The wait is over.
The acclaimed HBO TV series “Game of Thrones” resurfaced April 14 from its one year, seven-month and 14-day dormancy for its season eight premiere titled “Winterfell.” Let me tell you, the season premiere brought its viewers numerous plot-driven revelations that exceeded the hype and brought us all back home to the Seven Kingdoms.
Not only was the build-up to this final season intense — Playstation, Dish, Reddit, Buffalo Wild Wings and numerous other companies joined with HBO to advertise the showing through banners of popular sigils and limited-time food deals — but the episode also answered numerous burning questions each GoT fan was left with after the previous season finale — which ended with the infamous Night King smashing The Wall to bits with his newly attained ice dragon, previously known as Viserion.
After rewatching the seventh season, the number of unanswered questions was truly overwhelming, to say the least. How would John come to know his true lineage? Would Daenerys give up her claim to the throne? Where was Yara? Will Jon be destined to ride the same dragon named after his true father? What will they do now that the Night King has Viserion in his pocket?
“Game of Thrones” fans and die-hard supports will all rejoice to hear that most of these pending questions were answered 10 fold.
As if I wasn’t already pumped with enough sizzling excitement for the return of GoT — mostly from the record-breaking 81 million view trailer — if the viewers watched it live, HBO aired a nostalgia-induced countdown beginning 10 minutes prior to the premiere. As each minute ticked by, I could feel my heart pumping, knowing they were about to reveal one of the most
long-awaited TV series premieres to date. And I was right, the season eight premiere of GoT shattered series records with 17.4 million viewers April 14. To put this in perspective, the previous seventh season of GoT racked in 10.1 million views, thus making the GoT season eight premiere the biggest telecast in HBO’s history and the most-watched scripted entertainment program of the year — surpassing the previous record holder, “The Big Bang Theory” with 14.1 million views.
Hidden truths of broken families were revealed in more ways than one with such heartbreaking detail I could barely contain my emotions. To be fair, I was already pretty emotional when the countdown began.
There were also too many reunions to count which brought my heart unlimited joy. Of course, GoT fans suspected the season would be filled with reunions from previous characters who hadn’t seen one another since season two or earlier — and they were right. Between The Hound (Rory McCann) and Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), and Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington), the episode practically brought everyone together for a much-needed regrouping.
However, the title for most emotional homecoming definitely goes to Jon and Arya. The two haven’t seen or spoken to one another since eight years prior when Jon gave Arya her trusty sword, Needle. The two have always shared a bond unique from the other siblings. I wasn’t the only one sucking back tears when the two ran to each other for a heartfelt embrace.
However, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bran Stark’s (Isaac Hempstead Wright) reunion was quite awkward — considering the last time Jamie saw Bran was when he pushed Bran out of a window, paralyzing him, for witnessing Jamie bang his sister. Yes, quite awkward.
Besides these revelations, we also witnessed the Dragonglass forged into weapons against the undead army, Sansa turning cold for the Mother of Dragons, a manhunt lead by Bronn for a previous friend and foreshadowing of a proposed future proposal.
Though the plot of “Game of Thrones” has always held a special place in my heart — George R.R. Martin, the author of the “Game of Thrones” book series, has been called the king of fantasy a time or two for a reason — the fantastic music paired with seamless CGI and stunning cinematography left me in awe of this season premiere.
Though the time spent away from our beloved characters was painful to say the least, it was — without a doubt — well worth the wait. This premiere was just a mere taste of the intense farewell to come, but I’m already addicted.
After ambiguity was put to rest, the Night King left a shrieking message for the not-so-king-of-the-north and the Mother of Dragons. He’s crossed the wall and headed straight for the duo and their armies. With Viserion under his control, I’m uncertain what future lies ahead for any of our characters. But I am certain that I will be tuning in every Sunday at 8 p.m. on the dot for the final five episodes.
All seven seasons of “Game of Thrones” and the first episode of season eight are available to stream on HBO Now. The show is rated TV-MA.