Warning: Spoilers for episode one, season eight of Game of Thrones ahead.
Violence. Sex scenes. Nudity.
And so it is upon us, the final season of Game of Thrones, the only show where your murderous aunt/current girlfriend/mother of dragons could prove a bigger liability than the army of undead marching your way.
Jon Snow is back – and this time he knows something. Credit:HBO
And it’s these family dramas – not the undead – that will cause the biggest problems this final season as Jon Snow, once a bastard, now Aegon Targaryen, the rightful heir to the Seven Kingdoms, must decide where his loyalties lie: to the Iron Throne or to the woman who taught him to ride a dragon?
Let's not forget Cersei, either, as she broods in King’s Landing with a baby in her belly and wine on her lips (obviously King's Landing's National Health and Medical Research Council isn't up to date on the research into alcohol and pregnancy. Although, incest aside, it would explain Joffrey). She has been abandoned by the only family she cares about: Jaime.
And so we lay our scene: Dany and Jon riding into Winterfell with the army of Unsullied and Dothraki by their side. The supporting cast then rolls in – The Hound, Gendry, Tyrion and Varys – all surveyed under the withering gaze of Sansa, with Arya watching the troops from the ground.
It's the most awkward family reunion ever – the kind where your adopted brother turns up with his aunt-turned-girlfriend at Christmas dinner and expects everyone to cheer.
"I warned you, Northerners don't much trust outsiders," Jon says to Dany, who in a perfect world would reply in the spirit of Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels: "F—ing northern monkeys!". Instead, it's enter the dragons.
The rest of the day at Winterfell carries on like a Married at First Sight dinner party – a loved up Jon and Dany sit at the head of the table staring down the haters (testify, Lady Mormont!), while Sansa and Dany side-eye each other over who will feed the troops and the dragons ("What do dragons eat anyway?" asks Sansa for everyone, everywhere).
Sansa and her ex, Tyrion, meet for the first time since she did a runner after the death of her other ex-husband; and Arya, in a cute exchange with Gendry, gives everyone their first shipping moment that doesn't involve incest (it doesn't matter how good looking they are, Jon and Dany are related, people!).
Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow’s lover and aunt, in Game of Thrones.Credit:AP
Speaking of incest, Cersei also has family on her mind in King's Landing, specifically Jaime and Tyrion. Despite being wooed by the Iron Islands' Unsexiest Man Alive – Euron Greyjoy – she really only has murder on her mind and gifts everyone's favourite man about town, Bronn, with a family heirloom to get the job done.
Family right? If you can’t beat 'em, murder them with the same instrument they murdered your father with. As Bronn so rightly says, "That f—ing family."
Say what you will about Cersei, but at least she owns her dysfunction. Unlike Dany who, after laying waste to thousands in her quest for the throne, is surprised when she isn't thanked for murdering Samwell Tarly's father and brother, Randyll and Dickon.
Hubris has threatened Dany for a long time and it's now, when she's high on love, that it will come to bite, as that miscalculated revelation ends in Sam, at the behest of Bran in a kind of "You do it!", "No, you do it!" back and forth, telling Jon the truth: his lover is his aunt.
Oh, and he's also the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
Sam: "Your mother was Lyanna Stark. Your father, your real father, was Rhaegar Targaryen."
Cue whatever registers as emotion on Jon's face.
Sam: "You gave your crown up for your people. Would she do the same?"
Cue the internet collapsing into space and time. So what does Jon do?
Well, for that we'll have to wait…
- The opening titles have had a tweak – there's a hole in the wall and for the first time we go underground to the dark tunnels of Winterfell and King's Landing.
- Speaking of said wall, Beric and Tormund live! And they provide the best joke of the opening episode. Just don't mention that poor Umber boy pinned to another wall.
- Jaime is back! He has a beard! And he's being stared out by Bran (who, in his wheelchair, is proof that Winterfell has a decent accessibility policy).
- Yara and Theon Greyjoy – together, forever, their bond is oh so true, etc.
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