Game of Thrones 8.1 – Winterfell

The night is dark and full of spiderlords…



First off, hello and holy smokes, have I missed you, the show, the discussions, all. of. it.

NOTE: If you’re new to this site, welcome! I’m a mess! I’m also Unsullied and have sworn a vow not to read the books until the show is over (I know. I know. And what you want to tell me—you’re not the first. I’ve literally owned the books this entire time and had to wait. Pure torture, let me tell you.)

So we have a rule here: no book talk. No, not even about that. You’re old enough to know that there are things in the books that didn’t make it to the show (yet?) so be a dear and shut up. Only show talk, no spoilers! Bless and thankee sai.


First off, I’m not the first to say it, I won’t be the last, but the retweaked intro was amazing. Claustrophobia-inducing. Darkened, close-night skies… the twists and deep dives into sub-levels of our known locations, the freaking checkerboard Kinged spots being flipped to Winter… LOVE. IT. It immediately cut to live action with a little tyke giving us a personal tour of the intro, it felt like, and HOW BOUT DEM UNSULLIED AND DAT QUICK STEP? God, as a former long-distance runner, can you imagine shuffling for miles? My hips ache in sympathy.

Also, how about that Arya seeing Jon for the first time in years? Because I could literally feel her heart leap into her throat as she watched him pass. Her incandescent rage at seeing the Hound alive. And oh ho ho, she still has an incandescent Special Place in her heart-meat for Gendry, and yep. Still ‘ship it. I’m shipper trash. I AM THE EURON OF ‘SHIPS ON THIS SHOW.

…that made sense in my head. Look, I’ve been working 18-hour days and flying across the country. It’s not all gonna shake out. Just work with me here.

Also, raise your hand if you got a little MAGA vibe when Missandei and Grey Worm rode past the folks at Winterfell? Because I was scared for them for a hot second. And then the dragons came, Arya immediately fangirled, and Sansa lost all Susan Pevensie from her visage for a glorious moment. I mean, come on. Dragons. They’re REAL!! And, you know, terrifying.

Oh, and a reunion! Jon sees Bran for the first time!

Jon: [sobbing on his little brudder’s shoulder] You’re all growed up, buddy!
Bran: I am eons old, and yet, still a child. But not a child.
Bran: [stares back in Seer]
Sansa: I told you he got weird.

Also, please catch this utter BITCH face on Lady Mormont catching a glimpse of Dany.

But let’s get to brass tacks, because Bran is right: HEY WE’RE ALL GONNA DIIIIIIIIIIIE can we not do this curtsey/formality crap?

I do love the sweet little moment with Lord Umber, the wee chap, fumbling his way into leadership. WHAT CAN GO WRONG HERE? Not one thing! Hey. In about forty minutes, I’m going to take a biiiiig slip of wine, sure that nothing, not one thing, can go amiss.

The lord and ladies all gather and again, we don’t really have time to do the whole “But we wanted YOU to be king! And you brought in a LADY” stuff, but okay. I just… don’t the Northern Folk remember the stories? Do we need to bring in Old Nan to tell us horror stories of the night, which as we know, is full of terrors? And said terrors are coming a’knocking?

I do like Jon pointing out that he chose the North, not a crown. Like, where are his brownie points for that? Ah, the hero arc, only ever appreciated when they… oh shit.

Sansa, being a grown up (and I’m sure—I’m sure there are people bitching about my Titian goddess for this) pragmatically wonders how they hell they’ll support the greatest army ever assembled. A starving army is a losing army, after all.

(Please note Brienne and Pod behind her!!)

I also love the next reunion with Sansa and Tyrion, because Tyrion genuinely liked and respected her. And now does even more. He’s no dummy, he knows how she got to be where she is and how hard it’s been. Admiration pours off him. Also, Sansa continues to be queen of the quips, re: the Purple Wedding and King Weaselteat dying of poison. “It had its moments.” Ahahaha. Yes, yes it did.

And we are never more sure that Sansa was soaking up some LEARNIN’ during her time in King’s Landing, because she understands Cersei EX-ACT-LY. She knows her better than Jaime, I think. Cersei isn’t going to fight WITH the Starks! She’s going to destroy what’s left. (Well, she believes she will. Suuuuuuuuure. She didn’t really understand what came out of that box, did she?)

Oh, hey the reunion that made me cry!

Arya: [postures as Murder Teen] ‘Sup.
Jon: [breaks into a happy grin] Jon Snow may know nothing, but I do know this: I still love you, now get over here for some sugar, you little knucklehead!
Arya: [bites back tears] Yeah?
Jon: Yeah
Me: YEAH?!?! ohmygosh

Jon: Aww, you have the baby sword I made you! Pretty toy.
Arya: [envisions mountains of the dead it’s wrought] Ha. Yeah. A toy. [tugs neckline]

Things I love here: No more of this sister v. sister bulldonk. They respect each other, they love each other, they VALUE each other. Yes. YESSSSSSS! Grown up ladies doing grown up sister stuff!

All the calls to valuing family… Yeah, we know what’s coming.

Meanwhile, in Goth Napa, Cersei sips on a nice, fruit-forward cabernet at the thought of the dead having broken through the Wall. She’s either stupid enough to think her men can handle what Jon and Dany’s can’t, or she’s expecting to live on Euron’s ships. I don’t know, what do y’all think?

(That fleet is pretty boss, not going to lie. Those ships are amazing.)

Now, I assume the Golden Company is a book thing that y’all have been waiting for, so I hope that was satisfying? It was just… okay, another group of people you buy to fight.

And I know so many of y’all love Euron and his swagger, but he makes my SKIN crawl. He’s the physical embodiment of an unsolicited dick pic and I’m just ready for him to be done. The world is full of Eurons and they’re just not as interesting as they believe they are. (And yes I know Cersei says he’s not boring, but that is a liiiiiiiie.)

I laughed at the elephants. Like, can you imagine fucking ELEPHANTS on those ships? Shitting everywhere and knocking people into the water with their trunks? Wait, no, now I’m disappointed there weren’t elephants, too.

Let me now talk about:


So… he’s not long for this world. Right? Can’t be. As soon as I saw she was going to give up her flower, I knew. [ chorus from Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get [What You Want]” starts to hum]

Euron? My dude? My guy? Once you get what you’re after, you’re done. Finito. Ya burnt. Who wants to take the sucker’s bet of The Mountain flattening him top down like a soda can headed for the recycling bin? Just me hoping for that?

Dialog missing from the Bronn/sex worker scene: them bringing up Podrick and how much they miss him. And what’s this business about brothers—more than one—who betrayed the Queen? JAIME??? Jaime. Sisterlover. Lannister, the first of his shame. Did he bolt?! Ooooooooooh. No wonder Euron is hanging on so hard. And I reeeeaaaally wanted her to reply to the “I’m going to put a prince in your belly” to “Jaime already put one in there, dum-dum.” Because we all think she’s preggo with Jaime’s fourth, yeah? Or is that a red herring from the previous season?

I’m not happy with Bronn being set up to kill Jaime and Tyrion, but then, this is a show that laughs in my face at what I want. They buy me a kitten, make me fall in love with that kitten, and then one night, when I least expect it, they punch me in the face*.

*and kill the kitten.




Guys? We’re friends, right? Like, you’d hold my hair when I puked and I could totally borrow a $20 five different times without paying you back? No, I’m not selfish, just listen, oh my god. We’re pals? And can I confide in you C O N F I D E N T I A L L Y that when Theon showed up to save his sister I burst into happy tears?

POOR BROKEN BABY IS TRYING REALLY HARD and okay, I also laughed when Yara headbutted him, because same, but also, they are GOOD FRANDS now and I was just so happy he came back.

I mean, when he says “You’re my Queen” and she knows he wants to help the Starks… [sob sob sob] CAN WE GIVE ALFIE A DAMN EMMY ALREADY??? What is dead may never die… (But kill the bastards anyway.) I love Yara and her hot pants so, so much.

I lol’d at Varys, Tyrion and Davos staring at the Youths and admiring both their looks and naivete. Well, Old Folk always underestimate the power of idealism, so even Steven.

Let’s talk about how to train your Jon to ride a dragon moment, because if that was supposed to look fun, count me out. And I used to skydive. I lol’d at Rhaegar being the kid who accepts his mom’s new “friend”, Uncle Jon, while Drogon quietly seethes. Rhaegar kept trying to catch his big bro that whole flight until he gave up in a huff.

Dany: [grins coquettishly] I’m cold.
Jon: Well, it’s quite a different climate up here in the north. I know you’re used to–
Dany: WARM ME, YA DOPE. [points to lips]
Jon: Oh! Ha. [kisses her]
Ygritte: [turns over in her grave, also her ghost shouts YOU KNOW NOTHING JON SNOW]
Dany: Mmmm, this is nice.
Drogon: >:( THAT’S MY MOMMY!!!!!!!!! >:(

Anyone remember the movie Parenthood with Steve Martin where Joaquin Phoenix played troubled kid Gary? And everyone nervously said in high-pitched voices, “H-hi, Gary? How are YOU today? Oh, that’s nice!” Drogon is now forever Gary in my head. (Bonus points if you also hear the name Gary spoken all weird and intense from Vault 108.)

Excuse me while I ‘ship hard and gloss over the Hound and Arya’s perfectly terse reunion…

Gendry: [sees Arya all growed up and Mysterious] Be cool. Be cool. [voice cracks] YoU lOoK gOoD.
Arya: Um. Same. Farm boy, fetch me that pitcher.
Gendry: As you wish.
Me: Gendry and Arya are joined by the bonds of love. And you cannot track that, not with a thousand bloodhounds, and you cannot break it, not with a thousand swords!!

So now for a different sort of lip-wibble. First, Ser Jorah is on my screen and his voice is bathing my earholes (I’m awful, I know) and Sam is adorably hilarious and in character until… he really wasn’t? WAIT, I AM GETTING AHEAD OF MYSELF.

Okay. Fact: Lord Tarley was, in fact, a shit. On a mountain of shits, he would be the wet, malformed shit that rested proudly at its pinnacle, a piece of corn visible and untouched within. Dickon Tarley was, in fact, a tall handsome bit of nothing. But they were Sam’s family and even when your father is, in fact, a shit, there’s still a well of grief you feel at their passing. What could have been? Had Samwell Red Leader Porkins Gamgee Tarley all this time been hoping to prove to his dad that Sam was, in fact, the opposite of a shit? Was he hoping to show all of this work he’d done and get his father’s approval? Of course. And we know that he never, ever, NEVER would have gotten it.

But the grief on his face… Gah. Got me right in the feel-box.

Pause on this, because he runs into Bran who is: “waiting for an old friend.”

[Hannibal Lecter strolls by, stalking his prey in a M’Lady chapeau…]

But now it’s time for Jon to know the truth, and Bran can’t tell him because… ~~plot~~ I guess.

And here’s where I get very mad with Samwell Red Leader Porkins Gamgee Tarley because he makes some very unfair comments here. (Don’t “but his grief!” at me. Sam is THE most level-headed person in the whole damn show. “He’s allowed one mistake, Laura!”)


Sam: You’re actually a King!
Jon: I know.
Sam: No, like, THE King. You’re Aegon Targaryen, Sixth of his name. The throne is rightfully yours.
Sam: Don’t know your dad, who was a Targaryen.
Jon: …is THIS why the show made such a deal about everyone knowing I was a bastard?
Sam: Well, obviously. The chick writing this never read the books and she figured out R + L = J.
Jon: I’m not even thinking about how I boned my aunt. I’m too mad Ned lied to me.
Sam: He had to, though? But more importantly, let me take my characterization off the rails a bit!
Sam: SAM YES. You gave up your crown to save your people.
Me: And his life for the Watch.
Sam: Right, and your life for the Watch. Would DAENERYS??
Jorah: [somewhere feels the need to shout] KHALEESI! Daenerys Targaryen gave up sailing to Westeros to free slaves? Like, three times? And they’re HER people??
Me: [fondles Jorah’s chest] You tell him!
Jorah: [slips out of my embrace] And the Khaleesi, your QUEEN, could have burned King’s Landing to the ground and instead joined forces with Jon to save the North?
Me: Get.. back… here and talk in my ear.
Me: …yes.
Sam: AS I WAS SAYING, would she do the same?
Me: YES.
Jon: I am now filled with doubt because the story says I must be!


OH HOLY NIGHT, look at who survived the Wall crashing down inexplicably, and I don’t even care because it’s Tormund Giantsbane, aka Gjördkr the Bær Füçker (formally known as Gjördkr the Chîcken Eåter) and he’s aliiiiiiiive! So are Beric and the other dudes from the Wall, whew. Little levity to cut through the stress, and oh right, I mentioned drinking a big ol’ glass of wine. Let me just take a big slug as they walk through the abandoned hold, nothing to see here, and gosh, we got away with nothing too crazy happening. Oh, shit, the Umber boy has been killed. Well, that’s sad, but that’s not too bad.

After all, now we know the Night King is between the fellas and Jon—

[spits wine everywhere]

Does whatever a spiderkid does!
Weaves a web? No, he can’t!
Burns up like a sidewalk ant!

Watch out! Here comes the Spide-wight-kid!

This. Was. Awesome.

See? This is what happens when you send a kid to do a MAN’S job. And by man I mean Littlefish, but he’s dead and CAN YOU IMAGINE A WIGHT BAELISH?? I hope they burned the shit out of that pedo.

But soft! What bearded gent slides from this horse? It is Jaime and OH SNAP, there’s the kid you threw out the window.


Well this shit just got iiiiiiinteresting. See, Euron? THAT is what is interesting.

Everything is circling back to Season 1, and I am here for it. Laura loves a bookended story, let me tell you.

BUT YOU NEED TO TELL ME: What did you love?? Are you so freaking happy to be back? (Me tooooooo.) I almost had to get an epi-pen to deal with my allergic reaction to NO GAME OF THRONES for ages.

No book talk, but talk about what you saw here! TALK TO ME I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU AND IT WAS STUPID HOW LONG WE’VE BEEN APART. [forehead kisses]