Arya Stark with Jon Snow
Arya Stark with Jon Snow
Samwell Tarly and Daenerys Targaryen in Winterfell
PICTURE: HELEN SLOAN/HBO
Samwell Tarly and Daenerys Targaryen in Winterfell PICTURE: HELEN SLOAN/HBO
Bran Stark with Jon Snow
Bran Stark with Jon Snow
Cersei Lannister with Maester Queburn
Cersei Lannister with Maester Queburn
Nostalgia is a big trend these days. 

We all want to return to the days when life was simple. 

Everything, from our clothes and food, music and the content we consume lately, is somehow inspired by recent past. 

And that is what I took from the first episode of the final season of Game of Thrones. 

The very first episode of the show took place in Winterfell, where King Robert Baratheon and his family came to visit his old friend Eddard Stark. 

One of the things that stuck with me was a young Bran Stark climbing the castle's turrets and walls to spot the king's entourage. 

An identical scene opened the first episode of season 8, where a curious Northern boy climbed a tree for a better view of the arrival of Jon Snow, Daenerys Targyren and their crew - including the Unsullied and the Dothraki. 

The subtle references to the series premiere 69 episodes ago  didn’t end there. 

The conclusion of Monday's episode - where Bran and a terrified Jaime Lannister locked eyes -  was a far cry from the final scene of the first episode where Jaime pushes Bran from a tower crippling him. Jaime showed none of the bravado which allowed him to put his callous act down to 'The things I do for love'
Bran Stark with Jon Snow
I strongly feel that Bran will be the voice of reason this season. 

No sooner had Jon and Dany arrived and he was quick to remind everyone of the danger at hand: the Night King has a dragon, the wall is down and that there wasn't any more time for pleasantries. “We don’t have the time for this,” he says.
 
It is also Bran who urges Samwell Tarly, shortly after Sam finds out Dany killed her father and younger brother, to tell Jon the truth about him being the rightful heir to the Seven Kingdoms. 

He's clearly all business this season and making sure everyone is prepared for the war. He's the one person who will constantly remind everyone about the danger at hand. 

Speaking of danger, I was surprised we didn't get to see the White Walkers in this episode. 

I would have thought they would have shown their progress and how destroyed the wall was. However, the Night King and his walkers left a message for the Night's Watch at Last Hearth, the seat of the Umbers a Northern house. 

Dismembered body parts arranged in a spiral shape, around the undead Lord Umber, a young boy we had been introduced to earlier in the episode. 

This shape was different from the usual message the White Walkers leave. This was alarmingly similar to the Targaryen sigil, but I may be mistaken. But what do these signs mean? 

Surely there's someone who should be able to decipher these now? Where are the Red Priestesses when you need them? 

It was good to see that our favourites didn't die when Viserion burnt down the wall. Tormund, Beric Dondarion and Edd of the Night's Watch are all alive and continue the fight for the living. 

I also enjoyed the many reunions that happened in this episode and there's more to come before we get to the bloodshed in the third episode.

Cersei Lannister, as always, is an interesting character and this season she's all about the bottom line: she wants to wait out the war in the North. When Maester Querburn informs her that the wall has fallen. She smiled and said: “Good.” 

She now has her Golden Company mercenaries, brought across the sea by Euron Greyjoy, however, she's upset that there are no elephants. She was promised elephants. 

And even when she finally relents to sleeping with Euron, she can't help but mention her disappointment about there being no elephants, for the second time. Oh and, did she sleep with Euron as a power move? Or was she in desperate need of coitus? 

Cersei Lannister with Maester Queburn
The seventh season ended with Jon and Daenerys together and that hasn't changed. It has brought a lot of discomfort to the Northern Lords how quickly Jon bent the knee to Daenerys when he had been named the King in the North. 

The ever-brave Lyanna Mormont confronts Jon in front of Sansa, Daenerys and all the important council members about Jon's decision. It's a thread that runs all episode long- where do Jon's loyalties lie? 

With the Dragon Queen or with his family? The reunion scene with Arya sees Jon being reminded of the importance of family, which is clearly an important issue in the North. And Sansa also questions Jon about the decisions he has made and is clearly the only one who knows to not ever trust Cersei. 

Jon knowing the truth; that he is Aegon Targaryen - the rightful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms; is bound to have a huge effect in his relationship with Daenerys, whom we now know is his aunt. Will she accept this or will she once again wield her power unnecessarily? 

With five episodes remaining, I truly hope they are ready to finally give fans some action. Bring forth the blood and gore. But also bring us the betrayals, the heartbreak and the consequences that Game of Thrones is famous for. 

Where to watch "Game of Thrones" 

Watch it live on Monday from 3am on M-Net (repeat at 10pm), or straight after with the   DStv Now app . 

You can also binge-watch all previous seasons of "Game of Thrones" on Showmax. Sign up for a 14-day free trial at Showmax.com