Well, here we go.
After years and years, we’ve finally arrived at the final season of Game of Thrones.
I can’t tell you how bittersweet this is.
If you’re new to Outkick’s Game of Thrones reviews you can go to the search function on this website and you can see my reviews for every episode in seasons four, five, six, and seven by clicking here. Yep, for five years your boy has been cranking out reviews right after the Game of Thrones episodes air.
That’s at least sixty thousand words — or more — from me on this television show.
I’m also doing an immediate live Periscope and Facebook show which you can watch by simply clicking through on my Twitter feed.
Here is the one I just finished reacting to tonight’s episode.
Game of Thrones reaction show. https://t.co/WsTwuAImGQ
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) April 15, 2019
But that’s all background.
Tonight, tonight, was the beginning of the end.
And like parents all over the country — and around the world — I did what every parent does when they need silence — I gave the kids unlimited access to their iPads and told them to climb in bed and not fight with each other while mom and I kicked back to enjoy the show.
1. The final scene of season 7 was the ice dragon bringing down the wall and we’ve waited almost two years since August of 2017 for the next scene.
So what comes next after nearly two years?
Jon Snow and Daenerys arrive at Winterfell.
And what’s the first line of season eight?
The honors go to Tyrion: “You should consider yourself lucky, at least your balls don’t freeze off,” Tyrion says to Varys.
Cock and ball humor! (Or absent cock and ball humor).
The writers have still got the dick joke magic!
Then the dragons arrive at Winterfell and everyone is stunned to see them fly over the castle walls, especially Arya who looks downright gleeful at the though of their savagery. Well, everyone except for Sansa, who seems to be totally unimpressed by THE FIRST TIME SHE HAS SEEN DRAGONS IN HER LIFE.
Jon hasn’t seen Arya yet, but Arya sees Jon, which is the first time these two have been in the same location since, I believe, season one of year one, before Sansa left on an ill-fated trip to King’s Landing and before Jon left to join the Night’s Watch at Castle Black.
Essentially, then, episode one opens with a regathering of many of the same individuals, the ones who are living anyway, who started the show years and years ago in Winterfell.
In fact, the opening shots of season eight, as Jon and Daenerys arrive in Winterfell, are eerily similar to the opening shots of season one, as Robert Baratheon and Queen Cersei also arrive in Winterfell, even down to the kid climbing the trees to look at the approaching cavalcade.
2. Jon approaches creepy ass Bran in Winterfell.
“Look at you, you’re a man,” says Jon Snow.
“Almost,” says creepy ass Bran.
What does this even mean? And who is pushing Bran around now that Hodor is gone? How is he always exactly where he needs to be since I assume Winterfell isn’t handicapped accessible?
Regardless, creepy ass Bran immediately cuts the greetings short. “We don’t have time for all of this. The Night King has your dragon, the wall has fallen, the dead march South,” he says.
Thanks, captain killjoy. (Also, how about the fact that no one reacts to the fact that the Night King has the dragon? This seems like a pretty revelatory detail that might be a bit ominous for most people there.)
Meeting for the first time ever, Sansa clearly doesn’t like Daenerys, potentially because for the first time since Margaery Tyrell Sansa has someone as good looking as her to contend with — yep, we got a #hotgirlprivilege war.
And you think the white walkers were tough.
That ain’t nothing compared to the hottest girl in a kingdom suddenly having a hot girl battle on her hands.
Don’t believe me, ask Helen of Troy.
Inside there’s a meeting and the North is not happy — especially not young leader Lyanna Mormont — that Jon has given up his crown after they named him King of the North.
“I had a choice, keep my crown or protect the north. I chose the North,” says Jon Snow.
Tyrion cuts into the discord to announce the Lannister army is on the way, “We must fight together or die.” (This raises the question, has Cersei made promises to Tyrion that she’s sending her army? If so will she now doublecross him? Or does Tyrion have ulterior motives here and will he doublecross everyone in Winterfell? This matters because Tyrion really seems to have lost his leadership mojo. He’s like Bobby Petrino last year at Louisville.)
Sansa complains about feeding all the soldiers in the armies and the dragons. “What do dragons eat anyway?” she asks.
“Whatever they want?” Daenerys responds. (If mics could be dropped, this would be a mic drop moment).
3. Not content with icing out everyone, Sansa and Tyrion have their first meeting since Joffrey was poisoned to death.
Tyrion says he believes Cersei will help them because, “She has something to live for now.”
This suggests, once more, that Cersei is pregnant.
Sansa is skeptical.
“I used to think you were the cleverest man alive,” Sansa says to her former husband, Tyrion, in what definitely qualifies as the most devastating put down possible. (Remember the two never slept together because Tyrion was a gentleman, for once. Making she and Daenerys the only two women Tyrion wanted to sleep with that he hasn’t slept with on the show.)
4. Arya and Jon meet by the tree that can tell the past, the present, and the future.
This is the first time they have spoken in person since season one.
“How’d you sneak up on me?” Jon asks.
“How’d you survive a knife through the heart?” Arya asks.
“I didn’t,” Jon responds.
The talk then moves on to their respective swords. Jon asks if Arya ever used her sword, “Once or twice,” she says.
Here now we’re in an interesting narrative spot because we, the viewer, know far more about each of these individual character’s stories than they all know about each other. We see the humor of Arya’s response, but Jon doesn’t.
This, indeed, seems to be one of the tricky narrative spots that the show now finds itself — much of tonight’s episode was about making the characters all aware of what we, the viewer, already know. That’s why it felt so unfulfilling to many.
The viewer knows far more than the characters do because each individual story has been taking place in a different location. Now that everyone’s (mostly) back in one place the narrative can proceed less haphazardly. Every revelation should be visible to every character.
Arya ends the conversation by telling Jon that Sansa is the smartest person she knows.
But is this really true? Could she possibly believe this? We shall see.
But here’s what we do know — there’s a tension building, will Jon’s loyalty and honor, which are his two most prized possessions, ultimately be pledged to the woman he loves or the family he loves?
5. We flash to King’s Landing where the new king’s hand, Qyburn, approaches Cersei: “I have terrible news,” he says, “the dead have broken through the wall.”
“Good,” Cersei chillingly responds.
Meanwhile Euron is arriving in the port of King’s Landing with more troops for Cersei and we see Euron and Yara inside the ship where Euron describes the two of them as, “the last Greyjoys, the ones with balls anyway.”
Euron’s goal now?
He says he wants to fuck the queen.
We’re left with an intriguing question here, namely, why has Euron kept Yara alive? It seems to make no sense. Especially not for Euron who seems to kill, rape and pillage with impunity.
But that’s for deliberation in the future, in the meantime Euron enters the Iron Throne room and says he doesn’t want to wait years to sleep with Cersei, he wants it now.
“I’ve executed men for less,” Cersei says.
“They were lesser men,” Euron responds.
“You want a whore?” Cersei asks, “Buy one. You want a queen? Earn her?”
Boom, every millennial girl just got her now life’s battle cry.
The two have sex and Euron quizzes her about whether he’s a better lover than Robert Baratheon or the King Slayer.
“You might be the most arrogant man I’ve ever met, I like that,” Cersei says of Euron.
She’s drinking wine in this scene, which ordinarily would suggest she’s not pregnant. So my wife and I discuss whether other pregnant women have had wine on the show and we can’t remember. We also don’t know whether we think Game of Thrones characters would stop drinking when they’re pregnant anyway.
So is Cersei really pregnant or is she just claiming to be pregnant to strengthen her claim on the iron throne? Remember, the only truly positive character trait Cersei has had on the show is her love for her children.
Regardless, it seems clear that Cersei is sleeping with Euron here to give her potential offspring the claim of legitimacy to the iron throne by allowing her to argue Euron is the father as opposed to Jaime.
6. Bronn of the Blackwater, my favorite irredeemable character on the show, is about to have a nice romp with three naked prostitutes.
But the prostitutes aren’t impressed by him at all.
So he tries to brag about his recent battle with the dragon. “I am the only man who has shot a dragon,” he says.
But the girls keep talking about other men and the dragons, leading Bronn to exclaim, “Can we stop talking about the fucking dragons now?”
Just as he begins to have sex with one of the women, Qyburn arrives with a request from Cersei, she wants Bronn to kill Tyrion and Jaime with the crossbow that Tyrion killed her father with.
Also, Qyburn says one of the girls will be dead of the pox in a year.
“Which one?” Bronn asks.
7. Theon arrives to save Yara, who proceeds to knock him down with a head smash before helping him up and sailing away.
Again, other than allowing this plot point to occur, I have no idea why Euron would have kept Yara alive.
Regardless as the two of them sail back to the Iron Islands she suggests BIG PLOT POINT HERE Daenerys will need somewhere to retreat where the dead can’t go. That’s the Iron Islands, since the white walkers can’t cross water.
At least they can’t cross water unless they freeze it first.
AGAIN THIS IS A BIG PLOT POINT.
So, at least theoretically, the Iron Islands might end up being the site for the final battle between the living and the dead.
8. Back in Winterfell Davos suggests Jon and Daenerys should jointly rule.
Which allows us to zoom in for a conversation between the duo.
“Your sister doesn’t like me,” says Daenerys, making plain what everyone else has already seen.
The dragons are barely eating so Jon and Daenerys take them for a flight.
“What do I hold on to?” Jon asks.
“Whatever you can,” says Daenerys.
In case you’d forgotten this is a HUGE SCREAMING HINT THAT JON IS A TARGARYEN. IT ALSO SEEMS LIKE A HUGE HINT TO DAENERYS TOO. Short of Jon standing in fire and not dying I’m not sure how Daenerys could miss this sign.
Then the duo turns a show we’ve been waiting on for nearly two years into a romantic trip to the waterfalls. It’s just like a one-on-one date on the Bachelor except instead of arriving via helicopter or hot air balloon they arrive via dragons.
Daenerys suggests they could spend a thousand years here and if your eyes didn’t roll you probably should be reading someone else’s column about this show.
All we needed was for a country music singer to emerge from behind the waterfalls and for a crowd of wildlings to start dancing while the two of them made out.
Hell, the dialogue is even Bachelor-level bad.
“It’s cold up here for a Southern girl,” says Jon.
“So keep your queen warm,” says Daenerys.
The least they could have done was had hot sex in the snow.
9. Back at Winterfell Gendry, who spent four years rowing and as a result has the kingdom’s strongest shoulders, is making dragon glass with the Hound looking on.
Arya arrives and she and the Hound have a moment.
“You left me to die,” says the Hound.
“First I robbed you,” Arya says.
“You’re a cold little bitch, aren’t you? Guess that’s why you’re still alive,” the Hound says, before storming off.
Then Gendry, who remember is Robert Barratheon’s bastard son, and Arya flirt with each other.
How do they flirt? With Arya asking him to make a dragon glass spear for her. Why would she want a dragon glass spear?
To kill the ice dragon, dummy.
10. Sansa and Jon argue over Jon abandoning his crown.
“Do you have any faith in me at all?” Jon asks.
“You know I do,” says Sana.
“She’ll be a good queen, for all of us. And she’s not like father,” he says.
“No, she’s much prettier,” Sansa cattily responds.
Remember, we’ve got a full on #hotgirlprivilege war breaking out here.
Then Sansa hits Jon with the dagger, “Did you bend the knee to save the north or because you love her?”
11. Samwell and Daenerys meet for the first time.
The conversation begins positively, with Daenerys praising Sam for saving Jorah. But then it takes a dark turn — Daenerys burned Sam’s father and brother to death for refusing to bend the knee.
Floored by what he’s been told, Sam stumbles out into the cold night only to find creepy ass Bran waiting for him. (Again, how does he get there?!)
“It’s time to tell Jon the truth,” Bran says.
“I’m not his brother,” says Sam.
“He trusts you more than anyone,” Bran counters.
Sam finds Jon in the crypt, beside the statue of Ned Stark.
Sam wants to know if Jon would have killed his father and brother.
This is setting up a conflict between the way Jon and Daenerys would rule the kingdom. Eventually Sam tells Jon the truth of his birth.
“I’m not talking about the king of the north, I’m talking about the bloody king of the seven kingdoms. Your mother was Lyanna Stark and your father was Rhaegar Targaryen, you’ve never been a bastard, you’re the true heir to the Iron Throne.”
This isn’t a very powerful moment for viewers because, again, we already have this information. But it’s yet more evidence of the characters catching up with what we already know.
Jon is floored by the revelation, countering that Ned was the most honest man he’s ever known. But Sam brings home the truth — that Ned Stark lied to protect Jon from being murdered by Robert Baratheon.
“You’re the true king,” Sam says.
You can almost see the moment Jon realizes that Daenerys is his aunt, and that, subsequently, their love making would be insanely popular on PornHub as a result.
Game of Bones, indeed.
Then Sam hits him with the question that may well reverberate throughout season eight: “You gave up your crown to save your people, would she do the same?”
12. Everything is pitch black, I can’t see anything.
They spend $20 million dollars an episode on this damn show. We know it’s dark, but can a wildling brother get a candle?
Eventually we see Tormund has met up with the guy who always comes back from the dead, Berric Dondarrion.
Then we see the kid who was sent to get reinforcements for Winterfell — I believe this was the same kid who opened the episode? — nailed to the wall, dead.
Except, you guessed it, he ain’t dead yet.
Creepiest. Kid. Ever.
When the survivors from Castle Black light him on fire to kill him the symbol on the wall in fire is from episode one. It seems unclear exactly what the symbol is, but I think we can all agree that a kid burning on a wall in a creepy symbol shape is probably not a good sign.
13. Jaime Lannister arrives at Winterfell and immediately sees Bran in his wheelchair.
The last time they were together was when Jaime pushed him off the wall.
But, interestingly, Jaime’s character arc has bent towards the light more than any character on the show. He has, in many ways, been redeemed.
Surely, Bran, who sees everything, can see this as well, right?
There you have it, after several years of turmoil, Jaime, Bran, Jon, Sansa, Arya, and Tyrion are all back exactly where they began the series, at Winterfell, uncertain of what the future will hold.
What’s coming next?
I’ve got a prediction.
Lots of death.