When the seventh season of Game of Thrones (Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Crave) ended nearly two years ago, the countdown to the final season seemed endless—especially on the heels of all the shocking (and sometimes incestuous) cliffhangers we were dealt.
Yet here we finally are. The eighth and final season of the iconic TV show kicked off Sunday night, and fans across the world prepared themselves for winter by binging the first seven seasons and holding all kinds of creative viewing parties.
Tonight’s Game of Thrones premiere party menu! pic.twitter.com/XG7A7QQ8Jj
— Melissa Girimonte (@thetelevixen) April 14, 2019
We won’t lie, we were expecting a little more action from the 55-minute opener considering there are only five episodes to go. But what we got in “King’s Landing” was plenty of setup, some great reunions, and an episode that was full of homages to the show’s pilot.
It also toyed with our emotions more than Ramsay Bolton with a dog on a leash. In that vein, here are the nine moments that hit us where it counts Sunday night.
That new opening
One of the things that’s always set GoT apart has been the opening credits. The three-dimensional map that the camera sweeps across to showcase the various locations to be featured that week set the tone, and excitement, while reminding us–oh so appropriately–of a board game.
Sunday night there was a whole new opening sequence to contend with though—one in which there was a giant hole in The Wall, and the ice was spreading far and wide. That wasn’t the only change, either. The entire sequence took a more micro look at the “board game,” making everything wayyy more personal.
All of the reunions
Almost the entire episode took place at Winterfell, where Dothraki, Unsullied and the Mother of Dragons herself congregated to plan the fight with the North against the incoming Night King’s army. There, several characters reunited for the first time in years.
Jon and ‘almost a man’ Bran shared a moment while Arya and The Hound dissected their last killer adventure together. Sansa and Tyrion reminisced over their marriage and Joffrey’s wedding (“It had its moments,” Sansa quipped). And Jon and Arya reunited in a scene that left us with something in our eyes—especially when Arya whipped out Needle, the sword Jon gifted her in season one.
“Have you ever had to use it?” he asked.
“Once or twice,” she replied.
You really know nothing, Jon Snow.
— Jenna Amatulli (@ohheyjenna) April 15, 2019
Daenerys delivers some bad news
We all know there was no love lost between Samwell Tarly and his father. But when Sam learned that Daenerys killed his dear old dad—AND his brother? Well that was a tough one to swallow.
Sam, choking back tears: At least I’ll be able to go home and see my brother
Daenerys, who also killed his brother: pic.twitter.com/LWCi8ZMjct
— emma (@emdoucette_) April 15, 2019
We have our second dragon rider
According to GoT lore there are three dragon riders, which makes sense given that there were three dragons. The popular theory has always been that Dany, Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister were those three riders. Now, with Viserion part of the Night King’s army, it seems like we’re down to two. Although we could technically argue that the Night King was the second rider, we’re going to stick with the living, hot-fire-breathing dragons here and celebrate Jon Snow hopping on Rhaegal’s back for a little joy ride on Sunday night. Let’s also note that he rode the dragon named after his birth father.
How to Train Jon Snow’s Dragon pic.twitter.com/9Zo5FeQk0G
— Matt Patches (@misterpatches) April 15, 2019
Oh and speaking of…
Jon Snow finally knows something
Is it just us, or did it take far too long for Jon to learn what was the biggest lineage bombshell in GoT history? We expected Bran to tell Jon straightaway that he’s actually Aegon Targaryen, the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, but that truth didn’t come out until we were well into the episode.
The news didn’t come from Bran, either—Bran made Sam, Jon’s sworn brother, tell him the good news. We suppose when you’re about to learn that you’re the one true king and you’ve been shacking up with your auntie, these things are best heard from a bestie. Still, Sam was upset with Dany when he delivered the news, and it kind of set a weirder tone than we were even expecting.
Not lost on us though? The fact that Sam told Jon while they were standing in front of Ned Stark’s crypt.
— Nobody (@iAintUrBro) April 15, 2019
50 shades of Theon Greyjoy
The Stark siblings weren’t the only ones reuniting on Sunday night. As Yara was being held captive by Euron (a.k.a. the poor man’s Josh Jackson), Theon was busy mounting a much-needed rescue plan.
We have a serious love-hate relationship with Theon by now, but we were pretty thrilled when he actually came back to help his sister. Now if only he could talk some sense into her about her plan to become Queen of the Iron Islands… After all, that attempted uprising didn’t work out so well for their father; we think our fears are legit.
— Trusha (@TrushaMishra) April 15, 2019
Cersei is really into elephants
At this point Cersei is happy to let the Targaryens, Starks, and other important HoHs duke it out with the White Walkers for the North, while preparing to fight whatever is left over. As far as strategies go it’s probably the smartest move—although not exactly the most honourable. That’s Cersei for you though.
In the meantime there’s one thing she is wistful about, and that’s the fact that Euron didn’t bring her the promised elephants.
Elephants? We’ll call that some necessary comic relief.
— Rebecca Hall Books (@books_by_becca) April 15, 2019</a>
Lord Umber goes out on a limb
We’ve never really gotten to know the Umbers throughout this series, although eagle-eyed fans could probably note that their lineage page was one of a few that Ned perused when he was figuring out the secret of Robert Baratheon’s kin back in season one.
Sunday night we were reunited with the small boy who counts himself as the current Lord Umber though. The kid just wanted some wagons, but unfortunately he didn’t make it. The Night King got to him instead, and he sent the living a pretty cruel message.
— Aut (@AutCoch) April 15, 2019
Jaime arrives at Winterfell
There were plenty of Easter eggs for fans to get excited about in this episode, which mirrored the show’s first instalment so perfectly. But our favourite moment of all was when Jaime Lannister got off his horse at Winterfell, and the first person he saw was Bran Stark. Bran had been sitting there “waiting for an old friend,” and it turns out that his buddy was the same guy who pushed him out of the window to his ‘death’ in the pilot. That one moment changed Bran’s entire journey on this series, but this was the first time Bran and Jaime have come face-to-face since.
Naturally, that was the perfect place for the episode to cut to the end credits.
— 𝐤𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐞 (@stormbornjedi) April 15, 2019
The wait is finally over and the excitement is real! Just ask David Beckham and The Social‘s Jess Allen.
Until next week, folks.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Crave. For live viewing select ‘On Air’ at the top of your computer screen or bottom of your app.