GRAPHIC BY CAROL LI
By VINCENT CORTES
The wall has fallen and the white walkers are here!
On Apr. 14, over two years after season seven premiered, season eight of the fantasy series Game of Thrones (GoT) released to the public eye.
GoT first aired on Apr. 2011 and follows the story of different noble families vying for the rule of the Seven Kingdoms. Set in Westeros, the threat of “white walkers” threatens the inhabitants during the winter. To recap season seven, an uncanny allegiance between Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen’s forces, a surprising resurrection of Viserion, and broken relationships with Jamie Lannister left viewers yearning for resolution. However, Sunday’s premiere left more questions and anticipation than answers. Regardless, the enigmatic plot of the episode anticipates a conclusive and outstanding final season.
Episode 68, directed by David Nutter, begins with the iconic GoT theme song. While the opening credits of previous installments had panned over the lands of Westeros and Essos, the new intro solely displays Winterfell—exploring the crypts, the godswood, and the great hall. This slight detail alludes to the possibility that this season will take place entirely in the north—or the north will play a tremendous role for the episodes to come. Given the diverse lore of the north—children of the forest, first men and Old Gods—a focus on the north could mean an expansion of these unexplored plot points. Subsequently, these possible on-screen interpretations of northern culture sustain many viewers’ interests.
Kicking off the episode, the first scene begins with Jon Snow and Daenerys riding into Winterfell. Drawing parallels from the season one pilot, Jon and Dany’s king and queen patronage seem to mimic Cersei and Robert Baratheon’s, or even Cersei and Jaime’s. While family-related-romantic-relationships have unfortunately been depicted through Jamie and Cersei, this taboo practice is now also carried by Jon and Dany; yet, given that, nearing the end of the episode, Jon is told about his Targaryen heritage, this romantic bond is uncertain to continue. Of course, in the beginning, most fans rooted for the power couple, however, because of its taboo nature, it leaves most fans pondering whether this relationship should last.
In fact, connections have always played a substantial role in the series. For example, the political discourse in King’s Lading (hence the name Game of Thrones) and throughout the Seven Kingdoms determines which character is allied with who. So while battles and militant force certainly uphold territorial gains, the way to win the “game of thrones” relies on a person’s ties. So while fans may debate whether Jon and Dany should end up together, season eight’s focus on relationships undeniably alludes to nuanced episodes and a great final season.
While the ties between the characters add depth to the story, the real driving force is its plot. With the wall destroyed, a dragon wight and undead army, the Bravosian term “valar morghulis” (all men must die), plasters many of the characters’ fates. However, this is a good thing. While GoT has featured numerous spontaneous deaths in the past, very few match those of the first three seasons—say, Eddard, Rob and Catelyn Stark’s. Why? These characters were highly regarded as main characters, and with their sudden ends, a major theme of GoT is illustrated: mortality. Perhaps mortality will again be heavily influential in the upcoming episodes. In fact, George R.R. Martin states that the ending of GoT will be “bittersweet.”
Not to mention, the premier laid out the foundation for the rest of the season. Minor plot points such as the passive-aggressive feud between Sansa Stark and Daenerys, the divisive leadership of Winterfell and the uncertain escape of the Night’s Watch lays out the roots of near-infinite plot points. And that is the charm of the series: the plot’s unpredictability, twists and turns. So, while fans spend hours decoding a possible conclusion, the show which has been eight years in the making will end strong regardless.
While the first episode for season eight set the foundation for the next episodes, it is important to keep in mind that this is the last premiere for GoT. With the show’s massive support, many are dismayed that this is the end. For me, this was the last time I watched GoT’s premiere. While the idea of fawning over a television show seems ridiculous, the show was a journey for many of its viewers. Despite the television series taking a different direction from its source material, the show has over 10 million viewers.
So, with the series coming to a close, its final season must be its best. However, because of the first episode’s compelling start, the viewers do not need to worry.
With five more episodes left in the series, iksan olvie mundagon se jaelagon naejot limagon.