7. The Convergence Of Characters (And Incredibly Rich Character Work)
For so many years, we've watched characters strewn all over Westeros and Essos: there's Jon, beyond the Wall; there's Daenerys, in Meereen; there's Arya, in Braavos; there's Jaime, in the Riverlands or Dorne and so on.
One of the most exciting aspects about Game of Thrones nearing its endgame is that what was once so unfathomably broad is now narrowing, something we saw in Season 7 and again in the Season 8 premiere.
This continues it, but also goes further: while the focus of the first episode was on reunions between different pairs of characters, here it's bringing all of them together, such as that superb war council scene where they plan for the White Walkers' attack.
There are further reunions, as well as characters meeting for the very first time, and sometimes both at once: we've never seen Jorah and Jaime together, for example, and yet that one reference to the Siege of Pyke alludes to their shared history. We've waited so long for so many of these interactions, to see these kinds of sequences, and that we're not just getting them, but that they're actually great, is wonderful to see, and a huge testament to writer Bryan Cogman above all.