Game of Thrones
finally returned for its eighth and final season on Sunday night, as you heard about ad nauseam if you went anywhere near the internet over the weekend, and the blockbuster fantasy series’ premiere brought with it, among many other things, a newfangled opening credits sequence, completely revamping the fan-favorite animated intro in appropriately epic fashion.
The new sequence is a reminder of the addition by subtraction that defines the show’s endgame; though the stakes of the titular Game of Thrones are higher than ever before, the sprawling narrative hasn’t been this tightly concentrated since its first season. Rather than zooming all over Westeros and Essos to show off a given season’s laundry list of far-flung locales, the new opening titles focus only on three Westerosi cities—Last Hearth, Winterfell and King’s Landing—the first of of which, home of the ill-fated Umbers, is already wiped off the map in the course of the first episode—while spending more time in each location and delivering quite a bit of detail.
At the breached Wall, white tiles flip over blue, symbolizing the Army of the Dead swarming into the North and breaking against the beachhead that is Last Hearth. The next stop on their road to world domination is Winterfell, where we see the iconic Weirwood tree, Jon Snow’s (or is it Daenerys Targaryen’s? ... Or is it Aegon Targaryen’s?!) throne room and the Stark family crypts, which clearly have some role to play in this last season (reanimated Stark wights, anyone?). From there, it’s a long way south to King’s Landing, where we tour a tower, Cersei’s scorpion and a dragon skull before ending on that painful, pointy chair everybody wants so badly—the Iron Throne.
Take a gander at the show’s new opening titles below and read our review of the premiere episode right here. Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.