The Night’s Cast Episode 19: “Winterfell” Recap and Reactions

Jon Rhaegal Winterfell episode

The season is HERE! And with it comes a deluge of articles, recaps, videos and podcasts for every episode — and The Night’s Cast, the official podcast of Watchers on the Wall, is pleased to be part of the onslaught!

Join us every Tuesday morning as we recap and react to Sunday’s episode. This week, naturally, it’s the premiere episode, “Winterfell” and Vanessa and Samantha are here to break down some of the details.

Don’t forget — The Night’s Cast is going live for Season 8! Every Sunday until May 19th, you can find us livestreaming at 5 p.m. EST on the Watchers on the Wall YouTube channel.

The podcast is available on iTunes and SoundCloud, and you can follow us on Twitter as well. Happy listening!

25 responses

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    1. In the show they keep talking about how the pack survives. At the same time, Bran over and over says he is not a Stark anymore.

      Hmmmm….

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    2. I’ve got a theory about Bronn. Didn’t Jaime tell him in Season 5 that his ideal death would be dying in the arms of the woman he loved? Maybe Bronn tracks down Jaime and Brienne on their way south after surviving the battle of Winterfell, and shoots him with the crossbow so that he can die in Brienne’s arms, thus giving him his ideal death.

      I think this would be a fitting ending to Bronn’s arc. He would kill Jaime, but he would be conflicted about it and honor his ideal death.

      Also for those doubting that Jaime would turn against Jaime like this, remember what he said to Tyrion in Season 2. Tyrion asked him if he would kill a baby without question and he said that he would ask how much. Cersei is now offering Bronn everything he wants to kill his friends, which morally would be comparable to killing a baby.

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    3. Thank you Vanessa and Samantha for this episode! I have to agree with you about Sam revealing the truth to Jon. It was not my favourite scene but you articulated exactly why it wasn’t my favourite. Jon’s parentage reveal for the audience was beautifully done in S6 and the same effort should have made for Jon himself. I think Kit did a fantastic display of emotions, especially his anger, but I feel the delivery could have been much much better instead of Sam revealing this in a rush and partially out of anger.

      I also agree with you about the trailer next week being misleading. I do actually think Dany will acknowledge that her father was mad and perhaps even say what Jaime did was a service to the kingdom … but that might be too far.

      One other thing I noted was how patronizing it might have been for Sansa that Dany told her she was beautiful “The North is as beautiful as your brother described it. As are you.” I know the writers are trying to mirror the first episode and this comment would have definitely appealed to the young and naive Sansa, but definitely not the one in the S8 premiere. She’s learned a lot since then.

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    4. Undead Elephant: Cersei is now offering Bronn everything he wants to kill his friends, which morally would be comparable to killing a baby.

      She has offered him a lot. But, unless I missed it, she did not offer him a castle. Gold is great, but I seem to remember Bronn specifically telling Jamie that he already has gold. The one thing he does not have that he wants is a castle. Also, way back, Tyrion said that if Cersi ever offered Bronn anything, that he would double it. This has led to some speculation that Bronn would end up being offered The Twins by the good guys somehow (ie: two castles). But since Cersi doesn’t seem to have even offered a castle, I guess that scenario is not going to play out.

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    5. Thanks for this recap episode, a very enjoyable listen.

      I have to disagree with your opinions on the “dragon date” (Jon first riding a dragon) and Jon’s parentage reveal. I liked it that neither were these, huge, epic things.

      I’m not sure if Dany knows that only Valyrian dragonlords of old – of which the Targaryens are the last surviving remnants – can bond with and ride dragons. At least in the books, Ser Jorah

      suggests that Dany could take two husbands, who would be her dragonriding consorts, mirroring Aegon the Conqueror and his two sister-wives. Jorah, the old letch, seems to be thinking he could be one of those husbands.

      I can’t remember if that, or the “requirements for dragon riding” ever came up in the show, but D&D stated in the after-episode interview thingy that only Targaryens (the only remaining dragonlords of Old Valyria) can ride dragons.

      So maybe that was a nod to us (book-reading) viewers, that Jon is a Targ. Dany seemed oblivious to the implications, she probably just thought that her babies Drogon and Rhaegal will accept her new boyfriend because she loves him. Like I said, I’m not sure if she knows, show or book, about the “blood of old Valyria” requirement. Tyrion could, perhaps, enlighten her. He’s had a fascination with dragons since childhood and read up on them.

      Anyway, from the show perspective, Jon riding Rhaegal in S8E1 serves three purposes. Firstly, avoiding Jon jumping on a dragon in a deux ex machina way at some later critical moment – he’s already done it, knows how to do it. Secondly, confirms to viewers that Jon really is a Targ, ahead of even Jon knowing it. And thirdly, might facilitate Dany’s acceptance that Jon really is a Targ, her brother Rhaegar’s son, if she understands the dragon connection. Perhaps with Tyrion confirming he’s read about it – Dany wouldn’t necessarily believe Jon’s BFF Sam.

      I also loved the fun and humour of Jon’s first dragon ride, giggled all the way through. So much better than some grand epic scene. It showed them as young people in love and a bit reckless with all the heady happiness of it.

      Next, the parentage reveal to Jon. I loved how it was a bit of a muddle, couched in all kinds of human emotions. Yes, Sam was shocked, angry, didn’t like Dany. I also feel Sam sowing seeds of doubt, even pushing Jon’s claim is not out of character. Sam is not a selfless character.

      Jon is the best friend he’s ever had and he genuinely loves and respects Jon, but Sam does not have Jon’s best interest closest to his heart. Gilly and toddler Sam are his first priority, second is Sam’s own survival and… dare I say it… his own comfort and desires. He keeps pushing Jon into leadership positions because he knows it benefits him if his best friend is the leader.

      I love Sam, he’s a good guy and a strong ally of Jon, but he’s not without selfish motives. A bit grey, lika all the characters.

      The acting props of the episode go to John Bradley (Sam) for the Winterfell library scene with Dany and Jorah. That trembling lip while trying to hold it together.

      Second acting props go to NCW for the looks that passed on his face within seconds when he arrived in Winterfell and saw Bran. That was one of my favourite scenes of the whole episode (yeah, yeah, yeah, I loved the Jon/Arya reunion and others, but I’m an unashamed Jaime fan, so…)

      I’m not sure if Jaime even knew Bran was alive. He knows Theon took Winterfell and “killed” Bran and Rickon but I don’t think he knows Bran has been found and is this visionary now. What I read in those several seconds of great face acting by NCW is recognition, surprise, remorse, fear.

      He’s surprised to see THAT KID alive and well… no, not well, he’s obviously a cripple. I did that… Oh shit, he’s gonna tell his brother and I’m dead.

      Poor Jaime, every time he tries to do some good (e.g. fight for the living despite Cersei’s callous betrayal), his past catches up with him. Karma.

      That said, I don’t think Jaime should worry too much about Bran. Isaac Hamsted-Wright (Bran) has in interviews stressed how Bran is now above petty human squabbles, his only focus is the great war. Let’s just hope he doesn’t tell her murder sister.

      Jaime’s more immediate worry might be Dany. She was OK with him at the Dragonpit parley but if he now comes north without the Lannister army and with news of Cersei’s betrayal… Don’t shoot the messanger… except, he was the person who killed her father and effectively ended the Targaryen dynasty. Dany gets angry, Dany does impulsive, ruthless things with dragons. Luckily Tyrion, Brienne and Sansa are there to speak up for him. Even Bran. Could be even Jon, if he sees the value of having a southron military commander who might be able to bring some troops to their cause.

      Sorry for the long post, I missed the open chat and first recep article due to real life issues, so now I wanted to blether about some of my thought on S8E1.

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    6. Oh, and the elephants!

      I’m just as dissappointed as Cersei about no elephants.

      In S7, Cersei made a point about the Golden Company having elephants. Maybe the showrunners thought they’d have elephants in S8, real and CGI, but that proved untenable practically and budget-wise.

      Hence Cersei expressing our collective disappointment about no elephants. Very meta.

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    7. Dolorous Methuselah: She has offered him a lot.But, unless I missed it, she did not offer him a castle.Gold is great, but I seem to remember Bronn specifically telling Jamie that he already has gold.The one thing he does not have that he wants is a castle.Also, way back, Tyrion said that if Cersi ever offered Bronn anything, that he would double it.This has led to some speculation that Bronn would end up being offered The Twins by the good guys somehow (ie: two castles).But since Cersi doesn’t seem to have even offered a castle, I guess that scenario is not going to play out.

      Oh, I’ve only watched the episode once but I thought she offered him a castle/lordship for completing the job and two carts of gold upfront?

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    8. Dark Sister:

      One other thing I noted was how patronizing it might have been for Sansa that Dany told her she was beautiful “The North is as beautiful as your brother described it. As are you.”I know the writers are trying to mirror the first episode and this comment would have definitely appealed to the young and naive Sansa, but definitely not the one in the S8 premiere. She’s learned a lot since then.

      It’s also a callback to Sansa’s own mistake in S6, trying to win over Lady Lyanna Mormont with similar flattery. Sansa recognises Dany’s words for what they are, empty courtesies. Who better to spot empty courtesies than Sansa, who was brought up to master them.

      No wonder Sansa is often so snarky and rude. She’s done with the courtesies. “A lady’s armour”, Septa Mordaine taught her. It might’ve helped her survive KL and Joffrey but she’s learned by now that being a submissive little bird parrotting the courtesies her Septa taught her isn’t really going to cut it, to help her.

      Arya never bothered about courtesies, even back in S1. Sansa is coming round to her viewpoint. But that’s not right either. Diplomacy requires a certain amount of conventional courtesies and compromise. Arya has to learn that, and Sansa has to re-learn that.

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    9. The Wolves of Winter: I am fine with as long as we get ice spiders big as hounds.

      I’d prefer elephants. They’re at least somehow real world. Ice spiders big as hounds are too fantasy.

      Er… I do realise I’m watching a fantasy show, lol. 😀

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    10. Undead Elephant,

      No castles or highborn brides were offered, just a lot of gold.

      It tell us how Cersei regards Bronn. As a callous mercenary who can be bought if you throw enough money at it. But Bronn really wants a castle, a title, to become one of them, the nobility. Cersei does not want a crude sellsword like Bronn to join the ranks of her privileged class.

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    11. talvikorppi:
      Oh, and the elephants!

      I’m just as dissappointed as Cersei about no elephants.

      In S7, Cersei made a point about the Golden Company having elephants. Maybe the showrunners thought they’d have elephants in S8, real and CGI, but that proved untenable practically and budget-wise.

      Hence Cersei expressing our collective disappointment about no elephants. Very meta.

      https://www.instagram.com/p/BwTYpPan0ci/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=1v2djnpo9njtj

      David and Dan must have originally thought they could get elephants in the script. Something must have really gone wrong or not worked at all. They had to have been confident enough at first to have Cersei mention it last season. Tis a shame, but it can be rectified with some ice spiders. I will be disappointed if we don’t get those now that elephants are out of the equation.

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    12. Undead Elephant: Also for those doubting that (Bronn) would turn against Jaime like this, remember what he said to Tyrion in Season 2. Tyrion asked him if he would kill a baby without question and he said that he would ask how much. Cersei is now offering Bronn everything he wants to kill his friends, which morally would be comparable to killing a baby.

      I highly, HIGHLY doubt that Bronn will kill either Jaime or Tyrion. Oh sure, he’ll accept the gold to do so. Maybe he’ll even consider doing the deed. He’s been characterized throughout as willing to do anything for payment. That’s why they’re using him and putting him in the position to do just that – viewers may believe he will. The main thing is that it’s their way of getting Bronn out of KL and characters he has no direct history with and back to the only ones he’s almost exclusively interacted with the entire series; Tyrion, Jaime and Pod. I’ll sooner believe that Bronn will just laugh that he got Cersei’s gold and join his “friends” in the North than I will that he’ll go all the way to the North and kill one or both.

      I’m still forming these thoughts using both the books Bronn and the Bronn they’ve created on the show. Cersei attempts to have HIM murdered in the books. He’s not going to be working for her in that medium. He may not even have much more to do in the books. I think D&D are using their freedoms to do whatever they want with the character. They’ve created one that’s shown to be selfish but also a rather decent guy, a bit of comic relief, and one that viewers generally like despite his faults. My opinion is that they’ll have him do something very selfless to save Jaime or Tyrion rather than murder them (and it could get him killed).

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    13. The Wolves of Winter,

      Yes, the mammoth in S4, that burned a lot of their CGI budget. The couple of others were conveniently out of focus, mostly out of view.

      Maybe D&D thought that now they have the budget to bring in half a dozen elephants but realised filming with real live elephants was just too difficult, and CGIing everything was expensive and not really worth it storywise, they’d rather spend their money elsewhere.

      Still, my first reaction while watching S8E1 was “WHERE ARE MY ELEPHANTZZ!!” haha.

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    14. talvikorppi:
      Undead Elephant,

      No castles or highborn brides were offered, just a lot of gold.

      It tell us how Cersei regards Bronn. As a callous mercenary who can be bought if you throw enough money at it. But Bronn really wants a castle, a title, to become one of them, the nobility. Cersei does not want a crude sellsword like Bronn to join the ranks of her privileged class.

      I think the lordship and castle were implied by Qyburn’s question: what would she do for the man who murdered her treasonous brothers?

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    15. Undead Elephant: I think the lordship and castle were implied by Qyburn’s question: what would she do for the man who murdered her treasonous brothers?

      Yeah, maybe implied… But that gives Cersei plausible deniability. “I never promised you a castle or a highborn lady wife.”

      Bronn’s in a dilemma. Accept the money to kill a couple of people he’s had friendly relations with. A chance of social advancement if the war goes Cersei’s way. Or stick with the other side, “friends”.

      My prediction: Bronn won’t kill Tyrion or Jaime. He’s a callous, nihilistic son of a bitch. But the Lannister brothers have taught him something. A way to advance yourself through diplomacy. Pretend you’re a honourable knight and all that yadda yadda.

      Whether he likes it or not, his future fortune is tied up with the Lannister brothers. He isn’t going to kill them for the gold of volatile Cersei.

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    16. I’m wondering if the fact that Jon has now been revealed to be Targaryan will actually resolve some of the Northern political issues. Since he’s no longer a Stark the whole he was King in the North and bent the knee issue can be swept aside since the Northern lords will no longer want him and they can all now look to Sansa as the true “Lady of Winterfell”. And with no King to muddle the issue, declaring for Daenerys is much more palatable as the choice is now between her and Cersei.

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    17. Insomnia333,

      That makes no sense as Dany is not a Queen, she is a usurper, looking to oust the current Queen (Cersei) or the rightful heir (Jon). The northerners have zero reason to support but her but a ton of reasons to support Jon as the rightful heir.

      Also we need to recognise Dany no longer has any support for ousting the monarchs with Tyrells gone and Dorne defeated, I suspect Varys and Tyrion will also fall behind Jon. The question is will she bend the knee and do what’s right or go full fire and blood to get what she badly craves?

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    18. I am a regular listener of the “1A” talk show and I heard Samantha being interviewed as a guest the other day, during their episode about the cultural impact of “Game of Thrones”. When I heard she hosted a GoT podcast, I thought I’d give it a listen.

      I’m sorry to say that I really hated it. I did and I can’t put it any other way. I don’t recall when I’ve had a less enjoyable listening experience. I don’t mind a variety of theories, reactions and interpretations to GoT because that’s what makes listening to GoT podcasts and watching GoT videos fun. But, some things are wildly inaccurate on their face when you twist them too far. You can’t turn a rabbit into a hippopotamus even if you squint. I just found the commentary so off.

      For example, how can anyone say Sam acted “out of character” during the episode? As compared to what? The last time he was told half of his family was summarily executed? He’s never been through a personal tragedy of this magnitude so how can someone say he’s acting out of character? In addition, since people usually don’t act like themselves when they’re first grieving, acting unusual is actually perfectly normal. In addition, he didn’t tell Jon the truth out of anger. It wasn’t his idea to tell Jon anything at all. Bran stopped Sam in his tracks and urged him to tell Jon about his parents. Sam, you should recall, demurred and said that Bran should be the one to speak to Jon. Did you not see that conversation between them? So, if Sam were motivated by anger or vengeance, he would have lept on the chance to sour Jon’s connection to Dany. Plus, it’s uncertain that Sam knows they are involved in a romantic relationship. He only knows they’re allies.

      The flaming symbol at the Last Hearth DOES look like the Targaryen sigil. That’s why people are saying that. But, to leap to the conclusion that folks are only saying that for anti Targaryen reasons is simply a bizarre conclusion to come to. The Targaryens weren’t even in Westeros when the Night King was created. So, there’s no foreshadowing that the Targaryens are the bad guys or associated with the Night King. What’s more likely is that the Targaryens, consciously or unconsciously, styled their coat of arms to resemble the stones around certain weirwood trees, which were probably in greater abundance when they arrived in Westeros. It could also be that the Night King was communicating that Dany and her dragons were his real enemies, as far as he was concerned, which would make sense since she’s the epitome of “fire” and he’s is the epitome of “ice”.

      Lastly, I think you also missed the mark when covering Cersei in this episode. She was manipulating, not capitulating when it comes to Euron. She slept with him because she’s either still pregnant and she wants to pass Jaime’s baby off as Euron’s since she’s furious with Jaime or she lost the baby and she wants Euron to father a replacement. Either way, it’s not a loss of her power, in her eyes.

      You really swung and missed on this whole episode, guys.

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    19. Both Vanessa and Samantha do a fantastic job overall, let’s not forget that. I think it’s pretty clear they are both heavily biased towards Dany though (hey we all have favourites) and I’ve pointed this out before that they flatly refuse to consider negative connotations. They both recently talked about Brienne ending her arc as part of Dany’s Queen’s guard at the end of the story, clearly assuming Dany will rule!

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    20. The long “winter” between S7 and S8 I had the thought of Cersei thinking she’s pregnant but she is actually entering menopause. I’ve never seen anyone else bring this possibility up anywhere but I think it could be a legitimate conclusion here.

      She genuinely thinks she is pregnant, fears for her unborn child when the wight attacks her and uses it as leverage with Tyrion possibly. Over the time that’s passed in their world between seasons, they may have discovered she’s unable to bear children anymore. The look Cersei gives Euron after his comment looks to me as though it was more of a “you can’t put a Prince in my belly, no one can anymore” and less of a “you can’t put a Prince in my belly because there’s already one in there.” The wine drinking sort of supports this too.

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    21. Benjen Lee,

      That’s a possibility, but menopause doesn’t usually work that way. Things don’t just stop abruptly. They taper off, over time, and stop, eventually. Then again, the seasons there aren’t the same as on Earth, so who knows? Maybe a woman’s biology is slightly different, too.

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    22. talvikorppi,

      Very nice series of posts. I think Sam and NCW were stunning and lifted the entire episode!

      Kimberly,

      I had a bit of chuckle here! I have not been posting here for a long time and when I joined, I rather naively listened to a few of these casts. I was initially bewildered, then I realised they are Ok if you think of them as broadcasts from Radio Targaryen. This is not a bad thing, there are a lot of Daenerys fans and it makes sense to pander to this target clientele.

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