The Ghosts of Thrones Recap: 'Winterfell'
Welcome back to the Game of Thrones afterlife! The last offical recap, for ‘The Dragon and the Wolf’, is available here if you need a catch up, and you can also check out the specials: Lady Stoneheart’s Dungeon, It’s A Wonderful Death, and Goodnight Ser Pounce if you want some ghostly action.
It has been quiet for what has felt like an eternity, but after an excruciating wait, the ghosts are able to see the world below again. They gather, and a mood of tense excitement fills the space. The biggest and loudest group dominates the conversation.
Olenna: I know Winter has come, but my goodness, that’s a chilly reception. Is everyone in the North so dour and suspicious? Is it a Winter thing, or are they always like that?
Robert: They are ALWAYS like that.
Margaery: I’m sure she can win them over.
Olenna: I’m sure you could have done. Daenerys is a lot of things, but she’s not very good at charm.
Loras: Fire melts ice.
Olenna: Dragonfire doesn’t melt hearts, just bodies. Her Hand is the silver-tongued one, and he’s next to useless here. And the former king in the North isn’t exactly a sweet talker. The only outsider who has had any success with charming the locals is the Onion Knight.
Margaery: Sansa then. She must have picked up some lessons in charm from me.
Olenna: Well, Daenerys tried.
Margaery: Sansa is playing this all wrong.
Robert: Oh these bloody Northerners. Do you want to fight the Night’s King and the army of the dead, or do you want to have a pissing contest right now? There are more important things to…. MY BOY!!!
Olenna: I do enjoy Sansa putting Tyrion in his place. He’s not as clever as he thinks he is.
Margaery: I remember comforting her about having to marry him. Look at her now.
Stannis: You’ve changed your tune.
Margaery: Not at all. There are different rules for men and queens.
Olenna: You wouldn’t understand Stannis. You are completely immune to flattery…
Stannis: [puffs up with pride] Yes, I am.
Olenna: …except when it’s in a red dress and tells you you’re the chosen one. Then all bets are off.
Olenna: What is that odd boy up to? Is he just going to sit there staring at people all day?
Far from the others, the Starks have gathered to watch the family reunions together, in peace. They have watched in a misty-eyed, stoic silence so far.
Ned: [softly] The pack survives…
Cat: I never thought I would hear Arya defending Sansa against Jon.
They smile fondly at each other, and then turn back to watch the action below. Back at the main group, the conversation hasn’t stopped.
Robert: Good? GOOD? The dead have broken through the wall and that’s GOOD?
Olenna: Ugh, how is this Greyjoy idiot still alive? No terrible storms at sea?
Robert: If he’s determined to bed Cersei he won’t live for long.
Olenna: He’s just tedious. We’ve seen worse monsters than you, Euron.
Ros: We’ve broken worse than you!
Ygritte: Oh, a villain! Save me!
Ros: I’ve seen his type before. Grows a beard and thinks it’s a personality.
Ygritte: Thinks he’s so tough cutting out people’s tongues. He knows nothing.
Ros: He’ll weep once we get our hands on him.
They laugh, and walk away.
Robert: [smiling and shaking his head.] Redheads. Gotta love them.
Margaery: Oh I do.
They laugh conspiratorially.
Robert: Wait, what?
Margaery: So, do we trust the Golden Company? Or are they playing a long game?
Viserys: Ugh, the Golden Company. Bastard traitors all of them. Not surprised they are fighting against the Targaryens AGAIN.
Robert: The exiles have come home.
Renly: They never break their word.
Stannis: Except when they do.
Olenna: Is a sellsword ever truly loyal?
Stannis: They can be useful. But that use has its limits.
Robert: There are still sellswords in the Golden Company who fled Westeros when I became king. Why would they come back and fight for Cersei bloody Lannister?
Viserys: The same reason they wouldn’t fight for me.
Stannis: The clue is in the name, brother.
Olenna: Cersei found something about the Tyrells that she liked. Our gold. Remember? She paid off the Iron Bank and they rewarded her with another loan. I am glad it didn’t quite stretch far enough to include elephants. Anything that ruins Cersei’s day makes mine infinitely more enjoyable.
Margaery: From the looks of it, her day is about to get much worse.
Renly: Bronn’s got nothing better to do than visit whores?
Robert: Isn’t that the crossbow that—
Tywin: [glares at him]
Olenna: When you were—
Tywin: [impatiently] Yes.
Robert: [laughs hysterically]
Olenna: Cersei really wanted those elephants. [chuckles]
Robert: [erupts with mortified rage] WHAT DID SHE JUST SAY?!
Tywin: [barely suppressing his glee] She said—
Robert: DON’T REPEAT IT! How DARE she?
Margaery: [smirking] Women are complicated creatures, your Grace…
Robert: I KNOW! I’VE NEVER HAD ANY COMPLAINTS!
Olenna: Only from the woman who would rather bed her brother.
Margaery: Oh look! Theon has rescued Yara!
Olenna: She is the only decent Greyjoy.
Margaery: Is this really the first time someone’s suggested that Jon and Daenerys should marry?
Olenna: Men are rather slow on the uptake.
Margaery: And there it is. Daenerys is not impressed. I told you Sansa was playing this all wrong.
Stannis: Being charming didn’t get you very far with Cersei!
Margaery: No, but she knew I was going to replace her. Daenerys isn’t replacing Sansa. There is no power to lose, only position to gain. And Daenerys wants to be liked. Cersei only wanted to be feared.
Viserys: Dragons don’t need to be liked.
Olenna: No, but it is rather foolish to make them angry.
Viserys: How has Dany not figured it out yet? Only Targaryens can ride dragons.
Olenna: Maybe he’s doing such a poor job that she thinks only Targaryens can ride dragons well.
Viserys: This is so unfair. I want to ride a dragon! And I’m a proper Targaryen!
Margaery: They are a handsome couple.
Olenna: For a young couple in love, they aren’t radiating much heat.
Robert: The dragons are putting him off.
Olenna: That’s understandable.
Margaery: I remember how distracting it was when Ser Pounce would watch me with Tommen. I think he approved. He would purr anyway. But the last thing you want is eye contact from a pet whilst in the throes of passion.
Olenna: Robert, did you have any pets? Did they like to spy on you with Cersei?
Robert: No. Why?
Olenna: Perhaps that was why—
Robert: MY BOY! Look at how STRONG he is! Ned! NED! Oh, he’s not listening. We should never have matched up Sansa and Joffrey. Arya and Gendry are just like me and—
There is an uncomfortable silence, punctuated only by a few forlorn sniffs from Robert.
Margaery: Daenerys has finally found a friendly face in the North! Oh, no, wait. That didn’t last long.
Olenna: That conversation took a turn. And that odd boy is still lurking around. Someone fetch him another blanket!
Stannis: I don’t know why there is suddenly a need for monarchs to be warm and cuddly.
Robert: I made my closest friend kill his daughter’s pet direwolf and he still liked me.
Stannis: Look at Ser Davos. I dealt with him firmly and fairly. He took his punishment and his reward with grace. He still served loyally.
Renly: Even when you murdered your brother with a shadow demon.
Robert: He rebelled against you when he saved my boy!
Stannis: But he was prepared to face his king’s punishment for it!
Tywin: You can’t rule without showing strength.
Khal Drogo: Me nem nesa
Renly: It’s not like Jon’s hands are clean. He executed Slynt for disobedience, when let’s be honest, he just needed to make a point about how he was in charge, and Slynt was a convenient whiny little bastard.
Stannis: Randyll Tarly chose his punishment, and knew the price.
Olenna: And he was a dirty turncloak.
Renly: It was a bit harsh for the son though.
Loras: Dickon was a fool.
Stannis: Yes, yes, he’s got a funny name. How are you still laughing at it?
Robert: It will never not be funny.
Stannis: [darkly] Oh good.
Margaery: Jon took that news quite well, all things considered.
Stannis: I suppose we should start calling him Aegon now.
Robert: Will he still visit Daenerys’s bedchamber later?
Olenna: [feigning a gruff Northern accent] Not tonight, your Grace, I have a headache.
Robert: Incest never stopped Cersei.
Viserys: It was good enough for Aegon the Conqueror. Why not Aegon, Sixth of His Name?
Olenna: The boy might feel differently. At the very least, it might subdue his performance.
Robert: WHY DID YOU LOOK AT ME WHEN YOU SAID THAT?
Stannis: Looks like we have some Northerners joining us from Last Hearth.
Olenna: I am glad that big wildling fellow is alive and well.
Margaery: And here’s Jaime!
Olenna: So this is why the odd boy has been waiting! All so he can stare at Jaime Lannister and make him uncomfortable! That’s marvellous. I’ve had some petty moments in my time, but this is art.
Robert: [affecting a high pitched voice] Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.
Olenna: [chuckling] That was delicious.
Robert: Her face when she found out!
Olenna: I am looking forward to seeing her again…
A few yards away, a huge man has been watching the action with the smallest ghost in the group, and attempting to explain it to him.
Hodor: …Do you remember Jaime? It’s been a long time since he was here at Winterfell, and that’s Bran Stark staring at him. Bran has all sorts of special powers and gifts, but he was hurt in a terrible accident, and so I used to carry him around. He was my best friend. I had had a terrible accident too, when I was — well, I was never little — when I was young. I had a vision. I knew that I would have a best friend and that I would need to protect him, even though something awful would happen to me…
Ser Pounce: [meows and looks concerned]
Hodor: …But it is alright. The awful thing happened but I saved my friend. And now he can save everyone else. Just between you and me though, he’s spent most of the time since I saved him being a bit weird, and I’m hoping that it’s not too much to hope for him to do something really epic. Because then, my whole life wasn’t just given up for nothing. I don’t want to upset you, but the awful thing was really bad. So bad that I spent all my adult life entirely traumatised by what was going to happen, and I willingly walked into that anyway. Because Bran is my friend. What’s he done since? Everyone knew Littlefinger was a snake! Sure, he’s revealed the big secret about Jon. But Sam had figured most of that out anyway.
Ser Pounce: [purrs]
Hodor: One minute he’s this distant, strange three eyed raven. And then he waits in the cold for hours just so he can have revenge on Jaime Lannister? I didn’t sacrifice myself so that he could be sassy. It just seems a bit—
He pauses as the Starks walk past on their way to rejoin the main group.
Ned: Hello Hodor!
Ser Pounce looks at Hodor quizzically. Hodor winks at him.
Hodor: Tell no-one.
Header Image Source: HBO
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