Warning! SPOILERS ahead for Game of Thrones season 8, episode 1.
Game of Thrones season 8 is here, premiering with an episode that makes several references to the season 1 premiere of Game of Thrones. Season 8 will in total only have six episodes, which isn't a lot of time for how much story is in need of resolving before the finale. Still, it's hard to knock the series too hard for taking a little time to reflect on what came before.
Of course, making callbacks to the season 1 premiere isn't all that happens in Game of Thrones season 8's premiere, "Winterfell". The episode is primarily tasked with bringing much of the series' enormous cast to one location, and in the process reuniting characters who haven't seen each other for years. There's also some setup for the coming battle with the Night King and his army of the dead, as well as Jon discovering what it's like on the back of dragon in a greatly anticipated scene.
The moments in the Game of Thrones season 8 premiere that do make reference to season 1's premiere, however, aren't there simply to stoke fan's nostalgia, but to highlight just how far the series and its character have come. Here's every season 1 premiere callback we found in the season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones.
- This Page: The Queen's Arrival & The Godswood
- Page 2: Lovers, Brothels, & White Walkers
- Page 3: The Winterfell Crypts & Old Friends
The Queen's Arrival
The Game of Thrones season 8 premiere begins with some very strong ties to the season 1 premiere, "Winter is Coming", heavily referencing King Robert's arrival at Winterfell with that of Daenerys'. Even the music accompanying the scene - the season 1 track "The King's Arrival", which later becomes the musical theme for House Baratheon - is the very same. Both monarchs are coming with a large retinue, and in both episodes, a young boy is shown watching the massive column of people make their way to the castle. In season 1 it's Bran, running along the parapets of Winterfell to get a better view; in season 8, it's a young boy from the winter town.
Daenerys' arrival also includes Arya watching the procession, which is something she did as a child when Robert came to Winterfell. In the season 1 premiere, Arya takes special note of The Hound, marveling at his fearsome dog head helm. In the season 8 premiere, Arya takes note of more people than just The Hound, but she does certainly notice that Sandor Clegane is alive and among the procession. Finally, once Daenerys makes her way within the castle and dismounts, she's greeted by the assembled Starks in much the same manner as Robert was in season 1. Sansa even says to her, "Winterfell is yours, your grace," just as her father did to Robert all those years ago.
Later on in "Winterfell", there's a scene set in the godswood (a wooded area found within the castle walls that's home to a weirwood tree) that occurs at almost exactly the same moment in the episode's runtime as the godswood scene from the season 1 premiere. That in itself is an uncanny similarity between the plot structure of the two premieres (and it's not the only one), but the substance of the scenes are somewhat similar, too.
In the season 1 premiere, Catelyn comes to Ned in the godswood to inform him that his mentor and Hand of the King, Jon Arryn has died, and now the King is on his way to Winterfell to ask Ned to become his new Hand. The godswood scene in the season 8 premiere is that of the reunion between Jon and Arya, but it also has them discussing their latest monarch and what it is she might want. Just as Catelyn counseled Ned by telling him he could refuse the King's request, Arya similarly reminds Jon that he can, if necessary, still choose his family over his queen.
Page 2 of 3: Lovers, Brothels, & White Walkers