The episode ends much in the way the pilot did — with Jamie Lannister and Bran Stark locking eyes across the Winterfell courtyard

April 15, 2019 01:34 PM

Nostalgia is coming.

Game of Thrones returned with its final season premiere on Sunday night, and the episode was filled with callbacks to the very first time we met the beloved characters.

The premiere was almost parallel to the pilot, with several scenes recreated as Kit Harington’s Jon Snow and Emilia Clarke‘s Daenerys Targaryen arrived Winterfell.

Read on for the major ways the episodes mirror each other.


The Queen arrives

The episode starts off with a familiar scene, as a little boy runs over the walls of Winterfell and climbs whatever he can to get a good look at the incoming procession. It’s exactly what a tiny Bran Stark did all the way back in the pilot episode when King Robert was arriving in the North.


Meanwhile, the first major character we see is Arya Stark, who is hiding in the crowd to get a glimpse of the man she thinks is her brother, Jon Snow. She did the exact same thing in the pilot, proving that she’s still the same mischievous little girl at heart after all this time.


Jon and Arya reunite

After Jon marches into Winterfell only to find out not everyone is happy about Daenerys’ presence, one of the most emotional reunions in the show’s history finally happens. Arya and Jon, by far the closest of the Stark kids back in the pilot, run into each other’s arms for the very first time since the moment we met them.

Helen Sloan/HBO

They hug, and Jon realizes Arya is still carrying the sword he secretly gave her back in episode 1. She’s used it “once or twice,” definitely more than Jon could’ve imagined when he first gifted it to her as a goodbye present before setting off for the Wall.

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Jon learns the truth about his parents in the crypts of Winterfell 

In the last conversation Jon had with Ned Stark before they went their separate ways, the ill-fated head of the family promised Jon that they would talk about his mother the next time they saw each other. Well, he kept that promise, because Jon finally finds out who his real parents were in the crypts of Winterfell, next to where Ned is buried.

But instead of hearing the news from the man he thought was his father, Jon finds out that he’s the son of Lyanna Stark and Prince Rhaegar from his friend Sam, and he feels betrayed. Jon seems mostly hurt that Ned, who has long served as the moral compass of the show, lied to him his whole life.


Helen Sloan/HBO

What’s more, fans first heard about Lyanna from King Robert in the crypts — except his story wasn’t exactly right. Robert said that Prince Rhaegar kidnapped and raped Lyanna, kicking off Robert’s Rebellion, which led to the supposed end of the Targaryen family.

That’s not exactly true, as Lyanna told Ned that she actually loved Rhaegar and they had a legitimate-born son in Jon, whose real name is Aegon Targaryen. Of course, neither Robert or the audience knew this when he and Ned talked in the crypts all the way back in the pilot, but Ned certainly knew, and it’s interesting to watch that scene back knowing what is to come.

Jamie Lannister faces Bran Stark

The episode ends much in the way the pilot did — with Jamie Lannister and Bran Stark locking eyes across the Winterfell courtyard. Except this time, a much different Jamie is forced to reckon with what he did to a much different Bran.


The last time these two saw each other, Jamie pushed Bran out of a tower window after the little boy climbed up and saw Jamie and Cersei together. The pilot ended with Bran falling through the air, and though he survived, he ended up paralyzed and unable to use his legs.

In season 8, Jamie looks pained and scared to see Bran, and the next episode previews the Kingslayer having to finally answer for his many, many crimes in front of the people who hate him most.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

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