By Michael Foster-Sanders
Winter is coming. More like, winter is here.
“Game of Thrones” made its triumphant return April 14 after a two-year hiatus.
This eighth and final season of the series — which is based on George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Fire and Ice” — debuted in 2011 on HBO has taken the world by storm with its tales of war, betrayal, sex and violence.
A new credit opening shows the aftermath of the past seven seasons to let viewers know to brace themselves for the ride.
The debut episode for the season is named “Winterfell” but should have been named “The Calm Before the Storm” because it sets events in motion.
It eases the viewer back into the cold place of Winterfell by doing an almost mirror image of the series’ first episode set piece of King Robert marching into the city.
Fans of the show will notice the subtle changes, but one that stands out is Arya Stark. Once rushing to see the parade coming into Winterfell as a child before the Lannister’s destroyed her life, she is now a young woman and lets a child get a closer look as her brother and his queen march into the capital.
With “Game of Thrones,” family could be the deciding factor of life and death.
Immediately, the seeds of discord are sown within the House of Stark with the bastard Jon Snow, who was once king, bending his knee to the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen.
The move was to gain access to her army and dragons for the impending fight with the White Walkers, which are zombie-like creatures.
Snow’s sisters are a bit concerned where his loyalty lies. Sansa has grown into a person who plays for power and has doubts that he is for the House of Stark, but Arya — who he’s always treated with respect — just asks for reassurance from Snow that his heart is in the right place.
The stakes are raised when a big secret is revealed about Snow that shakes his foundation to the very core. The man he admired as his father, Ned Stark, may have been lying to him his entire life.
The episode concludes with a warning from the White Walkers letting the soldiers know that they’re coming.
Pacing was slow with this episode though, but it was needed to prepare the viewer for the impending doom and what’s at stake if Winterfell is captured.
The season is off to a great start, and it’s only going to build until it climaxes when someone sits in the Iron Throne. My prediction is Arya Stark.