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Finally, winter is here: Campus reacts to ‘Game of Thrones’ premiere

Well, it’s been here a while — but now with some White Walkers.
Students watch the premiere of the first episode for the final season of Game of Thrones in Centennial Hall on Sunday, April 14.
Image by Jack Rodgers
Students watch the premiere of the first episode for the final season of “Game of Thrones” in Centennial Hall on Sunday, April 14.

The University of Minnesota was overrun on Sunday night.

From Superblock to Dinkytown and the Como neighborhood, students hunkered down, battened down the hatches and dimmed the lights for the “Game of Thrones” final season premiere.

No matter which house they march for, students are loyal to the HBO show after eight seasons of journeying through Westeros. 

With only five episodes left, students are making viewing parties a bit more … dracarys. 

“A lot of people have their own subcultures that they’re a part of,” said electrical engineer senior Arnav Solanki. “’Game of Thrones’ though, takes it to a new height. It’s the chance for everyone this semester to geek out and invite people to do it with them.”

Solanki organized a viewing party in Centennial Hall on Sunday. With decorations and a giant screen, the reception was worthy of any king’s arrival. As the lights dimmed in the room and the classic opening hymn played, goosebumps rose and ecstatic shouts echoed.

“Larger character arcs keep it exciting and there is someone for everyone to relate to,” Solanki said. “This lends itself [to] both casual and deep viewing experiences for all.”

The show has been running for the majority of current students’ mature lives. A journey that started in high school is capping off in grandeur, and Gophers are gripping onto the story and its characters a little tighter.

“So many characters have relatable flaws that people can identify with for where we are in our lives,” said neuroscience senior Nathan Evans. “There are a lot of unknowns both in the upcoming plot and character development.”

Evans’ party, hosted in a Como house, boomed with energy as the opening credits rolled. Football Pizza was this house’s meal of choice. 

There were cries of joy when the King of the North (or whatever Jon is now) came riding through Winterfell’s corridor once again. Boos erupted as Cersei decided to forge a new path and laughter boomed every time Bran awkwardly appeared, cutting through the episode’s most intense scenes. 

While he found the dragons and the scenes featuring Sam Tarly chillingly stellar, Evans wasn’t ready to join the fight by the episode’s end.

“The setup was understandable, but not the most exciting for us,” Evans said. “It was honestly pretty meh.”

A short raven’s flight over to Dinkytown, and the response was different. Another fest in honor of the season’s arrival took place atop FloCo Apartments.

“I just watched the episode with one of my roommates and it definitely lived up to the hype,” said strategic communications senior Rachel Ogle. 

Had Tyrion Lannister been around, he would have enjoyed this party; wine was had by all. Again, the members of this watch agreed that the show speaks to students. The unique diversity of character personalities gives everyone a hero to cheer for.

“There are so many different characters and storylines,” said Ogle. “There’s kind of something for everybody.”

Characters from Jamie Lannister to Daenerys have undoubtedly stolen the hearts of students. What started as another fantasy book truly has turned into a true “Song of Ice and Fire” for many here in the North.

As the show counts down, every fan has their own theory. Some say Dany will die, others think Jon will kill Dany … and then there are the select few holding out hope that Ned Stark never died. 

This last season is a pivotal moment in media history for our generation, whichever way the wheel turns.

Because in the end, valar morghulis.

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