Copyright © HBO
Our first, clear look at Winterfell! A number of details stand out to us. For example, on the right side, the splash of red color must be the leaves of the weirwood heart tree in the godswood. Next, if the structure in front of the gate is some sort of stable area for visitors, one might estimate that the walls have been very much scaled back to something more in line with the real world—call them about 40 feet high, compared to 80 feet for Winterfell’s outer wall in the novel. And speaking of outer wall, yes, Winterfell has two sets of walls, but there’s no evidence of the inner walls in this image.
We like the hoardings—wooden extensions surrounding the towers at a certain height, like rings—surrounding the towers, although it seems to us that much more peaked towers roofs would have made sense for an area where winter snows can be incredibly heavy; these flatter roofs seem in danger of collapsing. Finally, on the whole, the castle appears to be significantly less sprawling than the ancient, 8,000-year-old castle described in the novel, with ancient, half-ruinous buildings standing among newer ones, and all of it built on uneven ground with small hills and valleys contained within the walls.
We like the look, all in all, but when compared to the extraordinary Red Keep design for the show (which, if anything, is even more extravagant than what George describes), it seems somewhat underwhelming.