Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 1 recap: Winter is Here

Game of Thrones Season 8 -- photo: Helen Sloane/HBO -- Acquired via HBO Media Relations
Game of Thrones Season 8 -- photo: Helen Sloane/HBO -- Acquired via HBO Media Relations /

The wait is finally over. Snow is falling, the Night King is marching, and winter is here! It’s time to find out who will eventually win the Game of Thrones.

The moment we’ve all been waiting for: the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere! Who is going to live? Who is going to die? Can the Night King and his undead army be stopped?

Will Westeros stop squabbling over scraps and join forces for survival? When exactly will Jon Snow realize he Joe Dirted his Aunt?

Let’s get ready to ruuummmbllleee!!

The intro

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Let’s talk about the intro. It’s way different. Instead of sweeping shots with pastoral views throughout kingdoms and house sigils, there is now a detailed, inside look through the guts of a castle. It’s less romanticized, more grungy and industrial. Additionally, there is a shot of what appears to be the Scorpion weapon from Qyburn, as well as the dragon skull from previous seasons.

The second major aspect of the intro is obviously the wall. There is now a massive gash in it, noting where zombie Viserion scorched a marching path for the hordes of wights and White Walkers. Everything in short reach (e.g. Last Hearth, Highpoint) should be nothing more than a speed bump until the whole of Westeros can band together.


Game of Thrones opens with a random kid running through an icy forest, through trees, jumping over a freezing river. Winter has finally come. He makes his way to town and there are people lining the streets as a phalanx of soldiers marches by. It’s the Unsullied, making their way into Winterfell like a medieval Macy’s Day Parade with dragons serving as Snoopy and Garfield floats.

Arya is in the crowd. She’s excited to see the never-ending troops. The Unsullied stretch into the distance far enough to be indiscernible. Then Arya realizes Jon Snow is on a horse amongst the troops. He’s right next to Daenerys. Smiles.

They’re followed by The Hound, who gets fewer smiles, and Gendry, who turns that frown upside down. Rounding out the bottom of the lineup are Tyrion and Varys riding in a carriage. Closely thereafter they’re followed by Missandei and Grey Worm on horseback, who are getting stared at like Django riding into town.

Game of Thrones Season 8 — photo: Helen Sloane/HBO — Acquired via HBO Media Relations
Game of Thrones Season 8 — photo: Helen Sloane/HBO — Acquired via HBO Media Relations /

The dragons fly over Winterfell and provide perhaps the most complete, sweeping, beautiful shot of the city’s entirety of the entire Game of Thrones series. Jon Snow and Dany enter like Romans through the Porta Nigra.

Three-Eyes Bran (3EB) is waiting, knowing the secret to not only Jon Snow’s lineage but his recent activities on the boat. Giggity. Jon then hugs Sansa in the first reunion of Season 8. Dany is introduced to Winterfell aristocracy like a flashback to Season 1, and she is not only received icily by Sansa but takes a nuclear level RBF from little Lady Mormont. 3EB plays Debbie-Downer shortly thereafter by breaking the news about the zombie dragon and the turn-style inserted in the Wall.

One of the unforeseen aspects of Jon’s departure for reinforcements is the fracturing of the Northern Lords. Lady Mormont outright questions WTF to call him now because he’s obviously not the King of the North. At best he’s a Lord, and the congregation grumble-cheers for her statements like the British House of Commons.

Jon Snow’s reply is simple: he chose the North over his own crown. Tyrion backs Jon’s play, noting the greatest army ever…with dragons, and an eventual Lannister army in support. The Lady of Winterfell takes a chance to throw some shade by asking how they’re going to feed all the Dothraki, Unsullied, and two dragons. “What do they eat?” Dany: “Whatever they want.”

Related Story. All the ways the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere mirrors the first episode. light

Reunions galore!

Tyrion reunites with Sansa. The make small talk about the last time they were together at Joffrey’s wedding, and Tyrion notes it was a miserable affair. Sansa quips, “It had its moments.” He confirms his belief that Cersei will send the troops. “I used to think you were the cleverest man alive.” Just call her Katniss Stark, because Sansa’s on fire.

Arya reunites with Jon at the weirwood tree! Big hugs. He’s surprised she still has Needle. When questioned, she says she’s only used it “once or twice,” but doesn’t clarify that it’s one or two per person. Maybe more on the Waif.

Despite their happy moments, there’s a bit of tension in the air. Jon says he could have used her help with Sansa, and Arya basically reminds him not to forget who his family is.

While everyone is busy hugging, Gendry is toiling away making Dragonglass weapons (there were wagons full of it). To show his gratitude for a Dragonglass ax, the Hound asks if Gendry is a cripple or a c***sucker.

Arya walks for her second and third reunion of the episode! The odd, mutual respect and love is apparent between her and the Hound. To avoid being the third wheel, the Hound leaves them alone to awkwardly flirt and set us all up for heartbreak later. After asking for a special weapon and even showing him a drawing, Arya leaves but not before looking over her shoulder like a Can’t Hardly Wait sequel.

Meanwhile at King’s Landing

Qyburn tells Cersei the dead have broken through the wall. Cersei says, “Good,” and walks away after taking a look at the incoming fleet. Euron has returned with the Golden Company troops. He has Yara tied up in the hull of the ship. He tells her he’s not worried about the side he’s on, but he plans on fornicating with Queen Cersei.

Euron brought Cersei 20,000 men and 2,000 horses, and he smiles like the first time he graced Game of Thrones.

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(LEFT TO RIGHT) Pilou Asbæk as Euron Greyjoy, Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand, Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy, and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers as Tyene Sand – Photo: Macall B. Polay/HBO via HBO Media Relations /

All the troops are commanded by Captain Strickland, but Cersei wants to know about elephants. Cersei calls Euron a “true friend and an honored guest,” to which he requests a “private conversation.” Their agreement was to consummate after the war, but Euron’s not the type of guy to wait the years it takes a war to finish. After telling him to buy a whore, and listening to him talk about the affection he desires, Cersei decides to have that “private conversation” after all.

“You might be the most arrogant man I’ve ever met. I like that.”

Despite the predicament of convenience being the real reason they’re together, Euron still wants to know how he measures in the sack compared to Robert Baratheon and Jaime. Cersei’s reply is an interesting one, “You might be the most arrogant man I’ve ever met. I like that.” Before the future King and Queen part ways, Euron promises to impregnate her. Little does he know the bun is already in the oven.

During the “private conversation”

Bronn is spending his spare time with three whores. They’re all fairly voluptuous and gorgeous, taking control of the situation while randomly discussing dragons. Bronn mentions the fact he’s the only one to shoot a dragon (he doesn’t know about the Night King). Unfortunately, just as the festivities begin and one woman starts a cowgirl routine, Qyburn barges in. His message from Cersei is very clear when the crossbow comes out. She wants poetic justice delivered to her two treasonous brothers.

During the lengthy conversation, a rescue also takes place. Arrows squelch into the eyes of sailors on deck where Yara is captive. Theon Greyjoy opens the door as the last man thuds to the ground. He unties Yara who promptly repays his previous cowardice with a massive headbutt. Then helps him up. All is forgiven.

They sail away to the Iron Islands, with her plans to set up a safe-haven for Dany and her army if they can’t hold the North. She knows Theon wants to go fight with the Starks, and they share the family motto: “What is dead may never die.”

Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere death toll: Who lived and who died?. light. Related Story

Winterfell prepares for war.

Davos, Tyrion, and Varys discuss the difficulty of winning over the northerners, and the youth of their royal couple. Tyrion jokes about being younger than the other two, but all three wonder if their wisdom will be accepted. In the distance, Dany and Jon talk about how much Sansa dislikes her new Queen. Their conversation is interrupted by a Dothraki report about the dragons not eating.

Regulators! Mount up!

Daenerys climbs on one and tells Jon to climb on the other. They both fly off in the same scene you remember from Avatar, but with dragons instead of those weird alien praying mantis things (or How to Train Your Dragon, si vous préférez).

The two dragons take them through snowy canyons, dive bombing to the ice surface for thrills. They land at a secluded, romantic spot and kiss passionately. Drogon snorts and stares disapprovingly.

While Dany and Jon are off gallivanting, House Glover is busy rejecting the request to support the battle. It turns out they support the King of the North, not the guy who bent the knee to the “last Targaryen” (wink wink).

Sansa and Jon later discuss it, and he’s more upset than she is. Sansa’s too busy getting in Jon’s business, wanting to know if he’s with Daenerys to save the north or for love. Jon doesn’t answer.

Poor Sam

Minding his own business in the library, Sam is disturbed by Dany and Jorah Mormont. She wants to thank him for curing Greyscale and asks what she can do. He wants a pardon for stealing some of the Citadel’s books and for stealing his family sword.

In not so many words, she relays the fact she turned both of them into shish-kabobs. Sam takes the news surprisingly well, chokes down tears, and asks to be excused. He runs outside and gasping for breath he sees 3EB sitting there in his wheelchair like a Peeping Tom.

Game of Thrones Season 8 — photo: Helen Sloane/HBO — Acquired via HBO Media Relations /

To make matters worse, Bran says, “It’s time to tell Jon the truth.” Sam retorts, “You’re his brother!” The 3EB saw this coming, however, and quickly says “Not it!” So it’s up to Sam because Jon trusts him.

In the catacombs beneath the castle, Sam tracks down Jon. They share a warm embrace, and Sam asks if Jon knew about his Dany ordering a Tarly barbecue. Jon has a “DAFUQ?”-look on his face, and mentions the difficulty of leadership and crowns.

Then Sam slams down the Lyanna Stark & Rhaegar Targaryen hammer. Jon officially knows his real name is Aegon Targaryen, heir to the Iron Throne. Then Sam says, “And yes, you just had sex with one of your relatives.” OK, I made that last part up.

Last Hearth

Tormund and the Brotherhood make it to Last Hearth. It’s destroyed. Blood is everywhere. It looks like a break in, and there are no survivors at all.

The Lord Umber boy is staked to the wall like an icy Aliens scene, with crooked limbs surrounding him in the same death spiral from the Fist of the First Men. The kid screams and promptly receives a flaming sword to the chest from Beric Dondarrion. They all suddenly realize this means the Night King and his horde are somewhere south, heading to Winterfell.

One final reunion

Back at Winterfell, Jaime Lannister arrives with a fully grown beard to demonstrate his long ride. Bran looks at Jaime with a “Don’t think I forgot about the window”-look on his face. Jaime recognizes Bran, hoping for memory loss. Staring contest, go!!!

A+. Reunions & revelations made for an amazing start to the season!. Game of Thrones. S8E1. Winterfell

Next. Game of Thrones: Four potential saviors of humanity. dark

Game of Thrones airs next Sunday on HBO.