BY Anthony Del Vecchio
The time millions have waited for has finally come. The eighth and final season of HBO’s award-winning “Game of Thrones” started on Sunday with the premiere of the first episode: “Winterfell.”
After 595 days without a single episode, the countdown is on, with only five episodes remaining in the series. Savoring these last few episodes is the key and the season premiere gave fans a lot to be excited about.
Nothing will be spoiled here, but elsewhere, read at your own risk. Twitter and other social media platforms exploded leading up to and following after the episode, as well major papers and websites, supplying us with countless theories, reactions, and statistics.
The Associated Press reported that “some 12.1 million viewers tuned in to the season seven finale, with 4 million more streaming it the same night and many millions more in the following days,” and that was just last season.
For this season already, HBO cited over 17.4 million people tuned in to watch the season premiere Sunday night, breaking the previous record by half a million people.
Rotten Tomatoes gives “Winterfell” a rating of 7.78/10 with a total of 69 “Fresh” reviews and only 6 “Rotten” ones. IMDb gave the episode a rating of 9/10.
Even for an opening episode that I knew would be simply setting up all the storylines and character dynamics for the season, it was compelling and gave me more than I was expecting, making it one of the stronger premieres in the series.
“Game of Thrones” has been HBO’s powerhouse for almost a decade now, even with the long breaks in between seasons. You cannot rush perfection, as creators David Benioff & D. B. Weiss have continued to reiterate by example.
Throughout the years of this show, we’ve learned so much about characters like Jon, Daenerys, Sansa, and Jamie, and they have come to feel like family to the viewers. Recognizing the histories between families in this world and the fact that many characters have never met before, the fates of everyone are now at stake.
Even the people in the show can’t believe the end has come. On HBO’s “Cast Remembers” segment, Kit Harrington (who plays Jon Snow) said, “Game of Thrones means my twenties. It’s a decade of my life. Everyone involved is like a family, that amazingly still laughs and gets on with each other.”
The pop culture magnitude of this series, this season especially, is making this out to be the television event of the year. People even bet money on fates of each character in the show, making this a global event I’ve never seen before.
With all this madness, it still feels like a puzzle piece falling into place. With only five episodes left, you can expect to get a lot of information handed to you at once, but by the time the show is over, you’ll be begging for more.
A lot of ground is going to be covered, making this the season to really pay attention to. Every scene in this first episode meant something, and if you got up without pausing then you almost certainly missed something.
Thanks to HBO GO’s streaming service, all episodes of “Game of Thrones” are available on demand to be re-watched and examined every week.
Some of your questions will be answered in “Winterfell,” but you will be given many more to think about as we must again get used to waiting a full week before the next stage of the adventure.
All we know for certain is that “Game of Thrones” is back and going out on top. The end is here. Be sure to see what happens on Sundays at 9PM on HBO.