Friends! Foes! Spouses! Siblings!
“Game of Thrones” characters who haven’t seen one another since, in some cases, the very first season met face-to-face in Sunday night’s long, long awaited Season 8 premiere.
We’ve had a lot of time to imagine these moments, playing them out and pondering their significance to each of the characters involved. Here, we remind you when each pair last hung out together, how they parted, and rank how well their reunions met our expectations.
8. Arya & The Hound
“Cold bitch” might be, uh, somewhat of a deserved greeting between these two. Arya (Maisie Williams) and the Hound (Rory McCann) last saw each other in awkward circumstances, when the former left the latter to die from his fighting wounds.
A recap: Having captured Arya in Season 3, the Hound tries unsuccessfully to sell her back to her family, once at the Red Wedding and again in the Vale. Both times, he arrives just a short time after her family had been killed (a fact that Arya finds rather hilarious the second time around). Initially foes ― the Hound had earned a place on Arya’s hit list when he killed her sparring partner in Season 1 ― the pair sort of gets to know one another during their long journey. Arya even admits to the Waif that she eventually took the Hound off her list. But when Brienne showed up and tried to rescue her from him, Arya is tired of being looked after by anybody. So she left the severely injured Hound behind and headed off to Braavos.
7. Jorah & Sam
In Season 3, Sam Tarly (John Bradley) bids farewell to Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) after miraculously saving him from greyscale by performing a very dangerous and very disgusting treatment ― all against the Grand Maester’s orders. Jorah had found himself in the Citadel as a last-ditch hope of finding a cure; by chance, he happened to meet Sam, who heard his last name and resolved to help. The first Night’s Watch commander Sam knew, you’ll remember, was Commander Mormont, who suffered an untimely death by mutiny.
Given Jorah’s devotion to his queen, it was therefore understandable that he wanted to show Sam off. (Tragically for Sam, that queen had less positive news for him.)
6. Jon & Bran
Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) embrace of Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) upon the former’s return to Winterfell was almost ... fatherly.
Jon had last seen Bran way back in Season 1, while the boy was still lying in a coma after being shoved out of a tower at Winterfell. Although constantly reminded of his place as a bastard of House Stark, Jon was nevertheless committed to playing the role of older brother as well as he could. In the series pilot, he praises Bran for not looking away from the gruesome moment when Ned Stark beheads a deserter of the Night’s Watch.
5. Arya & Gendry
Down in the blacksmith’s den, metallic sparks weren’t the only ones flying. Could Gendry (Joe Dempsie) and Arya become ... an item???
The pair met all the way back in Season 1, when Arya is shepherded into a band of King’s Landing misfits bound for the Night’s Watch following the death of her father. With her hair chopped off, Arya successfully passes for a boy called “Arry” until early in Season 2, when she reveals her true identity to Gendry. The group doesn’t make it too far, though, before coming under attack and being dragged off to Harrenhal, at the time commanded by Lannister forces. Luckily for Arya, Hot Pie and Gendry, though, the Faceless Man Jaquen H’agar owed Arya a favor and helps them escape.
In Season 3, Arya and Gendry are absorbed into the Brotherhood Without Banners, but get separated when the Brotherhood sells Gendry to Melisandre. (Gendry, recall, has king’s blood as the bastard son of Robert Baratheon.) And soon after, Arya is kidnapped by the Hound.
4. Sansa & Tyrion
Although Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) might technically still be a legally married couple, there was just a bit of love lost between them at Winterfell.
“Many underestimated you. Most of them are dead now,” Tyrion tells Sansa as a sort of olive branch.
The Lannister, you’ll recall, was ordered to marry the Stark in Season 3 when his father decided it might help smooth over the Mariana-Trench-sized rift between the South and the North. Neither party was into it. Nevertheless, they were wed in a largely humiliating ceremony after which Tyrion got super wasted and physically threatened his nephew the king ... but still managed to reassure Sansa that their marriage could remain unconsummated as long as she wanted.
Tyrion and Sansa seemed to foster a mutual respect. Some time after she escaped King’s Landing in the chaos of Joffrey’s Season 4 death, Sansa remarks that Tyrion was always the kindest Lannister. Tyrion, at Dragonstone with Jon, recalls how Sansa is smarter than she lets on. (“She’s starting to let on,” Jon replies.)
3. Arya & Jon
Even though they said goodbye to one another very early in the show’s first season, Jon and Arya were always the cutest sibling pair ― each something of an outcast in his or her own way.
Jon gave Arya the sweetest bear hug when they parted ways back then, with him leaving to join the Night’s Watch and her heading on down to King’s Landing. As a token to remember him by, Jon also gave Arya a sword he asked the Winterfell blacksmiths to forge especially for her. And because all the best swords have names, she dubbed it Needle.
“Stick them with the pointy end,” he told her.
At Winterfell in the Season 8 premiere, following a warm embrace, Arya confirmed she’d followed that advice “once or twice.” (Understatement of the season.)
2. Jon & Sam
Samwell Tarly and Jon Snow. BBFs. Best Bros Forever.
These guys had a lot to catch up on. Having trained together, fought together, shared some laughs together and journeyed far beyond the Wall together, Jon and Sam last saw one another way back in Season 5, when Maester Aemon Targaryen’s death left Castle Black with no doctor-slash-historian at all.
With Gilly and Baby Sam in the picture, and little in the way of fighting skills, Sam made Jon an offer he couldn’t refuse: Sam would go to the Citadel and train to become a maester for Castle Black, at the same time researching ways to defeat the Night King and his army of the dead. Along the way, he ends up picking up his family’s Valyrian steel sword from Horn Hill and a fair dose of self-confidence.
Meanwhile, Jon is murdered in a Castle Black mutiny and brought back to life by Melisandre. By all accounts, Sam had no inkling about his friend’s deadly adventures before returning to the North ... when he confronts his old friend about the truth of his parentage and title ― rightful ruler of the seven kingdoms.
1. Jaime & Bran
Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bran are two completely different characters after last seeing each other at Winterfell in the series pilot episode, when the former unceremoniously shoves the latter out a window and leaves him crippled. Jaime, as he told Bran’s mother, was hoping the fall would kill the boy, whose climbing skills had allowed him to stumble upon a Lannister sibling sex scene. (Vom.)
Although Jaime has traveled all over Westeros in the intervening seasons, slowly becoming a better human being, he had yet to confront the person he most deeply wronged. It was a humbler Jaime, with one less hand but many more pearls of wisdom ― thanks in no small part to his pal Brienne ― who faced Bran in the final, wordless moments of the Season 8 premiere.
There’s a caveat here: Bran has a wholly different identity than the little boy in Season 1, having become, as he keeps goddamn reminding all of us, the Three-Eyed Raven.
So, in a sense, it was almost like these two were meeting for the very first time.
“Game of Thrones” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.