding with us?”

Side note: I’m paraphrasing.

This is the moment when Jon decides to tell them that he is not actually a Stark, but is instead a Stark-Targaryen hybrid. He makes them promise not to tell anyone, but Sansa breaks that promise almost instantly to tell Tyrion. I believe we’re meant to assume that she’s trying to cause strife in Daenerys’ home team.

And it fucking works. On the sea voyage back to Dragonstone, Varys and Tyrion have a godawful conversation (godawful because it hurts me to see Dany portrayed as a bad guy) about whether or not Jon would be better suited to the Iron Throne. Tyrion remains loyal to Dany, insisting she be given a chance. Varys seems to have lost all confidence in her though.

And this sea voyage only gets worse.

Tragedy strikes when, while flying in the sky, Rhaegal is struck down by scorpion bolts.

This moment sucked.

Big time.

It always hurts me when the dragons get hurt, and it was particularly hard to see Rhaegal go down for several reasons. For one thing, he was wounded in the Battle of Winterfell, during his fight against undead Viserion. While flying back to Dragonstone, it was clear that Dany was keeping a special eye on him from the back of Drogon in order to make sure he was keeping up. To see him taken down when he was already hurting hurt me.

And the worst thing about it was that it came right out of the fucking blue. At least when Viserion died, you saw the Night King aiming his spear at him. You thus had a little warning.

We as viewers did not know that Euron had brought a fleet of ships up to Dragonstone to lie in wait for them. Well, we didn’t know until Rhaegal was bleeding from his scorpion wounds and falling from the sky.

Euron, the stupid-looking, hateful, wannabe pirate, doesn’t stop with murdering Dany’s green dragon. He fires his scorpions on Dany’s small fleet of ships and sends most of them to the bottom of the ocean. He is somehow able to capture Missandei, one of Dany’s closest friends, and deliver her to King’s Landing too.

Dany, Tyrion, Grey Worm, and Varys head to King’s Landing to try one final time to get Cersei to surrender. Cersei answers with executing Missandei in front of them.

This episode was a major downer. I honestly would rather watch “The Long Night” again than watch Dany, one of my favorite characters, streak down into a pile of piping hot rage. Because that’s where she’s headed, and you can’t really blame her.

Her destiny, the one thing that has kept her going all these years, is threatened by the man she loves. Her children, the dragons, are now down to one. Her armies of loyal Dothraki and freed Unsullied have been decimated. Two of her most trusted advisers, Jorah Mormont and Missandei of Naath have been taken from her.

What else is left to her but fire and blood?

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 Review: A Heart Attack Waiting To Happen

Guys, I don’t even know how to write about this episode. It was the most tense hour and a half of television I’ve ever watched.

So let’s get into this.

This third episode of Season 8 was basically the Battle of Winterfell, the fight we’ve all been waiting for. Well, it’s also the fight we’ve all been dreading, but let’s put that aside for the moment.

The Night King and his army arrive at Winterfell and truly show off how outmatched the forces garrisoned at Winterfell really are. The Dothraki charge, complete with cool new fire-swords courtesy of Melisandre, is demolished in the span of thirty seconds after they bum-rush the wights. The Unsullied lines can barely cover the retreat of the other ground forces outside the battlements. If you didn’t already think that the wights are unstoppable, this episode definitively proves that.

The story jumps around between all the beloved characters gathered at Winterfell, making sure that you as a fan are aware of and anxious about their current well-being. Unfortunately, the action during most of the beginning is very poorly lit. It was very difficult to tell what was going on, and I know that bothered a lot of people. I didn’t mind it as much in hindsight because the unknown factor of what was coming out of the darkness added to the stress.

So let’s get into those character deaths we’ve all been waiting for.

Edd Tollet is the first to go, cut down by a wight during the fight outside Winterfell’s walls. His death didn’t surprise you much, but it did cut at the heartstrings because of how quickly it was over. It was like he was there and gone.

Lyanna Mormont bites it next, but even though she was an awesome character, I didn’t feel saddened by her death. She had an epic death. She takes on an undead giant, and even as it crushes her to death in its palm, she stabs it in the eye with a dragonglass dagger.

Beric Dondarrion was the one person who died who I cared about the least. That sounds callous, but come on. I’m not alone on this, right? I would have felt worse if Podrick had died (which he didn’t). Plus, ever since Thoros died north of the Wall, I’ve always felt that Beric’s days were numbered.

Theon Greyjoy. Oof. If you had told me in Season 1 that I would end up caring the most about Theon in the “final fight,” I would have given you the most scathing look I could muster (which probably isn’t all that scathing). His death made me cry. The plan had him at Winterfell’s godswood, protecting Bran from anyone (*cough cough* the Night King *cough cough*) who tried to get him. And that’s what he does. Even when he’s surrounded by White Walkers and wights and he knows he’s going to die, Theon protects Bran. And what killed me the most was that Bran, who has been an utter fucking robot since he turned into the Three-Eyed Raven, showed an ounce of humanity at this moment and told Theon, “You’re a good man” before he died.

Jorah Mormont died doing what he loved: protecting Daenerys from danger. It was sad, but it was not unexpected.

Freaking Melisandre made an appearance that I did not see coming. First she walks up out of the darkness and lights the Dothraki screamers’ arakhs, then she lights up the trench when Dany can’t see it due to the Night King’s storm (yeah, he brings a storm into the mix), then she gives Arya a much-needed pep talk, and when everything is finally over, she walks out into the dawn, takes off the necklace that keeps her young, and crumbles into dust. Huh. Did not see that coming.

The Night King dies. Yup. He dies. And Arya fucking Stark delivers the final blow. She comes out of nowhere like an assassin in the night (which is exactly what she is) and leaps at him with her Valyrian Steel dagger held aloft. He catches her by the throat and by the hand that is holding the dagger, so what does she do? She lets go of the dagger and drops it into her other hand. The Night King never saw it coming.

So this episode does a great job of ramping up and revving the tension it has slowly accrued from previous episodes. The episode is titled “The Long Night,” and that’s exactly what it feels like. A long…arduous…nail-biting…night.

I want to applaud whoever was in charge of laying out the battle plans for the Battle of Winterfell. You can always tell, in the grand scheme of things, who is doing what. Occasionally, when the camera zooms in on some action, it’s confusing as to who is alive or who is undead. But honestly, after the last episode’s copious amounts of breathing room, I was okay with nonstop action.

The one weakness was probably the dragon fights.

Yes, there are fights involving dragons.

It felt like a Transformers fight at times, where it looks like a mess of scales and fire, and it was uber hard to tell if it was Viserion goring Rhaegal’s underbelly or the other way around.

What’s funny is that to summarize the episode is actually very simple.

The Night King and his army attack Winterfell, they kill most of the people there, but they are defeated when Arya kills the Night King.

I didn’t realize this, but Episode 2 wasn’t the only “set-up” episode of this season. Even though “The Long Night” was a highly anticipated episode, given how the Night King is defeated in it means that the actual resolution of the series is still ahead. In a way, this third episode is still setting up what happens next.

And that freaking blows my mind.


Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2 Review: The Blessed Calm before the Shit-Storm

The first episode of Game of Thrones Season 8 felt a bit jarring to me. A lot of meetings happened with only a bit of emotional pay-off to support them.

This second one is a major step up.

Emotional pay-off city right here.

Episode 2, titled “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” did what the previous episode did not manage to accomplish too well. It gave the characters some breathing room to actually interact with each other and have meaningful conversations.

Admittedly, the first episode, “Winterfell,” had a heavy burden to bear. It had to gather every principal character we know and drive them toward Winterfell in only an hour while at the same time dropping some major revelations on certain characters’ heads. (You can read my review for the first episode here!)

But this second episode shines because of all the character interactions and meaningful moments shared between them. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this episode, even though I knew as it drew to a close that it was going to end right as the White Walkers finally arrived at their doorstep.

Guys, the episode next week is going to give me a heart attack.

So let’s dive a little deeper into this episode!

“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” starts off with Jaime getting grilled by Daenerys Targaryen in Winterfell’s Great Hall. He announced himself to someone other than Bran, apparently, and so a meeting was called to see if he’s worth keeping around.

He fills them in on Cersei’s betrayal, and Dany is extremely pissed at Tyrion for not seeing through her lies. And when Sansa and Jon state that they think Jaime should stick around to help them in the fight, Dany is even more displeased.

Dany has been worrying me. At first, I thought everyone who has been saying she is coming unhinged were exaggerating things, but this episode showcased how her aggro style of handling obstacles in Essos (which used to cause me to erupt in cheers) is actually kind of fucked up. This turn of events makes me all stressed, because I don’t like thinking of Dany as a bad guy.

Aside from Dany’s sour expression during this meeting, a high note was Brienne of Tarth stepping up to vouch for Jaime. She called him the “most honorable man” she has ever met, which, knowing what she used to say about Jaime’s honor, made me want to tear up. Especially because her actions clearly moved Jaime. People have called him many things, and honorable was never one of them. But Jaime, if you think about it, has always been honorable. He and the rest of the world just ignored that fact.

Tyrion and Jaime put in some brotherly time with each other after Jaime is accepted into the Northern forces, and this reunion is touching because they’ve always been close despite being very different men.

Later, Dany tries to cozen up to Sansa, and it almost seems to work. However, things turn south when Sansa asks Dany what her plan is for the North. Sansa clearly wants the North to be free of the Iron Thrones, but Dany wants to rule all seven of the Seven Kingdoms. Dany gets this wrathful expression on her face that again worries me about her mental well-being.

Sansa indirectly pisses Dany off again when Theon arrives at Winterfell, pledging to fight and die for House Stark in the coming fight. It’s clear that all this loyalty to the North is getting on Dany’s nerves. However, as a member of the audience who has seen the shit Theon has gone through, this moment is undeniably sweet. Theon seems so passive, but by electing to follow House Stark in their hour of need, he is being more proactive and true to himself than he has ever been before.

Jon isn’t helping matters by avoiding Dany during these parts, though I suppose we can’t blame him for that. He found out that his lover is his aunt and that he is more of a claimant to the Iron Throne than she is. He’s got a lot to process.

However, when Tormund, Beric, and Dolorous Edd arrive from Last Hearth, the time for processing comes to a halt. The Night King and his army are only a day away. The fight is going to happen imminently.

Everyone decides to spend their potentially last moments in different ways. I’ll focus on the three most important.

So, first things first, Arya and Gendry get it on.

I won’t hesitate to admit that I was shipping these characters hard. Robert Baratheon’s words to Ned Stark about uniting their houses with Sansa marrying Joffrey came true in an even better way when Arya met Gendry. Even though they didn’t know each other’s heritage at the time, they made for a good match with their respective personalities.

So when Arya came up to Gendry on the eve before battle, I was all for it.

Until they started taking each other’s clothes off.

Mia and Bubba (who are watching the show with me) were present for my squeals of delight when they first kissed. But when Arya started unlacing her shirt, they were also there for my horrified cries of, “Cut to black! Cut to black!”

Arya is a grown woman now. She isn’t the young girl she used to be.

But I still can’t help seeing the young girl she was.


It was like seeing your little sister pop her cherry.

The second collection of characters waiting for the fight huddled around the fire in Winterfell’s Great Hall. It’s Tyrion, Pod, Davos, Jaime, Brienne, and Tormund gathered together, and those scenes were music to my brain. Every word between them either made me want to laugh or cry. It was perfect. That moment exemplifies why Game of Thrones is the best. You care about every one of these characters, and you take in every word they say, eager to hear more.

The scene is made even better by the fact that Jaime takes the time to make Brienne a knight. Only kings and knights can knight someone else, and Jaime is quick to point that out after Tormund asks why Brienne can’t be a knight.

This ties in to the title of the episode, and if you didn’t at least feel the inclination to smile or cry while watching this moment, where is your soul?!

The final part I want to mention is the conversation between Jon and Dany before the White Walkers arrive. Jon finally tells Dany about his heritage and his connection to her, and her first concern is that he has a higher claim to the throne than her.

Honestly, it was disappointing to hear that from Dany. She is just too obsessed with the Iron Throne for her own good. And the horns blaring the undead army’s approach sounded before Jon could say something like, “I don’t want the Iron Throne” or “Are you seriously not going to address the fact that I’m your nephew?”

This episode has me more pumped than the prior one, which is always a good trend to have on a TV show.

If you’re watching the show, be sure to mention what you think and so on and so forth!

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).

The Pain of Thrones

I don’t watch much TV.

The shows I watch can be counted by my fingers.

One of those shows is Game of Thrones.

I am a Thronie.

My sister introduced me to the books. She started reading them in high school, and she swore up and down that it was the best fantasy series she had ever read. I picked the books up and haven’t put them down since.

There is a deep lore to dive into, with characters so nuanced, it’s impossible not to sympathize with them all. And the show has done a phenomenal job of capturing the essence of the books.

The show’s final season premieres on April 14, and while I’m staying at my sister’s, we have decided to watch the show again from the very first episode so that we can be prepared for the new season.

It’s going to be a tumultuous ride.

For those of you who have seen the show, you know about the emotional roller coaster we’re going to be on.

For those of you who haven’t seen the show, I’m going to do what anyone who has fallen in love with Game of Thrones would do.

I’m going to recommend it to you.

The final season of the show will be the eighth, so there are not a tremendous amount of episodes to binge on. It is a feasible endeavor. While the lore is extensive, it’s not so dense that you won’t be able to enjoy the story. And I can’t praise the story enough. Unlike some shows that seem to have no coherent ending in sight (*cough cough* The Walking Dead *cough cough*), Game of Thrones has a (fairly) compact tale to tell. As a result, the quality of each episode is above average.

As you may have heard, the show can be heart-rending at times. The deaths of beloved characters are not uncommon. But I promise you, their deaths are not pointless, especially as the end of the show draws near and you can see where the plot is heading. And at least as far as the seventh season goes, I can say that Game of Thrones is the best television show I have ever seen.

I won’t spoil the show here with a lengthy review, but when the new season comes out, expect some posts extolling or condemning it to be published. You’ve been warned.

Have you seen Game of Thrones? Are you planning to? Feel free to talk about your Game of Thrones experiences in the comments.

(Bubba, Mia, the two of you are going to watch the new season with me, yes? I’ll bring the popcorn, you guys bring the tissues.)