Game of Thrones 801 - “Winterfell”: A Discussion

Heading into the FINAL SEASON of HBO’s GAME OF THRONES, needless to say, has been a different experience altogether. Questions about the show’s foothold in entertainment history has been discussed at great length. It’s difficult to try and think of many other shows that have brought together audiences in this fashion. Going beyond just a general “water cooler” show, it’s a show that triggered offices all over the country (and possibly an easy bet to make), worldwide, to partake in betting on which characters live, die, actions they’ll take #ForTheThrone and, of course: WHO sits on the Iron Throne when it all ends.

(HBO)

In a series of articles, we’ll be discussing our thoughts and opinions on each of the remaining SIX EPISODES, so without further ado, let’s get started!

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Prutha: Watching this episode, it’s particularly interesting how characters on GOT continue to have to explain to others on the show exactly what or who the true enemy is. Though this entire show is definitely built around the politics and ruthlessness of what people are willing to do to hold power or the throne, in the middle of all the chaos is that one key fact that unites them all: It’s living versus the dead. They need to put aside their differences for the sake of humanity, get with the program, Sansa (Sophie Turner). (Although, not going to lie, the Sansa and Dany (Emilia Clarke) animosity was particularly entertaining.)

Because if they don’t put their differences aside, it’s literally just going to be The Night King (Vladimir Furdik) on the throne at the end! *banshee shrieks like the Umber kid on the wall* YIKES.

Kate: Winter has most definitely arrived, and so has everyone else to Winterfell. Might as well rename it “Reunion City.” After a long one year and seven months wait, we the viewers, were rewarded with reunions on reunions on reunions. It’d be tedious to name them all, but this non-brutal season opener was a surprising and welcome way to the pull audience back into the world of Westeros. I was certain a major character was going to die in this episode, and when Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) finally made his appearance near the end of the episode, we all groaned, “oh nooo,” in anticipation of his inevitable death. He was spared though, for now...

Are we going to finally learn the what the heck the deal is with the spiral symbolism and the White Walkers this season?

Prutha: You make a good point! This episode kind of did create a false sense of security because there wasn’t a major major character death. But our past experiences with this show means it’d be naive to believe this will continue. Besides the Umber kid, it really was a warm and cozy kind of episode with reunions that are easily screen-shottable (Is this a word? Because it should be a word.) and I’m glad to see social media has taken the baton up for that!

Ahhhh, yes, the shrimp cocktail symbolism. Sure does look like that House Targaryen sigil, no?

Also, Sam (John Bradley) in this episode being the one to tell Jon (Kit Harrington) about his lineage (FINALLY), gave me joy. This happens literally minutes after Sam finds out Dany had her dragons roast his dad and brother. It felt kind like a slight bit of, erm...payback? Dany has straight up been traveling around Westeros roasting people for not bending the knee and I’m glad we got to Sam’s reaction to this with them face to face.

Kate: Twitter last night was hilarious after I was able to look at the internet again. It’s exhilarating to be part of something so culturally huge, and also be able to experience it with millions of people around the globe.

Is the Night King a Targaryen?! Are we going to find out the origins of the Night King?? There are so many questions I wonder if we’re ever going to get the answers to.

The Sam and Jon scene in the crypt was a definite highlight for me, if not my favorite moment of the episode. Both actors portrayed their parts so beautifully. Sam dealing with his shocking and horrifying news, and also carrying the weight of telling his best friend something that is going to shatter his entire worldview (not to mention the rest of the Seven Kingdoms). The camera stays on Jon as Sam explains his true lineage. Once again, Jon is given a title he did not ask for, nor does he want. How Jon Snow (aka Aegon Targaryen) reacts to this is something I’ll be looking forward to watching in future episodes. Sam also laid out some hard truths to Jon about Dany in this episode: Dany is a just ruler, but how far will she go to sit on the Iron Throne? Especially when she finds out that Jon is the true heir to the throne.

Lastly, can we please talk about Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) being the world’s biggest Debbie Downer in this episode? And being conveniently situated next to Winterfell’s hottest gossip at all times?

Prutha: I could literally go on all day about Bran alone. Bran really is like that one kid in high school who knows exactly where to stand to watch drama unfold. Bran, we’re aware now, you’re the Three Eyed Raven. You can go on telling everyone, “I’m not his brother, “I’m not her brother,” “I’m not your brother.” That’s all fine and wonderful, but we do need you to speak up and spill the tea if it helps the living win this GREAT WAR. Pressing question: Does he know about Cersei (Lena Headey) plotting against those at Winterfell?

Kate: Cersei! We haven’t even gotten to Cersei yet! Cersei did not get the elephants she wanted from the Golden Company. Bummer for her, and honestly also us because elephants rule. She does, however, now have the rest of their army as well as the Iron Islands’ fleet of ships, readying herself to defend her place on the Iron Throne.

I can’t believe Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) trusts Cersei to actually be sending the Lannister army to help. I’m with Sansa on this one when she deadpans to Tyrion, “I used to think you were the cleverest man alive.”

Prutha: Cersei and her disappointment about the elephants was everything. What does someone who has everything (except for her children) get disappointed about? Not getting her elephants. Sounds about right. Elephants are way cool, so most definitely a bummer for us all. Side note, I totally forgot animals like elephants exist on GOT. We’ve got dragons on this show and my mind just goes directly to the dragons as peak exoticness.

I really truly hope Tyrion sees through her. Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) being at Winterfell helps now too, maybe he’s finally going to start doing the right things. If he doesn’t, I’m sure Bran will glare him into his place.

On the topic of the Iron Islands, I can’t help but wonder aloud why they all think they’re safe there because it’s where “the dead can’t go.” The dead may not be able to swim, but water freezes...and The Night King has an ice dragon of his own now. So I suppose I’m a bit confused why that’s considered the safest haven. The repeated comments about this due however set up a good battle sequence there!

Kate: Jaime has arrived at Winterfell! What a great moment to end the episode on. Jaime will have to face his past head on, and I can’t wait to watch what happens.

Another redemption storyline that I was pleased to see play out was Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) fulfilling his season seven promise and rescuing his sister Yara (Gemma Whelan) from their a-hole uncle. Yara gave Theon her blessing to leave and fight alongside the Starks at Winterfell, but not until after she headbutts him as a reminder of how he’s the reason she was captured in the first place. It was good to see Theon get a small bit of resolution after so many years of literal hell (which he did deserve… to a point).

Prutha: What a lovely moment that Yara/Theon moment was! However, again, false sense of security with this episode. It’s a lull that we know isn’t accurate of the show. I’m sure many deaths await us in these remaining five episodes. And look, to be fair, redemption storyline or not, I’m not totally certain I’d put money on BOTH of these here Greyjoys surviving. The uncle for sure has to go though.


Favorite Scene:

Prutha: What a toss up for me! So many amazing scenes in this episode (obviously). I think the (2) Jon and Dany riding dragons together was slightly edged out by (1) Jaime spotting Bran looking directly at him at the very ending of the episode. I caNNOT WAIT to see what happens next. He pushed a kid out of the window in the pilot, my GOD, justice for Bran.

Kate: Jon and Arya (Maisie Williams) reuniting has been a moment I’ve been looking forward to for many seasons, so I was thrilled to see this finally happen. Arya had always treated Jon like a true brother, and Jon treated Arya with the respect she longed for as a child. Now that Arya is all grown up and battle-tested (more so than he can even comprehend), seeing them interact and show off their weapons to each other was just a freaking delight.


By: Kate Ludewig (@katezor) & Prutha S. Patel (@pspatel)


What did you think of GAME OF THRONES - 801? Let us KNOW!