The first episode of Game of Thrones Season 8 maintained a healthy amount of theatrical flourish, despite featuring no fight scenes and on-screen deaths
After much fanfare, the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones began earlier today with a solid, crowd-pleasing episode. Winterfell maintained a healthy amount of theatrical flourish despite featuring no fight scenes or, as we have come to expect, increasingly spectacular, even baroque, on-screen deaths.
As Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) returns to the North with Queen Daenarys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and her assorted allies, including her Hand, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), and spymaster Lord Varys (Conleth Hill), her arrival sparks fear and mistrust among the Northerners. Especially Jon’s sisters Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie Williams), and his best friend Sam Tarly (John Bradley), who learns that Daenarys executed his father and brother during the events of the last season. Most of the episode’s runtime is devoted to Jon and Daenarys’s attempts to deal with this situation, given that the real threat, the undead White Walkers, have recently breached the Wall and are slow-marching their way to Winterfell.
By the end, it was clear that all of the stage-setting had been reserved for Winterfell, likely to be the shortest episode of the season at just under 50 minutes. From this point on, it’s likely to rain fire and blood, for winter has at last come to Winterfell, like Ned Stark kept warning us. It’s fasten-your-seat-belts time.