Winter is here.
It’s been 595 days since the end of season 7. That’s 595 days of rewatches and of deep diving into YouTube and Reddit fan theories. Okay, really, it’s more like that’s been my last 7 days, but still. I’ve got a raging Game of Thrones fever and I’m excited its back. My season 8 death pool is submitted. I’m alienating friends and loved ones with theories about who is secretly related to whom. I’m ready as I’ll ever be for this final season.
It’s winter in Winterfell. Some kid is running. A very large army is on the march. Arya’s got a smirk as they pass by. The kid is like Bran Jr., climbing a tall tree to get a better look at the army marching north. Is it me or do the Unsullied look not that equipped for the cold? Dany and Jon ride side by side in the ranks of the Unsullied. Arya is excited to see Jon, confused to see the Hound and very happy to see Gendry.
Just as I’m saying to myself, where are the dragons, they come screeching into the scene from overhead.
Jon’s reunion with Bran is heartwarming, until you realize Bran’s about to tell him that woman Jon’s been bedding is his aunt. Bran keeps his mouth shut for now. How does one tell his brother that he’s not really his brother and that his not really brother has also been screwing his own aunt? Readers from Appalachia, please comment.
The kids are not alright.
War is hell. When a 10 year old boy is commanding a region, you get that feeling. The tiny Lord Umber pledges to send troops to Winterfell. You get the feeling that a grade-schooler is playing kings and queens. Then Lyanna takes Jon to task for bending the knee to Dany, and I’m like, “Oh, this little girl is IN CHARGE!” Jon goes into politician mode explaining why he chose to bend the knee. People be murmuring. Tyrion gives Jack’s “Live together or die alone” speech from Lost after he ices the cake of Jon bending knee with news that the Lannister army is coming north to fight with them. Please check out Jon’s new TED Talk, “How to Lose The Faith of Your People in One Meeting,” now streaming on YouTube.
After the meeting, Tyrion sees his ex-wife Sansa for the first time since moments after Joffrey’s death. Sansa isn’t buying that Cersei is sending her army north, and mocks Tyrion’s intelligence for believing it to be true.
Another reunion is happening at the same time. It’s been so long since Jon has seen Arya that he has no idea the cold-hearted killer she’s become.
Harry Strickland, CPA
Down south, Euron returns to King’s Landing with the Golden Company. Yara is still in his company, as his hostage. Euron still has a literal hard on for Cersei. He presents the Golden Company to Cersei. Harry Strickland, the leader of the Golden Company, fills Cersei in on his army. It’s 20,000 strong, full of horses, but no elephants. Cersei was hoping for elephants. Harry Strickland also has to be the most normal sounding name on this whole show. No funny spelling, no funny sounds. Harry Strickland sounds like the name of the guy who did your taxes this year.
Euron gives Cersei the hard sell on sleeping with him and surprisingly, it works. #donttelljaimie
Bronn always has the best lines.
Bronn brags about shooting a dragon to three whores. They talk about a ginger named Eddie who came back with his eyelids burned off. Are they referring to Ed Sheeran?? Oh no! Qyburn interrupts the proceedings. He tells Bronn that Cersei has chests of gold waiting for Bronn outside. Qyburn gives Bronn the crossbow that Tyrion shot Tywin with. Cersei wants Bronn to kill both of her brothers with it. Man, Bronn is Mr. All About The Money, but can he kill his boys for some (okay, a lot of) gold? Sadly, I’m thinking he can. Is Tyrion going to die by the crossbow that he killed with? He wouldn’t be the first person on the show to die by his own weapon.
After bedding Euron, Cersei is drinking wine. Is she not pregnant? Okay, here’s my theory. I don’t think she faked being pregnant. Did she take essence of Nightshade after Jaime left town? If so, Jaime is definitely dead to her. But I guess her giving Bronn a crossbow to kill Jaime says all you really need to know about Cersei’s feelings towards her brother-lover. Cersei calls Euron the most arrogant man she ever met. They both like that.
What is dead may never die.
On Euron’s boat outside King’s Landing, Theon and his men slice and arrow their way to Yara to free her. She rewards Theon with a swift headbutt. But then helps him up. It’s a complicated relationship, those two. She wants to retake the Iron Islands, he wants to help the Starks. They agree to go their separate ways with a “What is dead may never die,” which really takes on a whole new meaning now that the dead are walking.
Varys says “Nothing lasts” as he looks down from a wall at Jon and Dany and I wonder if they’ll be together still by the end of the episode.
Dude, she’s your aunt.
Some Dothraki inform Dani that the dragons are barely eating. Dany intuits that they don’t like the north. They seem to like Jon. Jon hops a dragon and I gain a point in my season 8 pool! Wooooo! Jon doesn’t so much ride the dragon as hang on for dear life. They buzz some trees, zip through some canyons and find a more private spot to converse. They kiss and I’m like “Awwww,” and then I’m like, “Dude, that’s your aunt!” The dragons react, and I can’t help but wonder if they’re trying to say, “Dude, that’s your aunt!” Or maybe the dragons just like to watch.
Gendry oversees dragonglass weapon production. He’s made a big dragonglass ax for Clegane. Arya tells Clegane to play nice when he insults Gendry. When the former Hound counters that she left him for dead, she corrects him that she also robbed him first. Clegane gets lost, allowing Gendry and Arya to have a cute reunion. Arya wants Gendry to make a special weapon for her. I need to rewatch this scene and pause on the design, because my initial reaction was “Is that a pimp cane with a sword hidden inside it?”
Sansa isn’t happy with Jon for abandoning his crown. He thinks that without Dany, they don’t stand a chance. By the look on Sansa’s face, she thinks with her, they’ll be ruined. Sansa flat out asks if Jon bent the knee to save the North or because he loves her.
Freindzone Mormont escorts Dany to see Sam. She’s happy to meet the man who saved Jorah and says she’d gladly give him anything, and he quickly asks her for a pardon. See, Sam borrowed a few books from the Citadel and his family’s sword. When it comes out that Randall Tarly is Sam’s father, Dany admits to killing both him and Sam’s older brother. Sam doesn’t take the news well. Sam flees and immediately finds Bran, who “is waiting for an old friend.” Bran says “it’s time to tell Jon the truth.” Oh boy.
Awkward news time.
Jon is in the crypts, lighting a candle for Ned. Sam makes his way down to Jon. Jon wants to joke, but Sam’s face isn’t joking. Sam asks if Jon knew about Dany executing his father and brother. When Sam asks if Jon would have done the same, Jon hems and haws. Jon yells that he’s not the King in the North. Sam counters that Jon’s the King of the Seven Kingdoms. He fills Jon in on his true identity, Aegon Targarian, sixth of his name, true heir to the Iron Throne. I don’t see Jon wanting the throne in lieu of Dany, but this is really going to make their bedroom antics awkward.
Tormund lives! Yay! He, Beric and some others are checking out a fort (castle?) with some very recent bloodstains. They run into some more Knights Watchmen who found a Lord Umber Boy tacked to the wall with a fancy design of limbs behind him. We’ve seen that design before. Wight Lord Umber Boy screams and readies to stab Tormund, but Beric burns him in time. He goes up very quickly, leaving them to watch him and the rest of the limbs attached to the wall go up in flames.
A hooded figure enters Winterfell on horse. Hello Jaime! Wow, his hair gets darker every season! The first person Jaime sees is Bran in a wheelchair. Awkward…
The episode ends. Wait, really, that’s it?!?
Billy Henehan writes for The Beat. In his free time, he likes to hunt down foreign language reprints of Todd McFarlane Spider-Man comics.