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SYFY WIRE Game of Thrones Season 8

Game of Thrones' new opening is meant to reflect the intimacy of Season 8

By Josh Weiss
Game of Thrones Season 8

Game of Thrones is back, with a brand-new intro to boot — and it turns out there's a very good reason for that. During the premiere of Season 8 last night, viewers got quite the shock when the opening titles revealed themselves to be very different from what had come before. The music by Ramin Djawadi was comfortingly familiar, but the visuals were not.

Instead of a sprawling view of Westeros that we've seen over the last seven seasons, we got a much more truncated and in-depth look at just three locations: The Wall (destroyed by the Night King's dragon), Winterfell (currently taken by Daenerys), and Kings Landing (home of Cersei Lannister and the Iron Throne). This was no mistake as these are the places that matter most in a season that only comprises six episodes.

“This season is a lot more intimate and grounded,” Kirk Shintani, creator of the show's credits at Elastic, told Vulture. “Narratively, they are doing a lot more than just flying from location to location. There’s a lot more story to it."

The new opening credits also allowed Elastic to go back and fix some stuff that's bugged them since the beginning. 

“The scale of the original title sequence was always a bit ambiguous,” said Angus Wall, who helped develop the sequence from the start. “[It was] a little bit fudged. It made everybody really crazy. Every season, we would always bemoan the fact that we just really wanted to retexture and re-skin all of the shapes."

The final result is not just smooth and modern looking, it also resembles an ever-shifting game board made of tiles flipping over and over again. No explanation needed for why that fits so thematically. Per the Vulture report, "they used a human-size figure when designing all of the shapes and textures to eliminate any fudging."

Season 8 returns for its second episode next Sunday, April 21 on HBO at 9pm EST. The first episode, "Winterfell," currently holds a 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (overall, the series stands at 94 percent) with the following critical consensus:

"Though surprisingly bloodless, hard-fought reunions, bone-chilling surprises, and unexpected humor help 'Winterfell' set the stage for what should be an epic final season."

"Winterfell" was also the most tweeted about episode of Game of Thrones ever with over five million tweets. The Top 3 moments included: Sam reveals the truth about Jon Snow’s parents, episode beginning, and Jon Snow rides Rhaegal.