Obviously there are very mild spoilers to the title sequence only within this article. Read at your own risk!
The first episode of HBO‘s Game of Thrones season eight opened on Sunday with a major surprise: a whole new title sequence. Since season one, the HBO fantasy series has kicked off with the same iconic theme music by composer Ramin Djawadi that plays as a 3D map of Westeros and Essos — the fictional locations on the show — unfolds.
The original idea was to take viewers around George R.R. Martin‘s fictional world, the same way a reader could orient him or herself by looking at the maps in the opening pages of Martin’s iconic fantasy novels. Angus Wall of Rock Paper Scissors Entertainment took it further by making the mechanical animation move like some sort of wind-up clockwork mechanism. We see castles, trees, and bridges spring from the ground and rise up as the music swells.
But now, on its final season, Game of Thrones has completely transformed the opening credits. On season eight, the Wall has fallen, the White Walker army is on the move towards Winterfell, and Cersei is planning for battle at King’s Landing. While we’ve seen those locations before in the title sequence, they now look totally different. There is a massive hole in the Wall, and blue tiles flip over as the Night King’s army progresses toward Last Hearth and ever closer to Winterfell.
For reference, this is how the Eastwatch title sequence used to look before it was taken down by the Night King’s wight dragon on the season seven finale.
In Winterfell, we not only see the Stark sigil as well as the iconic weirwood tree, but the credits now take us inside Winterfell to the Great Hall where the leading families of the North gather.
The credits also now take fans into the crypt of Winterfell.
And then in King’s Landing, we see the iconic throne room, the home of the Iron Throne that has been the fascination and ambition of our favourite characters for eight seasons.
You may also have caught the huge map of Westeros in King’s Landing.
Fans online couldn’t contain their excitement at the new credits.
THE STARK CRYPT IN THE CREDITS THE STARK CRYPT IN THE CREDITS. #GameofThrones— Lacy Baugher (@LacyMB) April 15, 2019
Omg the new credits with part of the wall missing #GameOfThrones pic.twitter.com/ynUJzcAZH8— Brittany (@britlovesmusic) April 15, 2019
They changed the beginning credits #GameofThrones pic.twitter.com/AsTyTR21u0— Chakra Khan (@AndreLowrenso) April 15, 2019
This isn’t the first time the credits have changed on the show.
Raven-eyed fans may have noticed that the credit sequence has changed before. The most well-known example is Winterfell, which has appeared in numerous forms: as the Stark family home, as a sacked city, and as a Bolton family stronghold. After Ramsay Bolton was defeated in the “Battle of the Bastards,” the Stark sigil victoriously returned to Winterfell, both on the show and in the title sequence.
The title sequence has also been subtly evolving since 2011, according to its designer Wall, who says he has been updating the animation with each new season.
“The biggest debate is always what detail to leave in and what detail to leave out,” Wall said in an Entertainment Weekly article in March. “Would we have loved to show the movement of every army? Yes. But it’s an incredible amount of work just to create different locations and different versions of each location.”
Now it appears Wall finally has his chance to show the White Walker army progressing through Westeros. We can’t wait to see how the title sequence evolves throughout the rest of season eight.