'Game of Thrones': Season 8 starts back in Winterfell

The final season of Game of Thrones began where the series originally began — in Winterfell.

The showrunners have mentioned that this final season would echo the first one and Sunday night’s episode showed that. There was a royal procession, and a small boy climbing a tree to take in the sights, his eyes wide at the sight of thousands of marching men coming through the gates.

The difference is that, eight years later, it isn’t Bran Stark gazing out in wonder. Bran is much older, wiser, and filled with the heavy burden brought on by his experiences. The same can be said for every character in Westeros. Winter is here and since this show has so many moving parts, here’s a handy recap of Sunday night’s episode.

There are tons of spoilers so if you’re not caught up with Game of Thrones, stop reading now….you’ve been warned.

Let’s start with the big Stark reunion. Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and her armies of Unsullied, Dothraki, other allies, and dragons arrive in Winterfell, where Bran Stark informs them that the White Walkers have broken through the Wall. In response, the Northern lords and their allies rally around Winterfell, although they remain suspicious of Daenerys and are upset at Jon, former King of The North, for bending the knee to the new queen.

No one is more upset than Sansa Stark, though, who seems to be the only one thinking strategically and logistically. Arya Stark even finds herself defending Sansa to Jon, when the latter tries to belittle the efforts of The Lady of Winterfell. If The North is to survive, it will be in large part thanks to Sansa.

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At King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister is not concerned about the breach in The Wall, as Euron Greyjoy has returned with the Golden Company from Essos. Though no elephants were delivered, Euron boasts of his efforts to convince Cersei to have sex with him. Which they do. At Cersei’s bidding, Qyburn, her trusted adviser, hires Bronn of the Blackwater to assassinate both of her treacherous brothers, Jaime and Tyrion. This puts Bronn in a difficult position as he is close with both men. He was first of service to Tyrion as his bodyguard, and just last season, saved Jaime from a dragon on the way back to King’s Landing.

While Euron is preoccupied with Cersei, his nephew, Theon, infiltrates the Iron Fleet and rescues his sister Yara, who heads for the Iron Islands to take them back from Euron. If Westeros falls to the Night King, the Iron Islands could potentially be very important, as White Walkers and company cannot swim. Theon, however, decides to return to Winterfell to help his adopted family, The Starks, and continue his attempts at redemption for the treachery he caused in season two.

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Back at Winterfell, Jon goes on a dragon ride with Daenerys. Samwell Tarly learns that Daenerys executed his father and brother, and is upset by this. As he runs off he encounters Bran, who instructs him to tell Jon the truth of his birth. Jon’s father is Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, the eldest son and heir to King Aerys II Targaryen (The Mad King), and eldest brother of Daenerys Targaryen. He’s also Lyanna Stark’s son, and is in fact not the bastard son of Ned Stark, but instead the true heir to the Iron Throne.

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Tormund Giantsbane and Beric Dondarrion, meanwhile, survived the breach by The Night King on The Wall and are heading south. They inspect a devastated castle, and encounter Eddison Tollett and members of the Night’s Watch. The castle is revealed to be House Umber’s ancestral home Last Hearth. It appears that the castle’s population has been wiped out by the Night King, who left a terrifying message for the living.

The episode ends as Jaime Lannister arrives at Winterfell and encounters Bran in the courtyard.

On the latest podcast, hosts Jeremy Baker and Meredith Geddes also chat about some of their favourite theories and hopes for the next six weeks of the final season of Game of Thrones.

If you enjoy MerBear and the Maiden Jer, please take a minute to rate it and review it on Apple Podcasts and be sure to tell a friend about the show.


Jeremy Baker

@Jeremy_Baker on Twitter


Meredith Geddes

@MeredithGeddes on Twitter



Thank you Joanna Robinson, senior writer at Vanity Fair, and a member of the Cast of Kings Podcast for joining us this week!

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