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Winter is here.

It’s been two years since the last Game of Thrones episode. Most prepared for the premiere by binging former seasons to remember everything. Others simply watched or read episode summaries as a quick refresher. But, nothing could truly prepare us for the long awaited season. Fans had to endure the show’s cast members giving foreboding inferences for what the season has in store. Things like “You’ll need therapy after this” and “It’ll make the ‘Battle of the Bastards’ look like child’s play” didn’t calm fans’ nerves. We’ve already seen so many people die, both hated and loved. The twists and reveals of the show keep us on our toes. Really, we didn’t know what to expect.

And then, the awaited season began.

Warning: mild spoilers ahead!

It begins like any other episode, with the catchy theme song. We’ve long known that the structures and places in the theme coincide with what’s happening in the show. Well, last night really gave something new. Almost every house originally represented appears rusted, with only the few remaining houses looking fresh and polished. The locations have also changed, with doors and gates of castles being slammed shut as if preparing for an enemy onslaught. Through the intro alone, we know nothing is the same this season.

Then came the arrival.

Reunions were a main theme of the episode. As Jon and Danaerys rode into Winterfell, a clash of two lives and viewpoints were bound to happen. The ones Jon left behind are still angry that he turned his rule to Danaerys, a foreigner in their eyes. Sansa herself doesn’t take to Danaerys well, but who could blame her? She put a lot of effort into getting Ramsay Bolton out of their home just to feel as if Jon is handing it to someone else. But, Arya and Jon finally reunite after having not seen each other since the first season; that’s basically six years or so.

But they had more important things to handle.

I’m not a fan of Bran, but I was happy to see him speak up about needing to get together and fight the White Walkers. He said, “We don’t have time for this now,” and that’s been a common issue throughout the series. It’s hard for people who have been enemies for so long (centuries as they would describe it) to suddenly band together. Most of them haven’t seen the army of the dead or the Night King. They don’t feel like getting along with sudden strangers like everything is fine. But, Bran is right. The wall is destroyed courtesy of Ice Viserion, and we now know the dead are closer than ever.

And Jon has more decisions to make.

The reveal finally happened, all with the worst timing. Jon now knows he’s the heir to the Iron Throne, and never stops reminding us he doesn’t want to be King. But, this is very different. He has more claim to the throne than Danaerys, and his people would still rather see him rule. Plus, Rhaegal likes him, so he even has a dragon on his side! While the reveal was so everyone could hurry along and know what they need to know before the big battle, it’s still a bit distracting. Jon is in love with a now revealed family member, Sansa prefers to have hold of The North, and Cersei is fed up on all levels.

Seasons of scheming now lead to this moment.

Cersei is continuing to pull all the resources she can in her betrayal. She couldn’t get the elephants she wanted, but she is gathering more soldiers and horses for her disposal. Unfortunately, she hasn’t gotten rid of Euron. But, it’s clear he’s only around for as long as she can use him and wants to throw him away as soon as possible. She should be worried about more important matters of course, but that seems to be everyone else’s more immediate problem since they’re all up north.

With only episode 1 finished, more drama (and deaths) are sure to come in the next few weeks.

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