You can’t spell “Game of Thrones” without the letters O-M-G.
HBO’s beloved series, which returned Sunday night for its eighth and final season (in case you hadn’t heard), has produced some of TV’s most shocking moments this past decade, from the infamous Red Wedding scene to Cersei blowing up the Sept Of Baelor to Jon Snow’s death to.. well, you get the point.
Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched the season 8 premiere and don’t want it ruined for you, please stop reading.
While it didn’t feature any major character deaths – at least not on the surface – the first episode of season eight, titled “Winterfell,” had plenty of twists and turns.
Here were the biggest surprises:
Jon Snow learns his true identity: By way of his most loyal friend, Sam Taryly, Jon Snow learns what viewers found out in the seventh season finale: that Snow is not the “bastard” son of Ned Stark after all, but Aegon Targaryen, the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, which makes him the true king of the Iron Throne, and, oh yes, the nephew of Queen Daenerys, his current lover.
The many, many reunions: Two of the show’s most popular characters, Jon Snow and Arya Stark, were finally reunited after epic journeys back to Winterfell. Also reunited in the season premiere were Snow and Sam (we’ll get back to that in a minute), Sansa Stark and brief husband Tyrion Lannister – who hadn’t seen each other since Joffrey’s demise, and Sansa and Snow, who had a brief exchange about loyalty vs. his love for Daenerys. Meanwhile, Theon Greyjoy broke his prisoner sister Yara out of Euron’s evil grasp aboard the Iron Fleet, and The Hound came face-to-face with Arya, the “bitch” who tried to kill him (even though deep down he loved being her protector). And last but certainly not least…
Jamie Lannister and Bran Stark meet again: The harrowing final scene of the season 8 premiere saw Jamie Lannister stop dead in his tracks upon arriving at Winterfell, looking squarely into the eyes of Bran Stark, the new Three-Eyed Raven, whom he’d pushed out of a castle window and paralyzed after the boy witnessed Jamie and his sister, Cersei, making forbidden love in the very first episode, which became the catalyst for the whole series.
The boy on the wall: The most blood-curdling moment of “Winterfell” came when Tormund Giantsbane and men of the Night’s Watch stumbled upon the corpse of young Lord Umber, who had been nailed to a wall surrounded by a spiral of severed limbs. And that wasn’t even the scariest part. As Tormund and Beric Dondarrion turned to exit, Lord Umber suddenly let out a devilish scream from the wall, leading Beric to use his flaming White Walker sword on the poor lad.
Sam learns of his family’s demise: After asking Daenerys to pardon him for stealing “a few books” from the Citadel that contain Snow’s true parentage (she doesn’t know that tidbit), Sam Taryly gets a bombshell of his own: Daenerys tells him that she ordered the death of his father and brothers for refusing to leave their land. While Sam openly hated his father, who sent him away to the Night’s Watch, the fiery death of his brothers leaves Sam in tears and near-vengeful as he walked out. The Sam-Daenerys scene may have also played a big role in his willingness to tell Jon Snow about his real father, while Snow visited the tomb of Ned Stark, in what should lead to political tension in Winterfell between Snow and Daenerys.
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