The little boy runs, is excited and skillfully climbs to get the best view of this exciting day. After all, it is not every day that the King and Queen travel to Winterfell awaiting the procession of their retinue. All the important people gathered in the courtyard to officially welcome the visiting dignitaries, and all the ordinary people came out to have a look.

(Where’s Arya? Somebody asks, but Arya’s still somewhere else.)

The king of the kingdom steps off his horse and is greeted with the usual words: Winterfell is yours, Your Majesty. Later in this episode there will be a meeting in Godswood. There will be naked whores walking around the whorehouse. Next of kin are paid to the dead in Winterfell’s tomb, where Lord Winterfell is offered tasks he doesn’t really want.

Meanwhile – and this is even more disturbing – the white walkers leave their terrifying image of innocent children being killed and nailed like totems. (And those dead kids, as we know, will be back soon, as something else).

And at the end of the episode, a handsome but morally compromised knight will face a pale boy who feels uncomfortable with all his secrets.

This has all happened before. Winterfell, the eighth and final premiere of the Game of Thrones season, consciously brings us back to the beginning with these (and other) memories of the pilot episode. (The composer of the Ramin Javadi series also brings us full circle by recording this first cycle at the arrival of Robert’s journey from the King to Winterfell). If we hear the title of this episode, not only as the name of the place, but also as an explanation, we even have decent bookstores for the entire series so far: Winter is approaching and seven seasons later winter falls.

It’s not just about structural ways. Written by Dave Hill and directed by David Nutter, this episode focuses on how you can retrace the path these characters have taken on their unusual journeys.

Unfortunately, Winterfell’s season premiere goes a bit back in time and paraphrases both history and the controversy that we know all too well today. Although I don’t want to exaggerate my problems with this episode or with writing in general – even the worst episodes of this series are always damn good stories – publisher Dave Hill was one of the most underestimated writers in the Game of Thrones. His episodes (Harpy Sons, Home and Eastwatch, so far) are generally functional, but largely memorable in their respective seasons, without major plot events, emotional power or coherent themes. Winterfell is another one of those episodes: She does some necessary but thankless homework, she takes everyone where they need to be and she cleans up during meetings. But not much happens, and few of these long-awaited encounters seem to lead to the power they should have. The result is an episode that looks more like last season’s prologue than an exciting first chapter.

I’ll be honest with you: After two years of waiting and knowing that there are only five episodes left, turning the wheel of Winterfell probably makes me a little sadder than I would otherwise do. When I listened to the characters covering the same historical ground, reconsidering the same old grievances and expressing the same old philosophies, and we all know them by heart, I felt like an echo of Brandon Stark’s terrible complaint: We don’t have time for all this!

But I understand how Winterfell came to be: It is an idea that makes sense on paper, even if the result is less than spectacular. If an episode makes us impatient as an audience, it’s because we know too much. We know where all these people have been and what they’ve been through. We know who redeemed themselves and who we can and cannot trust. We know that the threat of the King of the Night is real and that John is right – at least for the moment he says it doesn’t matter who wears the crown. (We even know the great secret of John’s true nature: for him it is a life-changing revelation that lands before us, as the very old news does).

That’s why the joy that Winterfell has to offer can only be enjoyed by constantly remembering that none of the characters are such loyal and attentive spectators of Game of Thrones. The episode refers to the beginning of the series, not only to remind us how far these characters have come, but also to emphasize that we are the only ones who know how far they have come. For most characters, the beginning of this series is exactly where they last said goodbye.

Your sister doesn’t like me.
She doesn’t know you.

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Let’s start with the obvious: No one northeast of Lady Sansa Stark knows or trusts the Dragon Queen.

When discussing this episode, which is in itself a revision, we must begin with a review of recent history, which is still fresh in the memory of the peoples of the North. Just a quarter of a century ago, Rickard Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, along with his eldest son Brandon, was executed by the Mad King, Aerys II of the House of Targaryens. It is suspected that the beautiful girl in their house has been kidnapped, raped and murdered by the Targaryens. Eddard Stark, the surviving son and heir, led his people in a bloody war to free Westeros from Targaryen.

Later in the story, Eddard Stark himself was executed by another terrible king, Joffrey I. His surviving heir, Robb Stark, became king of the North and led his standard-bearers back to war, this time to free the Lannister people. That war was lost when he, his wife and mother were unfairly killed by Lannister lackeys at their wedding.

For a time the North suffered under the boot of other Lannister allies – this time in the form of the terrible Bolton children, while Ned’s children – Sansa Stark and John Snow – united their banners to overthrow them in the battles of the bastards, regain independence and create a new king in the North.

Today – only a few months later – the new king of the North has unilaterally decided to relinquish his crown and grant this independence on behalf of his entire people. He bent the knee and surrendered the north to the daughter of the mad king, Daenerys Targaryen. Worse, their closest advisor is one of the infamous Lannisters, and they promised that the whole Lannister army would hide behind them in the north. These dubious new rulers came to Winterfell across the sea for a strange and overwhelming army of exotic aliens, and jumped under the shadow of two adult and doomed dragons.

Is it surprising that people in the North are more than a little sceptical and less than completely hospitable? It is a country that has sacrificed so many lives in the struggle for independence that many of the big houses are run by children because all the adults in those families have died. My people will not accept a Southern leader, John Daenerys warned last season. Not after everything they’ve been through. And he was right. For northerners, this should not be seen as protection or emancipation, but as an invasion.

Liana Mormont (Bella Ramsey) in 8x01 - winter coat

And this is just a broader political landscape. On a personal level – and in the area of throne play – every personal policy is ultimately a dissatisfaction that cannot be forgiven. Sansa Stark saw the Lannisters kill her father; she was taken hostage, beaten by them, and left behind against her will in a marriage to one of them. She ran away to marry the sadistic son who murdered her family by order of Lannister, a monster who raped and tortured her for months. Somehow Sansa survived all this, survived all this and triumphed over it, only to end up handing over her very hard fight for power to a bastard brother she never loved. No wonder now she might be annoyed by her decision to return all this power to the historical enemies of her family.

And the fact that she now has to hand over power to another woman must be a special blow. Sansa is the oldest of the living stars, but – mainly because of her gender – she was watching her illegitimate brother being crowned king of the north. Cersei runs King’s Landing. Daenerys has ruled since the Dragon Stone. Yara will lead the Iron Islands. All around her, women shatter Westerosi’s glass ceiling, but Sansa, who deserves the highest praise for the liberation of the North, is the only one without a crown.

I live off all this because I need it: Otherwise Sansa Stark’s gonna drive me crazy. We fought her all last season, John and Arya. We’ve heard over and over how she feels, shut out and undervalued.

Now we have more of the same. Sophie Turner is very, very good (note the cold judgment and the barely present bitterness in the up and down glances she casts at Daenerys just before she politely gives her winter coat). But she can never get enough to play here: Just a note of supernatural outrage, over and over again.

So it’s frustrating. On the other hand, we also need to remember where she and everyone else came from. They’ve all changed, but they don’t necessarily have reason to believe anyone else has changed.

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At least Tyrion notices the changes in Sansa. A lot of people underestimated you, he told his ex-wife in his first game since the fourth season. Most of them are dead now. Tyrion is both friendly and respectful towards Sansa, as he has always been, and his chill towards him seems somewhat inappropriate in return. After all, we love Tyrion, we trust him, we know him and we know what he’s been through. We know his motives are good and he didn’t deserve his bile.

But we can’t forget that Sansa doesn’t know everything we know. Sansa last saw Tyrion at Joffrey’s wedding. (A pathetic novel, says Tyrion.) It had its moments, replies Sansa, undoubtedly reminiscent of the joy of Joffrey turning purple.) There were only four episodes after she was forced to marry Tyrion against her will, and only two episodes after she heard rumors that the Lannisters had killed her mother and brother at the Red Wedding. Tyrion is different from all the other Lannisters, Sansa admitted last season. He’s always been nice to me. But he was still a Lannister: He was still in Joffrey’s government; he still followed Tywin’s orders when he married her; he was still one of her kidnappers. The last time she saw him, he died in front of Joffrey, who was serving her wine. Yeah, he was nice to her, but a lot of people have been nice to Sansa Stark over the years, and most have continued to betray or torture her. If Tyrion served as Joffrey’s hand, why should the Danes be grateful that he wants to serve her? And if he’s stupid enough to believe that Cersei is actually sending an army of Lannisters to help her, why would she trust his judgment? I always thought you were the smartest person in the world, she said, and she pointed out that her opinion on this subject – like that of many others – has changed.

Sansa thinks she’s the smartest, John complains to Arieux elsewhere in the episode. He’s the smartest person I’ve ever met, Arya says. I don’t know if that’s true, but she’s certainly a lot smarter than she used to be.

cold little bitch, isn’t it? I think that’s why you’re still alive.

John and Arya in 8x01 - Winter coat

With the possible exception of Daenerys, no one in the Throne game has changed as much as Arya Stark. Dani has grown enormously in strength, trust, wisdom and power, but in reality she has remained herself. Arya, on the other hand, has transformed herself from a sweet, bright little girl into a dark substitute angel. We know Danny’s soul still seems to be well rooted, but after all these years and after everything she’s done, we’re not so sure about Arya.

Winterfell opens to remind us how much it’s changed and what it’s been through. It is enchanting and joyful to see here the sight of the excited child she used to be: She is as excited as the innocent boy in the tree above her, and her first sight of a real dragon fills her with a sparkling miracle. (Remember how she admired Reynice and Vicena, the sisters of Aegon Targarin, who rode dragons with him 300 years ago?) Here we see the little girl we met in the movie The Winter Comes and who still believes in romantic hero stories.

But she’s changed. Arya stands with the common people and watches the parade through Winterfell. She besmirches the three people she knows on horseback, each representing a different stage of her journey: Jon Snow, Gendry and the Hound. And each of them has their own aria. (John knows Arya season 1; Gendry knows Arya season 2; The Dog knows Arya of season 3 and 4). But Arya comes, as everyone knows, from the first half of her journey in the Throne Game, before she crossed the Narrow Sea, before she learned to be a faceless man, before she learned to be a nickname.

And now she looks like she’s nobody: She has changed so much that the three of them walked past her without noticing her.

Arya Strong in 8x01 - Winter coat

Your encounters with these three men are interesting for each of them in their own way. With Dog, she is the very dangerous, heartless killer she tried to be, without apologizing for leaving him for dead. (I stole you first, she reminds him, in case he forgot.) When I wrote about this scene in my magazine Children, I referred to it as a crucial turning point for Arya, giving up both the noble dream of honour (represented by Brienne of Tartu) and the violent dream nourished by the rage of dog fatalism. Without helping or killing him, she decided to overcome this dichotomy and become something else, on her way to Braavos and the Faceless at the end of this episode.

Now she looks at him as something else. You’re a cold little bitch, aren’t you? He’s watching. I think that’s why you’re still alive. Because we know Sandor Clegane so well, we understand that there is respect – and even gentle affection – in that remark. Their relationship was one of the most complex and strange of all Game of Thrones, a long-running comedy about the inequality between friends that was as important to each of their individual developments as what made Jaime and Brienne who they were. So it is again one of the moments of this episode where our knowledge of these characters makes us feel that their reunion is a little distorted: The dog has really taken care of her, we know that, and now he is much better than the last time Arya saw him. We hope she gets a chance to find out. (I mean, I can’t be the only one hoping these two will hug him, can I?)

The Arya in Goth 8x01 - Winterfell

Your short reunion with Gendry is just as interesting: It’s a slow gear for Arya that reminds us how good Maisy Williams is. She is hard and formal when she greets him, and looks a lot like the insensitive Braavosi killer she tried to become. But Gendry remembers the clumsy one that was his friend, his surrogate sister and maybe even his love, and he treats her like that: He teases her, calls her my lady, like at the beginning of their friendship. Very few people have plagued Arya Stark lately, let alone bullied her, but Gendry does both, and in Arya’s face you see a realisation that that’s exactly what’s going on. (Some suspect that she’s almost forgotten the friendship – not to mention a shared joke – but she comes back to it, giving one of the few sincere smiles we’ve seen in some seasons) It’s as if she remembers how to become a man again – a young woman with real emotions – and at the end of the scene she flirts and looks back with coquetry when she leaves him.

Arya and John of the GoT 8x01 Winterfell Original Air Date on October 20, 2012

Let’s finally talk about Aria’s reunion with her brother. Recently I wrote about the revision of the first three episodes of Game of Thrones for my book! – and it was a pretty disorienting experience. I remember a bright and incredibly sweet scene on the Royal Road where John Aria gives his sword, the needle, and they say a sweet goodbye. However, it never occurred to me that this was literally the only scene where the two characters were together: just two minutes of total screen time in the Seven Seasons. But those two minutes miraculously told us everything we needed to know: They built a loving relationship between these two losers from the Stark clan; they showed us that Arya was the only person who really saw John as a full member of the family; and they showed us that John was the only person who really understood who Arya was.

So your reunion at Winterfell is a great moment, and these two minutes make us look forward to the next 4,000 minutes of the Game of Thrones. And if it doesn’t end here with as much emotional impact as I had hoped, John’s meeting with Sansa in the Book of Strangers made me cry a little at the time – she still looked with emotion at that creepy little assassin who jumped into her brother’s arms, just like the last time she saw him.

But again, all the memories at the beginning of the Throne Game are just a reminder of what these characters don’t know. In this scene Jon Snow left his sister behind in the performance: He had no reason to believe she was still alive for all the years that followed. Everything he tells her only highlights these gaps in his knowledge. Are you protecting her now? He’s asking Aria about Sansa. You? For the Arya he remembers, he never got along with his sister, just as the Sansa he remembers wasn’t very intelligent.

And more spectators when he asks for his sword. Have you ever used it? He asks. Once or twice, she said humbly, recalling how Arya had left the trail of Westeros’ blood in Braavos and back. Her first murder was a stable boy returning to Point End, and she’s killed a lot of people since then. She had Tickler and Gun Lurch killed. She killed Lannister soldiers and other Lannister criminals. She ambushed Marin Trant and stabbed him in cold blood. She killed his wife and ripped her face off. She killed Walder Frey’s sons, made him eat them in a cake, killed Walder Frey himself, peeled and wore his face, and then, just in case, staged a massacre of the whole Frey family. Recently she cut off her little finger in the main hall of Winterfell.

So Arya underestimates her experience a little. But that in itself is interesting. Together with Sansa and all the other members of Winterfell Arya they were ready to show an impressive (even dangerous) presence. Together with her sister, Arya immediately started talking about the people she wanted to kill, and soon afterwards she deliberately organized a demonstration of her martial arts for all Winterfellers. She brags a little about surprising her brother, but she doesn’t seem to want John to know how dangerous she is. Is it possible that he – her beloved brother and the best living representative of her father’s values – is a little ashamed of her for the ruthless creature she has become?

I love what the show has done so far with Arya this season. As I said in my report at the end of the seventh season, the series didn’t have much time left for the slow and subtle character development that was the trademark. But at the top of my list of things to deal with in the show is here, in my last hours, some kind of calculation with the fact that Arya has become the disturbing thing, and the answer to the question if she can really get her humanity back.

More than one of our heroes, Arya represents one of the central themes of the Game of the Throne: that an unjust and indifferent world corrupts the innocence of all the people who live in it. I am convinced that this is one of the symbolic lessons of the White Walkers who – as we have seen in the coming winter, and as we have seen in Winterfell – take children with them and turn them into monsters. So, for me, the bets of this last season, whether humanity will survive or not, are a small record in the soul of Arya Stark.

Did you give up your crown to save your people? Are you going to do that?

Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen in the Throne Game 8x01 - Winterfell

The last topic I want to discuss in detail this week is the choice between Daenerys Targaryen, the first of the name, and Aegon Targaryen, the sixth, also known as Jon Snow.

I didn’t pay much attention to the throne game in the middle for a while. I have been convinced for many seasons that the series introduced all the complex politics and rivalries, especially to convince us how petty, divided and destructive all this is. And at this point, I’m on John’s side: It doesn’t matter who sits on the Iron Throne, because we have neither the time nor the strength to think about it.

But of course, the question of who deserves to rule is always of the utmost importance in the throne game. Just as it is important that Arya can regain his humanity, it is important that Westeros can find a leader who will free him from the cruelty, the cruelty and the divisions that have marked him throughout the centuries. If the King of the Night, as I have suggested, somehow represents a judge, a jury and an executioner, it is important that the human race supports someone who is caring, decent and sensitive.

And this is Daenerys Targaryen? I said that Winterfell reminds us in many ways that the characters know nothing about each other and that no one here knows the Dragon Queen as well as we do. (Jorah Mormont has been with her the longest, but even he hasn’t been with her every step of her extraordinary rise to power. He was also fascinated by her and cannot be objective).

But we’ve all seen it: We followed her through Pentos, Ves Dothrak, the Red Holes, Quart, Astapor, Yunkai, Mirin and back to Ves Dothrak and finally went with her to Dragonstone, the King’s Mouth and Winterfell. We saw her shoot anyone who got in her way: Brother Mirri Maz Durr, House of the Immortals, slaves of Astapor, second sons, ruler of Yunkai, nobles of Meerin, son of the Harpy, Dothraki Halas, army of the Lannisters. She’s Daenerys Stormborn from the House of Targaryen: She takes what is hers with fire and blood, and anyone who would harm her people dies screaming.

But is she a good person? Their intentions were generally good, but their desire for power was largely based on a sense of justice rooted in the ancient and unjust power structure of Westeros. And like Arya, she’s done terrible things: justified, mostly, but terrible. She crucified and beheaded people and burned them alive – alive. Except for the Night King, there is no character in the whole Throne game – not Aria, Cersei, Joffrey, Ramsey, Walder Frey, who would have had the same weight as Daenerys Targaryen.

Sam from GoT 8x01 - Winterfell

That’s why his confrontation with Samwell Tarley is perhaps Winterfell’s most important moment. Is there one person in the whole throne game more principled than Sam? Good-natured, unwavering, intelligent, wise and ethical, Sam is as good a candidate as the others because he is the show’s honest conscience. He’s one of those cripples, bastards and shits who grew up in fear and suffered from a terrible lack of empathy from his father, yet somehow turned out to be decent and sensitive.

And Danny burned his family alive. I love this scene because Dani never really had the human consequences of her ruthless rise to power. In Mirin she had to bear some of the consequences of her actions: Hizdahr zo Lorak told her that her father was a good man before Dani crucified him with all the other nobles (but Hizdahr zo Lorak was a kind of injection and her father a slave); a farmer came crying to her and laid the charred bones of his three-year-old daughter at her feet (but this can be considered an accident).

That’s different. Danny didn’t care about Randyll and Deacon Tarley and probably hasn’t thought about them since she killed them. They weren’t real to her: They were just a pretext to show their strength, to give their opinion and to convince the other Lords to bend their knees. (She ignored Tyrion’s plea for clemency and his warning that such behavior would deprive her of support throughout Westeros). But Sam is, if not an ally, the best and most trusted friend of Danny’s lover. And she likes him, even on the first date: After all, he is the savior of her friend Jora Mormont, and she is clearly enjoying herself and is afraid that her lamb will ask her for forgiveness for taking books from the citadel.

So there is something to be said for this gentle and friendly person who stands in front of her, crying and with the real consequences of her brutal way of controlling. Now you can hear in his voice the cold, limp excuses of his hard line in your own ears. She can see how her heartless political views become a torture for real people. As I have said many times, the throne play is essentially about seeing others as real people – not as objects and abstractions – and thus understanding the consequences of your actions and inaction towards them. Here Dani gets a powerful lesson about this principle from the sweetest and most sensitive man in Westeros. (So sensitive that he can sincerely mourn his father who disinherited him and wanted to be murdered).

Sam and John in GoT8x01 - Winterfell

Bran (who by the way is also one of the Stark children who has become some kind of monster) admits that it is the right time for Sam to tell John his true identity. And Bran’s right: It’s good to tell your friend that he – and not Daniel – is the rightful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.

As I said before, this scene is getting a bit flat as a big revelation: We all know this already, and neither Keith Harington nor Jon Snow has the emotional depth to make this news interesting in itself. (John looks moody when he hears the news – that’s what John looks like when he wakes up in the morning)

But to the extent that this last season will answer the question of who should sit on the Iron Throne – not necessarily who will and who should – it is an interesting development. Because Sam is the conscience of the show, and without knowing everything we know, it took him about three minutes to evaluate Queen Daenerys with frightening precision. Despite all her good intentions, she is still dependent on control through fear and reckless use of power; she still has dangerous rights and enjoys all those she does not know personally, and treats them as things to acquire or repel. She’s not a bad person – she’s done good things, for good reasons, but in the end she’s no different from those who came before her.

And John, that’s why the fairest man in Westeros chose him as his king. John executed people like he’s telling Sam now, but he didn’t have much choice: He never did it to express his point of view or show his strength, and he never took pleasure in doing so, never like Dani. He accepted the power and had the power, but he never really wanted power, let alone had the right to it. He took her with him when she was serving the common good and abandoned her when she was best for everyone. You gave up your crown to save your people, Sam. Would she have done the same thing?

I think we know the answer to that question. I don’t know which one of them will be on the Iron Throne in five episodes from now on, but I think – somewhere at the beginning of the end of the Throne game – I finally picked my winner.

Additional reflections and preferred elements

  • Welcome to the Throne Game, one last time. It was (for me) a relatively short job this week, which is partly a factor of delay for other projects, and partly a factor of dissatisfaction for Winterfell. I hope to have these reviews on Tuesday or Wednesday after each episode is broadcast, but my regular readers know that timing is a touching goal for me. Be patient, as always.
  • My biggest problem with this episode is that we know that so few of the disputes that take place here are significant. So much is happening in this episode that few people have seen the Army of the Dead and probably don’t quite believe it exists. But the King of the Night, as we can see at the end of the episode, explains his presence already after the recording of the House of Humber in his passage. Once he, his dragon and the rest of the White Walkers have pulled north and joined his army of the dead, his villages, houses and families, all these conflicts will come to an end. All those people who are now behaving like children – Sansa, Arya, Lianna Mormont and all the other northern gentlemen – will realize that they have behaved like children and that they are still playing a stupid throne game. You’ll see, as John keeps telling them, none of this matters. And unfortunately that means that Winterfell is an hour of wasted energy: This will not lead to future conflicts, because these conflicts will quickly and inevitably prove to be unimportant.
  • Speaking of the king of the night: When I looked at the awful picture he left in the Last Hearth – with poor Ned Humber saving John in the Dragon’s Stone, in the middle – I realised for the first time how much the White Walkers love spirals. The spiral effects of these actions – especially the atrocities, especially for children – are such that their warning to all mankind seems less confusing than before.
  • That week I realised that I had never written a word about the wonderful names of the opening games of the Game of Thrones, except to mark an occasional addition to the card. I can try to fix it before we’re done, but this week we have a whole new series of discoveries. Sure, it’s great, and I love the way it’s inside and not just from a distance: This also seems appropriate, as our proximity to this world has increased in seven seasons. Maybe it’s the little things I like best: Note that the groups around the astrolabium now bear symbols of recent history, such as this one, which clearly represents the Red Wedding: Against the backdrop of the Frey Stone Bridge, Bolton’s husband kills a star wolf, while a lion spits a migratory fish in his mouth.
  • Red Astrolabier, wedding details in 8x01 GoT
  • I know I missed a lot this week. (I love not writing about things that bore me.) But let’s review some of them:
  • Saving Yara with Theon was so absurdly simple that I don’t know why they bothered to catch her.
  • Euron is too mean for this cartoon, and I hope Cersei gets tired of fucking him fast and that the mountain will rip his spine out.
  • Don’t even start practicing dating your dragon. I understand we may need to find out that John/Aegon can ride a dragon. I even realize that we should probably give John and his beloved aunt some time for happy sex. But Clark and Harington still have a tragic lack of chemistry, and the characters’ pillow talk is somehow painful. (It’s cold for a southern girl, John says.) So keep your queen warm, replies Danny. The joke. I never missed Drogo and Ygritta again). In fact, this series was a ridiculous waste of precious remaining time and a disappointing demonstration of the normally reliable capabilities of a special effects store. (Dragons are as beautiful as ever. But there is still a problem to use people in a convincing way).
  •  I understand that the Bronn brothel scene in winter was a criticism of a similar Tyrionian scene, but I didn’t like it anymore. (I would like to think that this show went much further than a reaction to the boob notes of the HBO CEO). It was a little weird that the whores couldn’t resist talking about how many of their friends Dani had baked long enough to get Bronn in the mood.
  • So Cersei Bronn ordered her to kill her two brothers with the crossbow that killed Tywin? She seems to be a bit precise, and it seems that in the last episode where she had the chance to do so, she killed one or both. And now she’s planning on passing the baby as Euron in the womb? (That’s the only reason she slept with that guy.) So the baby’s still gonna be a Lannister? (For example, it works in England, but there has never been a queen in Westeros, and the rules are not clear).
  • I loved that exchange: Tyrion: You’re a lucky man. At least your balls won’t freeze. Varis: You don’t take jokes about midgets very well, but you like to tell jokes about eunuchs. Why is that? Tyrion: Because I have guts and you don’t. I could express a joyless pleasure that this joke perfectly illustrates the theme of the lack of empathy that is central to the throne play, but in reality it only makes me laugh.
  • Finally, I should probably add a more explicit plugin for my new ebook Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things : Manual of the Unaffiliated Critique by Seasons, First through Third in the game for the throne. This is the first of three volumes that I have planned, and it includes reviews of each episode of seasons 1-3, including three previously unpublished essays on the first three episodes of the series. If you like my reviews, this is a great way to read them and an even better way to support my work here at Unaffiliated Critic. Here you can order a book about the Amazon.

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