Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1
Sansa and Daenerys, an icy encounter
Naturally, the two main protagonists of Game of Thrones, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen are at the heart of the plot. The couple entered Winterfell side by side to reassure the northern inhabitants very suspicious of this new alliance. The series winks at the first episode of the saga thanks to the acrobatics and curiosity of a young boy from the North. An attitude that strangely reminds us of the climbing skills of the young Bran Stark in episode 1 of season 1. The end of the episode will be a second reminder of this very first episode, but we will come back to it.
Jon and Daenerys meet Sansa who, like her subjects, does not show great warmth when she meets the Mother of the Dragons for the first time. Daenerys does everything to make her comfortable by covering her with compliments and a radiant smile. Sansa, herself, keeps the “poker face” that she learned to wear thanks to the “teachings” of Cersei and Littlefinger. The two women are in a fight and it is Jon who finds himself in the middle of this psychological battle.
He is helped indirectly by Bran Stark who, while the tension is palpable, recalls the two women to the emergency of the moment: the army of the dead is closer than ever. He even made two revelations of magnitude: the Wall fell and one of the Daenerys dragons is now under the control of the Night King. Of course, viewers already knew all this, but Daenerys did not expect it. The shock and confusion are clear on his face.
The North remembers
The Lords of the North who have united with Jon Snow demonstrate their great disappointment. They found out Jon bent his knee in front of Daenerys, and they’re not happy. The young Lyanna Mormont makes it very clear that she does not appreciate this change of situation. Jon must then, once again, convince his vassals that this political issue does not matter much in the face of the future peril. It takes the men and dragons of Daenerys to triumph over the Night King.
He is helped in his argument by Tyrion Lannister who promises that his family’s army, led by his older brother Jaime, will also join them. The people in the north don’t seem to be really taken with this idea— Naturally, Tyrion does not know yet that Cersei never intended to honor his promise and that Jaime will arrive alone in Winterfell at the end of the episode to honor the pact of season 7.
A reunion in a mess
This first episode is very fast in its execution. He quickly replaced the characters where they should be for the great battle of Winterfell that is about to take place. Daenerys and Jon join Sansa, Bran and Arya. Naturally, this allows two scenes of moving reunions (but perhaps too brief) between Jon and Bran and Arya. Bran’s not really himself since he’s the omniscient Crow and Arya’s changed. Jon is even surprised to see her defend Sansa’s vision while the two sisters were perfect opposites in their childhood. During this scene between Jon and Arya, the latter slips to him moreover that he should not forget who his real family is: the Starks. A sentence that reasoned strongly since Jon will also learn that he is a Targaryen in reality. This reference to family loyalty is also, somewhere, important for Theon Greyjoy.
The latter managed to free (again the rescue mission is very fast) his sister Yara. The latter decided to recapture the Iron Islands in order to possibly use this bastion as a fallback zone if Daenerys were to lose to the king of the Night. Theon tells his sister that he wants to fight at Winterfell. The North is, after all, the land of his childhood and he was raised by Ned and Catelyn Stark. Like Jon, he’s not a blood Stark but he’s a Stark anyway.
Arya also finds his former companions: the bloodhound and Gendry. The young Stark then asked the blacksmith to conceive of what resembled a pious lancer in obsidian. A weapon that could be useful against the dead or the zombie dragon if the weapon is large enough.
Cersei more isolated than ever
For her part, Cersei continues to advance her pawns. She shows no interest in the battle against the Night King. When her Hand, Qyburn, came to announce the fall of the Wall, she rejoiced, certainly thinking that the dead should rid her of her enemies.
The capital of Westeros never looked so empty. Cersei seems extremely isolated, which forces the queen to make incredible concessions to the only remaining ally: Euron Greyjoy. The latter wants to sleep with her and she ends up accepting to calm the arrogant navigator. She also received the captain of the Golden Company, the precious mercenaries she had just bought with Tyrell money. The only disappointment: there are fewer men than expected and the Company could not bring its war elephants with it to Westeros.
Cersei seems blinded by vengeance. She asks Qyburn to pay Bronn (who is found in the company of three prostitutes, a classic in Game of Thrones) to murder Jaime and Tyrion. For the latter, she wants him to die of a crossbow, like their father Tywin. “She has a particularly poetic sense of justice,” explains Qyburn. Will Bronn be able to kill Jaime and Tyrion that he seems to enjoy? Or will he remain a pure and hard mercenary obsessed with advancement and enrichment?
Jon Snow… (Targaryen)
The big scene of this first episode is certainly Jon Snow’s first dragon flight. He and Daenerys leave for a long time to fly together on the backs of giant reptiles. They land away from the looks to exchange a fiery kiss near a waterfall. Again, there’s a pretty strong wink at the cave scene where Jon and Ygritte had a good time a few seasons ago.
Daenerys, accompanied by Jorah Mormont, went to personally thank Samwell Tarly for saving his companion at the Citadel. This encounter, which was to be perfectly friendly and pleasant, became particularly bitter when Daenerys confessed to having sentenced Samwell’s father and elder brother to death. If the latter hated his father, he seems particularly affected by the death of his brother whom he liked. This revelation places the man in a terrible conflict of loyalty since he must serve the one who beheaded his family… But sadness outweighs anger. No doubt Daenerys regretted at that very moment not having listened to Tyrion when he begged him to forgive Dickon Tarly.
Samwell then went to meet Bran who asked him to reveal the truth to Jon about his biological parents. Samwell executed himself by explaining to Jon that he is in fact the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne: Aegon Targaryen, son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen (Daenerys’ elder brother).
Samwell instills in Jon’s mind that he is the true king, the one who should fight to be on the Iron Throne. Jon digests as he can the news by immediately imagining that if he revealed this information, he would become a rival for Daenerys, that it would be “betrayal”. For Samwell, it is simply the truth and he thinks Jon should fight to be king because, after revelations about the executions of his father and brother, he finds Jon more just and merciful than the Mother of the Dragons. You gave your [king of the North] crown to save your subjects, but would she be able to make the same sacrifice?” , ask Jon for Sam at the end of the stage.
Ensuring an unpredictable suite
The end of the episode shows the advance of the Night King who conquered the fortress of the Umber family. The young lord, Ned Umber, is nailed to a castle wall surrounded by a spiral of cut limbs. He was changed by the Night King and is killed by the fiery sword of Béric Dondarrion. A scene that puts a bit of horror and fantasy in an episode that has only finally put the characters on the page. Now heroes and viewers know the same thing. The rest of the season will therefore be able to focus on new real revelations and not just reactions.
First revelation awaiting us for Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1 : the reaction of the North to the arrival of Jaime Lannister. The latter arrives in Winterfell and finds himself face to face with Bran Stark, the child he pushed from the top of a tower during the very first episode, thus triggering the cascade of events that we know