Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier review: First piece of the final jigsaw

After a nearly two-year wait, the first episode of Game of Thrones Season 8 has finally been aired and with it, all the pieces of the great jigsaw are finally falling into place. The episode aptly titled Winterfell and directed by David Nutter focuses on a melting pot of sorts with numerous reunions taking place. The episode focuses on reunions that have been long awaited, revelations of all sorts and some serious dragon content. Apart from this, the episode had a lot of splendid one-liners and witty content; which is unlike the usual mantra of what the show has been all about.

The episode’s main theme was to tie up any loose–ends that were prevalent in previous seasons with a lot of questions being answered. And, in typical Game of Thrones fashion, the showrunners took their sweet time in setting up the pieces of the checkerboard. A theme of previous seasons had been a lot of unanswered questions and since each of them needed to be taken care off, we get scene after scene of much-needed exposition that was littered with witty banter.

The episode had politics at its head and this sets the tone of the beginning of the episode as the northerners are visibly upset at their elected leader Jon Snow bending the knee to Daenerys Targaryen.  Her armies have finally reached the Winterfell and are settling in before taking on the White Walkers.

In this episode, we find everyone here. Tyrion meets Sansa for the first time since the ‘Purple Wedding’ and shares some banter as would an ex-married couple do. Jon finally meets Arya and both of them play have you met my sword. In this meeting, Arya completely downplays how many people she has massacred when Jon asks her how many people she has used ‘Needle’ on. And lastly, everyone meets Bran but the interactions are sort of strained.

While the episode is centred around reunions, the Lords of the North have no time for that and quickly get down to business when Jon, Sansa and Daenerys are addressing them. They voice their displeasure when Jon confirms that he has bent the knee to her and accepted her as his rightful queen. Jon tries to defend his decision by stating, “Without her, we don’t stand a chance.” However, it appears that the northerners are still quite unconvinced.

Forging alliances isn’t easy and there are some rightful suspicions and lack of trust evident throughout the episode. But, Tyrion Lannister puts it in the best way possible, “We must fight together now, or die.”

Meanwhile, Sansa has been doing a terrific job at running things in the north by keeping all the rations in check for the arrival of the Targaryen armies and their dragons. However, it seems like it’s a huge blow to her as she discovers that she has to feed about 10,000 more guests. It’s pretty evident that stocks are going to dry up.

At King’s Landing, Cersei seems unconcerned that the undead has broken through the Wall and are marching south to take on the Jon Snow/Danereys army. While the rest of Westeros is fretting, Cersei appears pretty relaxed and has even time to have a romp in the sack with her would-be future husband Euron Greyjoy.

Speaking of Euron Greyjoy, he introduces Captain Strickland who has arrived with the Golden Company, a mercenary army that has arrived with horses. However, Cersei is visibly despondent as they have not brought elephants along with them for the battle. However, it appears that the sex with Euron had eased her tensions a bit but in the post-coital moment, she still says, “I wanted those elephants.”

In this story packed episode, Cersei also puts a bounty on both her brother’s heads and we catch Ser Bronn in the midst of a foursome being informed by Qyburn that he has been bestowed the duty of taking care of her last living relatives. Qyburn then gives Bronn a crossbow, which he accepts. 

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