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"Winterfell"[3] is the first episode of the eighth season of Game of Thrones. It is the sixty-eighth episode of the series overall. It premiered on April 14, 2019 on HBO. It was written by Dave Hill and directed by David Nutter.


Season 8 Premiere. Arriving at Winterfell, Jon and Daenerys struggle to unite a divided North.[5]


At Winterfell[]

Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and the Targaryen army pass through the winter town outside Winterfell, as its inhabitants warily watch Daenerys's foreign army of Unsullied and Dothraki. Arya smiles when she spots Jon, appears confused and worried when she sees the Hound with them, but she brightens up again when she sees Gendry. Jon tells Daenerys he had warned her Northerners are wary of outsiders. When Daenerys's dragons fly above them, the people flee in fear while Arya looks up in awe and Daenerys smiles at her dragons overhead. Sansa warily watches from Winterfell's battlements as Drogon and Rhaegal circle above the castle.

Once inside the walls of Winterfell, Jon sees his younger brother Bran, whom he last saw in a coma, and quickly dismounts. He kisses Bran's forehead. He embraces Sansa, who keeps a wary eye on his queen. Jon asks about Arya's whereabouts, Sansa replies that she's lurking. Jon introduces Daenerys and Sansa to one another. Sansa formally welcomes Daenerys to Winterfell and Daenerys thanks her, remarking that Jon told her about the beauty of the North and Sansa. Bran interrupts that there is no time for this and informs them that the Night King has Daenerys's dragon, Viserion and that the Army of the Dead has breached the Wall and is marching south.

As Jon tries to organize the defense against the undead in the Great Hall, Lyanna Mormont voices the anger that many lords have toward Jon bending the knee to Daenerys since they named Jon their King in the North. Jon gravely answers that he said he would protect the North, and the only way they could do that is with allies. Tyrion speaks up to insist that they'd all be dead already without Jon - and that the remaining Lannister army will soon arrive to reinforce them as well, upon which the lords resume their objections. Tyrion insists they must fight together in the face of the onslaught of the White Walkers and their undead army. Sansa asks how they are meant to feed Daenerys's army, "While I ensured our stores would last through winter, I didn't account for Dothraki, Unsullied and two full-grown dragons." She scoffs, "What do dragons eat, anyway?" to which Daenerys quips, "Whatever they want".

Later, Jon visits Winterfell's godswood, and while standing in front of the heart tree, Arya appears seemingly out of nowhere and startles Jon. She says that he used to be taller (when she was younger). Jon turns and asks how she was able to sneak up on him, prompting Arya to ask how he survived a knife to the heart. Jon responds, "I didn't". Arya runs to Jon and they embrace, Jon lifting Arya in his arms. Jon remarks that Arya still has Needle and Arya unsheathes it. He asks if she's ever had to use it and Arya quietly responds, "Once or twice." After a silence, Jon shows her Longclaw, facetiously asking her if she’s jealous. Arya smilingly admires it but remarks it's too heavy for her. Jon confides that he could have used her help with Sansa in the Great Hall and Arya surmises that Sansa doesn't like Daenerys. Jon says that Sansa thinks she's smarter than everyone but, to Jon's confusion, Arya defends her sister. She states Sansa is the smartest person she knows and is defending her family. Arya tells him not to forget he's family too and hugs him.

Dragon Riding S8 Ep 1

Jon rides Rhaegal.

Tyrion encounters Sansa in the courtyard, whom he hasn't seen since Joffrey's wedding, during which Joffrey was assassinated and she was whisked away by Littlefinger during the chaos. He notes that it made it look more incriminating for him that his wife, Sansa, fled right after the assassination. After discussing the soon to arrive Lannister Army, Sansa points out that she used to think he was the most clever man she'd ever met, but he is foolish to put his trust in his sister Cersei.

Viewing Jon and Daenerys happily talking, Tyrion, Varys, and Davos observe them from a distance, remarking that a marriage-alliance might help cement their alliance. As Daenerys and Jon inspect Winterfell's defenses, they discuss Sansa. Daenerys mentions that Sansa doesn't like her but Jon assures Daenerys that Sansa just doesn't know her yet and Sansa used to dislike him while growing up. They are interrupted when Dothraki scouts ride up to tell Daenerys that her dragons are not eating much (compared to normal). Jon and Daenerys ride out to see them, and she says they are upset to be in the North. Daenerys mounts her black dragon Drogon, but then on a whim, asks Jon if he'd like to ride her green dragon, Rhaegal. Hesitant, Jon climbs on top and the dragon accepts him, ignorant of the fact that only members of the royal Targaryen bloodline can so easily bond with dragons. They go on a lengthy, romantic flight over the surrounding countryside, though Jon initially struggles to fly on Rhaegal. Jon and Daenerys land at a waterfall and share an intimate moment.

Arya then visits the castle forge, where Gendry has finished making a new dragonglass-axe for Sandor. Arya and the Hound are surprised to see each other and exchange some gruff-but-toying insults before he departs on good terms. Arya then speaks with Gendry again, who she hadn't seen since she had been abducted by the Brotherhood Without Banners years ago. He is flustered by how she has grown up, and she says that it is good to see him.

That evening, Sansa informs Jon that Lord Glover, rather than join the muster at Winterfell, has chosen to remain at his seat of Deepwood Motte and hold off the Army of the Dead there, in protest at Jon bending the knee to Daenerys. Jon is furious, but Sansa responds that Glover is angry over his decision to bend the knee and she shares this anger. Jon bluntly tells Sansa that defeating the Army of the Dead is impossible without allies and that Daenerys is not her father, she'll be a good queen for them all. Sansa questions Jon, "Did you bend the knee to save the North, or because you love her?"

Meanwhile, Daenerys goes to the library with Jorah Mormont to thank Samwell Tarly for saving Jorah's life by treating his greyscale. Sam brings up that he stole his father's Valyrian steel sword Heartsbane, at which Daenerys awkwardly explains that she defeated his father in a battle, and when he refused to bend the knee, she executed him. Despite the way Randyll treated Sam his entire life, he has a mixed reaction at this, and says the sword would then pass to his younger brother Dickon, who is a good and honorable man - but Daenerys has to explain that Dickon refused to leave his father's side, so he was executed as well. Sam, stunned and devastated by this, rushes out of the room in tears.

Jaime ending of Winterfell Ep

Jaime arrives in Winterfell and lays eyes on Bran.

He stumbles into Bran Stark, who is waiting in the courtyard "for an old friend". Bran urges that he must tell Jon of his real parentage - as he trusts Sam more than anyone. Sam finds Jon in the crypts, where he is visiting the tomb of his father Eddard Stark. He tells Jon that Daenerys executed his father and brother. Jon symapathizes with Sam, but defends Daenerys's decision, explaining that he himself has also had to execute people who disobeyed him, and so must she as queen; Sam is not appeased.

At this, Sam reveals that Jon is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, not Daenerys: Jon's mother was actually Eddard's sister Lyanna Stark, and his father was none other than Rhaegar Targaryen - crown prince and Daenerys's older brother. Jon is stunned and refuses to believe this: his "father" Eddard was the most honorable man he ever knew and wouldn't lie like this. Sam counters that Eddard (really, Jon's uncle) was honorable, he promised Lyanna that he would keep him safe and hide his identity, as if Robert Baratheon knew that Rhaegar's heir lived he would have killed him. Sam and Bran discovered that Jon should in fact be "Aegon Targaryen, Sixth of his Name" and the true ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.

Finally, a hooded stranger rides into the Winterfell courtyard - revealed to be none other than Jaime Lannister, fulfilling his promise to fight the White Walkers even though his sister decided to abandon her enemies to the mercy of the undead. Looking around, Jaime is surprised to see none other than Bran waiting for him - the boy he shoved out a window and crippled in this very castle years ago.

In King's Landing[]

Euron Greyjoy sails the Iron Fleet back to King's Landing, returning across the Narrow Sea from the Free Cities, and transporting the Golden Company - an elite sellsword company that functions as a small private army. Euron is still keeping his niece Yara Greyjoy as a prisoner on his own ship, taunting her.

In the throne room, he presents Cersei Lannister with the Company's commander, Harry Strickland, who says that despite a few deaths on the long voyage (Euron apparently killed a few men who either cheated him at dice, or caught him cheating at dice), he has brought 20,000 men to King's Landing, along with 2,000 horses. Cersei is confused, saying she was told they would also be bringing elephants. Strickland reluctantly explains that while they are ferocious beasts they are not fit for long sea voyages.

S8 Ep 1 Euron

Euron urges the Queen to bed him.

After Strickland leaves, Euron arrogantly propositions Cersei to have sex with him, as a reward for his successfully completed task. Cersei is not amused by his brashness and tells him as much, but as she badly needs her remaining allies, she accepts. Later that night, after they have finished, Cersei is still bitter about her lack of elephants. She sips at a glass of wine while Euron asks how he compared to her former husband King Robert Baratheon. Cersei says that despite all the whores he had sex with, Robert was only interested in his own pleasure, and did not know his way around a woman's body, while Euron was more adventurous. Euron then asks how he did compared to her own brother Jaime - which she refuses to dignify with a response, even though they both know about Cersei's incest. Euron leaves, boasting that he will soon impregnate Cersei with a prince (as Cersei apparently never told him she was pregnant with another child by Jaime).

Taking advantage of Euron's absence, Theon Greyjoy and his small remaining crew stage a sneak attack on Euron's ship, the Silence. Using bows and arrows they silently pick off most of the guards, then Theon bursts into Yara's chamber with an axe and frees her. She headbutts him - for letting her get captured in the first place - then embraces him, and they flee. Some time later on their own ship, Yara says that she intends to sail back to the Iron Islands: with the bulk of the ironborn loyal to Euron concentrated in the east with his fleet, she has a chance to rally her remaining supporters to retake the home islands while he is away. She can tell that her brother wants her permission to leave, however, to help the Starks defend Winterfell against the White Walkers. Yara says that she will secure the Iron Islands as a fallback position for Daenerys - as wights can't swim - and grants his request to leave. They embrace and he departs.

GoT Bronn crossbow Winterfell Ep s8

Bronn is given the task of assassinating Jaime and Tyrion on the Queen's behalf.

Back in the Red Keep, Bronn is getting ready to have sex with three prostitutes - Marei, Dirah, and Craya - but they can't stop gossiping to each other about how many Lannister men the Targaryen dragon burned alive in their last battle. Annoyed, Bronn points out that he actually managed to wound that very same dragon during the battle (using a scorpion-launcher), which Marei quips was "brave" before brusquely shoving him down and mounting him. The prostitutes continue to gossip, but before Bronn can get really started, Qyburn interrupts. He apologizes but says Cersei told him to hurry: she wants to re-hire Bronn for a new assassination: Qyburn points out that the promises to reward Bronn with gold, a castle, and a noble-born wife were all taken away, and Cersei wants to correct that mistake. Paying in advance, there is already a wagon laden with gold waiting outside for Bronn. As for the target, Qyburn then presents him with Joffrey Baratheon's former crossbow - the same one that Tyrion used to kill their father Tywin. Qyburn says Cersei has a sense for poetic justice and wants him to use it to kill Tyrion, as well as Jaime for abandoning her, in the event they survive the undead assault on the north.

At Last Hearth[]


Lord Umber (now a Wight) is burned to kill him.

Tormund, Beric Dondarrion, and the survivors of the garrison at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea make their way south to Last Hearth, the seat of House Umber. They find the castle totally abandoned, with damage from a battle - but no bodies, only blood (implying that the White Walkers already raised them as undead wights). As they tensely investigate the castle, they stumble into and nearly fight Eddison Tollett - following Jon Snow's message, he is leading the remaining garrison from Castle Black down to Winterfell.

Tormund and Beric ask if Edd found anyone, at which he leads them to the main hall, to show young Lord Ned Umber's corpse pinned to a wall, and surrounded by a spiral design made out of severed limbs. They realize that it is a warning from the Night King. Tormund and Beric worry that the White Walkers' army will reach Winterfell first, but the wights are slow moving and on foot, and Edd's men brought horses which they can ride to outpace them. As they discuss what to do, Umber re-animates as a wight, trying to grab Tormund but unable to free himself from the wall. Beric sets his sword on fire to kill the wight, which bursts into flame at its touch, also igniting the symbol of the spiral.


Main page: Winterfell (Game of Thrones)/Appearances





Guest starring[]




Sansa Stark: "Winterfell is yours, Your Grace."[6]

Tyrion: “You should consider yourself lucky. At least your balls won’t freeze off.”
Varys:“You take great offense to dwarf jokes, but love telling eunuch jokes. Why is that?”
Tyrion: “Because I have balls, and you don’t.”

Sansa: “How are we meant to feed the greatest army the world has ever seen? While I ensured our stores would last through winter, I didn’t account for Dothraki, Unsullied, and two full-grown dragons. What do dragons eat, anyway?”
Daenerys: “Whatever they want.”

Arya: “How did you survive a knife through the heart?”
Jon Snow: "I didn't."

Davos, to Tyrion and Varys: “A proposal is what I’m proposing. On the off-chance that we survive the Night King, what if the Seven Kingdoms for once in their whole shit history were ruled by a just woman and an honorable man?”

Jon after riding Rhaegal: “You’ve completely ruined horses for me.”

Samwell Tarly: “Your mother was Lyanna Stark and your father, your real father, was Rhaegar Targaryen. You’ve never been a bastard. You’re Aegon Targaryen, true heir to the Iron Throne. I’m sorry, I know it’s a lot to take in.”
Jon: “My father was the most honorable man I ever met. You saying he lied to me all my life?”
Samwell: “Your father, Ned Stark, he promised your mother he’d always protect you. And he did. King Robert would have murdered you if he knew. You’re the true king.”

Eddison Tollett: "Stay back; he's got blue eyes!"
Tormund: "I've always had blue eyes!"

Cersei Lannister: "You are insolent. I have killed men for less,"
Euron Greyjoy: "They were lesser men."

Jon: Jon: "Sansa thinks she's smarter than everyone."
Arya: "She's the smartest person I have ever met."

Sandor Clegane "You left me to die!"
Arya: "First I robbed you."

Jon: "It's cold up here for a southern girl."
Daenerys: "So keep your queen warm."

Jon: "I don't know how to ride a dragon."
Daenerys: "Nobody does, until they ride a dragon."
Jon: "What if he doesn't want me to?"
Daenerys: "Then I've enjoyed your company, Jon Snow."

Tyrion: "Last time we spoke was at Joffrey's wedding. Miserable affair."
Sansa: "It had its moments."

Daenerys: "Your sister doesn't like me. She doesn't need to be my friend, but I am her queen. If she can't respect me..."

Qyburn: "Your Grace, I'm afraid I bring terrible news. The dead have broken through the Wall."
Cersei: "Good."

Euron: "And the Kingslayer?"
Cersei: "You enjoy risking your neck, don't you?"

Behind the scenes[]


  • The episode title refers to the ancestral seat of House Stark.
    • This is the second episode whose title refers to an ancestral seat of a Westerosi noble house, following "Dragonstone".
  • The Season 8 premiere aired a full 595 days after the release of the Season 7 finale.
  • The opening credits have been drastically updated, more than in the past seven seasons. As the production team has explained, in prior seasons, as a rule the camera had to show at least four locations: King's Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, and then "wherever Daenerys is now" in the eastern continent - even in episodes which Daenerys's storyline does not appear in, in order to illustrate the full scale of their fantasy world. When Daenerys arrived in Westeros in Season 7, the map thus didn't travel beyond Westeros. Also due to time constraints, the map sequence has never shown more than six locations in one episode The new opening sequence plays out like an invasion map for the White Walkers, with the entire map upside down, to show the view of the White Walkers as they advance south. With so few locations this season due to characters being grouped together again, the only locations shown are the Wall - now breached - Last Hearth, Winterfell, and King's Landing. The individual animations for Winterfell and King's Landing are also now far more extensive, showing the interiors of the fortresses for the first time.
    • Even the astrolabe the map is set within has been updated. The idea is that the map sequence is the astrolabe of a maester in the Citadel, with illustrations on the bars which in prior seasons depicted the Doom of Valyria and Robert's Rebellion. The new astrolabe contains artistic depictions of more recent events from within the TV show itself, such as the Red Wedding, the Wall being breached, and Daenerys hatching her dragons.
    • The animation for the Red Keep in King's Landing includes the large new floor map of Westeros that Cersei had made in Season 7 - thus the credits have a map within a map.
  • George Lucas on set behind scenes cutting up with Kit and Emilia

    George Lucas visiting the set.

    Star Wars creator George Lucas visited the Winterfell set during filming of this episode, specifically when Jon and Daenerys are walking around outside the walls and talk about Sansa. Benioff and Weiss have been contracted to write new movies set in the Star Wars universe, and they were surprised to hear that Lucas was interested in a set visit. Lucas even sat in the director's booth with David Nutter while filming (Lucas didn't give any directions himself, but would go around complimenting the cast between takes).
  • Gilly does not appear, though she is referred to by name. Brienne and Podrick only briefly appear in the background, with no dialogue. All three get speaking lines in the next episode.
  • This episode achieved record viewership numbers. According to the narrowly defined Nielsen figures - which only measure people who watched it live on the HBO TV channel - viewership was 11.8 million on first viewing, surpassing the Season 7 premiere's 10.1 million (and falling just slightly short of the record setting 12.1 million of the Season 7 finale). The overnight and streaming services audience is much larger - particularly with the rapid growth of streaming services year by year - but is also less easy to measure. Tentative estimates put the combined overnight and streaming viewership for the Season 8 premiere at 17.4 million, HBO's biggest telecast ever and 2019's most-watched scripted content. This also surpasses the overnight and streaming estimate for the Season 7 premiere, which was 16.1 million.[7]
    • This episode correspondingly resulted in a new record high for site traffic to Game of Thrones Wiki, with 5.8 million day-after site views. This was up from 4.2 million day-after site-views for the Season 7 premiere. The day-after site traffic for the Season 6 premiere was 1.7 million, and the day-after site traffic for the Season 5 premiere was 1.8 million (records weren't kept for earlier seasons before that). Apparently the nearly two year long gap between Season 7 and Season 8 did not result in a decline in site traffic once the active airing season resumed. The record high one-day traffic for the wiki was 9.1 million, which happened twice: after the Season 6 finale, and again after the Season 7 finale.
  • David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were previously involved with Rob McElhenney's show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia where they both wrote "Flowers for Charlie" and made a guest appearance in "The Gang Goes to a Water Park".
  • Martin Starr stars in Game of Thrones fellow HBO show Sillicon Valley.


  • Arya asks Jon "How did you survive a knife through the heart?". It is unclear how Arya knows about the assassination of Jon, as no one told her that on-screen. Arya has been around Sansa for a long amount of time, and Sansa was with Jon, Tormund, and Davos for some time at the end of Season 6, so maybe one of them just told Arya off-camera.
  • Jon and Sansa refer to Robett Glover's vow of fealty in "The Winds of Winter". Apparently he changed his mind because, as Sansa said, the Northern lords swore themselves to him as king, not to Daenerys.
  • Jon tells Daenerys that Sansa didn't like him when they were growing up; indeed, Sansa said in "Book of the Stranger" that she was awful to Jon when they were children. In the books, however, there is no mention that Sansa has ever mistreated Jon, only that they were never close to each other.
  • Jon says he fought the army of the dead twice, referring to the massacre at Hardhome and the wight hunt.
  • Davos states "Not so long ago, the Starks and the Karstarks were slaughtering each other on the battlefield", referring to the Battle of the Bastards.
  • Daenerys praises Sam for saving Jorah ("The Queen's Justice").
  • Sam asks Daenerys a pardon for stealing some books from the Citadel ("Eastwatch") and Heartsbane, the ancestral sword of his house ("Blood of My Blood").
  • Daenerys tells Sam that she executed his father and brother ("Eastwatch"). Sam is filled with sorrow, although his father has always treated him harshly.
  • Jon tells Sam that he, too, executed people for disobeying him, presumably referring to Janos Slynt ("High Sparrow"). That does not appease Sam, and he reminds Jon that he spared people who refused to kneel to him.
  • Sam tells Jon about the High Septon's journal that Gilly found in the Citadel ("Eastwatch").
  • In "The Kingsroad", as Jon departed Winterfell, he asked Ned about his mother. Ned replied, "The next time we see each other, we'll talk about your mother. I promise". In this episode, Jon looks upon Ned's statue in the crypt beneath Winterfell; at that moment, Sam arrives to answer Jon's question.

At Winterfell[]

  • As Daenerys Targaryen is traveling to the North for the first time, and never had a cold-weather scene before, the cast pointed out in the behind-the-scenes featurettes that this was actually the first time that Emilia Clarke visited the TV show's shooting locations in Iceland. Kit Harington said he enjoyed the chance to show her the stunning natural beauty of the national parks they are allowed to film in there.
  • As noted in the inside-the-episode featurette, Queen Daenerys's arrival at Winterfell includes several parallels to King Robert Baratheon's arrival in the first episode of the TV series "Winter Is Coming", and several more scenes of it:
    • The same music soundtrack plays throughout.
    • In the first episode, Bran and Arya, as little kids, scrambled up things (Bran - the castle walls; Arya - a cart) to get a better view of the royal party arriving; in this episode, Arya steps aside to let a little boy climb up a tree to get a better look at Daenerys's royal party, as she and Bran once did.
    • Among the guests is a couple who engages in an incestuous relationship: in the first episode - Jaime and Cersei, in this episode - Jon and Daenerys (although they are sill unaware of that)
    • In the first episode, Catelyn Stark asks Sansa where Arya is; in this episode, it is Jon who asks Sansa the same thing. Sansa's answer has evolved from an indifferent shrug to a casual "Lurking, somewhere".
    • Sansa welcomes Daenerys using the phrase "Winterfell is yours, Your Grace", the same sentence Eddard Stark used to welcome Robert.
    • The conversation between Jon and Sam at the crypts mirrors the conversation between Ned and Robert.
    • The last scene of both episodes is an interaction between Bran and Jaime at Winterfell; the same music plays in both scenes.
      • One major departure from how Robert's arrival at Winterfell played out is that no one kneels for Jon and Daenerys the way they did for Robert. This might have been done on purpose, as a major plot point is that many of the Northern lords are not happy that Jon bent the knee to Daenerys: Jon doesn't consider himself a king anymore, and they don't want to accept Daenerys as their new queen without question.
  • 801 Daenerys Hair Error

    Daenerys's hair starts in one design, but when the camera cuts back to her, it's drastically different.

    Fans have pointed out a visual continuity error when Daenerys is arriving at Winterfell: between different shots (apparently filmed on different days) her hair shifts between having a double braid swirled around her head, and a much more complex multi-braided design wrapped into a bun.[8]
  • Jon Snow's reunion with his other family members, that he hasn't seen since Season 1, mirrors how he said goodbye to them when he left Winterfell ("The Kingsroad"): he gives Arya a big hug, and kisses Bran on the head (he kissed Bran on the head in Season 1 instead of hugging him because he was in a coma at the time, badly injured from his fall).
  • Jon's reunion with Sansa is somewhat similar to the reunion between Catelyn and Robb Stark in "The Old Gods and the New": both women embrace the man they have been reunited with, all the while obviously staring at the woman he is infatuated with (Daenerys for Jon; Talisa Maegyr for Robb).
  • Consternated, Sansa asks how they will provision Daenerys's large army and what dragons even eat - setting up Daenerys's response that "they eat whatever they want". Dragons only eat meat - and only cooked meat, which Daenerys had to figure out in Season 2. Beyond that, in the books dragons have been seen eating pretty much any kind of meat - cattle, fish, horses, even men in battle - though many of them seem to prefer mutton (apparently a reference to the myth of St. George and the dragon).
  • Lyanna Mormont notes her confusion as to how Jon should be referred now that he isn't King in the North. Because Jon retained his bastard surname after being crowned, it stands to reason that he wouldn't be a lord even after losing his crown. This appears to confirm that Jon, despite being crowned and later given the title and position of Warden of the North, still does not carry the right to be considered a Lord. This can be confusing as merely three episodes later, Gendry expressed to Daenerys that he can't be Lord of Storm's End due to his bastard status. Why Jon is exempt from this is never fully explained, and could be considered a minor plot hole.
  • Notice that the Dothraki warriors in Daenerys's army are wearing their normal garb intermixed with Lannister-style coats. This was introduced towards the end of Season 7: the idea was that the Dothraki hadn't brought any warm winter clothing with them when they came to Westeros, so after destroying the Lannister army returning from Highgarden, they were explicitly seen looting the dead for warm winter gear. By the Season 7 finale during the parley at the Dragonpit, they were then shown wearing dirty, looted Lannister long-coats mixed with their regular riding gear.
  • Alys Karstark and Ned Umber were introduced at the beginning of Season 7, as the new heads of their Houses after their parents were killed in the Battle of the Bastards and they bent the knee to the Starks again. Alys Karstark is a somewhat prominent character in the fifth novel, but her storyline was cut - as the Karstarks are a Cadet branch of House Stark, she is a distant cousin of the main Stark family. "Ned Umber" isn't explicitly a character in the books, but seems to be a condensation (Greatjon Umber is mentioned to have several younger sons and younger relatives through them, but a full listing has not been given).
  • The conversation between Davos, Varys and Tyrion centres on the issue of loyalty and the need to forge alliances. Davos states that the Northmen are loyal to Jon, and that they - as well as the freefolk - do not know Daenerys, and would never accept her as their Queen. He mentions how stubborn they are, and how their loyalty must be earned. Davos raises the possibility of a marriage alliance between Jon and Daenerys being beneficial for the security of the realm. He refers to their potential union as that of a "just queen and an honorable man." Varys dismisses this suggestion, however, saying that Jon and Daenerys don't want to listen to "lonely old men." He says the young respect the wisdom of the old, but keep them at a distance because the old remind them that "nothing lasts." Since Varys only acts in the interest of the realm, this suggests that he thinks either their union would not be for the best, or that it won't last.
Davos to Tyrion and Varys: "A proposal is what I’m proposing. On the off-chance that we survive the Night King, what if the Seven Kingdoms for once in their whole shit history were ruled by a just woman and an honorable man?”
  • The subtitles for the Dothraki language dialogue in this episode are in error - when Qhono says that the dragons are barely eating. As linguist David J. Peterson himself explained, the lines the actors give are what he was asked to create: "akatthi dorve, sen vaf" - which means "twelve goats, three sheep". The on-screen subtitles, however, inaccurately translate this as "eighteen goats, eleven sheep". According to Peterson, what apparently happened is that at a point late in production, someone thought that for animals the size of two adult dragons, splitting twelve goats and three sheep between them was so ridiculously low that they would truly be starving, so the number was increased so something a little more plausible.[9] The problem was that no one bothered to ask Peterson for a correction, nor to simply do a basic internet search for Dothraki number vocabulary (literally the top Google search result for "Dothraki numbers" is a post on Peterson's blog from 2011, providing an easy-to-use chart of Dothraki numbers from one to twenty).
  • Mounting a dragon is not remotely as easy as the lighthearted scene of Jon Snow suddenly mounting Rhaegal in this episode. Even within the TV show itself, it was stressed in Season 6 that they are dangerous around people they don't know - outright mounting a dragon is extremely dangerous in the books, and there are numerous examples of people with at least some Targaryen blood in their lineage being burned alive when attempting to claim new dragons - notably the search for new dragonseeds during the Dance of the Dragons. It is safe to ride a dragon as a passenger of the current rider, but mounting and flying a dragon is some sort of magical bond believed to be tied to the bloodline of old Valyria.
    • More accurately, it is physically possible for someone to instantly bond with a dragon the way that Jon Snow does with Rhaegal - provided that they are a member of the Targaryen bloodline (some candidates were roasted alive, others quickly bonded - dragons are fickle). However, such a quick bonding would be seen as instant and obvious indication that they must have Targaryen blood, even if they were unaware of it. The real issue with the scene is that neither Jon Snow, or more importantly Daenerys, even bothers to remark on the implausibility of a stranger suddenly being accepted by a dragon as a rider. Based on what is already commonly known about dragons, it is bizarre that Daenerys would even nonchalantly offer to let him ride a dragon in the first place, unprompted.
    • In the Inside the Episode featurette, showrunners Benioff and Weiss discuss their ideas for this subplot at some length, and apparently they had a lot more ideas for it than actually appear in the episode. They wanted Jon and Daenerys's romance to have some connection to dragon-riding, and state that the waterfall they land near was actually Jon showing off his childhood hunting grounds to her (though how they came to his hunting grounds if she was the one leading their flight is not addressed). They do remark that Jon is somewhat oblivious about how significant it is that he can ride a dragon - though in fairness, even in the books, Jon Snow hasn't been exposed to dragons and might simply be unaware of bonding with one means he must be of Targaryen blood. Daenerys, however, should be aware of how significant this is.
    • The dragon that Jon Snow rides, and now appears to be bonded with, is Rhaegal - whom Daenerys named after her dead brother Rhaegar, and thus of course, this means Jon Snow has bonded with a dragon named after his biological father.
    • Daenerys cheerfully tells Jon to just hold on to any part of the dragon he can, and ride it as best he can. Daenerys's dragons aren't big enough to ride yet in the current novels - except at the very end of the fifth novel, when she unexpectedly rides Drogon out of Meereen. Otherwise, it is a commonly known historical detail that the Targaryens rode dragons using custom-made saddles, big enough to fit them. Additionally, the riders were chained down to these saddles - so if the dragon banked too quickly or flew in a loop they wouldn't just fall off. It is bizarre that by this point in the TV series, Daenerys hasn't attempted to have more permanent saddles made for her dragons.
      • As for how to ride a dragon, the historical Targaryens used riding whips much like used on a horse - but made of steel chains, as anything less wouldn't really get their attention. When Daenerys rides Drogon at the end of book five, she quickly notices a basic difference between riding a dragon and riding a horse: horses are prey animals, but dragons are predators, and thus their reactions are different. Horse-riders must strike their mount on the opposite side from the direction they want it to turn: if the rider wants a horse to turn right, they need to strike it on the left side, and as a prey animal it will turn away from the perceived threat. In contrast, dragons are aggressive predators, so if the rider strikes them on the left side, they will turn left - towards the perceived threat, instinctively wanting to fight it off.
        • The aforementioned method, however, does not work on Drogon, as Daenerys soon finds out: since he is so strong (and as a teenage girl, she is so small), the whip only annoys him. Daenerys recalls legends that the dragonlords of old Valyria controlled their mounts with binding spells and sorcerous horns, but she has neither, only a word and a whip, which are not helpful. Even the early Targaryen kings at least had prior experience with dragons, but Daenerys only has trial and error. Drogon lets Daenerys ride on his back, but not to control him; neither the whip nor words can turn him if he does not wish to be turned, thus she is unable to return to Meereen.
  • A line was cut from the aired version of this scene, but can be heard in the "Game Revealed" behind the scenes featurette for this episode: after Jon dismounts and say "You've completely ruined horses for me", he originally went on to say "It almost seemed like he knew where I wanted to go". This may have been cut from the final version because it made it a little too obvious Jon has some sort of special bond with the dragon.[10]
  • As explained in behind the scenes featurettes, nearly all of the beautiful landscapes when Jon and Daenerys fly on her dragons were entirely real locations in Iceland, filmed using a helicopter. The dragons were digitally added in afterwards, but otherwise everything on-screen was real - except for the large waterfall where they landed, which was added in using CGI.
  • Kit green screen dragon riding

    Kit Harington got his right testicle caught in the dragon rig.

    In the making-of-the-episode featurette, Kit Harington explained that while he was on the green-screen mechanical rig for his dragon-riding scene, at one point when the dragon is supposed to bank to the side very quickly and he nearly falls off, the rig shifted positions and somehow managed to get - as he put it - his "right ball" trapped between two sections of the rig, as it continued to buck around. He didn't have time to yell "stop", and for a time was being "swung around" caught by his testicle.
  • We actually have no idea what Jon Snow's real name is in the novels. Though there is prominent evidence that he is indeed the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, exactly what they might have named him is unknown. Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson of, who co-write The World of Ice & Fire with George R.R. Martin, have openly expressed their doubt that he was named "Aegon Targaryen, Sixth of His Name"...given that Rhaegar's first son, with Elia Martell, was also named "Aegon Targaryen". Confirmation will need to wait for the next novel.
  • The Hound reminds Arya that she left him to die ("The Children").
  • Gendry and other armorers are seen outright reforging Dragonglass into new weapons: dragonglass is stated to be their name for "obsidian", and obsidian does not behave like that. Obsidian is a volcanic rock, not "glass", and thus melting it down - only possible at intense heat - would actually make it more brittle. One of the major reasons that the First Men overwhelmed the Children of the Forest during their migrations is that the First Men used bronze weapons and armor, which are much more durable than obsidian. Dragonglass is razor-sharp and very effective as an arrow-head or for slashing daggers, but it is already so brittle that it shatters under force (thus dragonglass arrowheads actually cannot penetrate metal armor). In Season 7 production interviews, writer Dave Hill admitted that they made an outright change from the novels when they established that wights are vulnerable to dragonglass weapons, just like the White Walkers. In the novels, only fire can kill wights, and dragonglass has no special effect on them. Apparently this change was made in order to make practical fight scenes (dozens of flaming stunt men in fire-suits would be too much of a safety risk). Thus Gendry "forging" Sandor an entirely new battle-axe made of obsidian (as opposed to even an axe with obsidian edges attached to it) probably won't happen in a future novel.
    • In the third novel "A Storm of Swords" Sam discovered by trial-and-error that stabbing a wight with a dragonglass dagger is fruitless; the dagger simply shattered to pieces. He later told Melisandre about the anomaly, that what kills Others is ineffective against wights. She explained "Necromancy animates these wights, yet they are still only dead flesh. Steel and fire will serve for them. The ones you call the Others are something more".
  • Gendry has not seen Arya since Season 3, and of course makes a nod to their earlier banter by formally referring to her as "Lady Stark" and "My Lady", as he was shocked when he first found out she was a highborn.
  • As Tyrion brings up to Sansa, they have not seen each other since Joffrey's Wedding (in Season 4's "The Lion and the Rose"). Tyrion mentions that his "wife" fleeing the wedding cast suspicion on him for Joffrey's murder, but otherwise, they don't address that they are still technically married.
    • By the point the novels reached, they are still married. Marriage which has not been consummated can be annulled, but it is not done automatically (in contrast to what Littlefinger claimed in "High Sparrow"), but must be done by the High Septon or a Council of Faith. In the fourth novel, Littlefinger plans to wed Sansa to Harold Hardyng, and does not mention the option of annulment; he explains to Sansa that "The marriage must needs wait until Cersei is done and Sansa’s safely widowed". The TV series threw all of this into confusion by having Sansa marry Ramsay Bolton (whom she has never even met in the books), bringing up that she did need an annulment first - but then not actually getting one. Either way, it doesn't appear that Tyrion or Sansa in this episode consider themselves truly "married".
    • In a post-episode interview with The New York Times, actress Sophie Turner (Sansa) did acknowledge that she is probably still technically married to Tyrion: "They never filed for a divorce or an annulment, so I guess they technically are still married! I don’t think it’s as awkward as people would say because Sansa has been through so many rocky relationships that her relationship with Tyrion actually seems pretty sweet, in retrospect."[11]
  • In the Inside the Episode featurette, showrunner David Benioff inaccurately refers to Dickon Tarly as Samwell Tarly's "older brother". The entire focus of Samwell's life is that he was his father's firstborn son, but he saw Sam as such an inadequate heir that he forced Sam to join the Night's Watch to disinherit him. Randyll Tarly's younger, second son Dickon then turned out to be everything his father wished for, with all the martial prowess that Samwell lacked.
  • Jon and Arya are clearly overjoyed to be reunited, initially holding off, but then laugh and hug lovingly. The books make a point that they have always been close to each other more than the other Stark children, maybe because both of them were outsiders at Winterfell that didn't fit well into the social structure: Jon - due to his bastard status, Arya - due to her tomboyish nature.
  • Isaac Hempstead-Wright explained in interviews how he is able to make such a "creepy", distant stare for Bran Stark: he needs high prescription glasses now that he is older, and cannot see without them. Rather than wear contacts, he just takes his glasses off when the cameras are filming - the simple result of which is that his eyes don't focus on whoever he's talking to (he just faces their blurry image) and his unfocused eyes seem to be staring past and through them.

In King's Landing[]

  • In Season 7, after Cersei got pregnant with another child by Jaime, she noticeably stopped drinking wine - which she'd been heavily self-medicating with since the war began. In this episode, however, she is shown drinking a glass of wine after having sex with Euron - this may possibly be a hint by the writers that Cersei had a miscarriage and isn't pregnant anymore. It's unclear if in the books, people understand that drinking alcohol while pregnant can potentially damage an unborn child - but the TV writers may have just decided that maesters do know about it, in order to include a visual hint.
    • It is implausible that Cersei isn't visibly pregnant by this point. The showrunners have openly admitted that they simply do not care about travel-time logistics if it gets in the way of telling the story (as with Season 7's wight hunt). Nonetheless, the timeline of events they presented is that Jaime impregnated Cersei before he left King's Landing (in episode 7.3), then traveled to Highgarden with a large, relatively slow-moving army (which itself had retreated south from Casterly Rock, then returned with the army towards King's Landing, when it was destroyed by Daenerys's dragon, but he made his way downriver back to the capital. In the books, the travel time from King's Landing to Highgarden then back again on a military campaign should have at least taken several months. Jaime is then present at the peace parley in the Dragonpit, where Euron is also present, but Cersei is still not visibly pregnant. Euron then leaves King's Landing, travels across the Narrow Sea, loaded his fleet with the Golden Company, and then returned to King's Landing - which should have at least taken several weeks under the best of circumstances. A generous estimate of travel times from book-Westeros would mean that Cersei has to be at least three or four months pregnant at this point, if she still is, yet it's presented as if Euron doesn't even notice this while having sex with her.
  • When Cersei hears news about the breaching of the Wall, she responds "good"; it is typically for her to overlook the long-range applications, that will eventually endanger her.
    • Cersei acts similarly in the fourth novel, "A Feast for Crows": when reports about the raid of Shield Islands (the first stage in Euron's campaign against the Reach) are sent to the small council, Loras and Margaery urge Cersei to send the Redwyne fleet back to the Reach in order to drive the ironborn away. That would have been the logical step of anyone with common sense; Cersei, however, secretly gloats over the Tyrells' distress, and foolishly refuse to act as they request. She fails to estimate the danger that the ironborn's campaign pose to not only to the Reach, but to the entire realm. By the time she finally gives Lord Paxter Redwyne the order to sail back and deal with the invaders, it is perhaps too late: the delay allowed Euron to successfully complete the second stage in his campaign; the capture of Shield Islands has opened the Mander to the ironborn's raiding ships, and they have captured the Arbor and its neighboring islands, turning them into bases for further raiding.
  • The storyline of the Golden Company is actually a major subplot introduced in the fifth novel, which will feature prominently in the sixth novel: the company, led by Jon Connington on behalf of the presumed-dead son of Rhaegar and Elia, Aegon Targaryen, lands in Westeros and begins a military campaign to help Aegon ascend the Iron Throne. Virtually all of this has been cut from the show, beyond the simple fact that the Golden Company is a large sellsword company. In the books, they are a large sellsword company composed of Westerosi exiles who fought for the traitorous House Blackfyre during the Blackfyre Rebellion. It is highly unlikely that they will ever serve the Lannisters, in view of the deep hatred that the Targaryens feel toward the Lannisters.
    • The Season 7 Histories & Lore animated shorts included one specifically on "The Golden Company" which explains their background from the novels.
    • Contrast the uniformed costumes of the Golden Company with the more hodge-podge look of other sellsword companies seen in the past, such as the Second Sons. The Golden Company is the largest and most refined sellsword company in all of the Free Cities, and at this very high end of the spectrum, they are organized as a formally structured and will-disciplined private army, with their own officers and commanders. Their more uniform appearance on-screen helps to quickly contrast them with the more rough-and-tumble mercenary companies.
    • The Golden Company actually has 10,000 men in the novels. When they were first briefly mentioned in Season 4 ("Breaker of Chains"), this number was actually given on-screen. When they were reintroduced again prominently in Season 7, however, Cersei said that they had 20,000 men. At the time it wasn't clear if this was a mistake or a retcon, but given that this is now the number that has consistently been given through Season 8, the TV-version is now officially retconned to 20,000 men. In the books, they also had 1,000 horses - and thus 1,000 men were cavalry, the other 9,000 infantry. The TV show similarly doubled this to 2,000 horses (apparently meaning they have 2,000 cavalry, and 18,000 infantry).
    • The Golden Company indeed fields several dozen war-elephants in the novels. From the way Harry Strickland says it in this episode, that they do not do well on long sea voyages, it is unclear if it is meant that he left them behind, or that they were among those who he said died in transit across the sea.
      • In the fifth novel A Dance with Dragons, the Golden Company sails to Westeros (under different circumstances). The fleet of the company consists of great cogs which carry the elephants. After passing Lys, a storm scatters the fleet, and less than half the company arrives at Westeros, with only three of the elephants. It is unknown whether the cogs with the rest of the elephants sank or were delayed only. Harry Strickland is quite upset at the absence of the elephants, thinking that they should wait till the rest of the company and the elephants arrive.
      • Cersei is quite disappointed at the absence of elephants. This "obsession" has become a worldwide joke; the internet has been flooded with hilarious suggestions for it (among them that it is simply due to a limited budget), and with many pictures showing Cersei riding Dumbo. Actress Sophie Turner has also contributed to this joke by uploading a photo of her Halloween elephant costume from last year, directly tagging Lena Headey.[12]
  • It is vaguely implied in "The Forsaken" sample chapter from the sixth novel that Euron Greyjoy will try to seize the Iron Throne by making a marriage-alliance with Cersei Lannister: in a vague prophetic vision that Aeron sees, Euron is seated on the Iron Throne with "a shadow in woman’s form, long and tall and terrible, her hands alive with pale white fire" next to him - but whether the woman is actually Cersei is unconfirmed. In the novels, however, Euron has no interest in Cersei; he sent his brother Victarion to the Slaver's Bay, to bring him Daenerys. As for Cersei: she despises the ironborn, referring to them as "a sorry pack of squids". Yet, it is not impossible that the two villains will eventually form an alliance, in order to progress their goals.
  • Euron says that he has "given her [Cersei] justice", referring to bringing Ellaria and Tyene in "The Queen's Justice".
  • In the post-episode interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lena Headey said she strongly disagreed with Cersei having sex with Euron, feeling she wouldn't lower herself to that level and she's only had sex with two people her whole life, King Robert and her brother Jaime. She said that showrunners Benioff and Weiss had to spend a lot of time arguing to her that Cersei is a survivor, and would do anything to survive.[13] In this case, Benioff and Weiss were correct on several points: in the books, Cersei actually has sex with numerous people she doesn't like in order to bribe them with her favor (such as the sellsword Osmund Kettleblack, recently promoted to the Kingsguard) - so it actually wouldn't be out of character for book-Cersei to give Euron sex in order to aid her political survival. Moreover, Headey's claim that Cersei has only ever had sex with "two" men is simply incorrect even in the TV continuity, when she was shown having sex with her cousin Lancel Lannister - not out of love, but to seduce his support (she also had sex with Lancel like this in the books). Thus Cersei bribing Euron with sex isn't much different from how he bribed Lancel with sex in Season 1: it's unclear how Headey forgot about this.
  • The scene of Euron and Yara seems loosely based on "The Forsaken" sample chapter: Aeron is held captive in Euron's ship; Euron keeps taunting and tormenting Aeron, physically and emotionally; Aeron defiantly tells Euron to kill him and get it over with, but Euron refuses, claiming that he wouldn't kill his little brother. This statement is nonsense, of course, since Euron has already revealed to Aeron, in his previous visit, that he killed three of his brothers, two of them (Harlon and Robin) by his own hands, and had Balon killed too, presumably by hiring a Faceless Man. He also says enigmatically that "A holy man with holy blood. I may have need of that that blood" - which seems to be the real reason for keeping Aeron alive; it is speculated he intends to use sorcery in the imminent naval battle against the Redwyne fleet, and for that purpose he has captured Aeron and other sorcerers (one of whom is perhaps Pyat Pree).[14]
    • No clear reason was ever given for why Euron would take Yara prisoner instead of simply killing her outright, and presenting her corpse to Cersei as a gift. Since he killed his own brother Balon, it is obvious that he does not care about the taboo of kinslaying. Euron currently keeps Aeron captive in the books, but because he intended to use him as a sacrifice. The only reason in the TV show might just be that he's insane and enjoys tormenting her.
  • When Euron was first introduced in Season 6, his brother Balon Greyjoy did remark that Euron had torn the tongues out from every member of his crew - a detail from the books, and why his ship is named the Silence. Euron brings up their mute status again in this episode. Actually, script notes for Euron's attack on Yara's fleet in Season 7 did reiterate that his crew are all mutes.
  • Extras Martin Starr Rob Mcelhenney shipmates

    Martin Starr and
    Rob McElhenney.

    The first of Euron's crew to be killed in the sneak attack, impaled through the head from behind with an arrow coming out his left eye, is a cameo appearance by comedian Rob McElhenney - best known for playing Ronald "Mac" McDonald in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. One of the other guards was also a cameo, by comedian Martin Starr of Freaks and Geeks, Knocked Up, and Silicon Valley.[15]
  • Dave Hill being axed in special effects season 8 ep1

    Cameo by episode writer
    Dave Hill, taking an axe to his face.

    The last of the guards that is killed on Euron's ship, as Theon drives an axe into his head, was also a cameo - by the episode's own writer, Dave Hill. He is difficult to recognize, of course, due to first appearing on-screen after the axe is already firmly planted in his face. It actually took four and a half hours to apply all of the prosthetic injury makeup to him.
  • Theon Greyjoy's men sneak onto Euron's ship using bows and arrows to quietly kill the crew, but Theon himself uses an axe. In the books, Ramsay Snow actually cut off his index and middle finger from one hand, and his pinky from the other, making it impossible for him to use a bow well again (as he used to be an expert shot); Theon has been reduced to such a poor shape that he cannot fight in any manner, shooting arrows or hand-to-hand combat. The TV show only depicted him losing his pinky finger - probably because it would have been difficult to digitally remove the actor's fingers from many shots. Whatever the case, his use of an axe instead of a bow may be a nod towards this.
  • Euron tells Yara that they (and Theon) are the last Greyjoys left in the world. It is unclear why he does not include Aeron too; it can be an oversight, or perhaps Aeron was killed off-screen after his appearance in Season 6 episode "The Door".
  • Yara Greyjoy says that with the bulk of the ironborn forces loyal to Euron deployed east at King's Landing, it will be easier for her to retake the Iron Islands themselves. This doesn't take into account that most of the Iron Fleet loyal to her were destroyed in Euron's surprise attack last season, but is still plausible: in the books, the Drowned Men priests of the ironborn loathe Euron for being an "ungodly" and dishonorable man even by ironborn standards, and it is implied that they may lead a general uprising against him in the home islands while he is leading his offensive in the east. Yara is still in the North as of the most current novel, but develops hopes that she can ally with the Drowned Men to have Euron's kingsmoot election declared invalid; soon, however, she is taken captive by Stannis, and some time later Theon joins her as a captive too.
  • Joffrey Baratheon's crossbow returns in this episode - the new crossbow he showed Margaery in "Dark Wings, Dark Words", which is a very intricate and detailed prop in real-life. Tyrion later re-used it to kill Tywin, and the reason is given that Cersei thinks it would be poetic justice to kill Tyrion with it.
  • Marei returns in this episode, the lead prostitute who mounts Bronn. She is actually the longest-recurring prostitute character in the TV series, as she was first introduced in the Season 2 premiere (and was later part of the trio of prostitutes Tyrion gifted to Podrick in Season 3). She recurred in Seasons 2 through 6, though she missed Season 7. Either way, this makes her the longest recurring prostitute - by season, not in most episodes overall, as Ros was in many more episodes starting in Season 1 but died in Season 3.
    • In terms of "non-starring cast members, who thus could have randomly died from one episode to the next", only three remain from Season 1: Hot Pie, Sweetrobin Arryn, and Ilyn Payne (whose actor left due to medical crisis). Gregor Clegane is still technically around, but was recast twice. From Season 2, the only surviving non-starring but recurring roles by this point are Marei, Cersei's handmaid Bernadette, and a few characters from the Free Cities storylines that simply fell out of the narrative (Jaqen H'ghar, Salladhor Saan, etc.).
    • There may be a visual continuity error when the prostitutes are disrobing and approaching Bronn: as they approach, Marei is still unpinning one shoulder of her gown, but in the very next shot she is completely naked (as she shoves Bronn down) - unless this was just implied action off-screen.
    • The other two prostitutes who appear with Marei also have speaking lines: the brunette played by Marina Lawrence-Mahrra is credited as "Dirah", while the blonde one played by Lucy Aarden is credited as "Craya". Neither of them has a counterpart in the books (in contrast, there is a background prostitute named "Marei" in King's Landing in the novels).
    • Bronn and the prostitutes refer to the Battle of the Goldroad ("The Spoils of War").
    • The prostitutes refer to several Lannister soldiers who participated the battle, whose names are Archie, William and Eddie. The last one is the soldier who sang a song when Arya encountered him and other Lannister soldiers ("Dragonstone").
  • Bronn and Lollys

    In the books, Bronn actually married Lollys Stokeworth, in reward for his services to the Lannisters.

    Bronn directly brings up that, back in Season 4 ("Mockingbird"), Cersei promised him a castle, via marriage into the minor nobility - engaging him to Lollys, the younger daughter of House Stokeworth, in return for not fighting as Tyrion's champion during his trial (though Bronn also took the bribe because he doubted he could defeat Gregor Clegane). In "The House of Black and White", however, Jaime tells Bronn the deal has changed, and Lollys will be marrying Ser Wyllis Bracken; he offers Bronn instead "much better girl and a much better castle" if he comes with him to Dorne. Bronn is clearly disappointed, but complies. In "The Spoils of War", he angrily reminds Jaime that he still has not received the promised reward; Jaime gives Bronn a bag of gold and promises that after they win the war, Bronn can choose from any castle he likes - but then Bronn lost the bag of gold in the ensuing battle.
    • In the books, Bronn actually married Lollys, and went on to have a running subplot in which his steady rise in fortunes throughout the books continued: as a result of one of Cersei's half-baked schemes, Bronn killed the husband of Lollys's older sister Falyse, causing her to flee (and later be killed in Cersei's dungeons). Bronn started out as a random wandering sellsword that Tyrion met at an inn in the first book - but by the end of the fifth novel, he has become the acting Lord of House Stokeworth, with several hundred swords at his command. The TV show cut all of this out, and instead sent Bronn with Jaime to Dorne in Season 5. Now, in this episode, it is said that Cersei will follow through on her old bribe to entice Bronn to kill her brothers. Whether this means that the plot point of Bronn becoming the acting Lord of Stokeworth will be reintroduced again remains to be seen.
    • Qyburn tells Bronn "The queen's brothers made promises to you and broke them", and claims it was not Cersei but Jaime who denied Bronn of the original promised reward. Qyburn's words are incorrect: Tyrion has never broken any promise he made to Bronn, and it is unlikely that Jaime acted behind Cersei's back to deny him of his reward.

At Last Hearth[]

  • Last Hearth has been mentioned in dialogue since Season 1, but appears on-screen for the first time briefly in this episode. It is famously the closest castle-seat to the Wall - that is, the most northerly "normal" castle of a lordship, not including the castles of the Night's Watch at the Wall itself.
  • What little remains of the Night's Watch may no longer exist as a formal organization by this point. Their numbers were gutted after Thorne's rebellion at the beginning of Season 6, and Jon Snow re-garrisoned their castles using wildlings (who did not "join" the Watch). Dolorous Edd was simply left in charge as Acting Lord Commander because so few men were left. For years beforehand, the declining numbers of the Watch meant they only manned three out of the nineteen castles on the Wall anymore: Castle Black, Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, and the Shadow Tower at the western end. In this episode, Jon cites that there isn't really a reason to defend the other castles after the massive breach at the eastern end of the Wall, so he sends messages to the remaining garrisons to abandon them and fall back to Winterfell. The few survivors of the attack on Eastwatch then run into Dolorous Edd and the retreating garrison from Castle Black when they both reach Last Hearth. Presumably the garrison from the Shadow Tower, and any others Jon recently stationed men at, retreated south as well.
  • The burning of the Ned Umber wight was done entirely with practical effects, not CGI. When it came time to burn him, stuntman Paul Lowe took his place, wearing a full head prosthetic mask that resembled the wight-turned main actor. Lowe was then covered in flame-resistant gel, and set on fire - all of the wight's thrashing while on fire was really performed by Lowe, and then as soon as the shot ended stage hands rushed in to extinguish him. Lowe has actually been a stuntman on the TV show since Season 1.
  • Richard Dormer (Beric Dondarrion) subsequently gave an interview with Insider in which he gave an explanation for how Beric magically lights his sword on fire: the idea is that originally, he would smear some of his blood on his sword and mutter High Valyrian words meaning "Lord's light", as a short prayer to set the blood on fire - but by this point Beric has gotten so skilled at the magical spell that he just needs to think the words, and doesn't even need to use blood.[16]
  • The final scene at Last Heart is similar to the Prologue scene at the beginning of the first episode, "Winter Is Coming": men of the Night's Watch find an impaled child's corpse, which later rises as a wight, and the White Walkers leave behind a runic symbol made out of parts from corpses (in this episode a spiral, in the first episode a vertically bisected diamond).
  • Ned's body has been pinned at the center of a spiral of severed limbs. Specifically, the spiral consists of eight arms, spinning counter-clockwise. This symbol appeared in former episodes:
    • At the aftermath scene of the fight at the Fist ("Walk of Punishment"), the dead horses are found arranged in a spiral.
    • Bran sees in his vision stone monoliths emanating out from a heart tree, arranged in a spiral pattern ("The Door"), when he sees the Children of the Forest creating the Night King thousands of years ago.
    • In "The Spoils of War", Jon and Daenerys see the spiral symbol among the cave paintings left behind by the Children of the Forest.
  • As for what the spiral signifies, Benioff and Weiss already gave an explanation in the behind the scenes videos for Season 6's "The Door": previously we had only seen this symbol left by the White Walkers, but now we were seeing it being used by the Children of the Forest in a pattern of monoliths they had set. They explained that the symbols the White Walkers leave behind are magic runes originally used by the Children of the Forest, and the fact that the Walkers use the same symbols is a visual tie-in that the Children actually created the White Walkers, as living weapons to wipe out humanity. This episode's writer, Dave Hill, re-iterated this in a post-premiere interview, more explicitly saying:
"As we saw with Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven, the spiral pattern was sacred to the Children of the Forest, who created the Night King by sacrificing a captured man in a spiral 'henge of stones.' The Night King then adopted the symbol as a sort of blasphemy, like Satan with the upside-down cross."[17]

In the books[]

Main page: Differences in adaptation/Game of Thrones: Season 8#"Winterfell"
  • The episode contains influences from the following chapter of A Dance with Dragons:
  • The episode contains influences from the following chapter of The Winds of Winter:





  1. GAME OF THRONES (HBO). The Futon Critic. Retrieved February 23, 2023.
  2. Game of Thrones: Season 8, Episode 1: "Winterfell" (2019).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Winterfell. HBO. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Game of Thrones. HBO. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Game of Thrones: Season 8. HBO. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  7. [1]
  8. Daenerys hair continuity error,
  9. Conlang Dialogue, Game of Thrones, Episode 801 - post by David J. Peterson.
  10. "Cut Line Provides More Proof of Jon's Targaryen Ancestry".
  11. Sophie Turner interview,
  12. [2]
  13. EW Lena Heady interview
  14. The Winds of Winter, The Forsaken (TBA).
  15. "All Macs Must Die",, April 15, 2019.
  16. How Beric Lights His Sword on Fire,
  17. Game of Thrones Writer Dishes on Show's Most Hyped Reveal,


  1. In "Winter Is Coming," which takes place in 298 AC, Sansa Stark tells Cersei Lannister that she is 13 years old and Bran Stark tells Jaime Lannister that he is 10 years old. Arya Stark was born between Sansa and Bran, making her either 11 or 12 in Season 1. The rest of the Stark children have been aged up by 2 years from their book ages, so it can be assumed that she is 11 in Season 1. Arya is 18 in Season 8 according to HBO, which means at least 7 years occur in the span of the series; therefore, each season of Game of Thrones must roughly correspond to a year in-universe, placing the events of Season 8 in 305 AC.

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