Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow arrive in Winterfell in the first episode of the final season of Game of Thrones, and the queen's arrival subtly stirs up another intense power struggle.
Reunions, first meetings, circular narratives, and short quips comprise most of the episode, which runs at least 50 minutes long.
There are only five more episodes left and the first one has been used to settle allegiances, set up defenses against the White Walkers, and speak the truth into fruition.
Game Of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1
Spoiler alert: it isn't a wonder to feel the pang of nostalgia hit viewers as another royalty marches toward Winterfell, which is a direct parallel to the opening in the pilot episode in the first season. Daenerys meets Lady Sansa Stark for the first time, and the meeting is as chilly as a frozen Wildling beyond the wall.
The fierce Lady Lyanna Mormont does not fail to express her disappointment over the fact that Jon bent the knee, and Sansa feels the same. Unlike Daenerys, Jon is declared the King in the North by the people, not by some birthright. Jon defends his decision and tells them that he bent the knee to protect his people, which is something that a true king would do.
In King's Landing, the Golden Company that Queen Cersei Lannister ordered from the Iron Bank has also arrived, but without elephants. Euron Greyjoy attempts to seduce the Queen, and Cersei tells Euron that a queen has to be earned. He visits her in her room later. Meanwhile, Bronn is tasked to kill the Queen's treasonous brothers.
Daenerys Targaryen Rules With Fear, Not Respect
As the episode goes on, it becomes more and more evident that the North does not accept Daenerys as queen. This will build up in the next episodes, and there is some talk on Twitter that Arya's assassin training has been leading up to her killing Daenerys.
If viewers are pro-Daenerys, this possibility destroys everything she worked for in the past seven seasons. However, given the unpredictable nature of this show when it comes to killing off "protagonists," this possibility will not come as a shock.
One thing that crystallizes is the fact that Daenerys, as a Targaryen ruler, does not know how to compromise. She uses her dragons to rule with fear, not respect.
This is consistent of her when she came to Westeros, and specifically when she ordered her dragon to burn the Tarlys alive. The scene where she tells Samwell Tarly that his father and brother are dead contains so much nuance that it leaves the viewers with doubt: should Daenerys rule Westeros at all?
Who Should Sit On The Iron Throne?
In contrast to Daenerys, Jon Snow has been a humble, unassuming king who constantly tells people he doesn't want the throne. Samwell Tarly tells Jon the truth about his lineage, and viewers are left to wonder what Jon will do next. Will he tell Daenerys? It is highly unlikely that Jon will claim the iron throne for himself given his nature.
On the other end of the table is Sansa Stark, who opposes Jon's decision and questions him as to whether he bent the knee because he is in love. Throughout the seasons, Sansa has learned so much from watching Cersei, from being surrounded by the cunning Petyr Baelish, and from all the trauma she experienced. She has become a clever player in the game of thrones.
Sansa shows that she is the voice of reason in insisting whether or not Cersei should be trusted at all. From everything she's experienced, she is right to ask. The viewers know that Cersei may or may not betray the "alliance" she made with Daenerys in the seventh season.
However, despite being doubtful of Jon's decisions, Sansa can't argue with the fact that Daenerys's dragons and her Dothraki army are essential in fighting against the Night King's army. In the grand scheme of things, does it matter who rules what? As Bran said, the White Walkers are coming.
Bran Stark Waited For 'An Old Friend'
To complete the circular narrative, the first episode of the eighth season ended on Ser Jaime Lannister arriving in Winterfell and seeing the person to whom he has committed a grave crime. It turns out the old friend that Bran was referring to when he talked to Sam was none other than Jaime.
It's a satisfying cliff-hanger.
Teaser For Season 8 Episode 2
Now that Jaime is in Winterfell, he is surrounded by enemies. A council has been set up and Jaime is under scrutiny. Meanwhile, the White Walkers are advancing closer day by day. Will the North survive winter?
Watch the teaser for the next episode below: