This story does not contain spoilers.

Jon SnowImage copyright HBO
Image caption Jon Snow: He knows something

Game Of Thrones returned for its eighth and final season on Monday morning after a near two-year absence.

HBO aired episode one of the fantasy epic simultaneously in the US and UK.

Hardcore British fans had to stay up until 0200 BST to return to the Westeros winter for the first time since August 2017.

Secrets were revealed and families reunited as the battle for the Iron Throne intensified, with the ‘undead’ army inching ever closer.

While many battle-weary viewers were either heading back to bed, or off to work, journalists were busy filing their early reviews:

Breathtaking moments

The Guardian, which declares “the end is now,” writes “the final series is off to a thrilling start, with reunions we’ve waited years for, a shocking new kill list – and even a homage to the show’s own ‘sexposition'”

We’ll let you figure that one out for yourselves.

The Telegraph, meanwhile, sums it up as “Winterfell: Sex, reunions, and a glimpse of the carnage to come.”

According to The Sun, the new opener for the show – which has been running since 2011 – was a “heady mix of dark gags and breathtaking moments and helped the series opener to “live up to expectations”, while Variety added the GoT writers have done something new this time around; “Hitting the accelerator and delivering major plot developments, hurriedly, in its home stretch.”

Image copyright HBO
Image caption Daenerys Targaryen

One of the most eagerly-anticipated TV moments of the decade is expected to have drawn a huge audience.

According to HBO last month, 81 million people watched the trailer across all online platforms (including Twitter, YouTube, Facebook) in just 24 hours.

The show’s return lit up social media again early on Monday.

One fan online appeared to get a little hot under the collar about the latest edition of the TV adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novel series.

Lauren Knight tweeted: “Freaking out over that Game of Thrones episode!! So worth the wait! But why, why do we have to wait another week.”

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