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Winter has come in earnest to Westeros, with the opening instalment of Game of Thrones season eight setting the board for an epic conflict between Daenerys, Jon and their allies and the Night King and his minions.
The question is whether season eight’s second episode continues to ploddingly lay the groundwork for the forthcoming fantasy rumble to rule them all. Here are 10 questions that we still want answering:
1. Is Jaime going to be held to account for killing Daenerys’s father?
Daenerys didn’t seem that miffed with Jaime “Kingslayer” Lannister when they locked gazes during the Dragonpit conference in season seven, but clearly she was choosing her moment. Now that Jaime has ridden into Winterfell, it has arrived.
“When I was a child my brother would tell me a bedtime story about the man who murdered our father – about all the things we would do to that man,” says Daenerys in official episode trailer from HBO.
This suggests that, though the world may be about to end, Daenerys still has time to take vengeance against the Kingslayer. But how will that play with Jon and Sansa? As Lady of Winterfell, Sansa will be mindful of the importance of treating guests with dignity. That was an honour denied her brother and mother at the Red Wedding. Will she step aside while Daenerys delivers some unspeakable fate upon Jaime?
There is no love lost between the Starks and Lannisters. Yet Daenerys’s father butchered Ned Stark’s brother and father – so it isn’t as if Sansa is a natural ally to the Targaryens either. Don’t expect her to meekly let Daenerys call the shots regarding Jaime.
2. Will Jaime point out that Daenerys’ father wanted to burn King’s Landing to the ground?
If Jaime speaks the truth before the assembled lords and ladies of the North, he might find he has a more sympathetic audience than expected. The Northerners may not trust a Lannister. But their suspicion of Daenerys and her fancy foreign ways – dragons; Dothraki; haute couture winter jackets etc – potentially runs even deeper yet.
3. Bran’s not going be angry with Jaime, is he?
So if old, human Bran might be understandably bitter about being thrown from the top of a tower by the glamorous knight he caught in flagrante with his equally glamorous sister, it is questionable whether spooky, staring-into-space Bran feels nearly so strongly.
Indeed, he may even feel indebted to Jaime. Had the Kingslayer not chucked him off that ledge, he would never have embarked on the journey that led him to the Three-Eye Raven. That will be fine by Jaime. In a recent interview Nikolaj Coster-Waldau suggested that his character really will be in trouble should Bran make it common knowledge that it was a Lannister who made a cripple of him.
The other question, of course, is why Bran felt the need to stay out all night in the cold waiting for his “old friend” Jaime (and why did nobody think to give him a blanket?). The War of the Five Kings essentially began with Bran’s “fall”. Does Bran’s eagerness to resume acquaintances suggest his and Jaime’s strange relationship has one more twist?