Game of Thrones S8E1: 'Winterfell' Review

Ladies and Noblemen, welcome! 

Welcome to my first episode review and my first article now that the show is live! 

This week Game of Thrones season 8 finally hit screens in the USA and then the UK only a few hours later. 

I have my opinions on it as I’m sure so do all of you, but first let’s discuss the new start up screen. 

Over the years we noticed little kinks and changes to the cogs of Westeros but this time we have a whole new start up screen. 

A start up screen with a hidden meaning I believe. 

We were shown at the start up, the collapsed wall in the far North and then the camera scrolls straight to Last Hearth, the stronghold of House Umber. 

Now for all who have seen the episode, we know that Last Hearth has fallen to the Night King. 

Now it might be too early to judge, but after the second episode we will have a clearer idea of what the shows production is trying to achieve. 

Are they showing us the whereabouts of the Night King and his army at the beginning of each episode? Who knows? We can discuss this more after we see the second episode. 

Now I would like to start with the biggest under dog in my opinion and by far the dark horse of Game of Thrones. Euron Greyjoy. 

The show has done a great job at portraying his character as the perfect expendable character. 

He is cocky, over confident and pushing his luck with the psychotic Queen Cersei. All the traits of a character destined to die, yes? 

You may think so, but not for me. Euron is no fool and in the books that I have not read, but been told, he plays a much bigger part. 

He has seen everything there is to see in the world, surely that would warrant some intelligence and scheming? 

I think Euron is more than aware of how close he is coming to death, yet he keeps pushing. 

Why would anyone do this if they were not playing a game themselves? 

He states in the first episode that should he start losing, he would simply sail away. He also decides, without Cersei’s input that they are going to make a Prince, a Greyjoy slash Lannister Prince, can you think of anything worse? 

But no, it’s a hoax on Euron’s part. 

I believe he knows that she is pregnant, and he knows that they are going to lose the war. 

So, my question is what is he really after, what is his game? The only thing I know for sure is there is more to him than meets the eye.

The next part of the episode I would like to talk about is Bran Stark. His character has bored me slightly over the previous seasons but not in this episode. 

The bombshell he dropped on Jon and Deanery’s in one of the first scenes was amazing and later in the show when he tells Sam he is waiting for an old friend, clearly Jaime, it struck huge intrigue and made him instantly exciting.

He then sits in that spot day and night, waiting for the person who basically set him on the path to becoming the Three Eyed Raven. Jaime.

I think we will see Jaime on trial for sure, with a few defending him but not enough to save his life if I’m honest. 

The person I think that will have his trial dismissed and see him joining the fight against the dead will be Bran. 

Bran Stark doesn’t smile much or show any humour or personality, yet it does not indicate that he is not happy with his position. 

In fact, I think it’s clear that is happy being the Three Eyed Raven, as its all he talks about. 

When it comes down to It, I think Bran will have Jaime spared. He could quite possibly thank him for setting him on the path. 

At least I hope he does. Jaime is my favourite character and if he dies, I will not be well pleased. 

 Since the episodes release, I have watched it three times, and every time I have been horrified at the scene at Last Hearth, the seat of the redeeming Umbers. 

The current Lord of house Umber opens his eyes in a terrifically well-planned scene, scaring the life out of all the viewers. 

It was surprising and very affective. It showed the wrath of the Knight King and what he plans to do in search of whatever the hell it is he is searching for. 

Lord Ned Umber was a young boy, harmless and too young to commit treason like his father, Smalljon Umber. 

Yet there was a chance he could have grown up to be loyal, like his Grandfather, Greatjon Umber who fought with Robb Stark. 

They had but one argument over who led the Vanguard against the Lannister’s which resulted in GreyWind pulling off Greatjon’s fingers. 

In fact, I think the Greatjon was the first one to call Robb Stark ‘THE KING IN THE NORTH’ a phrase that all Northerners from the UK now yell when they’re out in town having a good old drink. 

But yeah, a strange comedy become of it all and he died alongside Robb Stark at the red wedding. An up and down family at the least, yet the Current Lord did not deserve the death that he just suffered. 

In the episode Eddison Tollett, Beric Dondarrian and Torund Giantsbane find the little Lord impaled to the wall with the famous spiral markings around his body. 

Most likely made up of his men slaughtered by the walkers. 

But what does any of it mean? 

This I have no clue about, and this is an opportunity for you all to leave some comments on what you think the spiral message that the Night King leaves behind, means.

The last thing I want to talk about is Sam’s news to Jon. It was brief and we didn’t really get to see much of a reaction. 

Could it have been longer, yes? Could it have been staged better, probably? But I’m not here to criticise and nor would I want to. 

I believe Game of Thrones is the greatest show on TV, yet that scene was important to me. 

However, we managed to pluck some stuff from it. 

Jon’s reaction for starters wasn’t what I expected. In my opinion he seems shocked, of course but excited, ambition spewed from his expression and if I’m honest, I think he wants the throne. 

In a perfect world Jon would marry his aunt, if you’re into that sort of thing, and live happily ever after, the two biggest characters prevail and rule together. Not a chance. 

 I can see this new bit of information creating tension between Daenerys and Jon and a distancing between themselves and their armies could begin, after the battle of Winterfell of course. 

I predict that before it gets to much and they go against each other, one of them will die. 

I don’t think we would see the show take that path to turning Jon and Dany on one another, so a death of one of the two would tie that up nicely.

 As for Deanery’s, I think she has bitten off more than she can chew by helping the Northerners. 

They are fierce, untrusting and distant to any foreigners. 

And a foreigner to them is someone 5 miles South of them, never mind someone from across the Narrow Sea. 

I can see Dany losing much of her army in the North, possibly another dragon and with all that her claim. 

As fierce and as ruthless as it may sound, her only chance of winning was to take those dragons to Kings Landing and burning the lot. 

As we all know, being too nice in this world gets you nowhere, I can only assume that the same stands in their world.

 Thanks for reading!

Anthony Buxton is the Author of The Lost Sons of the West series of books. Under the pen name A.L.Buxton he writes short stories, anthologies and articles specialising in epic-fantasy, sci fi, TV, film and sports.

His works can be purchased on 
Sixth Element or Amazon.