Let's Break Down the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premiere From Beginning to End
Warning: All the spoilers for Game of Thrones below!
It's fair to say that Game of Thrones fans have been waiting (for what feels like) ages for the premiere of season eight, the show's final season. We've been posing theories, trying to decipher all the trailers and photos released by HBO, and more. But now that the season premiere has finally come, we're just trying to process everything that happened! Don't worry if you're too overwhelmed to remember exactly what happened — we've rounded up the seven biggest moments from the season eight premiere. It all starts when Daenerys Targaryen arrives in Winterfell . . .
Daenerys Brings an Army to Winterfell
The episode beings with the Dragon Queen and the former King in the North arriving without fanfare. As the two ride in, Arya watches from the crowd of Northerners gathered to watch Daenerys's retinue march in, looking out in particular for her half-brother. Arya smiles as Jon rides past, but he doesn't see her (which feels like a hint about their relations in the future). As the rest of Dany's party rides through, it's painfully obvious that the Northerners aren't happy about this arrival in their home. While the queen is used to a little worship or awe when she walks through a crowd, the people of Winterfell look wary and put-off by her presence — even more when Drogon and Rheagal make their appearances known by swooping down as they fly past. "I warned you, Northerners don't much trust outsiders," Jon tells Daenerys. The people run away screaming as Daenerys smirks, and all in all, it's pretty much what we all expected to happen.
Once they enter Winterfell, Jon embraces Bran and Sansa in greeting, wondering where Arya is. The tension is thick when Dany joins the Starks, greeting Sansa with a smile and a compliment, which the Lady of Winterfell deftly swats away by simply responding with, "Winterfell is yours, your Grace." Bran does his Three-Eyed-Raven mojo, reminding everyone that they have no time for court pettiness right now, since Dany lost her dragon to the Night King and the dead are quickly approaching. In the Hall, Jon and Tyrion try to rally the North into accepting their new roommates, but they are just not having it. Lyanna (as usual) asks Jon who he even is now, since he went and bent the knee to Dany, and Jon defends himself by pointing out that he did it to get them the allies they sorely needed. When Tyrion announces that the Lannister armies will be joining them soon, Sansa raises the practical question of how they're meant to feed everyone since Winterfell can barely feed their own. There's no answer, but Dany and Sansa exchange some side-eyes that would truly make Olenna Tyrell proud.
Two reunions rapidly occur right after the other: Sansa and Tyrion see each other for the first time since Joffrey's wedding, and Jon and Arya finally reunite since season one, episode one. While Sansa and Tyrion reminisce about the Purple Wedding, and Sansa chides her former husband for actually believing Cersei would send her men to help them fight the Night King's army, the reunion between the two "outcast" Starks is a tad warmer. In the godswood, Arya and Jon have a heartwarming hug (similar to the one he shared with Sansa way back when) and they bond over their respective swords. Jon tries to commiserate with Arya over the sister they often teased when they were younger, but Arya sticks by her older sister, noting that "she's the smartest person I ever met." Arya says that Sansa is defending their family, to which Jon says, "I'm family, too." "Don't forget that," she replies.
Euron Rides Into Kings Landing With the Golden Company
All the way in Kings Landing, Qyburn tells Cersei that the dead have broken through the Wall as she gazes out into the water where Euron's Iron Fleet is arriving with the Golden Company. She smiles (because she's evil), but what Cersei probably doesn't know is that Euron has Yara tied up on his boat. Euron and Harry Strickland, Captain of the Golden Company, report to Cersei on the 20 thousand men, two thousand horses and zero elephants they've brought with them. When the captain is dismissed, Euron does his usual lecherous song and dance. "You want a whore? Buy one. You want a queen? Earn her," Cersei responds (which is definitely a badass quote). Then she turns around and gives him the look, which is just terrible decision-making all around.
Thankfully, we don't see anything between the two go down, but Euron is somehow even more insufferable when they're done. When he leaves, he tells her that he'll be putting a prince in her but that real estate is pretty much taken up already. And speaking of people who have impregnated Cersei, Qyburn interrupts Bronn's fun night in with a quest. Cersei has given him the task of dealing with her treasonous brothers by killing them with the very crossbow that Tyrion used to kill their father. As Bronn sufficiently puts it, "That f*cking family."
Theon Saves Yara
While Euron is busy "servicing" the queen, Theon leads his merry band of Greyjoy bannerman into rescuing Yara from their uncle's boat. When he frees her, the Iron Island queen punches him — which is understandable since he abandoned her to be killed — before helping him back up. The siblings escape onto their own ships and Yara proposes that they take back their home. Though he initially tells Yara that he will follow her wherever, since she's his queen, his older sister can see that he really wants to head to the North. She tells him to go and "kill the bastards," embracing her younger brother one last time.
Jon Flies a Dragon
It finally happened, y'all. Jon Snow climbed up on a dragon and flew that sucker. While Davos, Tyrion, and Varys discuss a possible marriage between the Warden of the North and the "Rightful" Queen of the Seven Kingdoms like some serious mother hens, the two in question discuss Dany's less than welcome arrival in Winterfell. Dany points out that Sansa doesn't seem to like her — which Jon tries to make less awkward by noting that the redhead didn't like him much either when they were kids — and stars saying something about how Sansa doesn't have to like her, but if she doesn't respect her . . . The Queen is cut off when a few Dorthraki soldiers come to report on the dragons' failing health, and Jon and Dany leave to check on them. According to her, Drogon and Rhaegal don't like the cold (which makes sense since they were born in the desert!).
Dany mounts Drogon and tells Jon to get on Rhaegal (my goodness, the irony) and he hesitatingly hops on. The two take an aerial tour of the lands near Winterfell, startling Tyrion, Varys, and Davos when they see Jon riding a dragon as they fly by. The two land near waterfalls and begin to make out, which seemingly rubbed Drogon the wrong way because he growls at the two. It unsettles Jon (and me, honestly) when Drogon watches the two, as menacingly as a dragon who always looks menacing can.
Arya Reunites With the Hound and Gendry
Gendry is doing the back-backing work of a blacksmith when the Hound walks in to collect his custom-made dragonglass axe. While the two banter back and forth, Arya arrives, dismissing the Hound in her usual cold, badass way. "I guess that's why you're still alive," he says as he leaves the two. Arya and Gendry begin to flirt and she asks him to make her a custom weapon as well. Back in the castle, Sansa reveals to Jon that one of their bannermen has withdrawn their support in the upcoming war. When he lashes out, she hit back that Jon was the one who abandoned his crown, angering their people. Jon uses his usual (and only) line of defense, stating that he did it to get Dany's help and that she'll be a good queen to everyone. "Did you bend the knee to save the North, or because you love her?" she asks him. Jon doesn't answer.
Jon Learns Who His Real Parents Are
As Sansa lights into Jon for bending the knee, Dany and Ser Jorah interrupt Sam while he's poring over some books. She says she wants to thank the man who saved her favorite knight from his terrible case of greyscale. In return, Sam asks if she can pardon him for stealing books from the Citadel and the sword from his father, noting that he would have gotten it since it's been in House Tarly for generations. That's when the lightbulb comes on for Dany, and she realizes his father was Randall Tarly, the man she lit up like a box of matches. She breaks the news to Sam that she killed his father and brother when they wouldn't swear fealty to him and Sam reacts much better than anyone else would have. He excuses himself and runs into the courtyard, where Bran is sitting in wait. The Raven decrees that Sam be the one to tell Jon the truth about his parents, since he's busy "waiting for an old friend."
Sam finds Jon in the Winterfell crypts, where he tells him the news he just heard. He realizes that Jon didn't know before and asks Jon if he would have done that, knowing that he's showed mercy before. Jon tries to avoid the question, saying that he wasn't a king then and they need the help to defeat the Night King. And that's when, understandably, the pressure gets too much and Sam just lays it all out for him: "You're Aegon Targaryen, true heir to the Iron Throne." Of course, Jon protests the idea that honorable Ned had been lying to him his whole life, but Sam quickly points out that Ned was protecting Jon from the wrath of Robert. "Daenerys is our queen," Jon says. "She shouldn't be," Sam fires back. "You gave up your crown to save your people. Would she do the same?"
The Night King Leaves a Message
Elsewhere in the North, what's left of the Night Watch — including Tormund, Beric Dondarrion, and soon Dolorous Edd — walk around one of the castles at what remains of the Wall. They find Lord Umber, the young boy Sansa sent to gather his men at the start of the episode, impaled on a wall with a spiral of human limbs surrounding him in the same symbol we've seen from the White Walkers and the Children of Men. As the men discuss how far this means the Night King's army is, the boy's eyes pop open he beings shrieking and trying to attack them. Beric lights him on fire with the sword, but he continues screaming for a while afterward until he finally dies (again).
As the episode ends, a hooded rider arrives at Winterfell and reveals himself to be the Kingslayer. He looks around the courtyard and sees Bran — still waiting since we last saw him — staring at him. It takes a minute, but when Jaime realizes exactly who he's looking at, the horror is palpable!