Two years and a million fan theories later, Game of Thrones underwhelms in S8E01
After a wait longer than what most fictional female characters in age-old romantic novels have endured, Game of Thrones is finally here. The massive group of people around the world who couldn’t will time to move any faster, now want the series finale to take its own, sweet time to arrive while also getting anxious at the week-long breaks in between each episode. The last two years have given birth to thousands of fan theories, each more plausible than the other, but the impending reunions, as seen in the first episode, were inevitable. Whoever decided to name the episode simply ‘Winterfell’ instead of ‘A Very Cold Reunion’ or ‘Winter is Here’, should reconsider their profession.
Jon Snow was (finally) coming back to Winterfell, Daenerys Targaryen (finally) was reaching the North after travelling for seven seasons, true identities of bastards were being revealed (finally), exes were awkwardly running into each other — the show came a full circle with everyone deciding to be in Winterfell, reminiscent of Robert Baratheon’s visit in the very first episode. However, such iconic moments, though predictable, left us hankering for more. Even a sparring session between Arya Stark and Brienne of Tarth in season seven gave us more goosebumps than the Stark children reuniting. Here are a few under-whelming highlights from the episode.
A stark reunion
Bereft of any momentous background music and witty repartee, the meeting between two beloved siblings left us feeling ‘blah’. From characters who have given us some of the best sibling-goal moments, this anti-climatic scene was just disappointing.
An army with some elephants on the side
A moment of silence for the scene in King’s Landing where Euron proclaims that he would like to do unmentionable things to Cersei while she harps on about elephants. This, after having witnessed the shape and wrath of a wight in the previous season, was surprising for a character as sly as Cersei Lannister. Lacking in chemistry and minus her reckless and powerful attitude, one felt abject pity for the once-hated villain. The dialogues were abysmal with lines like “I want to put a prince in that belly”, as said by Euron to Cersei. Even when she ironically sent the same crossbow used to kill her father, to Bronn, to be used upon her brothers, it couldn’t do poetic justice to this scene.
Well done Theon
The man who once abandoned his sister and jumped the ship (literally), is now back and how. Theon Greyjoy comes to save his sister Yara held captive by Euron. Blood-thirsty Game of Thrones fans around the world sighed at the missed opportunity of a great fight sequence on a boat against the night sky. Could you really blame us? But a pat on the back of this Greyjoy for having chosen to fight with the Starks and return to Winterfell instead of the Iron Islands.
My ex-husband isn’t funny any more
Sansa’s disappointment with her ex-husband Tyrion Lannister at the end of their reunion scene summarised it in its entirety for the audience as she says, “I used to think you are the cleverest man alive”. The man known for his wit throughout all the seasons, who has delivered the most oft-quoted lines in the show, had nothing to offer throughout the episode. When two characters as powerful as they are in their own rights, meet again after years, one would expect sparks to fly, but none do. With five more episodes left of the series, the number of ‘Aah’ moments need to be plenty and more.
Can I give you a ride?
Sooraj Barjatya was found to be tossing in his sleep while Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow decided to ride a dragon, into each others’ arms. Snow-clad mountains on all sides, two angry, red-eyed dragon gently breathing down your neck and the two love birds, aka aunt and nephew, sneaking a kiss — the scene managed to touch unfathomable limits of corniness. “It’s cold up here for a southern girl.”
“So keep your queen warm.”
According to the books, only a Targaryen can ride and control a dragon. What was to be a milestone moment for the viewers as well as the characters, with Jon Snow taming the dragon effortlessly, was reduced to a superficial frenzy.
The Hound of ‘Arya’ville
The Hound and Arya meet again after the latter presumed the former to be dead. It is this scene that makes us realise the mediocrity of the dialogues in this episode. “You left me to die.” “First I robbed you.” Flatter lines have not been spoken in the eight long years of the show making one almost wonder if it is the show and its alarming mediocrity or is it us with expectations soaring higher than the dragons.
It was “a lot to take in”
After wars spanning decades and deaths that can no longer be counted on fingers, revealing the moment where the true heir to the throne finds out his actual identity, demanded pomp and show worthy of the Game of Thrones legacy, but here too, the team fails to deliver. Instead, what Jon Snow gets is a vengeful Samwell Tarly telling him the news with the same excitement as that of a weather report on an evening news show. But a point that really did strike out was when Sam asks Jon, “You gave up your crown to save your people. Would she do the same?” Daenerys has fought so fiercely through adversities of many different kinds. Would she give up her crown so easily having come this far? Only the next five episodes can tell us.
Fettered by unimpressive lines and the lack of heart-skipping-a-beat moments, the first episode failed to justify the two years-long wait. After pandering to fan theories in season seven, we can only pray that the last five episodes do justice to the myriad theories that have been painstakingly discussed at every party and every chat platforms online, throughout the world.
Five Redeeming Moments from Episode one
1. Jon Snow (on Arya’s sword, Needle): “Have you ever used it?”
Arya Stark: “Once or twice”
2. Cersei (to Euron): You want a whore, buy her. You want a queen, earn her.
3. The Hound (to Arya): “You’re a cold little bitch, aren’t you? Guess that’s why you’re still alive.”
4. Tyrion: “The last time we spoke was at Joffrey’s wedding. A miserable affair.”
Sansa: “It had its moments.”
5. Varys, while watching Jon and Sansa ride off on dragons: “Respect is how the young keep us at a distance, so we don’t remind them of an unpleasant truth.”