Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1
After a long hiatus Game of Thrones (GOT) returned to HBO with exactly the right tone, and with pitch-perfect assembly.
A show like Game of Thrones is a puzzle, and it requires exacting attention to detail. How characters re-encounter each other, what they say or don’t say, who hangs out with whom and a host of other attributes will define the motion going forward. It proves difficult to recover from early slips. To some, GoT plays as soap opera set in a fantasy world, but unlike soap operas, GoT doesn’t have days of life to fill with alternatives and distractions.
The vision of GoT will end in a few weeks. No unknown cousin or mistakenly dead brother will come in to save it. All the pieces are on the table and the showrunners must place them in the design, not force them and in doing so both fail and bend the edges so they pieces look frayed and unattractive when they do find their proper place. More so than any season, GoT Season 8 will embody its creator’s vision because there are no books, and there is no next season to make up for errors, plot holes or dissonance of tone. The creators left everything on the table. Now we must wait to see if they have done justice to their creation.
Did the showrunners do justice to their creation?
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1 hints that they have done justice. Like a lot of great writing, the end wraps about around to the beginning. In Jame’s Joyce’s Finnegans Wake the last line ends on the first page of the book. In Game of Thrones, the writing is not as experimental, but the sweep of the opening scene from a child’s facing harkens back to Arya’s memories of Robert Baratheon’s Season 1 appearance at Winterfell. Early meetings of strong characters, in this case, Sansa And Daenerys, remain chilly. Royal weddings and bended knees still matter. And who people are may not be even who they think they are. Echos of season 1 reverberate throughout.
As foretold in Season 1, Winter finally arrived. Bran Stark calmly reminds everyone there isn’t time to worry about trivia. In Season 1, a Night’s Watch deserter warned of the coming of the White Walkers. Seven seasons crunched through the events required to disrupt personal ambitions and aim the various houses toward a single goal (well, most of them).
Get lost in the eyes of a young queen
Don’t get lost in guessing about the future. Get lost in the moment. Put your phone and tablet away. Get in front of the biggest screen you can find and just wallow in the epic grandeur. Let the music and the scenery, the scowls and the smiles, the questioning looks and the consternation, the air wafting over you from the speed of the dragon you sit upon, let them all take you to where the characters live in those moments—and perhaps recall, with them, the choices and sacrifices that brought them there.
Romance doesn’t define relationships in the long term, but it certainly sweeps away speculation and concern at the moment. The heart pounds as the dragon takes flight, as you kiss along the cold shores of an icy waterfall. As a viewer, you have the choice of being Bran or Jon. You can worry about the future, or you can enjoy the moment.
Jon learned all too well to enjoy the moment because the past and the future may well get thrust upon. For Jon, his reckoning arrived in a darkly lit dungeon of remembrance when he least expected it. Credbility reinforced by the source: perhaps the person he most trusts.
So let it just happen. Let the scream of the dying child echo for the first time with all of its power, its regret, and its threat. Let the revelations churn conflict and desire.
Winter has come and its time to flop down on your entertainment room floor and make snow dragons in your high-pile carpet.
For those who simply can’t wait for Episode 2, here is the teaser trailer.
Need an example of how to live in the moment? Watch Leslie Jones living her GoT moment with Seth Meyers as they watch Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1.
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