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Game Of Thrones season eight premiere review

By Gemma Peplow, arts and entertainment reporter

So, here we are. Almost two years since the Wall ..

By Gemma Peplow, arts and entertainment reporter

So, here we are. Almost two years since the Wall was ice-fired into oblivion and we now, finally, get to see how it all ends.

Before we continue, one last warning, just in case we haven't made ourselves clear: this review contains spoilers for the Game Of Thrones season eight premiere.

HBO has been guarding this thing like an unhatched dragon egg, so if you're waiting until its main UK screening time at 9pm tonight – as if you've not got it etched on your war room tables – you better stop reading now.

Go on. You'll thank us for it later.

Those who set the alarm clocks for 2am: here we go.

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Image: Jon Snow returns to Winterfell with Daenerys Targaryen. Pic: Sky Atlantic/HBO

With no time to mess about, this final season premiere gets straight down to business, with Jon Snow returning to Winterfell riding alongside his new Queen, Daenerys Targaryen; her dragons soaring overhead and making quite the first impression, as dragons tend to do.

This is an episode with plenty of big plot moments; no epic battles, no slaying of major characters, but the big question from last season – which could have stayed secret a while longer to ramp up the drama later in the series – is dealt with swiftly. Does Jon Snow find out the truth about who he really is?

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Yes. Yes, he does.

In the crypts of Winterfell, Samwell Tarly is the one to deliver the revelation that viewers learned at the end of series seven: Jon Snow, you are not Ned Stark's bastard son, you are Aegon Targaryen, heir to the Iron Throne and also your new girlfriend's nephew.

It's quite a bit to take in, and Jon is unsurprisingly disbelieving at first.

Samwell Tarly played by John Bradley. Pic: HBO/Sky Atlantic
Image: Samwell Tarly, played by John Bradley, reveals the truth about Jon Snow. Pic: Sky Atlantic/HBO

Not only does everyone's favourite nice guy Samwell bring that mic drop, but also the news that Daenerys had his father and brother, Randyll and Dickon Tarly, brutally executed by dragon fire.

Oh, and it was all going so well.

Earlier in the day we saw Jon and Dany taking the dragons out for a spin; Jon's first time, but he's not bad for a novice. Something in the blood, perhaps?

In, dare we say it, slightly cheesy scenes, the pair are snogging and galavanting across the skies of Winterfell as if they don't have a care in the world.

Sophie Turner dodges spoilers in GOT
GOT stars expertly dodge season 8 spoilers

Come on guys, you're facing the possibility of the entire population of Westeros being turned into the undead, here! Keep the PDAs down a bit!

How will Jon deal with the news of his true birthright? Perhaps more importantly, how will Dany?

After all her talk of breaking the wheel, how will she feel when she finds out there's a new rightful heir in town (and her bed)?

In other things-not-looking-good-for-Westeros's-hottest-new-couple news, Sansa Stark is making it clear in no uncertain terms that she's not the biggest fan of the dragon mother Jon has bent the knee for.

Sansa Stark was joined by her sister Arya in Winterfell in season eight
Image: Sansa Stark makes clear she's no fan of Daenerys Targaryen. Pic: Sky Atlantic/HBO

Is this Game Of Thrones falling on the lazy trope of two powerful women being unable to get along?

While some will no doubt feel that way, it is also perfectly reasonable for Sansa – and Arya Stark, and most of Winterfell, for that matter – to be wary of the Breaker of Chains.

While we as viewers have come to know Daenerys over seven seasons, cheering her on as she transformed from a timid young girl to a badass queen, she is after all an unknown quantity to the Stark sisters.

This is a woman with two massive fire-breathing dragons at her bidding, let's not forget. That kind of thing takes a bit of getting used to.

Meanwhile, back in King's Landing, Cersei Lannister isn't giving celibacy a go while twin brother/lover Jaime is away.

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game Of Thrones. Pic: Sky Atlantic/ HBORead More – Source [contf] [contfnew]

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Shockingly Evil : Efron as notorious serial killer Ted Bundy

By Gemma Peplow, arts and entertainment reporter

Zac Efron has spoken about how he got into the ps..

By Gemma Peplow, arts and entertainment reporter

Zac Efron has spoken about how he got into the psyche of serial killer Ted Bundy at the premiere of his new film about the notorious US murderer.

The Hollywood star spoke to Sky News on the red carpet for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile alongside his co-star Lily Collins, who plays his long-term girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer (called Liz Kendall in the film).

Image: Ted Bundy was executed in 1989

After maintaining his innocence for years, Bundy finally confessed to the murders of more than 30 women and girls across several states in the 1970s before his execution in 1989. However, it is believed the real number of victims is still unknown and that the real number could be far higher.

Zac Efron, Lily Collins and director Joe Berlinger at the European premiere
Image: Zac Efron, Lily Collins and director Joe Berlinger at the European premiere

For Efron, who is best known for films including the High School Musical series, The Greatest Showman and Hairspray, playing the infamous Bundy was a very different challenge.

"We had a plethora of footage, so much source footage from his different trials," he told Sky News. "There was a lot to go on.

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"I worked on studying his mannerisms and all the classic stuff… There was a fine line between keeping it a real, honest character and doing an impersonation. It was a fair amount of work."

Ted Bundy's murder spree ranged across several states
Image: Ted Bundy's murder spree ranged across several states

Handsome, intelligent and charismatic, Bundy was the monster hiding in plain sight; how could a man who was so charming, so good-looking, be capable of such evil?

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That was how many saw him. (more…)

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fun

Shockingly Evil : Efron as notorious serial killer Ted Bundy

By Gemma Peplow, arts and entertainment reporter

Zac Efron has spoken about how he got into the ps..

By Gemma Peplow, arts and entertainment reporter

Zac Efron has spoken about how he got into the psyche of serial killer Ted Bundy at the premiere of his new film about the notorious US murderer.

The Hollywood star spoke to Sky News on the red carpet for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile alongside his co-star Lily Collins, who plays his long-term girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer (called Liz Kendall in the film).

Image: Ted Bundy was executed in 1989

After maintaining his innocence for years, Bundy finally confessed to the murders of more than 30 women and girls across several states in the 1970s before his execution in 1989. However, it is believed the real number of victims is still unknown and that the real number could be far higher.

Zac Efron, Lily Collins and director Joe Berlinger at the European premiere
Image: Zac Efron, Lily Collins and director Joe Berlinger at the European premiere

For Efron, who is best known for films including the High School Musical series, The Greatest Showman and Hairspray, playing the infamous Bundy was a very different challenge.

"We had a plethora of footage, so much source footage from his different trials," he told Sky News. "There was a lot to go on.

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"I worked on studying his mannerisms and all the classic stuff… There was a fine line between keeping it a real, honest character and doing an impersonation. It was a fair amount of work."

Ted Bundy's murder spree ranged across several states
Image: Ted Bundy's murder spree ranged across several states

Handsome, intelligent and charismatic, Bundy was the monster hiding in plain sight; how could a man who was so charming, so good-looking, be capable of such evil?

More from Ents & Arts

That was how many saw him. (more…)

Continue Reading

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Avengers: Endgame ‘tragic, uplifting – and the perfect goodbye’

After 11 years and 22 films, this is it – the fate of the Avengers is due to be revealed.

Avengers:..

After 11 years and 22 films, this is it – the fate of the Avengers is due to be revealed.

Avengers: Endgame has been hailed the "perfect goodbye" and both "tragic and uplifting" by critics ahead of its highly anticipated release this week.

It looks set to be a box office record breaker, with some analysts saying it could see a huge opening weekend of $1bn (£772m) in global ticket sales.

Image: Avengers: Endgame could break box office records

The epic three-hour superhero film follows on from last year's Avengers: Infinity War, which ended with half the universe being wiped out by evil villain Thanos, played by Josh Brolin.

Fans will finally get to see the remaining Avengers – including Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth's Thor, Chris Evans' Captain America, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, Brie Larson's Captain Marvel and Mark Ruffalo's Hulk – taking one final stand in the Marvel Studios conclusion.

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Avengers: Endgame. Pic: Marvel
Image: Avengers: Endgame is the 22nd film in the Marvel series

Here's what the critics are saying.

:: In The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw awarded Endgame a perfect five-star score, saying: "As an artificial creation, the Avengers have been triumphant, and as entertainment, they have been unconquerable."

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:: The Atlantic magazine says the film is the "perfect goodbye", and that it "earns its length not by overstuffing the frame with opulent action, but by slowing things down and basking in the charisma of its ensemble".

:: The Hollywood Reporter praised the performances of Endgame's A-list cast members, writing: "What comes across most strongly here, oddly enough for an effects-driven comic-book-derived film, is the character acting, especially from Downey, Ruffalo, Evans, Hemsworth, Brolin and Paul Rudd as Ant-Man." (more…)

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