“Once More Unto The Throne” ‘Game of Thrones’ Final Season (8) Premiere, Review: Winterfell


Plot: A bunch of Medieval folks fight against ancient snow zombies and each other in the most expensive TV Show of all time [R-RATED].


Preamble: 6 episodes, over $100 million dollars to spend on TV. That’s gotta be some sort of record. You gotta wonder if AT&T‘s acquisition of  Warner Bros. last June afforded the show more money and support to help this show stick the landing. As the creators said in Entertainment Weekly:


EW: back when filming season 3 that you were thinking of doing the final season as three movies because you couldn’t imagine pulling off what you and George had in mind on a television budget. Do you feel like you’ve been able to do what you envisioned years ago?
WEISS: Yes. To their credit, they put their money where their mouths are — literally stuffed their mouth full of million-dollar bills which don’t exist anymore. They said, “We’ll give you the resources to make this what it needs to be, and if what it needs to be is a summer tentpole-size spectacle in places, then that’s what it will be.”

Game of Thrones is the biggest show in the world, perhaps the biggest show ever? It is unquestionably the defining show of the decade if not the top 3 alongside Breaking Bad and Mad Men. Yet what is most impressive is the scale. It’s an unwieldy exercise with seemingly a limitless scope, adding hundreds of characters. It’s pretty much The TV version of The Avengers. In fact they have a lot in common but that’s for another article.

Review: Like the Season 7 premiere over a year and a half ago, this was a table setting episode. The payoff was in long-awaited reunions and the relief of dramatic irony. Sansa & Tyrion Lannister (still technically husband and wife) reunited and exchanged bitterness. The remaining Starks reunited at Winterfell with some jealousy brewing between Queen of the North Sansa and Jon Snow’s girlfriend Daenery’s Targaryen. It should create some good family drama and political intrigue. Add to it Arya Stark who reunites with Jon Snow, The Hound, Gendry the Blacksmith (also bastard son of King Robert Baratheon). In all 8 seasons she still has never met Tyrion Lannister. Brandon Stark is there waiting ‘for an old friend’ that the end episode reveals is Jamie Lannister who pushed him out a window in the series premiere. As most late series episodes have gotten this is chalk-full of call backs. It’s hard to shake the feeling the show as it continues to surpass the books it can at times feel a bit like fan fiction. A similar feeling befell the artistic authority of the recent Star Wars films. It is still a wonderfully impressive series, but has the sun set on where this show’s innovation? There is still the question of how it will all end. For me it’s between the conflict of the white walkers being solved and setting up another endless Game of Thrones. It’s worth noting each Stark child coupled up has a rightful claim to the Iron throne.

Acting wise there’s no longer an MVP. As with projects that get this secretive there isn’t room for actors to rehearse and understand their character’s actions or significance in the overall story. this was the case in Avengers: Infinity War. Fortunately there is still steep character mythology and development for audiences to fill in the gaps. Sansa is jealous again, but at least it puts her at odds with Daenerys Targaryen in an interesting way. I was glad the episode ended with Jon learning the truth of his lineage so that his incestuous relationship won’t have to continue. There is so much here that the show from here on out could just be characters reacting to things and it could still probably satisfy. The way this week unfolds is a wonderful page turner into next week.

Tidbits: 

  • Deadpool Odds: Count me as amazed if more than one Lannister survives and it isn’t Tyrion. No way in hell Jamie Lannister is surviving this series.
  • Potential Power Couples: Jon Snow & Daenerys Targaryen, Sansa Stark/ Tyrion Lannister, Arya Stark/ Gendry Baratheon
  • Lore reference: Samwell Tarley gets to keep his Valyrian Steele sword because the Unburnt Queen of Dothraki toasted his Papa and Kin.
  • Countdown: Oh how next week seems farther away than I have waited all these years between seasons.
  • Prediction: Jon takes the throne, abdicates kills Daenerys and is killed by her dragons. Sansa takes over and rules with Tyrion
  • Finale Date: May 19th, 2019

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