Friday 23 August, 2019

GOT Review: Game of Thrones season 8 opener sets stage for wild ride

This photo released by HBO shows Kit Harington as Jon Snow, left, and Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in a scene from "Game of Thrones," which premiered its eighth season on Sunday. (HBO via AP)

This photo released by HBO shows Kit Harington as Jon Snow, left, and Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in a scene from "Game of Thrones," which premiered its eighth season on Sunday. (HBO via AP)

With Claude Mills

Sunday night's Game of Thrones was a wild ride, a tachycardiac opener that set a lot of pieces in motion in a strategic but artful way, preparing viewers for all the bloodletting that is to come. A lot of things went down in this episode, all of it imbued with a deepening feeling of dread as the Night King and his legions of the dead bear down on the living who are busy marshalling their forces for an apocalyptic battle. 

Quick recap (spoilers to come): Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) now knows that he is king of the bloody Seven Kingdoms, and oh, he is shagging his bloody aunt, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke); Twitter almost lost its mind when poor Sam Tarly dropped that juicy bit of news during an awkward conversation. On the same day that Tiger Woods ended his 11-year drought with an incredible win at the Masters, the imperious but pregnant Cersei (Lena Headey), shows a bit of weakness as she sleeps with the arrogant Euron Greyjoy who had made it clear he was going to shag the queen. 

Apparently, there is nothing as exhilarating as a quick shag after a cute dizzying date riding dragons as Jon and Daenerys find out. Theon (Alfie Allen) saves his sister Yara Greyjoy and gets a brain-throttling head-butt for his troubles, but they eventually make peace. 

The battle-hardened Arya (Maisie Williams) reunites with Jon in a sensitive touching scene;  Sansa (Sophie Turner) doesn't like Daenerys and she makes it clear; Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright), who is lacking any emotional intelligence these days because he has become the Three-Eyed Raven, has become a master manipulator, and convinces Sam Tarly to reveal to Jon that he has a legitimate claim to becoming king of Westeros. And oh, Cersai has dispatched an assassin to kill both her brothers, her baby-daddy-brother Jaime and Tyrion Lannister. 

The only criticism of this episode is that there wasn't many of the witty bon mots that Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is known for.  It’s the last season of Game of Thrones and Dinklage is the only GOT actor to have won an Emmy even if he hasn’t exactly had the best material since the fourth season. We need more of the witty, wine-drinking dwarf for God's sakes. 

Finally, the series is deliciously set up for more drama-to-come by an awkward meeting of Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bran Stark. Devoted fans will remember that it was Jaime who threw Bran off a castle wall, crippling the boy, and that incident led him to develop those eerie mental powers that will be pivotal in the final battle to come.  

Viewers are also now eagerly awaiting to find out what sort of super weapon Arya Stark is making.

All in all, it was an episode with the epic GOT sweep that viewers have come to expect. We cannot wait for the remaining five episodes, it promises to be a genuinely wild ride. (On dragons of course).

Claude Mills is an award-winning veteran journalist, publicist and record producer. You can contact him at claude.mills@gmail.com.

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