Game of Thrones Season 8 is officially here and we are already in troubled waters. Episode 1 Winterfell was all about setting the stage and meeting of key actors, and there were major callbacks to the Pilot episode, as promised. Now many of these have histories that can make things super awkward, and Episode 1 didn’t disappoint on that count. Some of the reunions that we have been rooting for took place, and some didn’t. Without further ado, here’s all that came to pass, in chronological order.
Warning: the rest of the article contains spoilers, so if you’re yet to catch up on Season 8 Premiere, stop reading!
1. Jon and Bran
Jon Snow remembers Bran as a sweet, restless, and curious boy. Bran was in a coma when he left Winterfell in S1 E2. But Bran has changed (to put it mildly), and although Jon must have heard of his new abilities he is yet to know the full implications. He greets Bran just as a loving older brother would, “You are a man now!” Bran’s cold “Almost” creeps him out properly.
From Bran’s perspective though, his reception of Jon is actually pretty warm, considering his behaviour last season. There’s even a hint of a smile this time. Well, almost.
2. Tyrion and Sansa
As far as awkward reunions go, this one’s right on top. Sansa and Tyrion were wedded, against their wishes, back in Season 3. But then Littlefinger got Sansa married again to Ramsay Bolton. Now Ramsay is dead, and Sansa is Lady Stark of Winterfell. So are they still married?
Tyrion does refer to Sansa as ‘wife’ but in the third person, and in connection to Joffrey’s wedding (and murder). It is unclear how they view their relationship now. There is both respect and tension between them. Tyrion reminds Sansa how her disappearance almost got him killed. Sansa alludes he is being stupid in trusting Cersei.
3. Jon and Arya
In an episode practically built on reunions, this one was the sweetest and most heartwarming. Both Jon and Arya had felt like outsiders in their childhood and bonded the strongest. Their reunion embrace and sword-talk have heavy callbacks to their parting scene in Season 1. Also, both of them tear up, making it the most emotionally charged scene in the whole episode.
But there is also tension. Jon had hoped to find an ally in Arya in countering what he sees as Sansa’s annoying meddling. But Arya surprises her by siding with Sansa and calling her “the smartest person I know.”
4. Arya and the Hound
No love lost here. Arya left Sandor Clegane to die and has no regret about it when they come face to face. The Hound already knows that she is alive, and does seem happy to see her in his own gruff way. But Arya displays no warmth. Their relationship has always been super strange and fraught with tensions. If you remember, Hound was also part of Arya’s kill list. Is he still on it, and does that matter to Arya now? No hints, as of now.
5. Gendry and Arya
The fandom has been shipping them all along, and obligingly, Gendry and Arya’s reunion at the Winterfell forge has its fair share of sexual-tension. Their deadpan acknowledgement of each other’s attractiveness will draw some snigger. But there’s also heartfelt warmth, which comes forth when Gendry calls her ‘Mi’lady’ just like their Kingsroad days and Arya breaks into a rare, sweet smile.
6. Jon and Sam
Season 8 ticks off one of the most anticipated reunions right in the first episode, and aren’t we grateful?! Jon and Sam’s relationship is problem-free in itself, but this reunion is complicated by Sam’s knowledge of Jon’s true parentage. The scene brings out the complexities almost at once.
Sam has just learnt about his father and brother’s death and Daenerys’s role in it when Bran tells him to go talk to Jon. His revelation, therefore, is tinged with bitterness towards the Mother of Dragons. But this also enables him to ask a very important question. Jon gave up his crown to save his people. Will Daenerys do the same when she learns Jon is the rightful king after all?
On his part, Jon is more confused than ever. All that he knows about himself is nullified in one stroke and puts him in direct competition with the woman he loves.
7. Jaime and Bran
The most sensational reunion of the episode is also the cliffhanger of it. The last time Jaime Lannister came face to face with Bran Stark was in the Pilot when he was pushing him out of a tower window. That was the closing scene in S1 E1, just as the Bran-Jaime meet closes S8 E1.
Now, Jaime is on the arguably steepest redemption arc in TV history and the boy he crippled is the omniscient Three-Eyed Raven. The meeting is sure going to be interesting when it plays out in the next episode. Bran Stark hints as much when just a couple scenes ago he tells Sam that he’s “waiting for an old friend” and hence cannot go talk to Jon.
However, these weren’t the only reunions in the episode. We witnessed other reunions as well which weren’t as big or anticapited as the ones mentioned above. So we will just list them below:
- Dolorous Edd-Tormund
Meetings are done, now the fallouts await. What is Bran going to tell Jaime? How will Sansa and Tyrion’s relationship pan out? Most importantly, how is Jon going to process the news of his royal birthright and what’s Daenerys’s reaction going to be?
Next Sunday, come quick!