REVIEW: Game of Thrones, Season Eight: Episode One and Two
The show has been back on the air for the last three weeks and we are already at the halfway point of the last ever season of Game of Thrones!
As we prepare for episode three, here’s your catch up of the last two weeks.
Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) both arrived in Winterfell with an army of Dothraki and Unsullied warriors. At the same time, she is also armed with two, yes two, dragons: Drogon and Rhaegal (she lost her third, Viserion, to the Night King in the season seven finale).
This opening scene is also similar to the one that was aired all the way back on the pilot episode in season one, where the former king of the seven kingdoms, Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy), shows up with his Kingsguard at Winterfell.
Robert’s arrival at Winterfell (season one)
Credit: Darth Kenobi
Jon’s arrival at Winterfell (season eight)
Credit: Asoiaf – Lore and History
Jon finally reunited with Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie Williams), who, as we now know, are his cousins. These moments with the characters are all well and good but we’re never sitting too comfy as we know the show has a tendency to kill off our beloved characters at the snap of a finger.
Sorry Avengers flashback.
Although this episode and the one to follow was slow and building up to something bigger, it did keep you entertained with its small pockets of comedy; there were lines to make you chuckle from both Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju).
Since we’re on the topic of Bronn, when Qyburn (Anton Lesser) told him that the Queen’s – Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) – brothers had broken promises to him and that she wanted to “rectify” their mistakes, did she mean to kill them? If so, will Bronn be able to bring himself around to people he used to follow?
This is Game of Thrones we are talking about here and anything can happen.
We found out over two years ago – in season seven – that Jon was not in fact born a bastard – Sorry, trying to keep it PG – but is actually a legitimate child of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark called Aegon. He was given the hidden identity of Jon Snow by his uncle, Eddard Stark, and raised as Eddard’s illegitimate son.
Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) was the one to finally break the news to Snow of his heritage. It was such a heartfelt moment for us viewers, but will Daenerys take it kindly? Now that Jon has more of a right to claim and sit on the Iron Throne over both her and Cersei, I think that’ll go down like drinking sour milk.
Daenerys and Jon fighting over the Iron Throne at the end of season eight:
The episode finished with a hooded figure arriving through Winterfell and getting off their horse. This turned out to be none other than Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) – and who was on the other side of the yard when Jamie appeared? Bran Stark and his iconic glare, staring directly into the Lannister’s soul for what he saw eight seasons ago.
The last time they saw each other in the entire franchise of Game of Thrones was when Bran was in his hyper-energetic youth, climbing one of the towers and inadvertently catching Jamie and Cersei in an incestuous act.
There are only a few parts of this episode that are worth reviewing and talking about, as the majority of this one was mainly filler, as well as a means to connect the season eight premiere to the upcoming first large battle of the season.
It opens up to Jamie standing trial – in a way – to persuade the North, Daenerys, Sansa and Jon that they should allow him to fight by their side. If it wasn’t for Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), I don’t think Jamie would have been able to leave the building alive and breathing, unless Jon decided to convince them and execute him later on – if they survived the upcoming battle.
For the rest of the episode, as mentioned before, it was mainly filler, showing us a happy, friendly time between our beloved characters, forming new friendships and building on existing ones. This also was true for Arya, who had an “intimate” moment with Gendry (Joe Dempsie), in case she didn’t get to live to see another sunrise.
During the many moments of filler in this episode, we got to see a side of Tormund that we had never seen before: Jealousy. After seeing the close friendship that has formed over the seasons between Jamie and Brienne, Tormond explains why he was given the name ‘Giantsbane’ – breastfed by a giant at the age of 10 after killing the giant’s husband.
Brienne also had slight character development in this episode, becoming a knight of the seven kingdoms by the hands – or hand – of Jamie. Whether or not this will have any effect on or after episode three in terms of the storyline, we will just have to wait and see.
For the majority of this episode, Jon avoided Daenerys like she had the plague. This is most likely down to the newly acquired knowledge of his heritage (i.e. being a Targaryen).
The news didn’t go down to well with Daenerys as she doubted the sources of the information: Samwell (Jon’s best friend) and Bran (Jon’s former half-brother, now cousin). It’s a fair point as to why she doubted the news, however, if they survive the battle in episode three, will she come to terms with it? How will she act, knowing she is no longer the last of her House and that she now has a nephew?
The episode’s cliffhanger was the one that I knew was coming, just by the way that they dragged the episode out, you just knew you weren’t getting the first bloody and gory battle until the third episode. Which is fair.
So we are to wait another week to see what happens as we’re left with the dead arriving on undead horses and looking at the glowing fortress of Winterfell in the distance.