- Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Game of Thrones” season eight, episode one.
- Three characters met at a never-before-seen castle on the eighth season premiere of “Game of Thrones” Sunday.
- This castle was Last Hearth — the home to Lord Ned Umber. Things didn’t go well for little Lord Umber.
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The eighth season premiere of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” ended with back-to-back gut punches when Sam Tarly finally told Jon Snow about his Targaryen parentage, and then Jaime Lannister arrived to Winterfell only to see Bran Stark sitting in the courtyard waiting for him.
But before that, a horrifying scene played out with Beric Dondarrion, Tormund Giantsbane, and Edd Tollett all converging on a castle hall where they found little Lord Umber dead and pinned to a wall. As confirmed to INSIDER by a representative for HBO, this scene took place at a never-before-shown castle called Last Hearth, the holdfast belonging to House Umber.
We know that change of location may have thrown some people for a loop, so let’s walk through all the steps of how this group of people (and undead Ned Umber) came to be in that castle.
Who’s Lord Umber, and how did he get from Winterfell back to Last Hearth?
Little Ned Umber became Lord of Last Hearth after his father, Smalljon Umber, sided with Ramsay Bolton and was killed during the Battle of the Bastards on season six of “Game of Thrones.”
On the premiere on season seven, Jon had young Ned Umber and Alys Karstark swear their allegiance to House Stark once again, and allowed them to keep their families’ titles and lands. Later on the season, Jon pointed out that Last Hearth and Karhold (the castles of House Umber and Karstark) would be the first two castles to fall in the war.
“If they breach the Wall, the first two castles in their path are Last Hearth and Karhold,” Jon said when he was addressing the northern lords on the first episode of season seven.
Just as we predicted, Jon’s ability to correctly read a map was a clear foreshadowing of what would happen after the Wall came down on the seventh season finale.
When asked by Sansa Stark where the rest of his people were, Lord Umber tells her he needs more horses and wagons in order to safely transport everyone and their supplies from Last Hearth to Winterfell.
Sansa Stark, Lady of Winterfell, tells Lord Umber he’ll have the help he needs. So we can assume he went back to Last Hearth with the wagons and horses and promised, but was promptly attacked by the Night King and his Army of the Dead.
How did Beric, Tormund, and Edd all wind up at Last Hearth?
The second slightly mystifying piece of this scene was the presence of Beric, Tormund, and Edd, who just happened to all arrive at Last Hearth at the same time.
We last saw Beric and Tormund atop the Wall at Eastwatch by the Sea, the easternmost castle manned by the Night’s Watch. As INSIDER noted last season, Beric and Tormund survived the Night King’s attack by running west along the Wall’s ramparts to a spot where the icy structure wasn’t crumbling.
But what wasn’t clear at the time was where they would go next.
A likely answer was Castle Black. Theoretically if Beric and Tormund had just kept running west, they would eventually reach the area of the Wall where Castle Black is and find more Night’s Watch men standing guard.
But it seems as though they instead made their way down the Wall and walked south to Last Hearth, perhaps in an effort to find supplies and shelter on their way to Winterfell.
As for Edd, he was last shown on the seventh season premiere when Meera and Bran finally reached Castle Black. Edd was left in charge of the Night’s Watch after Jon’s death and resurrection.
On the eighth season premiere, after learning from the Night King’s attack at Eastwatch, Jon tells Maester Wolkan to send a raven to the Night’s Watch. There’s no point in guarding the Wall if the Army of the Dead has already breached it, so Jon says they’ll make their stand at Winterfell.
Presumably, that raven made it to Edd, and he (along with the remaining Night’s Watch brothers) headed south and stopped at Last Hearth, too.
But that brings us to another important question.
Where’s the Night King and the Army of the Dead now?
If the Night King did indeed have his army march from Eastwatch to Last Hearth to leave that ominous message, we can assume they’re now heading to Winterfell.
Edd tells Beric and Tormund they rode down from Castle Black and can double up on horses, and Tormund claims they can reach Winterfell before the Army of the Dead.
We’ve seen shots of Beric and the Hound fighting in what looked like the battle of Winterfell, so maybe that means the Night King will take a detour to other Northern castles before descending upon the stronghold of House Stark. He presumably wants to kill/resurrect as many wights as possible before facing Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and the dragons.
That would give our Last Hearth companions time to make it south, though it still feels like a stretch. The Army of the Dead is comprised of at least 100,000 wights and White Walkers, and now they have an undead ice dragon. Could anyone truly sneak past them?
Perhaps this is an example of map-logic we simply shouldn’t be fretting about at this stage of the show. With only six episodes in the final season, smaller subplots like this will have a lightspeed pace with little time for fully fleshed out explanations.
Even the larger storyline had incredible forward momentum on this eighth season premiere, with Jon Snow already learning the truth about his birth parents and claim to the Iron Throne. So buckle up, “Game of Thrones” fans, because we’re only just getting started.
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