• James Hewlett

GoT 8.1 Winterfell

Winter has come at last! The final season of Game of Thrones is upon us and I’ve just watched the first episode.

Simply titled ‘Winterfell’ we’re treated to an all new opening title sequence for the first time in the shows run. New locations have been added and the now extremely famous intro has varied week to week in previous seasons but this is a brand new animation. We get closer in to the locations we previously only did fly overs for, delving as deep as the crypts of Winterfell and Cersei’s map room in the Red Keep of King’s Landing.

I thought the new visuals were great but I did think the sound effects for the mechanical nature of the map were a little much. I’m excited to see if we get different locations though. Oh, and the hole in the wall is in totally the wrong spot... but that’s just nitpicking.

As the show itself opens we see an almost recreation of the scene in the pilot but instead of Arya running through Wintertown to see King Robert’s caravan it’s another child and she’s stood amongst the people watching Dany, Jon and their army approach the central stronghold of the north.

Echos like this happen throughout the episode, with obvious ones such as it ending on a look between Jaime and Bran and some a little more subtle, as I took the Jon riding Rhaegal to be symbolically mirroring him adopting Ghost.

I’m sure there are many more, but I’m doing this from memory and there was a lot to take in.

We have scenes with Cersei and her cadre in King’s Landing as well as a rescue of Yara by a now fully recovered Theon, but the majority of the episode is spent in Winterfell. Sansa is clearly not pleased with the new status quo, with Jon having sworn the loyalty of their people to Dany and it’s only after hearing it from Arya that Jon knows he needs to talk to the Lady of Winterfell and make sure they are all going to be on the same page in the war to come.

The biggest revelation comes at the end of the episode, Sam Tarly, grieving over the news that Dany executes his asshole father and honourable to a fault brother is convinced to tell Jon the truth of his origin by Professor Charles Xavier, excuse me, Bran and he does so rather bluntly in the catacombs between the statues of both Ned and Lyana Stark, the man he thought was his father and the woman who was in fact his mother. While unsure at first I think the implication of the revelation hits Jon by the end of the scene and I take my hat off to Kit Harrington, who’s never been the strongest actor on the show, played the scene very well.

Overall I thought it was a strong opening. It was very much a table setting episode which I’m sure will annoy some as there are so few hours left of the show, but it was essential after a long break and because we’re going to very quickly get into the shit next week if the ‘next time on’ preview is anything to go by.

No major deaths this week, just Mac from Always Sunny on the Greyjoy ship and little Lord Karstark nailed to a wall.

I might keep a death tally as the season goes on. I’m counting this episode as a zero though.

All the pieces are in place. Next week winter falls on Winterfell.

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©2017 by James Hewlett.