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'Game Of Thrones' Is Back And Winterfell Is The Place To Be

'GoT' Season 8, episode 1 reunited friends, introduced enemies, and laid the foundation for major drama.

'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Premiere Recap: 'Thrones' Is Back And Winterfell Is The Place To Be
HBO

Game of Thrones is back and Winterfell is the place to be.

Like all Game of Thrones season premieres, Season 8's first episode laid the foundation for a whole bunch of mess.

As planned, Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Gendry, The Hound, Tyrion Lannister, Jorah Mormont, Lord Varys, Greyworm, and Missandei arrive at Winterfell. While they travel through, Arya Stark looks on from an inconspicuous place in the crowd. She's none too pleased when she sees The Hound, as last she saw him, she thought she left him for dead. Her frown turns upside down when she sees Gendry, whose fate she was also unsure of. If any man will ever win her heart, it'll be Gendry, so their reunion could be a game changer. Suddenly, Daenerys' legendary dragons screech as they fly over the castle. Arya is thrilled. Meanwhile, Sansa looks on from the top of the castle and her reaction is decidedly different.

'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Premiere Recap: 'Thrones' Is Back And Winterfell Is The Place To Be
HBO

Once Jon makes it into the castle center, he greets his long lost brother, Bran. This is the first time they've seen each other for years and he comments that Bran is now a man.

Jon introduces Daenerys to Sansa, who Daenerys compliments as just as beautiful as the North. It's a surprisingly kind way for the queen to greet her, so Daenerys takes note when Sansa somewhat painfully responds: "Winterfell is yours, your grace."

Trust Bran to interrupt the cordiality as he announces the Night King has one of Daenerys' dragons — Viserion — much to Daenerys' dismay.

Shortly later, Lyanna Mormont of Bear Island confronts Jon for leaving Winterfell a king and returning as nothing — seemingly insulting Jon for bending the knee to Daenerys. Jon reminds her, as well as the rest of those in the room, that he chose the North over his crown. The North needed allies, and Jon did what he had to do to get them.

Ever the wing man, Tyrion assures the room that thanks to Jon's actions, they now have two full grown dragons on their side as well as multiple armies.

Ever the realist, Sansa points out she doesn't have the food stock to feed that many more mouths — especially dragon mouths.

"What do they even eat, anyway?" Sansa wonders aloud.

"Whatever they want," Daenerys responds.

'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Premiere Recap: 'Thrones' Is Back And Winterfell Is The Place To Be
HBO

Later, Tyrion and Sansa reunite for the first time since Joffrey's wedding to Margaery Tyrell (RIP). Sansa fled immediately after Joffrey was poisoned. Everyone assumed Sansa was responsible, which left Tyrion (her husband at the time) to pick up the pieces. As expected, Sansa doesn't show an ounce of remorse.

She's more interested in the war at hand, and goes on to criticize Tyrion's belief that Cersei will actually send armies to help them.

"I used to think you were the cleverest man alive," she says before she stalks away.

'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Premiere Recap: 'Thrones' Is Back And Winterfell Is The Place To Be
HBO

It's an episode of reunions, and Jon and Arya are next.

"You used to be taller," she says before asking him how he survived a knife through the heart.

"I didn't," he responds before embracing her in a heartwarming bear hug.

Jon goes on to admire her sword, Needle, and asks her if she's ever used it (LOL).

"Once or twice," she quips.

Little does he know.

Before long, it's clear Arya isn't completely on Jon's team in the battle of the Stark siblings. She clearly loves and supports him but questions his disrespect for Sansa, who Jon says "thinks she's smarter than everyone else."

"She's the smartest person I've ever met," Arya says.

'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Premiere Recap: 'Thrones' Is Back And Winterfell Is The Place To Be
HBO

Back in King's Landing, Cersei watches eagerly as Euron's Iron Fleet arrives. Euron, who still has Yara as a hostage, leaves her tied to a pole in his ship as he goes to meet Cersei.

Euron is a fool who's more focused on his flask (and having sex with Cersei) than the war. Once he reaches her throne, he informs Cersei he has returned with 20,000 men, 2,000 horses and, sadly, no elephants. She's disappointed because the Golden Company assured her the force would be larger and stronger.

No elephants — really? Highgarden was sacrificed for this?

Euron immediately reminds Cersei of her implicit promise to sleep with him if he worked with her.

"You want a whore, buy one. You want a queen, earn her," Cersei tells him.

She calls him insolent and reminds him she's executed men for less cheeky comments than the ones he throws at her constantly.

"They were lesser men," Euron says, before Cersei finally gives the go-ahead for him to follow her to her chambers.

'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Premiere Recap: 'Thrones' Is Back And Winterfell Is The Place To Be
HBO

In another area of the castle, Ser Bronn is spending time with some ladies (if you know what I mean) when Cersei's psychotic right-hand man, Qyburn, so rudely interrupts. He has a message from the queen: She'd like him to kill someone(s) (Tyrion and Jaime) with the same crossbow Tyrion used to assasinate their father. A wheelbarrow of gold is waiting outside the castle for him if he can get the job done.

Post-undeserved sexual encounter, Euron is boasting and Cersei is lamenting those elephants she wanted (you gotta love her) when Euron asks her if he's better in bed than her previous partners.

She admits he's "not boring" and says he's the most arrogant man she's ever met before he tells her he's going to put a prince in her belly.

Forward, but at this point, what do you expect?

Little does he know her brother Jaime has already done the job.

At the docks, Theon uses Euron's absence as an opportunity to take down his guards and save Yara. The minute he unties her, she punches him — presumably for taking the coward's way out and letting Euron take her in the first place back in Season 7. Theon's rescue is easy enough since Euron is... distracted.

'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Premiere Recap: 'Thrones' Is Back And Winterfell Is The Place To Be
HBO

Back at Winterfell, the Karstarks arrive. Tyrion, Varys, and Jorah walk through the grounds as they discuss a major problem: The houses of the North don't know Daenerys and will be reluctant to follow a leader they don't know. They trust Jon, not the Mother of Dragons.

Down below, Daenerys tells Jon she knows Sansa doesn't like her.

"She doesn't need to be my friend, but I am her queen. If she can't respect me..." she says before she's called away.

Daenerys is informed the dragons are barely eating. They don't like the North, so she spends some quality time with them to encourage them to eat. Shockingly, she invites Jon to ride with her.

"What if he doesn't want me to?" Jon questions.

"Then I've enjoyed your company, Jon Snow," Daenerys responds.

Nevertheless, Jon climbs atop one and asks what he should hold on to before it takes off and he's forced to figure it out quick.

Part of the reason he may have allowed Jon to ride him is that he's actually Aegon Targaryen (Daenerys' nephew), with plenty of Targaryen blood flowing through him. Neither of them question it.

When they land atop a snowy mountain with a gorgeous waterfall, Jon admits Daenerys has "ruined horses for him."

Considering their boat encounter in Season 7, it's not surprising when Daenerys gets romantic and says they could live there a thousand years without anyone knowing.

"It's a little cold here for a southern girl," Jon says, before the two share a kiss.

'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Premiere Recap: 'Thrones' Is Back And Winterfell Is The Place To Be
HBO

Back at Winterfell, Gendry and The Hound craft weapons with dragonglass — the material Jon returned to Winterfell with in Season 7 after he discovered its power to take down White Walkers.

Arya walks in and The Hound confronts her. Awks.

"You left me to die," he says.

"I stole from you first," Arya responds.

He calls her a cold bitch before he stalks away, and that's that.

Arya and Gendry find themselves together again for the first time in years (!!!). He tells her she looks good and she returns the compliment. She hands him a sketch of a new weapon and asks him to make her a dragonglass sword.

"I always knew you were just another rich girl," he quips, but seems to accept the project as she reminds him she's the only rich girl he's ever known.

'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Premiere Recap: 'Thrones' Is Back And Winterfell Is The Place To Be
HBO

In her chambers, Sansa confronts Jon for bringing the Targaryen queen to Winterfell. She's worried their family's allies won't fight for her.

"Do you have any faith in me at all?" Jon asks her

"You know I do," Sansa says.

Jon sings Daenerys' praises and assures Sansa she's "not her father."

True to form, Sansa asks if he bent the knee to save the North or because he loves Dany.

A valid question.

In the library, Daenerys and Jorah find Samwell. Daenerys thanks him for saving Jorah's life — remember that gnarly case of grey scale? — and asks how she can repay him. He asks for a pardon for stealing House Tarly's sword and a few books from the Citadel. She realizes who she's speaking with and informs him his father and brother refused to bend the knee and were executed. Shocked, Samwell breaks down.

"Thank you, your grace, for telling me," he says as he starts to sob. "May I?" and he excuses himself. Samwell never had a good relationship with his family, but the news is distressing — especially for someone so sweet and sensitive. #protectSamwellatallcost

Unfortunately, he doesn't get much time to process the losses. He walks outside to see Bran "waiting for an old friend." He tells him it's time to tell Jon the truth.

"You're his brother. Shouldn't you tell him?" Samwell questions.

But Bran is no longer Jon's little brother. He insists Samwell be the one to break the news of Jon's true lineage and IT'S ABOUT TO GO DOWN.

Samwell finds Jon and begins the very casual convo by informing him Daenerys killed Sam's father and brother. Samwell is concerned with Daenerys' ruthless choices and points out that Jon has been a much kinder leader.

He goes on to (somewhat abruptly) blurt out his mother was Leanna Stark and his real father was Rhaegar Targaryen, but hey, the Night King ascends.

"You've never been a bastard," Sam tells him. "You are Aegon Targaryen — true heir to the Iron Throne. Sorry. I know it's a lot to take in."

Jon's first instinct is disbelief. Ned lied to him? But Sam points out Ned was trying to protect him.

Jon is in shock as he tries to defend Daenerys' title, but he trusts Samwell more than anyone and seems to process the implications as Samwell encourages him to embrace his birth right.

'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Premiere Recap: 'Thrones' Is Back And Winterfell Is The Place To Be
HBO

Meanwhile, Tormund and Beric Dondarrion (yay, they made it! Briemund lives on!) discover an Umber child pierced through the torso and stuck to the wall — a message from the Night King. They're shocked when the child wakes up with piercing blue eyes — apparently now a solider of the king — and starts to swing a knife. Tormund sets the poor kid aflame as he screams.

The episode concludes as Jaime arrives at Winterfell and the first familiar face he sees is Bran — in a wheelchair. Because of him.

Bran isn't at all surprised to see him. Apparently, Jaime is the old friend Bran was waiting for.

Game of Thrones Season 8 returns Sunday, April 21 at 6 p.m. PST.

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