With this take of season 8 I will do it a bit different. Instead of writing per episode I write it per storyline. First the war against the White Walkers combined with Jon’s revelation and the afterparty of that battle (first 3,5 episode). Then I talk about the war against Cersei combined with Dany’s decline in that part. (Cersei in episode 1, Bronn and the south in episode 4 and episode 5). And third about the fall of Daenerys. (First part of episode 6) and last the epilogue (second part of episode 6).
The North vs the White walkers:
The first 3,5 episodes contain a lot. We start with a beautiful introduction of Daenerys arriving at Winterfell, it mimics the first episode of the show with the arrival of Robert Baratheon. This time instead of Arya we see a boy trying to see the new queen first hand. Even the music resembles the arrival of Robert Baratheon. For me this introduction serve both as something good, and something of a flaw. It gives us a sense of nostalgia of where the show begins the last season starts where the whole show started which gives at least me a good feeling when starting the last season. The problem that this has for me is that unconsciously I compare both the introduction of Daenerys and Robert Baratheon of both episodes, and for me the introduction of Daenerys felt pale in comparison to the introduction of Robert, with my rewatch I still got goose bumps with the arrival of Robert, but I did not with this introduction, I felt the Nostalgia, but not the feeling that brings me goose bumps. Back to the scene. The North is being introduced to the dragons in which Daenerys smiles. First time watching I thought this was more of an arrogant look of Daenerys in which she tries to scare the North, but I think I thought of that wrong, I think it has more to do that she doesn’t feel welcomed by the northerners, but her dragons feel like home, her children, the smile is more proud than arrogant. The introduction of Daenerys and Sansa is an amazing scene where the two show how they think of each other.
Daenerys introduction to the North doesn’t go as she though it would go; they don’t love her at first sight even if that’s what Jon promised. They don’t show her the love and respect that Sansa gets from them. And I understand the North in this; they fought for freedom to be free, not to be back getting to tell what to do by a king or queen sitting on a seat far away, especially not the daughter of a man they feared. If only Jon didn’t bend the knee that soon, I think the North wouldn’t be that stubborn, if they sensed that Daenerys will help them even when the North would be an independent ally, I think in the end they would respect Daenerys more if she did get there as an ally instead of their ruler.
Arya meet up with Jon is a great scene for me; you see that they love each other. But you also see both have grown into different people than they were in episode 1×01 and 1×02. Looking at Arya and her bond with Sansa which shows here, shows how she grow as a character.
Sansa telling Tyrion he isn’t as clever as he thinks he is, is also a great moment of the past, he told that to Cersei. It also shows that Sansa is less naïve in the end than Tyrion is.
Arya getting her dagger ready to end the NK. Here it’s already known to the viewer that Arya will be the one.
Sam’s scene with Dany remains one of my favorite scenes of the season. It’s filled with emotion, and shows both characters to which they have become. It also shows that even that Sam hated his father, deep down he still loved his father. But in the end it was his brother’s dead that got to him, Dickon (Bronn’s laugh) was never mean to Sam like his father was. This resulted in Sam telling Jon the truth. He is the rightful King of the bloody seven Kingdoms.
The Last hearth scene shows us who the WW are, and that even when they are evil, they don’t just kill their enemy, it goes deeper than that, they hate the CotF for what they have done. It shows also a very funny scene with Thormund and Ed: I have always had blue eyes. For me personally, and this is not a critic on the episode but more personal. I wish they sticked with the first idea that was written, that we would see the WW take the castle, a scene like that I would rewatch over and over. But for me going with the “Jump scare” of Ned Umber coming back to live, only works 1 time for me. While seeing the White Walkers self in action also benefits the story. It could make us feel we see the WW more in the season, and let us feel “We’ve seen enough of them”. And it also doesn’t make sense that Ed would be at Last hearth instead of going directly towards Winterfell.
Episode 1 ends with Bran meeting with Jaime, which is the rightful way to end episode 1, when looking at the end of 1×01. This scene continues at the beginning of episode 2. Jaime is being put in front of Daenerys and it’s beautiful what we see here with Brienne coming to Jaime’s defense, and that Sansa trusts Brienne completely. It also shows how Jon looks at it: Every man counts. It also shows even when Dany hated her brother and knew he was lying about things, the stories he told, rooted inside Daenerys. For me it’s only a shame they didn’t go deeper with that, how Daenerys felt about her past with Viserys and that not all was bad. But in the end this scene is perfect.
Arya in episode 2 is a wonderful thing to see, her “I know death” scene was perfect, her telling she will not be with some old man with her last night, and her making love to Gendry all feels great for the episode that serve as the last day/night before the WW attack.
Bran has 2 big moments with the Lannister Brother’s. His first with Jaime is very powerful. It shows how far Bran has become the 3ER and that he already forgave Jaime. We also see him in the plan to defeat the WW. For me this plan is on purpose “not that great” because there was little to no time, and I think Bran does something I wish had been on screen that this was his plan, it feels like he want to get the NK out of the shadows by giving the NK false sense of security. And for the 3ER what is 20/30.000 soldiers against the defeat of the NK? It’s just speculation, but this would make sense why he installed this bad plan, that Bran had a big part in the defeat of the WWs. Later we see Bran with Tyrion talking about something. Was this his intentions for the plan?
The Brothers had also had their moments together, which was short because Jaime saw Brienne, the one he really wanted to spend his time with. Brienne and Jaime’s moment is amazing and shows us the bond that had been growing between them.
Jon meets with Ed and Thormund is a wonderful scene, is there even one scene with Thormund that isn’t great?
Daenerys and Sansa have their own little appointment, in which we see these 2 powerful women playing each other for their own goals, and can we say that in the end even one won? Or is it more that they both lost because there was no compromise in the end? And in the end Daenerys lost more, she lost the sense that people cared about her the moment Theon enters and showed Daenerys he only saw her as a queen, but Sansa was the one for who he went back, he will fight for her personally because he cared about her. All at the same time when the ones she care about are busy with their own family members, Jorah with his niece, Grey worm with Missandei. At the same time that Jon ignores her. In which at the end she finally got to know why, which shocked Jon when she only concerned about the throne, not that they were related. Which ends the episode with the arrival of the White walker.
The highlight of episode 2 was for me the firepit scene. Which started off with one of the most funniest scene of the show, giant’s milk, I really hope Jon didn’t drank that way up north in season 3. To one of the most emotional scenes of the show. The Knighting of Brienne of Tarth, as thormund states, he knights her ten times over. Which ends with the beautiful voice of Daniel Portman as Pod, which we see all the characters in preparation of the WW battle.
The battle itself begins with an amazing introduction, which Samwell. His shaking is how I would feel. The arrival of Mellisandre. The attack and defeat of the Dothraki with their flaming arakhs. I really love this introduction. We see how this upsets Daenerys and shows that she care for her people. But Jon sees the bigger picture, which he sees later in the episode by not saving Sam and let Sam fetch for himself. The NK needs to go down. There’s so much to tell about the episode, but I will not high light every single scene. I loved Mellisandre’s scenes all, the lighting of the trench, her talk with Arya, and her death was very beautiful and peaceful. I loved how it was Arya to be the one to kill the NK. The dragonbattle above the sky is one of the most beautiful scenes I ever saw. The sky was a great contrast to the rest of the battle. I loved how the NK got defeated and the moment to it. Jorah died how he always wanted to die. What I didn’t really like was some small things. The “did Jaime and Co die or will they live” over and over again. Lyanna’s death. It felled to perfect. GoT is always messy, I wish the giant would have died more by accident, that she sticked the sword in his cheek (Which would have killed him also). And for me the episode was too long. I was battle fatique halfway through, and I had that every time I rewatched it. And it’s a shame that I need to watch an episode in 2 parts when it’s in fact one big episode. And the other thing looking back, for me personally I really feel that having more time with the WW in episode 1 and 2 when they were the shortest ones would really have helped. A scene where they took Last Hearth, show us how they take a castle fast and maybe how Ned tries to escape by fails, that would have added to his scene in episode 1. And maybe a scene in episode 2 where we would have seen some wights in some sort of Camp towards winterfell (with Thormund and co), it would have solved the rushed problem with the battle against the WW storyline in season 8. But I have peace with it that this is not what we got.
Episode 4 starts with the pyre scene which is very emotional, later we got a more uplifting scene, the feast which ends the WW storyline. Gendry being named lord of Storms End but got his dreams shattered when Arya won’t be with him, davos talking about Mellisandre and seeing another side of Mellisandre in the end, Jon getting praised while Daenerys is alone, the drinking game is all fun until Tyrion fucks up with his questions. My favorite moment in episode 4 is when Thormund shows his heart have been broken towards Sandor Clegane who is not so amused to be the one that needs to hear this. But I disliked the Sansa the hound scene, I see now why people dislike it, it’s not a scene that I enjoyed watching.
The night ends with Jaime and Brienne making love (a day later when they fought together). And a desperate Daenerys pleading to Jon to keep his mouth shut. This shows both that Daenerys is scared to lose it all, Jon and her throne (which is for her home) but also the thing that Varys fears later, she will bend him to her will.
All with all I liked these 3,5 episodes that was about the WW treat with minor things I didn’t like. It’s time now to watch episode 5 and 6 for the rest, the battle against Cersei, the fall of Daenerys and the epilogue.