Throne Room

5 thoughts on Game of Thrones season 8, episode 1

HBO

Since enough people asked for this, we will recap each episode of the final season of Game of Thrones. Starting next week, these will be posted shortly after the show. But since we just decided to do it today, this one is a little late.

Warning: Spoilers follow. If you have not watched it yet, proceed at your own risk.

As Dany would say, "shall we begin?"

1) An old school episode

Sunday's show was a contrast to Season 7, where everything moved way too fast. It was more of an old school Thrones episode, with a lot of character interaction. I honestly believe this is when Thrones is at its best. While primarily a setup for later episodes, it featured some strong interactions between Jon and Sansa, Jon and Arya, Sansa and Tyrion, Jon and Bran, and Sam and Dany, Euron and Cersei. It was emotional and well done.

2) Sansa might be the smartest of all

Arya even told Jon that. She is the only one not fooled by Cersei, and is even critical of Tyrion for believing his sister. She is emerging as a strong leader, and a practical one. If someone other than Cersei is to sit on the Iron Throne at the end, Sansa will be a big reason. She gets it and her character evolution is one of the most impressive on the show. She learned her lessons from Lord Baelish well.

3) And the not so good...

The flying dragon love scene was useless. It was an obvious attempt to pander to fans who have been wanting to see it. But it did not serve to move the story. We already know Jon is a Targaryen, a reveal that happened last season. He finds out himself later in the episode, when Sam tells him. This could complicate the Jon and Dany relationship. Sam is loyal to a fault to Jon, but the way she killed his father and brother clearly is going to be an issue going forward.

4) Cersei continues to outsmart everyone

She has always been one step ahead of everyone. Her calculating nature has time and time again beaten her enemies. She is single-minded, and is playing the game at the highest level. She even enlists Bron to kill Jamie and Tyrion if the white walkers fail to do it. (Hard to believe he would). She has played this perfectly; if the Night King's army weakens the Jon/Dany alliance, Cersei will be prepared. From a strategy perspective, she is always a step ahead...Unless the Night King outplays everyone by skipping Winterfell and going straight to King's Landing. But there seems to be no indication of that.

5) Bran awareness

Bran's character continues to be vague and unlikeable. But the last scene when he sees Jamie - who tossed Bran out of the tower and crippled him in season 1 - was powerful, even with no words spoken. The previews for episode 2 indicate Dany is not happy with Jamie killing her father, and I suspect Bran will say Jamie has a part to play. Bran would likely not be the three-eyed raven if he had not been tossed out of the tower, and it appears those two will wind up intertwined again. Still, Bran, along with Gendry and anyone named Greyjoy...just not all that interesting.

The wrap-up

I liked the episode. It sets things up nicely for the final five episodes. The five most interesting characters remain The Night King, Jon, Sansa, Tyrion and Arya. The Night King's message - an impaled child on a wall with a flesh version of the pattern we have seen before - was the only wow moment, but the interaction between characters throughout was classic Thrones.

Expect more action in episode 2.

Every-Thing Sports

"You're not a real fan" guy is a dumbass

Photo Credit: Jermaine Every

Don't you hate it when people try to tell you how you should feel? Or how about when they try telling you what they think you should be doing? Unsolicited opinions are the new wave of social media these days. Hop on Twitter, Facebook, or any social media platform, and you'll see/hear all kinds of them.

Last week, there was a a bit of a kerfuffle on social media here in Houston. Some members of the local sports media (John Lopez and Landry Locker) made statements questioning the fandom of Rockets fans. They are under the unfortunate impression that if you watched the season premiere of Game of Thrones instead of watching the beginning of the Rockets opening playoff game, you're not a real fan and I couldn't disagree more.

"You're not a real fan" guy is a dumbass! That statement is usually followed by something extremely stupid, highly regrettable, and will often be very hot take worthy. Telling someone how to be a "real fan" or questioning their fandom on the basis of them choosing to watch something else because they'll miss the beginning of an opening round playoff game might be peak dumbassery. Don't get me wrong. There are times when telling someone they're not a real fan is absolutely necessary.

For example: I'm a lifelong Saints fan. When the Falcons made it to the Super Bowl and were set to face the Patriots, I wanted to vomit. Most people hate the Patriots because they're a dynasty. Others hate them because of the various scandals accusing them, or being found guilty, of cheating. My son said he was rooting for the Falcons and I lost my mind! No self-respecting Saints fan would ever under any circumstance root for the hated Falcons! That's like a Texans fan rooting for the Titans, or a Longhorn fan rooting for the Sooners! My wife told me I was being unreasonable, but my son understood where I was coming from. I had to educate him as to why it was like cursing in church to root for the Falcons.

Outside of rooting for your team's hated rival, there aren't many situations that your fandom can be called into question. When people openly root for their team to lose games for the sake of better draft position, they aren't violating any fan code of conduct. This happens often when a team is so bad, the fan would rather see them lose now in order to draft a player that could help them win in the future. Some would disagree with me here and that's okay. But when leagues find a better way to avoid tanking, this behavior will forever be a part of fan culture (side note: the NBA now gives the three worst teams an equal shot at winning the draft lottery, while the NFL and MLB continue to reward that top slot based off record continuing to prove why the NBA is constantly ahead of the curve).

Another form of potentially questionable fandom is wishing for the firing or trade of a team's coach, front office staff, and players. Fans will often get frustrated with how things are going and demand change. If a general manager sucks at player acquisition, or a coach can't get the most out of his players, or a player isn't living up to potential or a lofty contract, fans will call for their heads. This too is born of frustration, and isn't a knock against fandom. If anything, it shows a higher level of passion than casual fans exhibit.

When I saw there was going to be a conflict between the Rockets and Game of Thrones, I scoffed at the notion of choosing which one to look at live. I'm fortunate enough to have two TVs in my room (pictured above), so I was able to watch both. I often do this because there's too much to watch sometimes, I'm playing my PS4 while something is on, or I'm simply feeding my ADD. The Rockets TV was on mute because I can follow a game without the sound, and because Game of Thrones was my priority. Lots of people DVR'd the game or picked it up after switching over. None of this makes you less of a fan. In fact, I question the person who calls out the fan for how they show their support more than the fan themselves.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome