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Game of ThronesTV ReviewsGame of Thrones (8×01) Winterfell Review

Keith NoakesApril 14, 201985/100
Director
David Nutter
Writer
Dave Hill
Rating
TV-MA
Running Time
54 minutes
Airs
Sundays 9pm
Channel
HBO Canada, HBO
Overall Score
Rating Summary
Winterfell was a welcome return to Westeros, working more as a set up episode that helped to place the pieces on the board than to advance the story while providing some noteworthy moments and reunions as the series prepares for the end.

For our review of last season of Game of Thrones, click here.

Synopsis: The Great War has come, the Wall has fallen and the Night King’s army of the dead marches towards Westeros. The end is here, but who will take the Iron Throne? (IMDB)

It’s been almost 2 years since we’ve last been in Westeros so this Season 8 premiere was more of a refresher episode that kept up with almost every character in almost every part of the land as they geared up for the war to come. While Winter is Here (a leaked title for the episode), was mostly a set up episode, it did feature quite a few standout moments in paying homage in a way to the series premiere.

Just like the Lannisters arriving to Winterfell in the series premiere, this episode started with Daenerys Targaryen and her entourage (which included Jon of course) arrived to Winterfell. The Northerners aren’t known for their trusting of outsiders so they would be greeted by various looks but the arrival of two dragons would make them reconsider at least a little. All the Starks (at least for now) were back in Winterfell but Daenerys and Jon would need to prove theirselves to the Starks and the other northerners which will clearly not come easy as they pledged allegiance to Jon and not her (Jon would avoid the question of whether he bent the knee because he loved her). News of the joining Lannister army didn’t exactly go down well either. Meanwhile, it wouldn’t be Game of Thrones without some backroom dealings by Jon and Daenerys’ advisers (i.e Varys, Davos, and Tyrion).

In the first of many inevitable moments, Jon and Daenerys would ride dragons together to a secluded area where she would tempt him with a private life together (which wasn’t very private thanks to a pair of disapproving dragons watching). Daenerys also pardoned Sam while informing him of the fates of his father and brother (he may not have gotten along with them but he was still sad about it). Now he and Bran knew the truth behind Jon’s true lineage. Their reunion was emotional and the truth as well as news of what happened to Sam’s family was a real shock to Jon. The full effect of this reveal remains to be seen.

The episode could have stayed in Winterfell but it brought us back, albeit briefly, to King’s Landing where Cersei received her shipment of soldiers from the Golden Company thanks to Euron Greyjoy for which she would reject his advances (obviously) and give the cold shoulder. In what would be a surprise, Theon would save her sister who was still held captive by Euron and they would sail back to reclaim the Iron Islands. Meanwhile, Theon would sail to Winterfell to fight with the Starks. While what didn’t come as much of a surprise was Cersei paying Bronn gold in exchange for killing her two brothers. We also took a trip near the Wall (or at least what was left of it). Tormund and the others were reeling as the White Walkers were long past them.

This episode was full of reunions, some rehashing old traumas while some were meant for something more. The Stark and Grejoy reunions were nice to see while Tyrion and Sansa was powerful and Arya and Gendry reunited under the pretense that she wanted him to build a certain weapon for her. One last reunion which would end the episode was that of Bran (who was waiting for Jaime when Sam ran into him) and Jaime for obvious reasons.

Welcome back Game of Thrones. We’re so happy you’re back but we’ll be sad to see you go.


If you liked this, please read our other reviews here and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, follow us on Instagram, and also like us on Facebook.

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