It has been nearly two years since Game of Thrones last graced our screens leaving a Wall sized hole in our television viewing. That’s nearly two years of speculating when Jon was going to learn about his family heritage. Nearly two years of wondering if Cersei is actually pregnant. Nearly two years of wondering if Bran is the Night King or just Westeros’s only emo kid. When a show takes a break as long as Thrones all we have is speculation and theories. Especially when the creator of the series seems to be in no rush to publish his next book. In the nearly two years that we’ve been waiting Thrones’s popularity has only soared and this final season has turned into one of the biggest pop culture events of the year. Hell, one of the biggest of the month of April. And now after nearly two years Game of Thrones is back and there is no time to waste.
This eighth season of Thrones brings with it only six episodes. That’s it. Six. After that Game of Thrones will take its throne as one of television’s greatest, most ambitious programs but there is a lot of work to be done before that happens and six episodes is not a lot of time. Yes, even with four of the episodes being movie length, time isn’t a luxury we can afford to burn. Much to its credit, Game of Thrones understands this and provided us with a season premiere that jumped right into the burning questions, brought us the reunions we longed for, and moments we’ve only imagined of. The board is set and now it’s time for the Great War.
Or so it would seem…
The Great War is coming, there is little doubt of that. The Night King has torn through the Wall as if it was made of glass and not centuries of ice, and he’s now leaving messages in the form of dead children and adult limbs. The Night King may not speak much but certainly has a flair for the dramatic. How long did it take him to set that True Detective spiral up just right? With a zombie dragon and an army that can only grow with each person it kills, it would seem that the Night King is just toying with his soon to be victims. That’s some Cersei levels of confidence. Yet, his confidence is quite warranted as the North struggles to prepare for war.
Jon Snow, ever the bastard “child” of Ned Stark, wears his nobility on his sleeve, much like his heart, and it’s that nobility and honesty that caused so much trouble during the great meeting in King’s Landing last season. Jon believes that his words have power and that he not only represents himself but the entire North. This is why he was so reluctant to bend the knee last season, but reluctance aside, that knee has been bent and the North is not so pleased about. Jon must have expected this. It is one thing for Daenerys to fly in late on a dragon to flex her power to Cersie, but it’s a completely different thing as her massive army of Unsullied and Dothraki enter the North. Where will they stay? How much food will they eat? What of those dragons? Sansa speaks for the North when she questions Jon’s motives for bending the knee. Was it out of what was best for the North or because he was in love? A low blow no doubt but does Sansa raise an important question? Is Jon blinded by is infatuation of Daenerys or is he truly acting with the best interest of the realm? In his haste to bend the knee to gain an army to fight the dead, Jon threw away the very crown that was given to him. A crown he never asked for but represented his bond with the North. Now Lady Mormont is pissed and Jon not only has to win back their trust but show them why they should believe in Daenerys.
But should they? We have known the secret of Jon’s parents since the end of season six and after much waiting, Jon finally knows the truth as well. In the tombs of Winterfell, his best friend, Sam explains that through the power of books and whatever Bran is capable of doing, that Jon Snow is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Not Daenerys Targaryen. Jon Snow or as his mother called him… Aegon Targaryen. Thrones waisted no time getting to the heart of the matter and laid its largest secret out on the table. Now Jon Snow has a very big decision to make. Does he tell Daenerys or does he do nothing with this information? I for one don’t believe Jon wants anything to do with the Iron Throne and would much rather spend the rest of his days in the North once the Great War is won. I would like to believe that he would gladly give up the Throne to Daenerys buuuut Sam seemed to make some points about Daenerys leadership that registered. Or maybe that was Jon thinking about the ickiness of his relationship with the Mother of Dragons now. Yes, Sam is a bit hurt and bitter that Daenerys wiped out his family line, but he does point out that whenever Jon has lead he never acted impulsively or rashly. Jon Snow is just, honest, and noble. All the same attributes that got Ned killed. We know Tyrion frowned upon the death of the Tarlys, and now learning that she killed the family of his best friend, is it possible to believe that Jon also sees the impulsiveness in his queen girlfriend? Or does he truly believe that she’s what’s right for Westeros?
While Jon contemplates all this there is still a ton going on. Cersei, thanks to Euron, now has the Golden Company in King’s Landing giving her an army that could rival the Mother of Dragon’s. She’s hired Bronn to kill both of her brothers with a crossbow because she loves the symmetry of it all. She’s also now sleeping with Euron, and moving past the fact that he probably has a whole bunch of yuck attached to him, an action that will surely not end well. Euron seeks power and by putting a baby in the belly of the queen, he’d certainly become a powerful man. Maybe Cersei is actually pregnant and she can use this baby to control two men. Her brother and her lover who happen to be two different people thus far this season.
Speaking of Jamie, he has arrived in Winterfell, and for those of us complaining about the rapidness of travel last season behold his hair is longer and he has a beard thus showcasing that his travels took some time. Jamie’s choice to fight in the North brings his redemption arc almost to a full circle… and then he locks eyes with Bran and suddenly if there’s any hope for redemption for the King Slayer it will go through Winterfell. Bran seems to be past trivial emotions like forgiveness, but could he speak on Jamie’s behalf when Daenerys puts him on trail for killing the Mad King? That will be a big moment not only for Daenerys in the North but also with Jon.
The season premiere was full of reunions (Jon and Arya, Arya and the Hound, Arya and Gendry, Jon and Sam, Sansa and Tyrion, Jon and Bran, Bran and Jamie) and fan service (Jon rides a dragon and Tormund is alive). The premiere also deftly set the board for what’s to come for the rest of the season. The Night King isn’t the only threat as Cersei now has an army of her own and Jon has knowledge. For a man who has notoriously known nothing, Jon Snow currently holds the largest wild card in the game. The only question now is, when or if he’ll use it.
There you go Geeklings, what did you think of the return of Game of Thrones? What reunion was your favorite? Do you think Jon will tell Daenerys the truth or keep it secret? What could Bran possibly be thinking after seeing Jamie? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts and theories. If you’d like to talk more Game of Thrones with yours truly then feel free to throw me a line over on Twitter @iamgeek32. I will be here with you all season long as we travel down this road together. Episode one set the table but I have a feeling there is a great deal of heartache in our future. Let’s get through this together. See you all next week and be careful out there as the night is dark and full of terrors.