Game of Thrones returned last night for its season eight premiere, and so much went down: a long-awaited reunion between Jon Snow and Arya. And Sansa and Tyrion. And Yara and Theon. The list drags on. But, overwhelmingly, last night’s episode was about women. More specifically, women and their fatal glances and savage quips. If a female lead was on screen Sunday night, she was whittling us down to splinters without doing much at all. Between Daenerys Targaryen, Sansa and Arya, the ever-resilient Yara Greyjoy, and little Lyanna Mormont, I could barely go 10 seconds without involuntarily shouting “Step on me, mom!” at the TV.
I know “glances” might not sound like the most important takeaway from last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, but please understand that I’m gay. Glancing is the official mating call of queer women—and all queer women know the mammoth power a single female leer can hold. So, yeah, there were a lot of intoxicating women glaring at each other on Game of Thrones, and that’s what I cared the most about—I’m not sorry. In a show that doesn’t feature much explicitly queer female content, I have to make up for it in my mind. White Walkers are coming, yeah yeah, sure sure. But also, hear me out: glowering.
When Daenerys finally met Sansa last night, which Twitter loved, glances were had. Sansa wanted her brother to be fair to Northeners, who named him King before he bent the knee to Daenerys, so she was chilly toward the Dragon Queen. And I know I was supposed to be like, “Oh no, Sansa doesn’t like Daenerys,” but all I could think about was how badly I wanted either woman to fillet me with a single scowl. During one particularly frigid standoff, Sansa jeered, “What do dragons eat, anyway?,” to which Daenerys replied, “Whatever they want.”
The roasts were on full display last night too. When the women weren’t leering, they were dropping hot fire on their male counterparts. Sansa made a major dig at Tyrion when she said, “I used to think you were the cleverest man alive,” and if you know and love Tyrion, then you know how personal that remark is. When Arya reunited with Jon, her opening line was “You used to be taller.”
Then Euron Greyjoy propositioned Cersei (for the thousandth time), and she said, “You want a whore, buy one. You want a queen, earn her”—which is iffy feminism in that it’s…uhh, not feminist, yet I still wanted Cersei to shove me off a castle wall. Lady Lyanna Mormont, who always keeps us humble, reprimanded Jon Snow upon his return to the North: She spat, “You left Winterfell a king and came back a—I’m not sure what you are now. A lord? Nothing at all?” And this chick can glare. Basically, everyone in Winterfell was shaking—and not just from the winter.
The first episode of season eight was jam-packed with reunions and character nostalgia, but it was slow overall. They’re definitely laying groundwork for the final five episodes and gearing up for the big fight between the living and the dead, which apparently will be the longest battle scene in the show’s history. Still, I was fully sated by the season premiere.
Last season—season seven—was spilling over with powerful moments from the female leads, and if last night’s episode is any indication, we have so much to look forward to from these women. Plot-wise, of course I want to see Daenerys make the Iron Throne her bitch. I want to see Arya fucking flay Cersei. But mostly I’m looking forward to more devastating glances that cut through me like Valyrian steel, and way more shady quips from the women of Game of Thrones. Sic your dragons on me, Daenerys!
Jill Gutowitz is a writer and comedian in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @jillboard.