Game of Thrones season 8 episode 1 - live blog
It's back! Jon Snow and Daenerys face the family reunion from hell as the White Walkers march on Winterfell - but where's Bronn? Will Sam tell Jon the truth? And how can the North defend against a flying zombie dragon?
The Long Night is over - because it's time to return to our Game of Thrones live blog!
As ever, we'll be here following every step of the smash-hit fantasy's season eight storyline below as it plays out on screen, watching live with the whole world as Jon Snow presumably learns about his fun new auntie (yayyyy?.....).
Check below for the latest updates.
This live blog is now concluded
03.42am: Whatever the truth, it's probably time I wrapped up this week's live blog with a few important questions, rounded up in this handy article - 9 burning questions we have after Game of Thrones series 8 episode 1 – but can be mainly summarised as me wondering what will hit the fan when Jon's heritage goes public.
Presumably, we'll find out at least some of what may happen in next week's episode, and I'll be back here, same Thrones-time, same Thrones-place, to cover even more action as Winterfell gears up for its climactic battle.
See you then! For now, my watch (and this blog) has ended.
03.39am: Also, is Cersei's disappointment at the lack of Golden Company elephants a reflection of fans (including myself) demanding the return of Ghost? Or am I going mad with sleep deprivation and typing? Who can say??
03.33am: Oh yeah, one final point before I turn in - how scary was that scene with little Ned Umber? Horrible. I've spent weeks droning on about how much I want to see recognisable characters turned into wights - seems like an obvious shock move the show has steered away from so far - but that little kid had had what, three lines ever and it was still too upsetting!
All those arms on the wall too - the White Walkers are getting craftier in both senses. Did they have one guy measuring the limb length? Did they trace out the design on the wall first, then set out a production line between a few of them to get the pieces up efficiently?
No wonder it's taking them so long to reach Winterfell from the Wall if they're dropping in surprise Damien Hirst installations in every castle they go past.
03.26am: You know what, I might have to stop looking at Twitter after these episodes, because it's just depressing me how much funnier you all are than me. With less prep time!!!
03.24am: Haha it really do be like that.
03.22am: Listen, Game of Thrones live-blogging is a profession famously entwined with the mysterious arts of love, and I'm just glad to hear my humble words are keeping that spark burning. If I had one goal getting into this, it was to make people FEEL, you know?
Also, to get sent free merch by HBO. Hasn't really happened, so will keep going with the love!
03.16am: Oh thanks Game of Thrones, I needed that boost today.
(also this made me laugh)
03.12am: Oooh, a teaser for the next episode has popped up! It's been so long I forgot they even did these.
Basically, all of Jaime's sins catch up with him as he hangs out with the kid he pushed out of a window, the woman who's father he famously murdered and a load of other people he fought against and made fun of at one time or another.
Still, on the lighter side Daenerys and Sansa look to be bonding over bad Cersei-based decisions (presumably Jaime has now told them her plan to betray them), while Jon is just looking to prepare for the attack on Winterfell - which is coming that very night, according to Tormund.
Anyone for a quick holiday to Essos? No?
03.06am: Overall I'd define that as a big set-up episode, with a lot of time spent on reintroducing characters and establishing future conflicts, and a bit of dragon-flying thrown in.
I had mixed feelings about some of that episode the first time I watched it, but on a second look I think I enjoyed it more - especially loved the callbacks to season one and the scene between Jon and Sam in the crypts.
If you want my full, slightly more considered opinion, though, I have a rather long review for you here.
See what I sound like when I'm NOT manically typing at 3 in the morning!
03.02am: Of course, Game of Thrones' first ever episode started with a meeting of sorts between Bran and Jaime Lannister...
So in an episode that does an AWFUL lot of callbacks, it's not a big surprise to see this hour end with the pair meeting again.
And that's the episode!
03.00am: Frankly, I did NOT need to see screaming undead little Ned Umber at this hour of the night, in a twisted crucifixion interactive art project.
And if you're wondering, we've seen that swirling symbol used a lot by the White Walkers and the Children of the Forest over the years.
02.59am: "Stay back, he's got blue eyes!"
"I've always had blue eyes!"
Edd is back! After an arduous job last year of opening a door in one episode then vanishing.
02.58am Oh hey, Tormund and Beric survived that huge ice dragin attack. Any explanation for how that happened? Nope? OK THEN!
Skulk, skulk, skulk...
02.57am: Love that light Thrones theme playing in the background. Jon for the throne!
Now, off to the Last Hearth, which has seen better days...
o2.54am: Lovely to see Sam and Jon together again, even if it's to talk about murder.
The moment Sam tells Jon he's ALWAYS been the King gives me real goosebumps. Even know Jon didn't know it, everything he's done has been the actions of the true king.
He's laying out truth bomb after truth bomb.
"You've never been a bastard - you're Aegon Targaryen, true heir to the Iron Throne."
02.53am: Also inspires him to talk to creepy Bran, who is just lurking around in courtyards now and dodging his responsibility to tell Jon the truth.
"I'm not his brother." Ouch!
Time for Sam to tell his new beau is a...
(Well, she barbecued his family, anyway).
02.51am: Some seriously top acting from John Bradley as Sam here. More than Sam has had to do in years, if ever. One of the most affecting scenes of the episode as he tries to hold it together.
I've seen it already and I'm still welling up!
02.50am: Time for Dany to meet the man whose family she butchered! Yay!
Oh man, poor Sam is being all wacky. And now he's gonna get told his mum is a widow.
02.49am: Lord Glover has written to say he won't have any screentime this year, sorry, Tim McInerny was too expensive.
Meanwhile, Sansa and Jon are having the same fights as ever.
02.47am: We're back with a double Arya reunion. She's keeping things frosty with the Hound, and flirty with Gendry.
Gendrya lives! And now it's not creepy because both the actors are adults (even if there is still a 10-year difference).
Arya's mainly there to order a weird-looking spear with a detachable head, even though she has neat weapons already.
"I always knew you were just another rich girl."
"You don't know any other rich girls."
I'm feeling the heat, and it's not just the forges...
02.45am: Also, hi to everyone reading the blog tonight - hope you're having fun! Feel free to say hello on twitter @RadioTimes and I might even pop you in here if I'm feeling generous.
02.42am: In another ad break, and I'm just seething that they've had Jon hang out with dragons but not so much as a how-do-you-do to Ghost. Already he's betraying his wolf roots!
Also, no sign of the new opening credits online yet - shame, I quite fancied watching them again. I reckon they might change every week depending on the story, I remember reading somewhere that the production team had thought of doing that originally but found it too complicated at the time.
02.40am: Did they just fly out here to...hook up? Like teenagers taking the car?
"Dany, not in front of the kids!"
TBF the dragons are probably just confused as to why Dany is frenching her nephew.
02.38am: And yes, Jon is riding the dragon named after his real father - pretty cool.
"You've completely ruined horses for me." And presumably not being close to death at every second.
02.36am: After guzzling a mere 18 sheep and eleven goats, the dragons are barely eating.
Daenerys' response is to peer pressure Jon into...riding a dragon. This seems risky! She's literally never tried this with anyone before!
Look, we know he has magic Targ blood but she doesn't. What if he'd just died here?
02.34am: Davos is totally team #Jonerys - "A Proposal is what I'm proposing."
We can already see the romcom...
(Look, I had to make this one in a hurry)
02.32am: Theon rescued Yara...extremely easily. And I still feel like everyone's giving him a hard time for running when Euron would have DEFINITELY killed him last season. What was the point in dying for nothing when he could just rescue her later?
"What is dead may never die...but kill the bastards anyway." And With that, Yara sends her brother back to Winterfell to help out. Will this be the last we see of Yara? Hard to think what else she'd be up to this year...
02.30am: Anyway, now Bronn has been hired to kill both Tyrion AND Jaime with Joffrey's old crossbow. Gives him a reason to head up to Winterfell, anyway.
Now pack to the Queen's boudoir with Euron Greyjoy, aka Danish TV star Pilou Asbaek, for some...
(yes, I'm quite pleased with that one).
But I am now wondering if Cersei's lost her baby now that she's back on the sauce. Hmm...
02.27am: Yes, that may have been a reference to Ed Sheeran's Thrones cameo - a Lannister soldier called "Eddie" with ginger hair, who now is missing some eyelids thanks to Daenerys' dragon attack according to some brothel workers bemoaning his fate
02.26am: Is it me, or is Euron a little less deranged this time around? Certainly seems to do it for Cersei still.
02.24am: The 20,000 men of the Golden Company may be the best army in Essos, but their Captain - Harry Strickland - sounds like a postman from the West Midlands. This is like when they convinced us that the lead character in a fantasy series could be called Ned.
02.23am: So far, people seem to be here for the family reunion.
Arya keeping it together, dear readers?
02.20am: Ad break! And you'll have noticed that even the classic Game of Thrones logo has had a bit of an upgrade.
02.19am: So far, no-one seems to be taking the existential threat of the White Walkers very seriously. Daenerys wasn't even that bothered about her dragon becoming a wight! Cersei just thinks it's pure bants!
Euron is just...chatting.
02.17am: This new ruthless, Tywin Lannister-esque "Family first" chat from Arya and Sansa has me worried about what will happen when Jon reveals his real parentage...
02.16am: Jon and Arya are hugging just like they did when they last saw each other! My heart!
Also man, the writers cannot stop making fun of Kir Harington's height.
02.15am: "I used to think you were the cleverest man alive."
02.13am: As these sorts of northern councils go, that wasn't one of Jon's worst.
Nice little reunion for Sansa and Tyrion now, and their chat about Joffrey's "miserable" wedding.
Sansa's reply - "it had its moments" - already makes up for how annoying she was in the first season.
02.12am: Tyrion - "I know what'll make these Lords like our plan! Tell them the hated Lannister soldiers will be coming to hang out soon!"
02.11am: Nice that little Ned Umber stuck around. Oh look, now it's time for all the northern lords to Kingshame Jon.
Look, he's just doing his best! Leave him alone! King in the North isn't even a real thing, you can't just crown people by yelling and waving your swords around! That's not a sustainable system of government.
02.10am: "The north is as beautiful as your brother claimed...as are you."
Smooth line but Sansa is NOT impressed.
02.08am: Man, watching these dragons soar over Winterfell is a real kick. Love it!
And look, here's the whole family waiting outside like they did in the pilot.
"Show us your muscles! You'll be a soldier!"
02.07am: Varys and Tyrion travelling in another carriage. If Daenerys is the Mother of Dragons maybe that makes them both a...
Yep, told you the puns wouldn't improve.
02.06am: Arya has mixed feelings about seeing Jon and Gendry (yay!) and the Hound (boo!).
02.05am: I love this kid's eye view of the Unsullied, both because it's a reference back to Bran's climbing in the pilot, but also because it shows us our heroes as the common folk see them - these grand, powerful beings.
And that music playing as Jon and Dany arrive? If it's familiar, it's because they played it during the PREVIOUS royal visit to Winterfell...
02.03am: VERY different take on the opening credits here - while we're still looking at clockwork castles on a world map, we're now flowing inside the structures as well, meaning we see the interiors of Winterfell and the Red Keep in much more detail than we ever have before.
I...think I like them?
02.02am: Here we go lads! Gird your loins!
02.00am: Big shout-out to the ONE person reading the recap for episode six from last year, and the other person who's checking out the first blog of season six. If you don't read the early material, you won't get all the references!
01.58am: Couldn't have put it better myself.
01.56am: Only a few minutes...we're in the endgame now.
Oh wait, is that the wrong April-released pop culture franchise? Which one had Peter Bi in?
01.54am: Oh, and this happened in America! They'd done so well to avoid leaks so far...oh well.
Happily, here on the live blog we prefer to watch the show as its creators intended - out of the corner of our eyes while we mindlessly paw at our devices. Our way is the Old Way.
01.53am: Imagine how the Starks feel.
01.51am: You know what, missing out the zombie dragon from my recap of last series earlier MIGHT have been an oversight. Sorry! Blue Eyes Wight Dragon will presumably play a bit part this year.
01.48am: Oh hey, I only just remembered but I actually interviewed the first person to EVER die in Game of Thrones a while back. Can probably get through it in the 10 minutes before the episode is on!
PS - only 10 minutes left!!!
01.44am: Anyone else got a Death Pool for this series? Pod's plot armour is basically made of tinfoil at this stage, right?
(Also, if there's not a Hodor White Walker this year I'm ringing up HBO to complain. I want to feel devastated, damn it!)
01.42am: Haha, love Sue Perkins describing Qyburn's ballista as "a giant anti-dragon machine". Technically true!
01.41am: See, this is what I've been telling you!
01.40am: Watching Sky's season seven recap now. Man, Daenerys really squandered a Dothraki, three-dragon, Dorne, Tyrell and Iron Fleet lead, didn't she?
Fair play, watching her dither instead of actually attacking her enemies is VERY Game of Thrones in that it reminds me of watching Robb Stark cheerfully throw away every advantage back in series two and three.
01.38am: Maybe at this point I should make my punt for where this series will go. At some point I have to just stop posting blurry photos of myself, right? (WRONG!)
We know that episode three features a huge battle, filmed over 55 days of night shoots, that half killed the cast and crew and will see our living heroes take on the Army of the Dead - but after that, the final episodes of the series are a mystery.
Assuming they're not all wiped out by the Walkers - great flex from George RR Martin, but probably not great TV - it seems likely that the defence of Winterfell WILL still fail, necessitating a retreat south before another climactic battle, maybe in episode five and maybe in King's Landing.
As for who'll be sitting on the Iron Throne at the end, well, I'm not convinced ANYONE will be – as a show, Game of Thrones isn't the best advert for divine all-powerful monarchies – but if I had to be pushed, I'd hope it was Jon. Only if he was as miserable as ever ruling, though.
OK, #predictions over. Who wants to see my Jon Snow hat?
01.31am: Ha, remember when Cersei just took the throne without any justification and everyone in King's Landing basically went along with it? Good times.
01.30am: Just a half hour now and my boy Mace Tyrell - aka Roger Ashton Griffiths - is in the recap show on Sky too. Bring back Mace! Only nice decent bloke in the Seven Kingdoms. My big rewatch has only convinced me of this.
01.28am: Anyway, away from this recap stuff - who wants to see my tiny Throne?
(You might have to click on the picture a bit there. It's safe, I promise).
After the episode one screening in Belfast there was a rather snazzy afterparty where they were also handing out these transfers, and I didn't QUITE realise just how long it would last. I have washed, I swear!
Lucky I didn't put it on my face, which was my first idea...
Wait, how did they get Pedro Pascal on this recap?? He hadn't been in the series for two years by season six...
01.22am: Why is Tim Booth from James talking about this??? Just because they used Sit Down in one season 7 trailer? Or was he actually in an episode like Wilko Johnson, Sigur Ros, Will Campion and Ed Sheeran?
01.20am Hey, we're into season six now, which is when I started live-blogging this show!
Who needs this catch-up when you have me rambling on for thousands of words on my laptop?
01.17am: Switched on Sky Atlantic and they're doing one of those talking head, 'Remember what happened in every season of Game of Thrones?' things. Man, I could have just watched this instead of re-doing the whole thing. I put off so much Queer Eye for this!
Side note: Sky NEVER asked me to be a talking head on one of these things, and now the show is over. MESSAGE RECEIVED GUYS.
01.04am: You know what guys, I haven't been completely straight with you. Septa Unella has it right here.
You see, this weekend Sky Atlantic took me and some others over to Belfast...and I actually watched this episode already. Yes, for the first time in RadioTimes.com Game of Thrones live blog history I'm NOT writing this completely fresh, and already I can sense the fear that I might have actually "done adequate preparation" for this one, even mocked up some clever remarks and observations.
But friends, I would never do that to you. As usual, this account of Game of Thrones will be as haphazard and poorly organised as ever, littered with misspelled quotes, terrible pun jokes that don't REALLY work superimposed onto promotional images from the series and a generally pretty shallow understanding of narrative fiction as an art form.
I won't change. Never. Although going to Belfast DID mean I could take my terrible Thrones punning skills on the road...
01.00am: One hour alert, people! 636 days, 23 hours and now it'll all down to these 60 minutes...
00.53am: Don't know about any of you but here in London the weather seems to be doing a fun promotional tie-in with the White Walkers because it is FLIPPING FREEZING in my flat.
Winter is Here, indeed. You'd think Stark socks would be able to keep out the cold.
00.50am: MRW I see Game of Thrones is only just over an hour away...
(That's quiet satisfaction, OK? Quiet satisfaction. Let's not go overboard).
00.48am: It's a complex bit of emotional chicanery, being a Game of Thrones fan.
00.45am: So I have something to confess here - in the run-up to Thrones' new season, I DID end up watching every single episode all over again, like a Cool Boy, over the course of a few weeks. Not for a piece of journalism, oh no - I liked to pretend it was for work, but this was all a Huw treat, secretly.
However, while we're killing time rewatching the whole thing has let me to some extremely profound revelations about Game of Thrones as a whole.
- All of Robb Stark's scenes are a super dull and difficult watch when you know it's all for nothing
- Littlefinger and Varys had VERY different accents in series one. Settle on a nationality, Lord Baelish! #SanshaPleashe
- Season four genuinely is an incredible bit of television. Oberyn! The Watchers on the Wall! Tyrion's trial! I remember loving it at the time and it does NOT disappoint.
- By contrast, season five is a real climb down, and I still hate Dorne. Like Robb, Stannis' scenes are a tougher watch when it all just fizzles out.
- There's a bit in season two where Loras Tyrell really badly mispronounces his family name, he says it like "Cyril" and it made me laugh a lot.
- Renly had 100,000 men in his army alone, the War of the Five Kings really did a lot of the Night King's work for him.
- A lot of characters I thought had long arcs and multiple appearances like Mance Rayder or Daario "Fabio" Nahaaris (aka the version played by Ed Skrein before he was recast) really only popped up in an episode or two.
- No matter how many times I'd rewatched clips of season one there was loads I'd forgotten, including the massacre of all the Stark soldiers and household staff in King's Landing. Horrible!
- Arya and the Hound is still one of the best arcs in the series.
And I probably had more thoughts, but I'll stick with nine. Such insights that only giving up around 67 hours of your life will bring.
00.32am: Don't forget bad live blog updates, Brandy!!?!
00.30am: Usually, I would be completely ensconced in Thrones merch on my sofa for this blog, but this week I'm going for something a little bit more subtle...
(People buy me this stuff, I swear)
I have six pairs of these for various Great Houses, so I'll try to wear them as the weeks go on (hope there's a good week for House Tyrell! Growing Strong, wahey!), but don't worry - longtime blog readers WILL get to see my cheap Night's Watch cloak in action again. Just eking it all out.
00.16am: As for all the other characters, well, pretty much all the characters are either in Winterfell - Arya, Bran, Sansa and the northern lords including Lyanna – or on their way there, like Jon, Daenerys, Jorah, the Hound, Tyrion, Grey Worm, Davos, Missandei and Gendry.
Oh and then there's Cersei, Qyburn and Bronn hanging out in King's Landing, while Jaime is on the road North, Euron Greyjoy is sailing to Essos to pick up a new army for Cersei and Theon is off to rescue Yara.
Simple! But as ever, we've written a more in-depth take on where we left all the characters elsewhere on RadioTimes.com. What are we like, eh?
00.09am: Oh what a tangled web we weave, when another Aegon we try to conceive.
Yep, Rhaegar Targaryen's odd decision to sack off his wife, shack up with Lyanna Stark and have a secret baby caused a lot of problems (and a pretty notable rebellion) all those years ago, and now it's bound to cause some problems for our heroes.
When we last saw them, Bran and Sam had just discovered that Jon WASN'T Ned Stark's bastard, as everybody had been cheerfully greeting him for decades.
Nope, he was actually Aegon Targaryen, King of the Andals and the first men, and the Rhoynar, all that, and with a better claim than his aunt Daenerys - who Jon simultaneously managed to sleep with just as all this truth was coming out.
Better send a raven to Ser Jeremy of House Kyle to sort this one out – or you could just read our quick summary of what the new revelations mean for the series here.
00.01am: Hello hello weary travellers, and welcome back! While it's not been QUITE as long as Bran spent eating moss off screen in that cave, Game of Thrones fans have still had a good old wait to see the final episodes of their favourite series. The biggest TV event of the decade all starts here – and so does our season eight live blog. What a coincidence!
For those not in the know (I refer you to Archmaester Wyman's treatise on "Extravagant Updates Upon The Minor Progression of Westerosi Plot" for a full history), here at RadioTimes.com we like to follow along with every episode of Thrones as and when it airs live around the world, reacting to the biggest battles, most devastating dragon attacks and felonius...Theon scenes (look, not everything is alliterative).
Some people said it couldn't be done, some said it SHOULDN'T be done - and in my own way, I like to think I've proved both points right in my time here. (Just kidding! Please read!)
My name's Huw, and I'll be bringing you all the reams of backstory, commentary, production details and TRULY terrible puns that I can dredge from my tortured soul when the episode starts in a couple of hours (2AM BST on Sky Atlantic, time and location fans). But before that, it's time for a look back at where we left our heroes in season 7's finale The Dragon and the Wolf, waaaay back in summer 2017.
Look, we have to keep ourselves awake until 2AM somehow. You might as well start with the Targaryen family tree.