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‘Games of Thrones’ reviewed

Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister speaking to one another in Season 8, Episode 1 — Photo courtesy of Flickr User Bagogames

Winter may have come and gone for us here in Tacoma, but the cold, dark season has just arrived for Winterfell. The second episode of season eight of “Game of Thrones” came out Sunday, April 21 at 9 p.m. EST, with episode one of the season premiering on Sunday, April 14. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly advise you to stop reading this and go watch it on HBO, as this article does contain spoilers.

The first episode of the season featured quite a few significant reunions after Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen’s arrival at Winterfell. This included the heartwarming hug shared by Arya Stark and Jon in the godswood and a respectful encounter between Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister.

The episode was not all fun and games, however, as the army at Winterfell is seen struggling to ready themselves for the Night King’s rapidly approaching assault on humanity as we know it. Cartloads of dragonglass have to be quickly turned into usable weapons, men have to be trained and defenses have to be readied.

Easily one of the biggest moments of the episode comes when Jon is finally told by Samwell that he is, in fact, Daenerys’ nephew, revealing yet another one of the show’s romantic relationships to be incestuous.

Another big moment is when the rag-tag group of Night’s Watch, Free Folk and Brotherhood Without Banners members discover Ned Umber’s corpse pinned to the wall at Last Hearth. This would be unnerving enough on its own if only the spiraling array of severed limbs hadn’t suddenly caught fire as Umber’s zombified corpse let out a blood-curdling shriek for a lovely little jumpscare. No explicit meaning is given for this, but hopefully the symbolism behind the staged limb spiral will be clarified by the end of the season.

The second episode felt like one big family (and non-family) reunion. Every main player (who hasn’t died yet) has gathered at Winterfell to help the North defeat the Night King and his army of the dead. Main characters who have never met before, such as Daenerys and Sansa, finally meet, and the eclectic group of Brienne Tarth, Davos Seaworth, Jaime Lannister, Podrick Payne, Tormund Giantsbane and Tyrion are seen spending what they think will be their last hours together.

Half of the episode is spent showing the audience just what these characters feel is the best way to spend their last night. Arya’s actions in particular shocked me. You know what I’m talking about, and if you don’t, stop reading this and go watch the show for yourself.

The episode ends with alarm horns blowing and swords clattering as White Walkers on zombie horses are seen coming out of the woods and into Winterfell’s view. Winter has arrived, and the army of the dead has come for its final reckoning.

“The wait was finally over. I liked it; I felt like they did a lot of thinking through with [the first] episode,” Carly Cashen, a University of Puget Sound sophomore, said. “I don’t read much into the conspiracy theories. I think Jon’s gonna be really freaked out as he contemplates that Daenerys is his aunt, but I think that both of them will take the throne, and I think that Jaime is going to kill Cersei. I really think that’s how it’s going to go,” she said.

“I think that everyone’s going to get the ax,” Cashen laughed. “I think Sansa and Arya will survive, and Brienne, but I think that they’re all going to be on death’s door by the end of the season, I mean come on,” she said, addressing the pressing question of whether or not anyone will even be left living by the end of the season, as the show is notorious for killing off main characters when you least expect it. Personally, I still have not recovered from Jon Snow’s death and resuscitation.

“I have high hopes, definitely,” Cashen said.

The season has six episodes in total, the rest of which will air on HBO on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST. The final two episodes run a total of 80 minutes each, and the season grand finale will be on May 19 at 9 p.m. EST.

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