The eighth season of Game of Thrones has begun, and that means it's the beginning of the end for fans and their favorite Westerosi citizens. The first episode of the final season of Game of Thrones was full of reunions as characters spread all over the world came back together at Winterfell to prepare for the White Walkers and their undead army. While even the most casual GoT viewer knows how much the news Samwell shared with Jon will shake up the power balance in the fight for the Iron Throne, there are plenty of details that flew over fans' heads while they were busy tweeting the best Bran Stark memes.
From characters who hardly got any screen time to the nuances of the new-look opening credits, here are the biggest things you probably missed when watching the first episode of Game of Thrones Season 8.
The opening credits show that the show's creators are putting even more intent and care into the final season, and the credits also hide some details that could have slipped by on first viewing. The first thing we see is the hole that the resurrected Viserion made in the Wall at the end of last season, followed by a new castle, Last Hearth. A formation of ice-blue tiles flows from the Wall around Last Hearth as a symbol of the White Walkers' progress, and gives attentive viewers a spoiler about the young Ned Umber's eventual fate.
In addition to the White Walkers' path, the credits add several new pieces to the rings of the gilded astrolabe. In an interview with The Ringer, the creative and art directors behind the credits, Angus Wall and Kirk Shintani, confirmed that they added images of the Red Wedding, the birth of Daenerys's dragons, and the destruction of the Wall to the bands, which include significant moments in Westerosi history.
Like he promised at the end of Season 7, Euron Greyjoy returns to King's Landing with the secret force that may allow Cersei to wipe out her rivals once they've faced the White Walker threat in the North: the Golden Company. Euron and the Golden Company's commander, Harry Strickland, update Cersei on how their trip across the Narrow Sea fared and explain the lack of elephants in their ranks.
At first glance, Strickland comes across as a fairly interchangeable figure who could be confused with any other lantern-jawed knight, so it's understandable if viewers dismissed him as just another guy. As a fourth-generation member of the Golden Company, he wields a significant amount of influence over a potentially massive piece of the Game of Thrones endgame.
When Euron jokes with the captive Yara about why he wouldn't just put her out of her misery, he breezes past the death of another Greyjoy essential to his coronation as king of the Iron Islands. Aeron Damphair was Euron's other brother, but he chose a religious path in service of the Drowned God as opposed to the raiding career of Balon and Euron. Aeron hosted the kingsmoot in Season 6 where Euron was selected to rule the Ironborn, and he was last seen riding off at Euron's side after Yara fled the Iron Islands.
If Euron is keeping Yara alive solely so he has another Greyjoy to speak with, that means Aeron Damphair must have passed offscreen in the interim.
A throughline in the episode is how Bran chooses to wait (some might say lurk) in the Winterfell courtyard sharing prophetic proclamations with different characters as they walk by. As the Three-Eyed Raven, he's seen the past, and he may be using those skills to keep tabs on the rest of his family while waiting in the courtyard. A crow lurks in the background behind Sansa in an early scene, and it isn't a stretch to assume Bran's warging into the bird to keep tabs on the building conflict between the Northerners and Daenerys's contingent.