The episode certainly didn’t disappoint, and as far as season openers go – which are always going to be bit drab as they just set the scene and get everything in motion – it was up there with the best.
If like me you were a rabbit caught in the headlights during the 50-odd minute run-time, fear not, because I’ve collected all the subtle details you probably will have missed.
There’s some real gems in here – tell a mate:
Shame on you if you skip the opening credits; there’s an unwritten rule that you have to watch them before every episode – they just get you in the mood.
If you did sit through them, you’ll have noticed the Wall has now collapsed, and the areas swarming with White Walkers are represented with blue tiles.
As it’s the final season, we also only see House Umber (where that scary moment happens), Winterfell and King’s Landing – where there’s a big ol’ spear pointing towards a big ol’ dragon face. Ominous much?
Eagle-eyed fans will have spotted the undead Viserion taking down the Wall as well as the Wights waiting for the Wall to collapse.
We also see a depiction of the Red Wedding (a man holding the head of a wolf aka Robb Stark) and images of 4 dragons showing their birth – Daenerys is the largest dragon while the 3 smaller ones are Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion.
Every man and his dog in Westeros knows that Cersei wants Tyrion dead, and now it seems, Jaime too.
In a somewhat tragic and poetic move, she’s asked Bronn to dispatch of both men with the same weapon that Tyrion used to kill his father, Tywin.
Doesn’t sound that impressive really, but at the start of the episode we see a young lad racing to see the incoming armies at Winterfell.
Sound familiar? Well, the pilot episode had the same scene, only it was Bran climbing the walls of Winterfell to get a better view of Robert Baratheon’s procession arriving towards Winterfell.
We all remember Ed Sheeran popping up as a Lannister soldier in season 7. It was weird, distracting and completely unnecessary, but hey, it was a thing.
During a scene in the season 8 premiere, Bronn is in a brothel when one of the prostitutes mentions a Lannister soldier named Eddie, who’s a ginger and came back with his face burned right off and has no eyelids now.
At least he got to spend some of his last days on Earth with her.
In the season 7 finale, Tyrion realises Cersei is pregnant when she refuses to drink wine. In the latest episode, though, she’s back to her old drinking ways. Not preggers anymore, Cersei?
Furthermore, when Euron touches her belly and says, “I am going to put a prince in your belly,” she gets all upset and contemplative, perhaps because she’s emotional about a miscarriage…
Arya’s always had big plans – see the extensive kill list she’s built up over the course of 8 seasons.
But it seems she’s really dreaming big these days, evidenced by her proposal to Gendry to make her a dragonglass spear.
Basically, she’s probably going to kill the Night King/Viserion in a scene not too disimlar to when Eowyn kills the Witch King – the cousin of the Night King (not) – during the Battle of Minas Tirith in the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
“The next time we see each other, we’ll talk about your mother”. The words of Ned Stark there, which he said to Jon Snow before he joined the Night’s Watch.
In the latest episode, Jon learns of the R+L=J theory (aka his true parentage) while standing next to a statue of Ned Stark.
They’re clever these GoT folk.
The stand-out moment of the episode was when Drogon looked on menacingly at Jon and Daenerys having it off as if to say, “hands of my mum”.
Interestingly, Jon rides the other dragon, Rhaegal, who is named after Jon’s real father – which he’s now aware of – Rhaegar Targaryen.
In the pilot episode, Robert and Ned go to the crypts of Winterfell to pay respect to Lyanna Stark and while in there Robert suggests marrying Joffrey and Sansa. “We’ll join our houses. I have a son, you have a daughter.”
Anyone else seeing wedding bells for Arya and Gendry?
We both saw the spark there – come off it – they’re gonna’ get together. If they survive of course.
The final scene of Game of Thrones’ season 8 premiere saw Jaime Lannister return to Winterfell for the first time since he pushed Bran Stark out of a tower window. Bran – who was paralyzed from the fall – was sitting in the courtyard, perhaps foreshadowing him telling Sam that he was “waiting for an old friend.”
But wait, he may be referencing someone else: one Theon Greyjoy. As pointed out by Vanity Fair, in the season 8 trailer, Bran can be heard telling someone, “Everything you did brought you to where you are now. Where you belong. Home”.
And with Theon all-but confirming he’s heading back up North, expect a reunion in the not-too-distant-future.
Over several seasons we’ve seen the White Walkers leave the same mysterious symbol.
When Ned Umber scared the crap out of us, he promptly burst into flames revealing the same symbol, which is eerily close to the Targaryan sigil.
After flying around on the dragons, and very shortly before that sloppy kiss, Jon and Daenerys shared a romantic moment in front of a beautiful waterfall where Daenerys tells Jon, “We could stay a thousand years. No one would find us.”
Ygritte said something pretty similar once upon a time right before making love in a cave.
“Let’s not go back. Let’s stay here a while longer. I don’t ever want to leave this cave, Jon Snow.”
Lets hope Dany doesn’t share the same ill-fate.
Sam gets pretty upset about his family’s death at the hands of Daenerys, but does mention that he nicked a sword from his father Randyll.
This bad boy is only made of Valyrian steel – the Kryptonite to White Walkers – which, as clever fans noticed in the season 8 trailer, is later wielded by Jorah.
Sansa and Dany’s relationship is already frostier than the Night King’s nutsack, with the Lady of Winterfell greeting the queen by saying, “Winterfell is yours, your grace.”
During the season 1 premiere, the then Lord of Winterfell, Ned Stark welcomed Robert Baratheon by saying, “Guarding the North for you, your grace. Winterfell is yours.”
Only he was much nicer about it.
Images via HBO/YouTube