The new ‘Game of Thrones' opening credits had huge significance

I remember when I first started watching Game of Thrones, the opening credits were kind of a slog. Only a few episodes in, however, and I was refusing to let anyone skip over them.

The opening sequence sees us travel over the map of Westeros, with 3-D clockwork models spring up from the surface to represent key locations such as Winterfell and King's Landing. As the show went on, more and more locations were added - but by the eighth and final season, there are far less to deal with as characters group together.

The trailer for Game of Thrones season eight:

Elastic, the production studio behind the opening credits, recently spoke to BuzzFeed News about the creation of the opening titles - and why they've decided to change them up for the final season.

“Our initial pitch [for the credits] had all these little bells and whistles that were just too ambitious for the first pass,” creative director Angus Wall said. “We wanted a second bite at the apple, as it were, to really do all the stuff that we had initially talked about.”

The map was meant to be simple and two-dimensional early on in development, but they soon realised this was pretty boring - and opted for CGI models instead. This also gave them the chance to change things as the show went on.

Here's what the opening credits looked like for season seven:

This time around, they know they've got fewer locations and more happening within them, so they've taken a different approach - including the addition of detailed interiors for the major locations.

“In Season 7, all the storylines and all the interactions between all the characters became a lot more intimate," art director Kirk Shintani explained. "You’re not getting this overarching view anymore. You’re getting this down-low, really specific micro view of what’s going on."

The credits always feature an astrolabe that circles a fiery star, decorated with murals. These murals represent the history that predates the show, including the Doom of Valyria, the Battle of the Trident, and the Rise of House Baratheon. This time we've got three new murals, representing newer defining moments: the fall of the Wall, the Red Wedding, and the birth of Daenerys’ dragons.

You can see the new opening credits below:

There are also some new locations - including, this episode's inclusion of the Last Hearth. This is the seat of House Umber, and is shown being engulfed in ice - which foreshadows the dark ending of the premiere episode.

Ned Umber, though just ten years old, became Lord of House Umber after his family died fighting against Jon Snow in the Battle of the Bastards. Ned pledged fealty to the Starks once again last season, and this time around he promises to head back home to get more horses for the upcoming battle with the dead.

Unfortunately, as the opening credits foretold - the army of the dead have reached his castle. Tormund and Beric, alongside the remnants of the Night's Watch, find the young boy impaled on the wall, surrounded by a grotesque pattern of dismembered limbs. And it looks like this isn't going to be the only detail added with each episode.

“I’ll say that there are differences in every single episode,” Shintani added. “From episode to episode, pay attention, because there’s lots of hints scattered around.”