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Game of Thrones Review: Season 8, Episode 1 - Winterfell

23 April 19 words: Adam Ridgley

The longest wait in history is finally over. Those dragon-riding, sister-kissing, wedding-ruining buggers are finally back in the final season of Game of Thrones... 

The premiere leaves long waiting fans stuck in the snow, leaving a lot to be desired.

Our return to Westeros is an easy, if not at times frustrating affair. Not too dissimilar to premiers of the past, we battle through an hour of expositional dialogue and the opening of new plot threads for the final season. At times we are often teased by characters pointing out, “we don’t have time for this,” blocking the hopes of fans expecting to immediately get back into the swing of things.

Although it’s a rather cool affair, there are plenty of heart-warming moments through long awaited reunions and call backs to earlier seasons to reward long standing affairs. Many characters finally meeting after 67 hours of television, bring a whole new dynamic to the show as we enter the end of the game. Particularly the fire created by the cold interactions between Daenerys and Sansa are brilliantly crafted to create a lot of intrigue moving forward.

Despite the impending supernatural threat, it was good to see the show hasn’t forgotten its roots as a deconstruction of the fantasy genre, with the seemingly most mundane of questions surrounding food supplies are raised as a point of contention. There is also just the right amount of humour injected into this episode with the odd laugh that never feels out of place.

The episode grows weaker in the second act with some underwhelming scenes in Kings Landing with the bulk of the cast now being based in Winterfell, there is an odd emptiness to these scenes. This partnered with an over extended How to Train Your Dragon-esque set piece and a rushed conclusion to a character arch that has been built since Season 2 and the episode notably stifles in the middle.

Things pick up in the final third as a character meeting you might not have known you wanted, the teasing of a character reunion you have been anticipating and Jon Snow finally knowing something after 7 seasons and there is much to be desired from this night and all nights to come.

A frustrating, but ultimately necessary prologue to the final season of the TV show of our times. Whilst there is a lot left to be desired, we are treated to enough fan service and teased with enough to soldier through the long nights ahead of the war to come.