TV Series Review: Game of Thrones (Season 8)

by Steve Lancaster4/26/19
First up: Episodes 1 & 2  •  Season 8 begins, as all HBO series do, with recaps of the previous seasons to bring the casual viewer up to date. At the end of season 7 the wall has fallen to the Night King. The proposed alliance between the Dragon Queen and Cersei never really came about. Cersei, craw-fished and is planning war on who, or what survives the battle with the Night King. Jamie has left Cersei and is traveling to Winterfell to join the fight against the Night King. It is almost the last step in his redemption.

At Winterfell the armies are assembling from the North, Daenerys has arrived with two dragons and two armies. The Stark family has reassembled, or what is left of it, and the last of the night watch from the wall has arrived as have the wildings. Littlefinger, Lord Baelish has been executed by Arya on orders of her sister Sansa. Everyone still alive from season one is gathered in Winterfell except Cersei. I wonder if she feels left out and will sulk?

In Episode 2, Jamie arrives in Winterfell. Daenerys wants to execute him but is overruled by a moving speech from Breann of Tarth. Jamie and Breann have history together alternately holding each other captive and rescuing each other from captivity. Breann has sworn fealty to Sansa and Sansa trusts her without question. Sansa goes for allowing Jamie to stay based on Breann’s speech. She is the Lady of Winterfell, her house, her rules.

They prepare for the coming fight, episode 3. Most of the rest of episode 2 discovers how each character is dealing with the possibility of death in a most grisly fashion. Women who do not fight and children are sequestered in the deep crypts, regular citizens are drafted for the ranks and the warriors contemplate their demise in drink and stories. This is where we find one of the best and most moving elements of the entire series. The title of episode two is, Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.

It centers on a gathering in the hall of principle characters including Jamie and Breann. The conversation gets around to knighthood and why Breann is not a knight. She says tradition reserves knighthood for men. Jamie announces that all that is required to make a knight is another knight and offers to knight Breann.

This act is not just rewarding Breann but is the final step in Jamie’s redemption as a knight. It is not just Breann who stands a Knight of the Seven Kingdoms but also Jamie. The Jamie that almost murdered Brandon Stark in season 1 is not the same man in season 8. It is very moving and fully brings Jamie into the fold of all who are going to fight the Night King who has just appeared on the horizon. The battle for Winterfell is about to begin, Sunday night at 20:00.

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3 Responses to TV Series Review: Game of Thrones (Season 8)

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    I’ve never seen the series (never having had HBO), though I did read the books up to the last one to appear in hardback before we moved away. At that point, the wall hadn’t yet fallen but was in grave danger of doing so imminently. Of course, after this much time since I last read one of the books, keeping track of the surviving characters is difficult. If Cersei is the one separated all the other and forming her own mercenary army, I think I preferred her to most of the other contenders once the Starks were nearly wiped out.

  2. Steve Lancaster says:

    Episode three, the battle of Winterfell
    In terms of epic battles this one is right up there with Helm’s Deep. However I do have some gripes.

    After the pathos of episode two the release of actual action is a relief but the living made several failures.
    1. They knew what the enemy was and failed to prepare the battlefield to their advantage
    2. Long range artillery was not utilized to reduce the numbers of the enemy army. Fire traps, in conjunction with trebuchets and ballistia could have reduced enemy numbers to marginal numbers.
    3. Mobile strike forces, Dothracki, were wasted in a head-on attack with little, if any, gains in strategic advantage.
    4. Air power, dragons, were the German Air Force at Normandy. They could have illuminated the battlefield giving the living visible targets for artillery and arrows. Most of the battle they just flew around maki9ng noise.
    5. The battle hinged on bringing the Night King to a place where he can be killed, thereby destroying his entire army. The only reason that happened was because of a stealth assassin, Arya Stark. All hail training from CIA.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Actually, while the Helm’s Deep battle was a good one, and so was the Battle of the Slag Heaps outside the Black Gate (though not much is shown due to the timely fall of Sauron), the best battle in The Lord of the Rings was the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. It’s superb the way, at the darkest moments, there’s always a rescue — the arrival of the Rohirrim, the killing of the Witch-King of Angmar, the arrival of Aragorn’s forces in the Haradrim ships.

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