HBO has released a new batch of stills from Game of Thrones season 8, and they confirm that Winterfell is going to be very crowded come April. While the entire cast was featured in the photos released, the majority of them appeared to be at the Stark family home. Cersei clearly kept her word to herself and remained in Kings Landing, but virtually every other major character has made it to the wintry north to fight the army of the dead.
That's not entirely surprising considering everyone but the Queen of Westeros is fully on board with pausing the in-fighting to deal with the encroaching threat, but it did remind us that not everyone who's at Winterfell will be happy to see one another. While they all might be nominally united in the war against the Night King, it's entirely possible all these reunions at once might cause a significant stir before any ice battles are waged.
If you thought season 8 was just going to be one, long extended Hardhome 2.0, you haven't been paying attention. Game of Thrones has never been about the battle knocking on Westeros' back door, but all the little ones weakening the continent from the inside. Given the major players that are at Winterfell and the major beef some of them have with each other, we think it's safe to say the Wars to Come will have nothing on the inaugural Stargaryen family dinner. Here's a list of the new Who's Who of Winterfell come April 14th.
- This Page: The Starks, Daenerys, Tyrion & Varys
- Page 2: Sam, Brienne, Davos & More
Jon & Dany
The former King in the North and the Mother of Dragons' arrival at Winterfell was documented in the first clip HBO released from the new season a few weeks ago. The two most likely arrived with their entourage after leaving Kings Landing by (love)boat in an effort to face the impending battle in the North. We saw a typically diplomatic Sansa greet the Queen with a polite, but cool "Winterfell is yours, Your Grace," just as her father did to Robert Baratheon in the pilot, "Winter is Coming." The fact that Jon left the North in the first place didn't sit well with his sister, and neither did his bending the knee to his new girlfriend. Luckily Arya and Bran are around to allow the focus to shift to a happy family reunion from a potentially uncomfortable introduction.
Sansa, Arya & Bran
The remaining Stark siblings all reconvened at Winterfell in season 7, and thanks to the death of Littlefinger, they're more united than ever. That could potentially change if there's conflict between Sansa, Jon and Daenerys. Despite the fact that she and Sansa seem to have found a newfound mutual respect for one another, Arya and Jon were incredibly close. It could be that their bond winds up making Sansa feel shut out -- after all, the Three-Eyed Raven clearly isn't going to be of much emotional support to her.
That said, Bran is now one of two people on the planet who know Jon is a Targaryen and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. If Bran speaks up and Dany doesn't take the news well that her new lover is now her new rival, it might not matter how Sansa or Arya feels about the new Stark/Targaryen alliance. Said alliance could end up being very short-lived.
Tyrion's also at Winterfell, as the photo of him standing on snow-covered battlements looking concerned reveals. The concerned look isn't surprising given what everyone's facing, but also since we know Tyrion isn't pleased about Jon and Dany's new relationship. On a brighter note, these photos also confirm that Tyrion will finally reunite with Sansa for the first time since the Purple Wedding. While a love match was never in the cards for these two, Sansa's made it clear she doesn't lump Tyrion in with the other Lannisters, and Tyrion's always respected his erstwhile spouse. Seeing the two meet again after their respective experiences should be compelling to say the least.
In case you were worried that our favorite sneaky tag team would never be reunited, Varys also arrives at Winterfell in season 8, and presumably it's the first time he's visited the castle. What type of reception he'll receive when he gets there remains up in the air, though. Dany trusts him, but she might be moving away from that position given Varys' close relationship with Tyrion and her own troubled relationship with her Hand. Also, Varys is, at his heart, a spy, and that kind of occupation, attitude, and way of life is not popular with the North. No one stood up for Littlefinger when Sansa revealed his schemes to a room full of her vassals and allies, and it's likely they'll see Varys in the same light given his reputation. That said, with only six episodes to go, it's also likely the show won't spend a whole lot of time on Varys' northern optics.