For years, fans of Game of Thrones have closely watched the opening credits of the series for clues to the episode’s contents. The elaborate title sequence doubles up as a three-dimensional, dynamic map of the continents of Westeros and Essos and changes by the episode, depending on the locations that will be covered.
For those eagle-eyed viewers, there was a surprise in store in the new season of Game of Thrones, which was premiered in India early on April 15. After touring regions as far flung as Vaes Dothrak, the Eyrie, Dragonstone, Mereen, Astarpor, Dorne and Eastwatch across the first seven seasons, the title sequence of the first episode of season eight had a drastically limited geography, introducing only Winterfell, King’s Landing and Last Hearth. With the Night King’s Army having breached the Wall in season seven, the title sequence indicates that the focus will now primarily be on the fight for survival.
As always, the sequence opens with the spherical astrolabe, an ancient astronomical measuring instrument, with a fiery core. The device, a hat-tip to the show’s medievalesque setting, then glides along the map of the continents, zooming in on key locations whose landmarks come to life as they rise from the ground in clockwork motion. In the background is Ramin Djawadi’s iconic background score.
With only three locations to cover, however, the new sequence packs in a lot more detail. As Vox pointed out, this is the first time that sequence introduces Last Hearth, the northernmost castle and the one closest to the Wall, which turns out to be all too well named.
In another first, the sequence also includes interior shots of Winterfell and Kings Landing, including the Great Hall and crypts of the northern castle and the Red Keep and Iron Throne in the Southern seat of power.
In an interview to Buzzfeed, Angus Hall of Elastic, the design studio that creates the Emmy award-winning sequence, said the new version offers a “down-low, really specific micro view of what’s going on”, showing the various layers beneath the surface.