“I Guess That’s Why You’re Still Alive” Game Of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1 "Winterfell"
Well, we’re back, and the more things change the more they stay the same. Well, some things really changed, we have a whole new opening credits sequence, new graphics, new design, and they sped up one of the most iconic theme songs in television history.
Not sure what I think about it, will have to watch it a few more times.
Okay, here we go!
“Many underestimated you, most of them are dead now”
Okay, virtually every single living and breathing person in the history of the entire show not named Cersei Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Qyburn, Franken-Mountain, or Greyjoy is now in Winterfell and every single person in the Army of the Dead is now heading towards Winterfell.
You want reunions, this is the episode for you, they are ALL in this episode, if you can imagine any character who has not seen another important character in a long time, they virtually all reunite during this episode.
On a show which has been characterized by people being separated, this seems almost too quick and too neat (even episode seven of season seven where team Lannister and team Daenerys got together to negotiate over how to deal with the white walkers did not have as many reunions as this episode). In other words, the last two episodes of Game of Thrones are probably the closest a Game of Thrones will ever get to being aired on the Hallmark channel.
That said, not everyone is what I would call thrilled to reconnect with everyone else. Sansa, for instance, is obviously “happy” to see Jon, back at Winterfell but not exactly thrilled to see Jon back with Daenerys.
But Sansa is also grumpy for another reason, the North has just not been unifying behind her rule like she had hoped (which is odd because I was pretty sure we settled this last season...remember all the stuff with Lyanna Mormont and Jon and Sansa etc.).
Anyway, the North apparently really really still wants Jon Snow to be King of the North but he threw the crown away, so they are not united behind Sansa and now see Jon as a possible traitor to the North who is ‘in the service’ of a foreign Queen.
So, strategically, Sansa feels like she is trying to keep a fragile team together. While Daenerys brings a lot of manpower and (flying) firepower to the party, Sansa seems to feel Daenerys might end up being way too much of a good thing.
Oh and one other thing, while Sansa may love Jon Snow she s also partially convinced that he is kind of thick. Well, not just Jon., the line of the night was probably when she says to Tyrion, “I used to think you were the wisest man in the world.”
Thank god for Sansa,
I feel like she is now literally the living representation of my criticisms of Benioff and Weiss (but actually from inside the show). How many times have I screamed about how stupid they have made Tyrion and how much they have neutered Varys (pun intended, in the spirit of Tyrion's joke tonight).
I guess of all the reunions this was my favorite, despite Sansa calling Tyrion out for being a moron….
And he is a moron...
Why? For believing a) that Cersei thinks linking up would be the best way to save her baby and b) that Cersei is going to play it straight and help defend Winterfell against the Night King.
It was oddly good to see Tyrion and Sansa together again (Are they technically still married, I really don’t know). I honestly wish Benioff and Weiss would listen to Sansa. I miss the old brilliantly strategic Tyrion. This new Tyrion is kind of an idiot.
I will say this again, there is NO way the real Tyrion would have fallen for Cersei’s bullshit.
Anyway, for some unexplained reason, Winterfell is where most of the armies of the living have chosen to fight the armies of the dead. Of course, since the armies of the dead literally took down The Wall with ease, I am a bit confused as to how Winterfell is going to stand up to them and the zombie-dragon, but I suspect we will soon find out.
“The Dragons Are Barely Eating...They don’t Like the North”
So, Jon and Daenerys decide to go for a ride on her dragons,
If I have one consistent criticism of Benioff and Weiss it is that they are addicted to sacrificing story, logic, and character motivation to deliver spectacle.
Of course everyone wants to see Jon riding a dragon, but should it also have to make sense? I think so.
At the end of the episode, in the post-episode mini-Documentary, Benioff (or Weiss, I can barely tell them apart) suggests that since only Targaryen’s can ride dragons, Jon should have known he was a Targaryen before Sam tells him at the end of the episode (no duh).
This should also raise the question of why Jon’s ability to ride Rhaegal didn’t give Daenerys pause too (are we really supposed to believe that Daenerys wouldn’t be tipped off by Jon being able to ride a dragon?) and also make me wonder why in the world she would encourage Jon to try to ride Rhaegal in the first place?
In theory, she could have always suspected or known that Jon was a Targaryen (remember inter-Targ marriage has always been the rule more than the exception) but, because Daenerys has always been presented as one of the only experts in Dragon lore left, any other explanation would entirely defy logic.
Funny story, it is most likely not true that only Targaryen’s can ride dragons. During the Dance of Dragons there were more dragons than Targaryen’s so they tried to get what they called “dragonseeds” to ride the dragons (bastards of Targaryens) many failed but some succeeded and some of those successful riders might have not really had Targaryen blood. One named “Nettles” was a ”brown-skinned girl with black hair and brown eyes.”
Also, and I don’t mean to nitpick here, but the mechanics of riding the dragons on the show make virtually no sense. In the books they had saddles and riding chains (not for the dragons for the riders). Please explain to me how, at the speed those dragons were moving and without anything to actually hold on to, Jon snow didn’t plummet to his death? Or how with their heads and faces uncovered, how they didn’t both freeze to death?
I was reading another recap where someone asked why the unsullied weren’t freezing to death on the march into Winterfell, which is a logical question (remember we are in Winter now and this is the North) but if the unsullied should be cold, how do Daenerys and Jon survive flying through the air at rapid speeds again exactly?
Oh, also, dragons and riders have to bond before riding, and once a dragon bonds with a human they are connected for life. I seem to have missed the part where Jon and Rhaegal bonded (sigh)?
“I Wanted Those Elephants”
Euron Greyjoy has brought the Iron Fleet and the Golden Company to Kings Landing and to Cersei. Apparently, this is enough for her to have sex with him and for him to pat her belly in hopes he has gotten her “with child”
So, either Cersei really is pregnant and is using Euron to cover for having another child with Jaime, she wants to be pregnant by Euron (for what reason I cannot imagine) or she isn’t pregnant and just is entirely humoring him. My guess is given the look she gives him, it is the former.
While Euron is getting busy Theon show up and frees his sister Asha/Yara (who was a prisoner on Euron’s flagship. Somehow nobody else notices them making up with several ships (apparently the Iron fleet sailors are - as always - very bad at setting sentries or seeing ships take off in the middle of the night.
Apparently, Theon has decided to go fight with the Starks against the armies of the dead and Asha/Yara is going to retake the Iron Islands while Euron is busy playing consort.
Oh, and Cersei sends Qyburn to pay Bronn to kill Tyrion and Jaime (Qyburn actually walks in on Bronn having sex with three women at the time..not very nice of him).
Bran tells Sam that he needs to tell Jon about his lineage. So, Sam immediately goes to find Jon, they reunite and hug it out (kind of the theme of the evening) but then Sam drops two bombs on him:
1) Daenerys killed his family and
2) That he is not Jon Snow, he is actually Aegon Targaryen (6th of his name, protector of the realm, all of it)
Now Jon isn’t the brightest bulb on the Stark tree so it is unclear if he has put together that he is been shacking up with his aunt/sister...but he does seem to get that this makes him the rightful heir to the throne.
Sam has a good line at the end of this bit, he says, “you gave up your crown to save your people, would she do the same?”
My bet is no.
Big trouble in little Winterfell.
The Brotherhood Without Banners and Tormund, apparently on an away mission, find the kid from House Umber and his entire house and family killed. The young Lord Umber was pinned to the wall surrounded by the arms of his compatriots (in a nautilus-like design). The kid wakes up a zombie and they burn him to death.
Bran also has really gotten spacey, he barely registers Jon’s return after all these years and later he says that he is “not Jon’s brother.” He is full on three-eyed crow now or something even weirder (no, he isn’t the gosh darn Night King).
And at the very end of the entire show, perhaps the least likely reunion of all. Arguably the event that initiated the entire series was Jaime throwing Bran out the window at the end of the very first episode of Season One.
Jaime arrives at Winterfell (because obviously that is where everyone is) and the first person he sees is Bran.
Fade to black.
Okay, five more episodes to go.
Was it a great episode, no, not really. Was it terrible, no, not really. One of those “moving pieces around the board” episodes.