The Iron Throne sitting in King’s Landing.
Image: HBO

Each season of Game of Thrones has featured an animated opening credits sequence that provide an excellent overview of the general state of the show’s universe. The sequences have shifted and evolved from season to season, but the new opening that debuted during for the season eight premiere was so drastically different, it was almost surprising. Almost.

Unlike previous seasons’ sequences that have taken us far and wide across the world to show where Game of Thrones’ various power players are, physically, the new opening is rather limited in scope and only features four locations: the Wall, the Last Hearth, Winterfell, and King’s Landing. While the Night King and his army of White Walkers don’t make an appearance, tiles meant to represent land in the sequence turn frosty pale blue, reflecting the wights’ progress south now that they’ve broken through the Wall, which prominently features a gaping hole.

While the new opening sequence feels physically smaller than others that we’ve seen, what’s interesting about it is that it shows how much of a defensive position Game of Thrones’ living heroes are in now given that the dead have a dragon on their side. The remaining noble families are trying to concentrate their respective power as much as possible before the coming war, but it’s unclear whether or not that’ll be enough to carry any of them through the long winter.

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