‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 Premiere Recap: Jon Gets His 23 & Me Results

In the Game of Thrones season-seven finale, Jon (Kit Harington) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) made their romance official, Bran revealed that the King in the North and Mother of Dragons are related, and Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) rode North to help the Starks and Dany conquer the Night King (Vladimir Furdik). 

Now, the long-awaited season-eight premiere is here, and you won’t believe what happens. Without further ado, here’s the Game of Thrones recap.

jon snow on horseback
Helen Sloane/HBO

We open on Jon, Daenerys, et al., riding into Winterfell on horseback. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) are taking the more comfortable route and riding in a carriage as Drogon flies above. Arya (Maisie Williams) watches with pride as her half-brother arrives back in his homeland.

sansa stark at winterfell
Helen Sloane/HBO

When Jon arrives in the square, his family greets him and Sansa (Sophie Turner) tells Dany that Winterfell is officially hers. It’s a major moment…until Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) tells them the wall has fallen and the dead are marching south. So, the Starks and Daenerys hold court and talk strategy.

Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) calls Jon out for bending the knee and giving up his title of King in the North. He tells them it was either “protect my crown or save the North. I chose the North.” Tyrion comes to his aid and tells the townspeople that Jon is the only reason they all have a chance of surviving the Night King’s impending attack. This is all well and good, but Sansa brings up a little issue: Winterfell doesn’t have enough food to feed the enormous army Jon and Daenerys brought with them.

tyrion lannister looking worried
Helen Sloane/HBO

Later, Tyrion approaches Sansa and congratulates her on becoming Queen of Winterfell. She returns the favor and tells him hand of the queen has a nice ring to it. They reminisce briefly about that one time they were married, and Sansa reminds him that he shouldn’t trust Cersei’s (Lena Headey) promise that she’ll send her army north.

arya stark in armor game of thrones season 8 premiere
Helen Sloane/HBO

Meanwhile, Jon is taking some time to himself when Arya comes to greet him. It’s a happy reunion, but they’re both keenly aware of how much has changed in their lives (he’s back from the dead and she’s a killer now).

cersei lannister game of thrones season 8 premiere
Helen Sloane/HBO

In King’s Landing, Cersei learns the dead have broken through the wall. Her response? “Good.” She looks on as Euron Greyjoy’s (Pilou Asbæk) ships sail toward her castle with the Golden Company. She has a plan, we’re just not sure what it is yet.

On the ship, Euron chats with Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) about the upcoming battle. She says he’s on the losing side of the equation. He disagrees and tells her he’s going to win the battle and Cersei. When he meets with Cersei later, he’s convinced she’ll go to bed with him and make him king right away, but she tells him he has to earn a queen, not try and buy one (especially when there are no elephants). She still allows him to follow her to bed, however. Afterward, he asks her how it was and tells her he’s going to “put a prince” in her belly—but not before insinuating that he knows about her and Jaime.

Bronn (Jerome Flynn) is having some adult fun of his own when Qyburn (Anton Lesser) comes in and tells him Cersei would like him to kill both of her brothers. He’s surprised, but he agrees.

Back on the ship, Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) rescues his sister Yara and kills a couple of Golden Company warriors in the process.

daenerys targaryen game of thrones on horseback
Helen Sloane/HBO

In Winterfell, Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), Tyrion and Varys chat about Jon and Daenerys’s new relationship. It seems they feel threatened by their kinship and worry they won’t have as much influence now that “Jany” is a thing. But they’re not the only ones worried about closeness; Daenerys and Jon talk about the tension between she and Sansa. He says she’ll warm up to her new queen and Khaleesi says that while she doesn’t care if Sansa likes her, she must respect her. With that they go check on Drogon and Rhaegar and it happens: Jon Snow finally rides a dragon.

He’s fearful about even getting onto Rhaegar, but he plays brave for his new lady love and soon they’re cascading through the sky. They arrive at a secluded waterfall and do a little flirting and making out, while the dragons look on protectively.

Later, Arya visits Gendry (Joe Dempsie) to ask him to craft a new Valyrian steel weapon. He asks her why she needs it and she plays coy before slinking off. They’re clearly glad to be back in the same place at the same time. Sansa and Jon however are having a tougher go of things. She confronts him for bending the knee and abandoning his crown. He eventually convinces her to give Dany a chance and she says she will, but that she doesn’t like that there’s another pretty woman around.

Daenerys, meanwhile, is settling into Winterfell quite nicely. She visits Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) to thank him for saving Ser Jorah’s (Iain Glen) life and insinuates that when she takes the throne, she’ll ensure that he’s taken care of. She offers him a favor in the meantime and he asks to be pardoned for stealing some books from the citadel and for stealing his family sword. When he mentions his father’s name, Daenerys’s face falls. She tells Samwell that she killed his father and brother to protect her place as queen. He’s rightfully upset and excuses himself to get some air.

bran looking cryptic copy
Helen Sloane/HBO

Samwell runs into Bran outside, who tells him it’s time to tell Jon the truth about being related to Daenerys. He argues that Bran should tell him because he’s Jon’s brother, but he responds that they’re not related. So, Samwell heads off to find Jon. When he does, they embrace, and Samwell tells him Daenerys killed his family. Oh, and he also mentions that Jon isn’t actually a Stark. As he explains, Jon is actually the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhagar Targaryen. His real name is Aegon Targaryen.

Jon is in complete disbelief. He can’t comprehend that Ned Stark (Sean Bean) isn’t his dad and that he’s actually the rightful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. He must tell Daenerys that she has no claim to the Iron Throne. It’s a lot to process.

Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) is also having a surprising evening. He’s with Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) at the abandoned castle of Last Hearth, when they run into Night’s Watch acting Lord Commander Edd. They almost kill each other out of surprise, but they have bigger problems. The Night King and White Walkers turned the young Lord Umber into a wight to send a message to the people of Winterfell (we guess those horses and carriages he requested never made it in time...R.I.P.). They kill him with fire and ponder the implications of the Night King being right in their backyard.

Back in Winterfell, Jaime Lannister has just arrived and is looking around the place he visited once so long ago. And that’s when he sees Bran in his wheelchair. He looks at him with pity and suddenly it dawns on him—he’s the reason Bran is in a wheelchair. Bran stares at him unblinkingly and we’re left to wonder if and how he’ll get back at Jaime as the credits start to roll.

But that’s not the only question we have. For instance, how will Jon break the news to Daenerys? What does Cersei have up her sleeve? And, most pressingly, where the hell is the Night King and his army? We’ll find out this and more when Game of Thrones season eight returns with episode two next Sunday, April 21, at 9 p.m. PT/ET on HBO.


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Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.