ROUND-UP: Game of Thrones – ‘Winterfell’ (Season 8, Episode 1)

How to Ride your Auntie Dragon

Marieke: “I can show you the North
Shining, shimmering splendid
Tell me, Khaleesi, now when did
You last let your heart decide?
I have opened your eyes
Take you walker by wonder
Over walls and under
On a magic dragon ride…”

And yes, what DO dragons eat? The Northern diet does not agree with them!

Jon Dany Got ep 1
Jon (Kit Harington) and Dany (Emilia Clarke) enjoying the Northern scenery.

Danielle: I don’t think it’s the diet that’s the problem for the dragons, but rather the flipping cold. Dany should consider having some nice jumpers knitted for her children. It won’t make a blind bit of difference against the Night King, but they would look rather fetching… Seriously though, what the hell was going on with Jon riding Rhaegal? In light of his parentage, I know it makes sense that he would bond with the dragon named after his biological father, but the whole scene felt like a bad rip-off of Aladdin, Harry Potter and The Neverending Story all rolled into one. Thrones doesn’t do well on the odd occasions it veers into self-awareness, and unfortunately it flew straight into it here. I’m still cringing. (Although, that might have something to do with the incest as well.) I couldn’t even bring myself to enjoy Drogon giving Jon the ‘back off’ look when he was snogging Dany. *sighs* 

Mean Girls

Marieke: If you need to welcome people to your house, hire Bran! Fun times! It is nice he cut to the chase so eagerly. There’s no time for polite chit-chat: there is death to be fought! It was great how the start of the episode echoed the first episode ever through the boy checking out the parade of armies going by. The Northerners did not really enjoy the new company, and were possibly raising an eyebrow at seeing people of colour for the first time, along with scary dragons and, oh my, is that a LANNISTER? Dany gathered quite a crew and getting them all on their side might require that wedding that Davos, Varys and Tyrion are scheming about to hold the alliance together.

Sansa showed her newfound wisdom by confronting Jon about his feelings for Dany. She is not a little naive girl anymore, Jon! She saw right through you, and is right about being reluctant about liking Dany. She knows better and she has people to look after. Sansa thinking about all the mouths to feed shows she has become a leader too. Arya not taking Jon’s little diss of her during their reunion shows how much everything has changed. I love Arya and Jon’s bond. No doubt they also bonded over their sibling dislike of Sansa. He used that to establish that bond again, but Arya is not having any of it. She still loves Jon and proudly show off Needle. But don’t touch Sansa, because Arya fights for her now. Their meet up was a little sweeter than Bran and Jon’s, but that’s because Mr. Betamax cannot have any feelings as the Three-Eyed Raven apparently. Man, he is so weird!

Danielle: Oh man, that was both a literal and figuratively cold reception for Dany and her crew! Just as the dragons don’t seems to be coping well in the North, I can’t see how the likes of Missandei and Grey Worm could ever be comfortable in the face of barely concealed racism. Down the line, how could that possibly bode well for Dany’s hopes to settle in Westeros when the ‘locals’ see her and her allies as alien. You can’t rule by fear alone. Speaking of which, I really didn’t like the fact that she visibly enjoyed the Northerners running scared from her dragons. I get the sense that Daario really stumbled on something when he called Dany ‘a conqueror, not a ruler’.

I nearly choked with laughter at Jon’s reunion with Bran as the slow realisation that his ‘little brother’ is more than a little strange these days. There’s no good way to react to someone essentially telling you that they’re not fully human anymore. The former King in the North had an altogether more emotional catch-up with Arya, even if it was surprisingly guarded in places. It’s interesting that she made a point of defending Sansa, and that she held back in telling him just how many times she has used Needle. Maybe there was an element of shame there? Either way, it was still a sweet moment and a great way to re-humanise Arya after all these years as a mini ninja assassin. Moving on to the other Stark sister, I haven’t always been #TeamSansa, but I was firmly waving the flag in the premiere. The logistics of feeding armies and the population might be boring in the grand scheme of things, but it’s these details that are the difference between winning a battle and losing one. She’s also observed others playing the game, and is careful about who to place her in trust in.  After everything she’s been through, Sansa seems primed to rule in some capacity in a way that Dany, Jon and even Tyrion are not.  

Flirting in the Forge
Gendry Arya ep 1 GoT
Gendry (Joe Dempsie) and Arya (Maisie Williams) admiring her blade and each other in the forge.

Marieke: He was once on her list as he killed her friend, but in the meantime, the Hound and Arya have grown a tiny bit fond of each other. They will never share or even show that, however little hints show the Hound is proud of the little ninja, and Arya is impressed he managed to survive. Now let’s see if they get to fight side by side once again. Do you also happen to remember Robert Baratheon telling Ned Stark their children should get married? He meant Sansa and Joffrey, but in a way it could still happen, instead in relation to the child he didn’t know he had, Gendry, and Arya. Or maybe not, but this is probably as close to getting a real Stark/Baratheon romance as we’ll get. Although Gendry might have thought Arya was a little weapon greedy. She already has a Valyrian steel dagger and she ALSO wants dragonglass… Will one of those weapons be important?

Danielle: The reunion between Arya and Sandor actually fell a little flat for me. I didn’t expect anything too poignant to happen between them, but the ‘cold little bitch’ line from seemed a little too on the nose to me. Still, it paved the way for her to hang out with Gendry for the first time since Season 3, and now that Maisie Williams is age appropriate, things seemed to have moved on from that crush Arya had when they were travelling together. Romance is in the air!

White Walker Wall Hangings

Marieke: Yeaaaaah our wilding and crow faves live! And they gave us the BEST joke of the episode (“I’ve always had blue eyes!!!”) Now they need to head to Winterfell ASAP, because that original Night King art display was freaking scary. Poor little Umber lord! That was a great jumpscare though, they totally had me. It was the most chilling and most gruesome moment of the episode, as if we needed a reminder of what was coming for them. But also, the first episode also had one of those lovely displays, so it was an echo again. But then we thought it would be about the Houses and the wars between them, now we know better. Head to the others as quick as you can! Head to Brienne, Tormund!

Edd Tormund Beric
Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and Beric (Richard Dormer) bumping into Edd and Night’s Watch at Last Hearth. 

Danielle: Edd coming close to killing Tormund because he had blue eyes was hilarious; a real and necessary moment of humour in what was otherwise quite a tense opening episode. Man, the Night King pinning the Umber kid to the wall like that was pretty gross though, even if that was a weirdly impressive use of limbs to make the spiral that he seems so obsessed with. Obviously he’s hinting at something as he and his White Walkers have used similar symbolism a few times before, but I like the fact that this means of communication once again represents the fact that there’s something meaningful driving his horrific actions, rather than him being a mindless ice zombie. 

Hear Me Trumpet!
Cersei ep 1 Got
Cersei (Lena Headey) pining after those elephants.

Marieke: It’s a good thing Dumbo is not available in Westeros. You know Cersei would have wanted him to fight for her after seeing that film. It is a shame a cheap ‘the boat trip is too long’ trick was necessary, because they should have just CGI’d some elephants in! In the meantime Cersei is clearly fascinated by Euron’s ego. Not because it his, but possibly because it reminds her of old Jaime’s ego. The one before the hand chop incident. Euron is just a boytoy to pass the time. I am still wondering if Cersei is pregnant. She’s drinking wine like she normally drinks wine. Either she is not pregnant, or she gives birth to another Tyrion. Oooooh imagine that!

I am glad Theon saved Yara already and that Glaswegian kiss (Ironborn kiss?) was pretty sweet. Theon deserved that! Now they have separated again. Yara to create a safe haven (no one tell her there’s an undead dragon…) and Theon to help the North. Because he is a Greyjoy and a Stark. Maybe him going to help the others will make the last pieces of Reek within him vanish forever (and he might die, redeemed and all).

Danielle: Rather than being concerned about how he compared in bed to King Robert and the ‘Kingslayer’, perhaps Euron should have been more worried that she was obviously thinking about those promised elephants all the way through them having sex. I found Cersei’s behaviour throughout this episode rather curious. Not only is it unclear if she’s still pregnant, there’s also a sense that she’s regretting her actions that spurred Jaime to leave. That teary-eyed post-coital drinking doesn’t denote someone who’s relishing her position on the throne, even if she enjoyed Captain Jack Greyjoy’s arrogance, (and there was real chemistry between Lena and Pilou, which demonstrated just how laboured the twincest scenes have been for the past few seasons.)  I find it curious how much she’s come to rely on Qyburn, right down to her looking for his approval before she silently beckoned Euron to her chambers. She also tasked him with conscripting Bronn to ride North to kill her two ‘traitorous’ brothers with the crossbow that Tyrion killed Tywin with. Maybe I’m the daft one here, but isn’t sending Bronn off with a cartload of gold rather stupid? I know Cersei’s promised him more on completion of the task, but it still seems rather risky, even when utilising someone as mercenary as the former sellsword.

Euron is going to be mighty annoyed that little Theon came to Yara’s rescue, whilst he was sowing his royal oats with Cersei. Her nutting her little brother and then offering a hand to pick him up again was a nice touch. Who wants to be left tied up on a boat for weeks on end, being forced to listen to your weird uncle natter on? That their sibling bond is strong enough to allow Theon to go and do what he has to do at Winterfell speaks volumes. I also feel like the mention of the safety of the islands was yet again very pointed. Are the ‘sanctuaries’ surrounding Westeros going to have endgame importance?

Regal Revelations

Marieke: Jorah owes his life to Sam and only wanted to show his and his Khaleesi’s gratitude. Little did he know Dany did something not so nice to House Tarly. Well, Papa Tarly was a traitor anyway and awful to Sam, but his brother with the biceps, he was rather nice. Sam’s emotions were so raw and he did not deserve that pain. The clever bloke that he is, he probably figured out the mode of execution right away. Ouch! But, maybe without this pain, he would not have been so eager to tell Jon about his heritage. Yes, Ned lied, but also in way it was good, it was necessary to protect him. Ned having been unfaithful would always have been worse than lying about little Aegon. Jon doesn’t need to be king, he just wants to save people. But between needing and being, there is a whole big difference there. Also, how is Dany going to react to this? Will she be as willing to bend the knee as she asked Jon (and pretty much everyone else) to do. My guess is… She won’t like this! But it will explain the dragons’ liking of their new family member.

Dany Sam ep 1 GoT
Dany telling Sam (John Bradley) the news about his father and brother.

Danielle: My heart really broke for Sam. Even though you can tell he was willing to come to terms with Randyll’s execution, which is hardly surprising in light of his father’s multiple death threats, Dickon’s death really broke him. John Bradley was fantastic in that scene, and Clarke’s portrayal of Dany’s coldness there cemented my disdain for her as a character. It 100% pushed him on to deliver the news of Jon’s parentage to his best friend in the crypts, and what’s more, from the preceding dialogue with between Sam and Bran, the Three-Eyed Raven seemed to know he had to be the one to deliver news in the crypts. There’s a reason for that, and I think bromance will be pitted against romance in the coming episodes, as Jon comes to terms with the revelations. 

“An Old Friend”

Marieke: *staring intensifies* Bran welcomes Jaime by looking at him, and Jaime is totally bewildered and flabbergasted seeing that young boy he threw out of window has grown up into this robotesque figure. Cannot wait for the first verbal exchange in years between them. Or what Tyrion will say. Or Dany. After all, Jaime is still the Kingslayer!

Danielle: Is it wrong that my favourite scene in the episode had absolutely no dialogue? If it is, I don’t care because the emotions that flashed across Jaime’s face – shock, bewilderment, guilt – nearly floored me. I’ve been waiting for this ‘reunion’ for years and it didn’t disappoint, even though it was only the first course. For the love of the Seven Gods though, will someone push Bran inside! He’ll catch his death out there… 

The Verdict?

Marieke: A nice opener with a big set up, which also took place almost right after the season 7 finale. We know what is coming, they know what is coming, and that tension keeps bubbling underneath. Meanwhile, little reunions are there to make you happy, an emotion which does not last long in GoT, so hold onto it before your heart will most likely be ripped out again. I am glad they got certain things out of the way quickly (Yara being imprisoned, Jon’s heritage) and was rather surpised by that. But there is no time and all noses should be heading the same way: to kill the Night King and his army. And then there’s Cersei and co… I yelled ‘noooo not yet!’ when the episode ended, I wanted more already!

Danielle: In spite of there being many enjoyable moments in ‘Winterfell’, not least of all some of the much anticipated reunions, Dave Hill’s script lacked some of the flair and subtlety that we’ve become accustomed to with the show. The plot is also moving at a rip-roaring pace, which I’m not sure is helping. Nevertheless, I am still hella excited to see how the next few episodes pan out, and everyone’s reaction to Jaime arriving in the North…

Our Fezzy Score: rsz_fuzzy_fezrsz_fuzzy_fezrsz_fuzzy_fezrsz_tiny_fez

What did you think of the Season 8 premiere? Let us know in the comments…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.