In what is undoubtedly the most anticipated TV Show of 2019; Game of Thrones returned to our screens last night in quite a bang. Here at my blog; I have made quite a lot of Game of Thrones posts; and I knew I had to do something special for the upcoming season; alas – episode reviews.
The season 8 premiere achieves exactly what it sets out to do. Setting the scene for the rest of the season. The premiere doesn’t have much action but instead is heavily character focused. How much you like the episode will depend on how long a GoT’s fan you have been, if you are looking for action – this episode might not a memorable one for you; but if you are looking for all these characters to finally come together and to see how all the characters will interact after years apart, there is no failing the show there. However, the episode operates in a very grey area – and it just manages to pull it off , I don’t think if they had more time it would be an episode they would choose to keep but it was an episode that the show needed. It needed to try and clear all these dangling threads as early as possible to allow the next five episodes to complete everything else. But, whilst we finally got these moments we had been longing for, for years – unfortunately due to the nature of the season; it still at times felt like a checklist. Now, taking nothing away from the episode – I completely understand this was the parameters given to operate in; but it would be amiss if I didn’t mention that I still felt as though the show was rushing it especially when comparing it to all the other seasons. And ultimately; almost every episode review will most likely have the same downfall. It’s pacing in regards to other seasons will be the little nitpick I would have; this is just the way it has been set up.
Nevertheless, I absolutely loved the season 8 premiere, I loved seeing all these characters interact. Jon Snow and Arya Stark was the highlight and probably one I had been most keen on seeing. Jon Snow and Samuel; another I couldn’t wait to see after the season 7 finale (more on this scene later). Even Sansa Stark and Daenerys scenes were great and I went from not liking Sansa to loving her. And finally, the one that made me gasp – Jaime and Bran; yes – I still hate Bran. This was a relationship I had completely forgotten about (I had hoped his friend was Littlefinger but I guess he really is dead), and the first thing Jaime sees is Bran, it couldn’t be anymore perfect! It was also a pleasant surprise that we got some interactions I wasn’t expecting; like The Hound, Arya Stark and Gendry, and Tyrion and Sansa which I thought really showed how much the creators cared as they very easily could’ve left it as a passing comment but instead devoted some time to each relationship.
We also got the reveal that all is well at the wall; which was music to my ears, and got completely scare by that boy on fire. The amazing thing about this episode is that although so many moments were seen, there still promises to be more – with Jaime and Tyrion, Jaime and Daenerys, Jaime and Brienne. There isn’t really much to fault from story-point of view. I didn’t particularly like the dragon scene which was merely there to calm the audience down and soften them up for what was to come. It felt completely out of place especially considering how fast pace the rest of the episode seemed to be chugging out, and how quickly the rest of the season will go by.
Relaying back to the idea that the episode tried to cram all this relationships so quickly, it would be a tragedy to not sing Samuel’s praises for how he managed to bridge two separate threads and carry the scene so well. I don’t think it would have worked had the performance not be as great as it was; he had to learn his family was dead and then go and tell Jon Snow the truth. And; I think any other show would’ve struggled to ensure the audience felt the pain of the character especially considering the two scenes are right next to each other. Plus; Jon Snow discovering who he truly is a pivotal moment in the show; and I think that John Bradley really manages to balance the two scenes well, and the reveal is perfect!