Winter is Here: The Beginning of the End

This story contains major spoilers through the most recent episode of Game of Thrones.

The wait is finally over, and we can all breathe again with the new Game of Thrones season underway. Given that it has been two years since anyone felt happiness and hope, remembering where we left off may take some time and refreshing. We came up with some takeaways and speculations for the war to come.

Despite screenwriters straying from the classic George R.R. character lifespan paradigm, nobody [important] dies. The first episode acts as a setup, lightly reintroducing Westeros as key characters position themselves for their respective ambitions.

One of our kingpins [or “queenpins” in this case], Cersei, learns about the breach in the Wall, which she shrugs off. Her apathy towards the new war is typical, and a good illustration of her tendency to pull for chaos in order to assert her dominance. When Maester Qyburn informs her of the imminent war to the North, she responds, calmly, “Good.”

Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth

Her behavior is reminiscent of an especially memorable scene in the season six finale: During the confession at the Sept, Cersei sits back in her chambers as the Mountain guards the king and prevents him from leaving. Meanwhile, the High Sparrow, the Tyrells and honored guests congregate in the church to watch history in the making. The outcome results in the extinction of the Tyrells and the eradication of the sparrows – along with thousands of citizens dead.

Viewers know what Cersei is capable of. When people think she’s ready to accept the consequences, she lashes out. She isn’t one to face the music. While everyone gathers to make moves towards the greater good, Cersei anticipates the deaths of her enemies from a distance. It looks like she has her mercenaries [the Golden Company] and the Greyjoys [post-coitus with Euron Greyjoy] moving towards the North, but knowing her, she may not plan to help directly against the dead.

As far as the power couple of the century goes, Dany and Jon find love in a throne-less place as they travel to Winterfell. It’s always hard introducing a girlfriend to judgmental family and friends, especially when Jon has a track record of dating someone that nobody likes. Hopefully, Dany doesn’t face the same fate as Ygritte – also a foreigner to those who stand behind Jon.

Recall the scene in season three episode five when Ygritte leads Jon’s virgin-ass into a cave to take his innocence; Ygritte, in a romantic stupor, tells Jon that they could “stay in this cave forever” and that they “never have to go back.” Well, they left the cave, broke up, then Ygritte got skewered by a punk named Ollie.

Now, please take a moment of silence to remember what happened to that little Umber kid who Jon sent back home…alone. His character status was understandably expendable, but the way he goes is classic Game of Thrones, in equal parts brutal and symbolic. The Night King, being the artist that he is, leaves a seemingly Targaryen-targeted message out of severed arms and legs and the body of little Umber.

If there’s one thing that stays true in life and myth, it’s that history repeats itself. It’s an unfortunate truth that we can learn from. But it’s only episode one as the night remains dark and full of terror. Hope still stands for Jon and Aunt Dany.

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