Winter is Coming to The Kingsroad: S1E1 and 2

Watching the very first episodes of Game of Thrones could not be more like thumbing through a battered old photo album on a visit to your hometown, or, at the very least, like scrolling through your "On This Day" Facebook flashbacks. Look at those utter babyfaces! Remember when we couldn't tell the three strappingly scruffy lads of the North apart? Can you believe that swaggering douchebag would become one of the most layered, sympathetic characters in the whole series? Thank the old gods and the new that those hideous Kings Landing braided earmuff hairdos went out of style. And get a load of Bran. WALKING! Were we ever this innocent?

After making it through all seven seasons (which I assume you are too, because this stroll down memory lane is going to be chockablock with ALL the spoilers), who else was positively TRIPPING at the fact that we meet Jon Snow's actual bona fide mother halfway through the very first episode? SHe's mentioned at 30:30, and then we even SEE her at 33:06, as a statue in the crypt, while Robert Baratheon is grumbling about how "she belonged with me" and he "dreams of killing [Rhaegar] every night" and a bunch of other toxic masculinity themes. I'm impressed at Ned's poker face, both here and at the scene where the pair reminisce about their callow youths en route to King's Landing.

Speaking of toxic masculinity: Viserys. Haven't thought about that dude in a while!  Between threatening Dany with 'waking the dragon,' stripping her (gross) and then feeling her up (grosser than gross), and telling her that he'd let 40 thousand Dothraki and their horses rape her in order to get 'his' throne, I'm already looking forward to his "crowning." Fitting that it's his namesake dragon that gets zombified by the Night King in season 7. 

But the swooniest nostalgia of all is, of course, House Stark & Co. I would seriously watch a prequel spinoff that is nothing but the Wacky Kids of Winterfell. Seeing them all excited about a royal visit but otherwise just going about their lives in E1, with no idea how drastically things were about to change forever?

Stark Family.png

OUCH. Jon and Arya's goodbye scene in particular - who knew the sight of a tiny sword would give me such Feels? Stick ME with the pointy end, dammit. They had better finally reunite in season 8. Jon's scene with Catelyn was also excruciating, in a much less warm-fuzzy way. She died without ever learning the truth about him, after treating him like a second class citizen his entire life, right up to his departure. I know Catelyn gets tons of flack for setting a lot of shit in motion due to her frequently shitty decisions, but it's her treatment of Jon that bothers me the most. Woman, you managed to patch things up with your husband after he cheated on you (I know I know, but in HER mind) and went on to have a healthy marriage, but you hold a grudge against the kid who had no say in his existence in the first place? Even if he really were Ned Stark's bastard, there's no excuse. Taking care of him once while sick (according to a future monologue) doesn't absolve you either.

Finally: special mention of Sansa's first meeting with Ser Ilyn Payne. Anyone else get the shivers at that? Watching Joffrey saunter up and describe him as "The King's Justice," while we know what order HE will later give when he becomes king? Makes watching Nymeria (Nymeria!) attack his simpering ass all the more satisfying, despite the awful outcome (goddamn it, Cersei). RIP, Lady. 

Saving meditations on Tyrion and Dany for what's up next: Lord Snow & Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things.