Review: Game of Thrones S08E01 — Winterfell [2019]; Going Back to Where it All Started

Cᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ Iɴᴅᴇx

a review by the Spotted Nutcracker. 

I was still finding my feet on The Corvid Review (and getting used to suddenly being a bird at the same time), but my time is up. The reason for which I was brought into this family has arrived, and I need to get our business sorted out.

After all… winter is here.


At 2 a.m. on Monday (can we call it Monday if we haven’t gone to bed yet? It feels like I should still call it Sunday), season 8 of Game of Thrones premiered, and as the official new TV reviews team leader on The Corvid Review, I need to be on my A-game.

In my last (and only other) review, I was being very formal since it was my first time writing on the blog. From now on, because you will all be spending a lot of time with me, I’ll be writing more casually so that we can have some fun along the way. 

Originally, I wanted to do a huge post recapping the whole serial so far with the whole team, but it didn’t work out. I’ll finish it up and post it some time before the season is over (because I worked a lot on it!) but I’ll just leave a big thanks to the Crow and the Raven for the big heaps of help they sent my way.

But now, there isn’t time to waste. After these long three years, Game of Thrones has finally come to The Corvid Review. I don’t know what these other birds have been doing, but this has to be fixed. Now! 

Let’s pull on our winter clothes and talk about: 

GoT 0801
Winterfell

SPOILER LEVELS at MAJOR

Winterfell is in a lot of ways a reverse of the first episode of Game of Thrones (Winter is Coming). Instead of the Lannisters coming to Winterfell, this episode shows Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) marching in with their armies to start getting ready for the fight against the White Walkers. We get to see the spiral ‘sculpture’ that was left for everyone to see in the first episode, and we even get to see a lot of people meeting (only this time, they know each other). On top of all those things, Winterfell is chock-a-block whereas King’s Landing is empty and it feels like no one’s really left around. 

Not a lot really happens in the episode, but that’s okay.

The first episode of every season of GoT has always been a set up for what’s happening next. Winterfell is picking up after a long hiatus, and it’s going to take a little bit of time for everything to get into gear. 

The Greyjoys get to do a few things. Yara (Gemma Whelan) gets rescued by Theon (Alfie Allen), and Euron (Pilou Asbæk) finally hooks up with Cersei (Lena Headey) without knowing that she’s already pregnant (or is she? I really don’t trust anything she says).

The Starks left standing get back together and the scene between Arya (Maisie Williams) and Jon is one of the best scenes I’ve seen in a long time. Sansa (Sophie Turner) acts exactly how I thought she’d act, and I really dont think anyone can complain about her being on edge all the time any more. Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) stays in the background, and the episode ends exactly the way the very first episode did, with him meeting Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). We don’t get to see them talk, but I’m expecting it to be a huge part of the next episode.

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As for the other people, The Hound (Rory McCann) and Gendry (Joe Dempsie) meet Arya again, and I thought a lot more would happen in these scenes. They’re alright, but I think we’ll have to wait for more fun with The Hound and Arya. I think we’re officially shipping Arya x Gendry now, but I have a funny feeling one of them isn’t going to make it too far. The episode shows us that the living are now able to forge weapons from dragonglass, and it’s Gendry at the wheel. He’s basically the master-blacksmith of this world, and the episode just showing him easily forging dragonglass weapons makes me think that he won’t be allowed to hang around for too long.

Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) the Romantic, Beric (Richard Dormer) and a few others escaped Eastwatch like we thought they would, and they find the ‘sculpture’ made out of Umber boy. Not much else happens here, but at least Jon’s getting the message once Tormund gets back (and he’d better get back). 

The better parts of the episode are pretty special. First, Cersei gets Qyburn (Anton Lesser) to pass a weapon on to Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and orders him to kill Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Jaime. Next, Jon gets to fly Rhaegal, and I didn’t know I needed this scene in my life so much until I saw it. The FX in this scene are a little off. It’s not something I really expected because Game of Thrones usually looks really good. But that doesn’t matter too much, just seeing Jon Snow learning how to fly the dragon is something I’m sure every GoT fan in the world was waiting for ever since we found out who Jon Snow really is.

And then, Daenerys and Jorah (Iain Glen) go to see Samwell (John Bradley) so that they can thank him for helping Jorah survive the Greyscale. She ends up telling him that she had to execute his dad and brother (what was his name again?), and I LOVED this scene.

First off, Daenerys didn’t have to kill the Tarlys. She was advised not to by at least two people, but she went ahead and burned them alive anyway. Her having to admit what she did to Sam feels like the right thing to do, but now she’s second-guessing that choice she made so long ago. And worse yet, it sets Sam off. I like the character of Sam, and an unhappy Sam is an unhappy me. He gets upset and goes and tells Jon that Daenerys shouldn’t be allowed to rule Westeros, because she’s dangerous. Jon tries to tell Sam that she’s kind of the only choice left by blood, and that’s where Sam hits him with the truth

The thing is, I thought this scene would be a lot more intense (I’m going with that word) than it turned out to be. Sam just tells him that he’s not a bastard, but the youngest Targaryen left alive. I’m going to ignore the whole nastiness with the auntie x nephew thing that’s been going on, but I need to know how this little reveal’s going to change how Jon acts around Daenerys from now on. I also need to know how the idea of having to be the king is going to change how Jon acts in general. But the way the show just threw the reveal out there was a bit weird. The audience got such a dramatic reveal and Jon’s just given a ‘oh, okay.’ scene.

I guess the showrunners just wanted to get it out of the way. 

All in all, this is a good start to season 8. It doesn’t have any parts which are going to blow anyone away, but it’s all we could want from an episode that picks up after such a long break. The FX were a bit off with the dragons (just look at how big they’ve gotten!) and there were lots of slow parts, but everything else is just how it should’ve been.

One interesting thing is that I watched this episode with the Crow and the AW Magpie last night, and we were planning to do a review just as the episode ended, but a few things got in the way and delayed this post. The Crow doesn’t watch GoT, and this he didn’t like this episode at all. I guess that just means that GoT‘s gotten to the point where it only makes sense to people who’ve been watching it all the way through.

We’ll try to be more on time with our next review, but for now, I’ll end this review here. Did you like Winterfell? Let us know what your thoughts on the episode were and how excited you are for the next one below!

See you in the next one! 

— Bye!


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Final Ratings

THE SPOTTED NUTCRACKER: 8/10
THE AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE: 8.5/10
THE CROW: 3.5/10


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Pɪɴᴛᴇʀᴇsᴛ / Tᴡɪᴛᴛᴇʀ / Fʟɪᴘʙᴏᴀʀᴅ



6 thoughts on “Review: Game of Thrones S08E01 — Winterfell [2019]; Going Back to Where it All Started”

  1. Honestly I have to agree with you on that reveal for John. I just watched the episode litterally 10 minutes ago and then came across your post. But yeah, I excpected a bit more out of that scene myself. It’s almost as if John had this thought like ” Oh well….what else can go wrong right? ” And as long as we are being honest, I have to admit that this episode was a bit underwhelming for me. Yes….there has always been a bit of a set up for the first episode, but then again this is the FINAL season, and with only five episodes more in this season, I expected a little bit more fireworks.
    That said, there was still enough to enjoy in this episode, and quite honestly the expectations for this season are of course sky high, so one has to wonder if anything can ever meet these expectations. We’ll see how the rest of the season will progress. All in all, certainly not a bad start, just one that I expect a little bit more of 😊

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry for the late response. I went on an involuntary hiatus because of some health issues, but I’m almost returning, so I’m busy answering some unanswered comments 😅
        Well…I honestly felt having finished the season that it was all a major disappointment in the way things ended. It could have been so much better. Shame (Almost hear that beel repeating the word shame over and over again 😂).

        Liked by 1 person

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