'Game of Thrones' Final Season Premiere Podcast: The Mysteries of "Winterfell"

The Hollywood Reporter's 'Series Regular' podcast digs into how the premiere raised the Iron Throne stakes and introduced a deadly new mystery.
Courtesy of 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 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 week's second edition of Series Regular, the podcast does a deeper dive into a few corners of "Winterfell" left unexplored in Wigler's conversation with THR's TV critic Dan Fienberg. Among the subjects discussed:

1. A New Beginning. For the first time since the launch of the series, Game of Thrones radically altered its opening credits sequence. While the drama still begins with a crawl across Westeros, the focus has narrowed on granular details: Winterfell and King's Landing, up close and personal. Exciting enough on its own, but is there more to be gleaned from the change? The speculation begins at the 1:25 mark.

2. The Power of the Past. In "Winterfell," the action begins with the arrival of a queen from the south. Sound familiar? It should: "Winter is Coming," the series premiere, featured a very similar story arc as King Robert (Mark Addy) and company came to visit House Stark. There are callbacks to the first episode littered throughout the final season premiere. Is it pure nostalgia fuel, or something more? Not to spoil the podcast, but…it's something more. Lean more about that something at the 4:05 mark.

3. The Mad Queen. Heading into the final season, the official Hollywood Reporter prediction on the field sees Daenerys Targaryen winning the Iron Throne. After watching "Winterfell," however? Maybe not so much. The series wants viewers to question Daenerys' readiness for the task, and as such, the question is very much engaged in this week's Series Regular, starting at the 7:50 mark.

4. The Night King. The White Walkers' ruthless ruler was missing from the season premiere, but his handiwork was all over the penultimate act. (Pour one out for Ned Umber, the young lord of Last Hearth.) In his first act of violence in Westeros proper, the Night King issued a stern warning to those who stand in his way — and according to some corners of the Thrones fandom, the warning tips off the Night King's true Targaryen purpose. But does it really? We take aim at the truth around the 16:00 mark.

5. The Raven and the Lion. The final season premiere ends with one of its most powerful callbacks of all: a reunion between Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Both actors spoke with The Hollywood Reporter following the season premiere (here and here for reference), and it's worth taking a beat to connect their respective insights. What should we expect from the next episode, based on where we left Bran and Jaime in the premiere? The speculation begins at the 19:55 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.