Everyone says Winterfell's crypts are safe. So everybody there will die, right?
Streaming / 24 April 2019, 2:00pm / Travis M. Andrews
How do you know something isn't safe on "Game of Thrones"? When the everyone on the show assures you that it is "safe".
In fact, the crypts being ironclad seems to be the only thing everyone agrees on . . . but that feels awfully reminiscent of how indestructible the Titanic supposedly was.
Let's take a look at Sunday night's episode. First there's Ser Davos giving soup to that little girl who looks a darn sight like Shireen Baratheon - the grayscale-infected bookworm whose late father, Stannis, burned at the stake because his girlfriend (who is an old lady but wears a magic necklace to look young) convinced him to after giving birth to a smoke demon.
Davos tells the doppelganger to guard the crypts, thinking she'll be safe there. Then there's Jon convincing Samwell Tarly to protect Gilly and her son by hanging with them in the crypts. And Daenerys sending Tyrion to the crypts because his brain is too important to go to waste.
So, let's talk about these crypts, shall we?
We've long known they were going to be pretty important this season. One of HBO's first major teaser trailers for season 8 showed Jon Snow, Sansa and Arya Stark walking through them and looking at statues of their ancestors while hearing the dead's whispered voices.
Then, gasp, they reach the end of the hallway only to find statues of themselves. A cold wind blows through the crypts, and the siblings pull their swords.
Obviously, part of the trailer's purpose was to remind us that for thousands of years the Starks have ruled Winterfell, which will be the site of the first huge battle of season 8. But it's also a good reminder of what the crypts are: a place where a bunch of dead people are stored.
And now, a bunch of living people are hiding out where a bunch of dead people reside.
And a dude leading an army of the UNDEAD is on his way. And that dude can raise the dead. Hmm...
There's a theory out there that everyone in the crypts will die because the Night King will reanimate the corpses, and it's a compelling one. That would mean we'd probably be treated to a headless Ned Stark running around (with Catelyn, Rickon and Robb at his side?) and beheading his own family, an image that would certainly resonate with fans who at one time considered him to be the show's most honorable protagonist.
And it is somewhat foreshadowed by the books. In "A Game of Thrones," Martin wrote of Jon Snow:
Last night he had dreamt the Winterfell dream again. He was wandering the empty castle, searching for his father, descending into the crypts. Only this time the dream had gone further than before. In the dark he'd heard the scrape of stone on stone. When he turned he saw that the vaults were opening, one after the other. As the dead kings came stumbling from their cold black graves, Jon had woken in pitch-dark, his heart hammering.
We don't want to dive too deeply into book lore here, but it seems like two major points transferred over to the show: The crypts are actually larger than the castle and are filled with about 8,000 years' worth of dead Starks.
With that in mind, this theory has some holes.
While the crypts are full of bodies, it seems that most of them would be decomposed beyond the point of reanimation, at least beyond the point of useful reanimation. Second, the wight that folk band Jon Snow and the Bearded Boys captured in Season 7 and brought to show Cersei couldn't even break out of a wooden crate. How on earth would they break out of, well, the earth?
It also seems like it would be an insanely lazy plot point for a show that earned accolades for being deeply nuanced. Someone would have thought about the dead people, right? Tyrion's been making some boneheaded decisions lately, but the show went out of its way on Sunday to emphasise how intelligent he is. If even he can't see what a bunch of people on Twitter can - that the crypts are, well, crypts, and that might go poorly - then maybe the living don't deserve to win?
There's another theory floating around that the dead will rise, but some form of old magic will have them fighting alongside the living rather than against them - which would also feel like pretty cheap deus ex machina-ish storytelling.
The most likely theory has nothing to do with the bodies stored in the crypts, but instead focuses on architecture. The crypt isn't exactly an open-floorplan office. If the Night King's buddies get in there, everyone could be trapped, becoming fish in a very sad barrel.
Or maybe everyone in the crypts really will be safe and sound, and this story will have a happy ending, just like everybody says.
Where to watch "Game of Thrones"
Watch it on Mondays at 3am on (repeat at 10pm) on M-Net, or straight after with the
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