Couldn’t have asked for a better premier episode with the march in the beginning, the callbacks to the pilot and the introductions to each character. The reveals, reunions, the right balance of humour/drama (before the season becomes devastating). Somewhat predictable but very well executed.
dead kid and that burning spiral which to me still looks a lot like the Targaryen sigil...I’m starting to believe this theory that Dany may fall/sell her soul to the Night King after the battle of winterfell. They’re planting the seeds for Tyrion’s demise (he seemed a bit paranoid looking at Bran, and Bran was staring at him as if he knows something about him that we don’t). And planting some seeds for Dani becoming a tyrant that may influence Jon to go on his own path. Is the Night King an ancient Targaryen? Or a former enemy of the Targaryen’s? Does he want a queen? The actor revealed that we’ll find out who the Night King is really after. Why didn’t he kill Dani last season?
I loved it. It seems to me to have a concise complexity of the earlier seasons in a way 5-7 didn’t in ways that also unify the last few seasons in ways I didn’t expect so far. More or less a perfect premiere episode, possibly my favorite after the first.
A good example of what I mean is:
The interplay of Sam’s arc (him meeting his family in S6... & they get executed in S7) with Dany’s issues with conquering vs leadership, and using that to interplay with Bran’s discovery of Jon’s parentage with Sam as a way for Sam to say what he needs to about Dany...it’s all many many shades of gray that say a lot with a lot of elegant foils between character arcs. this is one thing that made me love GOT in the first place I’ve felt the show has lost and leading to the amazing scenes between Sam and Dany (of course he’s heartbroken despite hating his father) and Sam and Jon, the latter being 8 seasons in the making. Huge climax-level stuff.
Honestly, felt like so much more than a "set up" episode. Almost every scene worked unto itself. Much tighter, more elegant writing than season 7, anyway.
This felt much more like an episode from the earlier seasons, simply because of all the focus on character as opposed to plot. I'm grateful for that and I also am happy that this is likely as peaceful a life as these characters are going to get given what awaits them.
I think the scene at
the Last Hearth was where it really hit me how alien the White Walkers are and how terrifying the show has made undead corpses when I was convinced that zombies couldn't send a shiver down my spine but here we are.