Game of Thrones Returns! Season 8 Episode 1 “Winterfell” Review

Finally, after two years of waiting the last season of Game of Thrones has returned to our screens, and it certainly did not disappoint. since the show producers announced it would be the two-year wait, the internet has been exploding with fan theories and speculations about every detail of the long-awaited series. Begining with the return of Jon Snow and his new allies to the North, arriving at winterfell.

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[analysis time…] John Snow riding Rhaegal, his ability to ride the dragon has been built up throughout the last series, the fact that he is in fact half Targaryen, and not to mention he’s riding the dragon thats named after his biological father ‘Rhaegar’. Coincidence? We think not… The other two, named after her husband Khal Drogo and her deceased brother Viserys. When we consider the relationships that Daenerys has had with those whom she named her dragons after, the plot seems to line up nicely alongside it. The one she has by far the strongest bond with; Drogon. The one who she loses to the darkness, the Whites, Viserion, a man whom in his lifetime had his own demons to manage. (*unsuccessfully we might add.)

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On more than one occasion, the dragons have been a mirroring and growth medium for the characters in the show, mostly, Daenerys, and her relationship to others, Khal Drogo in particular, but mainly her relationship with herself, her growth and evolution occurred as the dragons did. George R.R Martin, is a serious fan of stories coming full circle, cyclical realities and narratives that are subtly repeated. A prime example, after going for a ride on the dragons, Daenerys and John take a pit stop for an intimate moment and discussion. In front of a huge cascading waterfall. This brings us back to the highly-anticipated scene where Jon Snow simultaneously broke his oath to the Nightswatch and popped his cherry with Ygritte in a cave, beside a waterfall. There’s even a very similar comment made between the two occasions, in the present tense, Daenerys tells John that they ‘could stay here for a thousand years and no one would find us.’ mirrors Ygritte telling John that they ‘could stay here forever.’

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One of the last scenes, and definitely one of the most important ones, is when Winterfell’s men find the Umber boy pinned to the walls in a ritualistic presentation. With a wheel of severed arms designed in a suspiciously familiar pattern…. Which becomes even harder to ignore after it is set alight. The  very same symbol is one of the first patterns we see in the first ever episode, this pattern laid out in the snow near the dead bodies. It’s practically a carbon copy of the House Targaryen’s sigil, and is seen on the decorative armbands that the Children of the Forest wear. (the very ones who created the Night King and subsequent Whites in the first place*)

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Speculations…. there have been countless amount of theories around the world, but only a handful are ones that appear plausible and potentially correct. One of the biggest moments is going to taken place in the crypts of Winterfell. This episode shows us the crypts when Sam finally tells John who he truly is, but that’s not where the vast majority of the intrigue comes in. Two of the pre-episode sneak-peeks take place in the crypts. The first, we see the Stark Children standing in front of their statues and preparing themselves for an onslaught, while the mist and ice creeps closer to them. Could this ice be coming directly from the Night King himself, as he’s making his way down to the crypts, or is this simply a representation of the feared ‘Winter’ that has been coming since the first series ended. (The latter explanation seems to ring too hollow as George R.R Martin writes anything but simplistic scenes. Secondly, we get a thirty second clip of a blood-stained and terrified Arya running thought the crypts – what could have made her so scared? As she is someone well acquainted with battle, could it be that The Night King has resurrected members of the Stark family from their burial places within the crypts, could she be running from a reanimated family members corpse? Give the fact that two of these teaser trailers have taken place in the crypts its entirely reasonable to say that this foreshadowing is leading up to something major. If we’re to believe the rumours that The Night King is actually a stark – the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Nights Watch who fell for a White woman, married her and spent 15 years ruling over the lands until he was usurped and all evidence of his existence was burned, scrapped from the history of the Nights Watch. The potential narratives are endless, and we’re eagerly awaiting next week’s edition.

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