'Game of Thrones' Final Season Premiere Podcast: Breaking Down the Beginning of the End

The Hollywood Reporter's 'Series Regular' dives deep into the first of six remaining episodes left in HBO's fantasy drama.
Helen Sloan/HBO

Welcome back to Series RegularThe Hollywood Reporter's new podcast dedicated to diving deep into hit TV shows — starting with Game of Thrones.

Every episode of Series Regular comes courtesy of Josh Wigler (that's me!), taking a closer look at a new corner of Westeros. What are the circumstances that brought Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and the Seven Kingdoms' other various heroes and villains into their current conflicts? Look no further than Series Regular for the answers to those questions and more, as the final season unfolds.

In the latest episode, Josh is joined by a special guest, THR's TV critic Daniel Fienberg, to discuss the final season premiere of Game of Thrones, which aired April 14. It should go without saying, but in case it doesn't, proceed with caution: spoilers from the final season premiere are ahead.

Topics on this week's show include:

1. First Impressions. A new opening title sequence paves the way for the final season premiere, which features several long-anticipated character interactions as well as one massive reveal as it relates to the Iron Throne — but is it impactful enough? Josh and Dan weigh in with their first impressions of the episode at the 2:40 mark.

2. Meeting of the Minds. The premiere comes with a full circle quality about it, connecting back to the very first episode of the series, "Winter is Coming." All the way back in 2011, the Game of Thrones pilot centered on Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) and his royal procession arriving at Winterfell. Eight years later, a new Iron Throne contender arrives in the North: Daenerys Targaryen. The result: new character pairings, reunions between loved ones and enemies alike and lots of tension. Josh and Dan cut through those tensions at the 8:05 mark.

3. Jon Snow Knows Something. The premiere delivers on what's easily one of the most anticipated moments in Game of Thrones lore: Jon Snow learning that he's not the son of Eddard Stark after all. He's actually the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen; what's more, he's the heir to the Iron Throne. The drama has slowly teased this reveal out over the past three seasons: first in season six's finale when Jon was revealed as Lyanna's son, then in season seven's finale when Bran and Sam put two and two together about Jon's backstory and now here in the final season premiere, with the news finally reaching Jon's ears. Josh and Dan process the revelation at the 15:15 mark.

4. Quest for the Iron Throne. Most of the episode takes place in Winterfell, with a few exceptions, including a lengthy side-trip to King's Landing, the site of the Iron Throne. Cersei Lannister remains large and in charge at the heart of Westeros. Few people expect it will stay that way. Did the season premiere move the needle one way or the other in terms of who might wind up on the Iron Throne at the end — and just as importantly, how much does that question matter for Josh and Dan's enjoyment of the final season? They answer that question at the 21:00 mark.

5. After the Game. With the premiere officially ended, we are down from 432 minutes of Game of Thrones remaining, to 378 minutes left. There are only five episodes to go. Given those numbers, how confident are Josh and Dan in creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss' ability to wrap the story in a satisfying way, especially in light of how the premiere played out? They look into the fires of the post-Thrones future at the 30:25 mark.

Hear it all now on Series Regular. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to never miss an episode. Follow Wigler on Twitter @roundhoward and send suggestions for future topics and questions to SeriesRegular@THR.com.

Series Regular is part of THR's roster of podcasts, including TV's Top 5, the weekly TV news analysis podcast hosted by West Coast TV editor Lesley Goldberg and chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg; Awards Chatter; Scott Feinberg's weekly in-depth (and award-winning) interview show focusing on the most interesting talents of the Oscar and Emmy seasons; crafts expert Carolyn Giardina's weekly series, Behind the Screen, which explores the top artists and technologies creating film and TV magic; and Seth Abramovitch's monthly series, It Happened in Hollywood, which revisits indelible moments from 90 years of THR's entertainment history. Other podcasts are in the works.