I’ll keep this brief, because it’s unlikely by now that I can write an unbiased review of a “Game of Thrones” episode anyway. The show is so close to my heart that simply seeing the characters again for Season 8 is like being reunited with old friends. I’d rate the first episode a 10 out of 10 if only for the characters and dialogue.
And that’s mostly what we get in the premiere. If you’ve been waiting for this universe’s apocalyptic war to escalate, then you’ll be disappointed. The episode focused almost entirely character reunions, relationships and conflicts, laying out the stakes for what will be a bloody final season. Nearly all of it was great stuff. (Like a lot of viewers, I loved the closing seconds of the show.) There was only one key exchange of dialogue that didn’t play the way the writers intended — an interaction among Sam, Danerys and Jorah that was blackly and unintentionally hilarious.
I read comments from a couple of fans online who were nonplussed by the episode’s lack of action. I think we needed this character-focused groundwork to lend emotional weight to the war when it arrives at Winterfell. (I think we can assume it will fall; I can’t imagine the good guys defeating the Night King in their first major battle.)
I loved it.