The following contains spoilers for the most recent episode of Game of Thrones, the season 8 premiere, “Winterfell.”
Five hundred and ninety-five days. That’s how long we waited for this moment: the premiere of a new season of Game of Thrones. The last premiere of a new season of Game of Thrones. Now, to be fair, season premieres in Game of Thrones tend not to be all too thrilling. With the exception of last season, which started on a high with Arya taking out the Freys in a spectacular fashion, premieres in Game of Thrones tend to be exposition, more exposition, some boobs with minimal plot relevance because HBO has to stay on brand, and then even more exposition.
With that in mind, season 8 stayed par for the course, because exposition and more exposition is exactly what we got with “Winterfell.” That said, the premiere still had definite highlights—namely, these nine best moments.
Dat New Opening Credit Sequence
Ah, yes, the delightful sound of my favorite theme song: Da-duh da da da-duh da da duh—wait, hold up now. I don’t remember this. I don’t remember any of this. What… what is this? Sure, the opening credits have evolved over the seasons to incorporate new locations and so on, but overall the basic design remained the same. Until now. Is switching things up in the final season a power move? Absolutely. But the new look is pretty killer, so it all pays off.
The Reunion We’ve All Been Waiting For
On one hand, Jon and Arya whipping out blades for comparison felt a bit weirdly aggressive for an otherwise gooey family reunion, and Jon not spotting Arya in the crowd when he rode into Winterfell was not great (0/10 for observational skills there, pal). But on the other hand, the hug was good. We waited seven seasons for it and it was worth the wait. A+ hugging, exceeds expectations, gold star.
Tyrion Gives Sansa Credit
“Many underestimated you. Most of them are dead now.” Sansa’s reunion with her first husband might not one have been one of the more anticipated reunions going into the season 8 premiere, but it ended up being one of the most satisfying nonetheless. And the encounter also raises an important question: did this conversation represent closure for the former spouses or a new chapter in a blossoming partnership? After all, Tyrion and Sansa are probably two of the most politically savvy minds in Westeros at this point, and it’s good to have allies.
Jon Rides the Heck out of Rhaegal
Meg Shields and I told you it was going to happen. And it did happen. Why it had to happen now is unclear, and honestly, the whole scene felt pretty unnecessary—and perhaps just a little insulting to Ghost, who remains MIA. Still, dragons are cool. Jon riding a dragon is pretty cool. Since Daenerys is the “Mother of Dragons” and Jon’s aunt, that kind of makes Rhaegal his cousin, which adds a bit of a weird vibe to the whole thing, but you know what, we’re just not going to think about that.