Television review: “Game of Thrones – Season Eight – Winterfell” (2009-2019)

“Game of Thrones – Season 8 – Winterfell” (2019) 


Six Episodes

Created for HBO by: David Benioff and D. B. Weiss based on A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

Featuring: Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gwendoline Christie and Alfie Allen

Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane:“You left me to die.”

Arya Stark:“First, I robbed you.”

Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane:“You’re a cold little bitch, aren’t you? Guess that’s why you’re still alive.”

There can be fewer television shows going today that are more closely watched than “Game of Thrones” (2009-2019), especially as the production has been cloaked in secrecy that has only increased from year to year, this has been magnified by the fact that there has not been a new episode in almost two years. Another reason that there has been so much secrecy is that this eighth season is also the shows last which has only heightened expectation as well as fans and news outlets offering their own theories about how it will all end, who will live, who will die and what will be the fate of the seven kingdoms of the fictional Westeros. 

“Game of Thrones” (after a reportedly terrible pilot) has introduced new actors as well as directors and writers while at the same time blending them with more experienced and veteran talent which ten years felt refreshing but now in this final season it could be said that the entire cast (those that are left) are all now strong veterans who are on a victory lap of sorts no matter how the plot unfolds and resolves itself. 

So the first episode of the final season is possibly a little predictable but sets up the final season as it should do and as the first episode has for the past seven, so we actually spend most of the episode at Winterfell as characters who have been apart come together. We do however visit two other locations briefly, those being King’s Landing and Eastwatch where the wall was taken down at the end of season seven.

Amongst all the events that occur in this episode from a gratuitous section of dragon riding to the introduction of the much heard about Golden Company as well as some brief Greyjoy business the entire episode is about the rekindling of past relationships as well as echoes going all the way back to the first episode most obvious in the great opening all the way to the last scene which is not only surprising but directly acts as a look how far we have come, that features Bran and Jaime in a cliff hangerish ending.

My only real fear this episode was the Jon would not find out about his true heritage but to my relief he does and it occurs to me that this is going to set up conflict between him and Daenerys, as he feels more and more selfless she on the other side feels more entitled as well as a little arrogant, this can only mean bad things for their relationship as well as the alliance that they have formed. 

Another elements and my absolute favourite part of “Winterfell” was the way many members of the supporting cast are now coming into their own, no more so than Sam who is possibly the most trusted person in the show, he is also Jon’s best friend and in many ways will be a trusted advisor. Sam learns of this Father and Brothers death at the hands of Daenerys as well as her dragons which is heartbreaking, you can see in his eyes the sense of loss but pulls himself together enough to leave and to find Jon. From there Sam confromts Jon who is shocked by the revelation, of course the revaltions do not stop there as Jon’s lineage is revealed, he is disbelieving but it becomes apparent that he believes what Sam is telling him. This is where the episode more or less ends so we will have to wait until next week to see what ramifications come.

Looking forward we know there is going to be two episodes that will be devoted to massive battles clocking in at around an hour and a half so outside of those we will possibly have more narrative based episodes which will be good counter programming as well as hopefully sorting out storylines from previous seasons. Some of the elements of the show that I hope we will see is some actual magic as well as more story based episodes. I also think that Bran should and needs to be explained more, some of the actual rules for him are confusing, I mean shouldn’t he be able to know anything, very odd. So onward to next week and episode two.

Episode One: “Winterfell”

Written by: Dave Hill Directed by: David Nutter

This week’s episode is mostly set at three locations and is all about reunions, at Winterfell, as well as the introduction of a new character at Kings Landing, not only that but it acts as a reset for the rest of the season to come. We also learn the fate of a few of the fringe characters after the army of the undead broke through the wall and what the Knight King is up to.

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