Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season eight premiere “Winterfell.”
Game of Thrones kicked off its final season with a place-setting episode. What position did it put everyone in for the rest of the season though? Here are the major developments and what they mean for the denizens of the Realm as they prepare to face the Night King.
Unrest in the North
Sansa, the North, and the wildlings don’t know Daenerys and don’t want her as their ruler. They’re also irate Jon gave up his crown after they named him King. As Tyrion said, if the living can’t unite as one they will all die together. So either Daenerys will have to earn their respect and loyalty, or she will have to give up something herself.
This was a major theme of the episode. Sam brought the point home when he asked Jon if Dany would give up her crown to save her people. Daenerys’ whole motivation is to reclaim the Iron Throne for her family. Would she then give up her dream if that’s what it takes to stop the Night King?
A New Dragonrider Knows the Truth
True parentage aside, Jon is still Ned’s son. He’s too honest and noble for his own good, which is why we’ve already predicted he won’t wait to tell Daenerys the truth about his parents and how Jon is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
Despite riding a dragon, this is the biggest development for Jon, who has constantly had to deal with the question of who he is. From a bastard to a spy with the wildlings, to Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and literally dying, to abdicating his crown as King in the North, Jon’s identity and purpose has been his personal story. There’s no more question about who he truly is now though. We’ll find out how he deals with finally knowing everything about himself and all of the good and bad that comes with it.
Davos suggested Daenerys could help end the standoff between her and the North by marrying Jon Snow. Varys and Tyrion didn’t jump at the idea, but they didn’t scoff at it either. A marriage, even between an aunt and her nephew (Targaryens often married their own family members, even siblings) could go a long way towards uniting the Seven Kingdoms. But will either Jon or Daenerys want to do that after they find out they are related? Would she accept him as a dual ruler? Would that situation even be effective?
That’s if they live long enough to get married.
An Offer to Bronn
Cersei gave Bronn a whole lot of gold to go off and kill her “treasonous” brothers. But does the sellsword have it in him to murder the two closest things he has to friends? Yes, he does. Bronn is a survivor and he knows how the world works.
Whether he will is another matter.
Bronn is still focused on getting back his castle. He mentioned it in the Loot Train Attack. He knows chances like these don’t come around often, so he definitely has it in him to murder for profit. But it’s possible his experiences over the years have softened him, as he developed real bonds with the Lannister boys. Even if it hasn’t, though, Tyrion always told him he’d pay double whatever Cersei offered. Also, she pre-paid Bronn, and he could decide to go off with his gold and join the other side. It would make him a marked man, but trying to put an arrow in Tyrion and Jaime will too. Maybe he should move to Essos and away from this “f***ing family.”
The Isolated Queen
Cersei did not want to sleep with Euron, but she’s so alone. She doesn’t even have elephants! The Queen felt she had no other choice but to keep her one ally happy. That glass of wine she drank after, and her response to Euron saying he’d put a little prince inside her, calls into question her current pregnancy – if she was ever pregnant at all.
Her smug amusement at hearing the White Walkers broke through the Wall also proves she really doesn’t have any idea how dangerous they are. Even 20,000 soldiers from the Golden Company and the Iron Fleet aren’t likely to save her from the Night King.
House Greyjoy’s Triumphs
Yara is heading back to the unprotected and vulnerable Iron Islands to reclaim them while her uncle and his forces are in King’s Landing. Meanwhile Theon, fresh from rescuing her, is off to fight with the Starks at Winterfell. And Euron, of course, finally got what he truly wanted from the Queen.
Now that Cersei relented though, he could decide his niece was right and he chose the wrong side. In trying to appease her greatest ally, Cersei might have driven him away. More so when he learns Yara escaped and took back the Iron Islands. Of the three, Yara seems to be in the best and safest position.
White Walkers on the March
The Night King proved at the Last Hearth no one is safe from him, no matter how powerful they are or where they might be. He knows more about his enemies than they know about him, and he’s coming for all of them.
At least Tormund, Beric, and Dolorous Edd are confident they can warn Winterfell before the dead get there, giving them a little time to prepare.
Jaime and Bran: United by a Shared Purpose
While the living at Winterfell argued over who will rule, Bran told them they don’t have time for pettiness. The Night King has a dragon and has broken through the Wall. He might be a weirdo who won’t stop staring at people, but Bran is the one human entirely focused on the Great War.
Bran’s singular determination to stop the dead is why we think he will argue to save Jaime from the many people who hate him and the Lannisters. That surprise reunion was awkward for Jaime, but Bran knows who the real enemy is and that Jaime knows it too. They are united by purpose, even if Jaime did push Bran out of a tower window.
That stare is still creepy though.
Don’t miss our full breakdown of Game of Thrones S8E1: “Winterfell” on All Kings Considered! Join Jessica Chobot, Dan Casey, and special guests Terri Schwartz (IGN) and Yolanda Machado (The LA Times, The Wrap) as they unpack everything from the premiere.
All Kings Considered airs Mondays at 12 pm PT on Geek & Sundry’s Twitch and Nerdist’s YouTube channels. Send your questions, complaints, thoughts, and theories to us @Nerdist on Twitter and you might be featured on our next episode!