17 Apr Game of Thrones s08e01: Winterfell. It’s all about the glances
It’s all about the glances. The first episode of the last season of Game of Thrones brings all the chess pieces/characters together. However, after all these seasons, and after all these episodes, they often only need to say a few precise words to evoke a whole world. They can’t reveal everything, because it would be too much. Instead, they look at each other, and everything is there. As viewers, we have been following the unfolding events for many years. Thus, we understand everything: those intense glances and their few words are enough for us. What we really want to see are these emotional encounters between characters. The only extended dialogue, between Jon and Sam, is in fact, the single game piece that was missing, the only shocking secret that still had to be shared.
All pieces are converging to Winterfell for the Great Battle.Except for Cersei, who is plotting in the South. She’s the only one who doesn’t really look at anyone; at best she looks into thin air, her eyes glistening (with tears?). She is alone (she is pregnant, maybe? and this is what keeps her alive). “If you want a whore, buy one. You want a queen, earn her,” Cersei says to Euron. Yet, she allows him into her bed to secure his ships. She has power, but she doesn’t really know what to do with it. She is always locked and lost in her own game.
It’s now a game more and more played by queens and women.
The most intelligent of them all – as Arya said – has already understood the scheme. Sansa has seen everything, suffered through everything, listened to all the great minds plotting and planning during this game. Finally, she is a Lady, but in a way that is so different from her fairy-tale fantasies of the past. “Many of them underestimated you, most of them are dead now,” Tyrion tells her, looking at her with new eyes. It is true: he too underestimates her when she whispers to him that believing Cersei was a mistake.
Jon Snow returns to the North with an army, a new queen, two dragons, but the people of the North do not trust him nor her. Maybe he gave up too much. Sansa knows this, and she explains it with a concrete example: how will they feed all the men of this army? And the dragons? “Dragons eat whatever they want,” says Daenerys. The problem is that the blonde queen and the charming knight ride dragons and hide away to make love. This is th problem; they are two lovers, and by definition, they are distracted. Although when Jon kisses Daenerys, he keeps his eyes wide open fixed on the dragons. “Did you bend the knee to save The North or because you love her??” Sansa asks. Yes, Sansa is the smartest of them all. Arya is right: Sansa is the smartest. And Arya is certainly the most astute warrior. A cruel bitch, as The Hound calls her, when the two stare at each other for a long time. And even if Arya does not show her cruel side when she embraces Jon Snow, she asks him not to forget his family. But who is Jon’s family?
Finally, Sam tells Snow the truth: you are the son of a Targaryen and a Stark, Ned’s sister, you are the heir of the Seven Kingdoms, not Daenerys (who, by the way, is also your aunt). Jon, who knew nothing, now knows everything: in front of Sam, his eyes show more fear than when he was staring at the dragons. The game is ending yes, but as the chess pieces are being rearranged, the moves will likely be much more interesting than the final score.
For instance, Jaime Lannister has also arrived in the North. When Jaime looks around he sees Bran, now a clairvoyant. Bran has seen everything, from the past and maybe into the future. The glance they exchange, however, is really the beginning of the end: didn’t this whole story begin because curious Bran had climbed a tower and had seen what he was not supposed to see – Jaime and Cersei together?