Welcome back, everyone — and first and foremost, SPOILERS AHEAD!
Just like last week, I’ve already initially watched the episode with my wife, and now I’ve decompressed and am ready to rewatch and take notes as I go! I’m not going to timestamp the episode as I did last week, as I wound up going back and editing them out. I’ll be speaking chronologically, so if I glossed over something, I didn’t have anything to say on it.
I was far more satisfied at the end of this week’s episode, in that I felt we were really getting moving on the story by its end. Let’s see how I feel after more careful analysis!
I’ll definitely be writing a post to update my thoughts on several common theories tomorrow afternoon, but for now, let us just enjoy S8E2 – A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (We <3 you, Ser Brienne of Tarth!) EDITORS NOTE: She can’t just be “Lady Brienne of Tarth, Knight of the Seven Kingdoms?”
On with the SHOW!
I actually quite liked the entire Trial scene, for pretty much everyone. Brienne, of course, spoke up for Jaime, and we see growth out of both Sansa and Daenerys in the scene. Even though Sansa doesn’t know that Jaime threw Bran from the window, she still had a legitimate reason to want him executed in the scene — the attack on her father in King’s Landing. Obviously, Jon didn’t need to grow much here — but it is to be said that he made the correct decision, with the manner of a true King and…
DAMMMMMMMMMMMNNNNNNNNN that’s a COLD SHOULDER from Jon to Dany, and a total walk-off. She’s trying to engage, he knows it, and bolts. He’s obviously wrestling with some stuff, nothing major or anything! 😀
I think we just saw Varys make his only function of the episode… he bowed to Dany. What happened to Varys? Tyrion makes a resurgence later in the episode, but I don’t remember Varys at all after watching once, so I noted his bow to Dany here.
I’m glad Jorah goes to talk to Dany, though, because someone needed to bring her up short, and make her realize that she’s STILL worried about the wrong things. We’re less than 24 hours from the Dead arriving, and you’re worried about having a better Hand of the Queen? Really, Dany? I love Emilia, and she’s playing her spectacularly, but Dany’s become a totally STONEHEARTED LADY.
Then… we have the most amazing character in history… Ladies and Gentlemen… Miss Arya Stark of Winterfell… goodness gracious. The demonstration of her skill, her want of ACTUAL TACTICAL INFORMATION from a fellow warrior, who had actually fought the enemy in question, and then the authoritative “My weapon?!” at the very end… she’s amazing, but Gendry is awesome as well. Amazing acting by both of them here. (Arya is just too bad-ass, though, since I’ve already seen the episode. Arya Stark takes what she wants, dammit.)
We peel back to look at the Tree in the Godswood, and see Bran sitting in his chair in the snow… and just a great scene between Bran and Jaime. I didn’t think Bran would be angry at Jaime and that definitely paid off, and Bran is definitely seeing two moves ahead. He knows Jaime is crucial to the fight, and he KNOWS what he needs now. Benjen Coldhands told Bran that he would be ready when the Night King came — does he sound like he is not ready, in any way? His quote to Jaime at the end of the scene is great, as well “How do you know there IS an afterwards?”
Tyrion and Jaime together again is great. Tyrion gets a great scene, and a great zinger on Jaime, when Jaime says he was fooled by Cersei, and Tyrion tells him “She never fooled you. You always knew exactly what she was, and you loved her anyway.” The scene continues, and they have a laugh over Tyrion’s classic line about how and where he wants to die… and then the conversation trails off, with Tyrion telling him that once he’s dead, he hopes to march down to King’s Landing and rip Cersei apart… but Jaime’s not listening, because he’s watching his NEW true love, Lady Brienne of Tarth, masterfully commanding her training troops. (Oh, and keep up the awesome work, Podrick! Someone should knight YOU, as well!)
Jaime… bro… tell her… I LOVE YOU. You can do it. We all know you have it in you.
Then we cut to Ser Jorah giving Dany the best counsel she has received yet. That Tyrion really was deserving of being Hand, and that she needed to forgive his mistakes… and we assume he advises her to speak to Sansa, as that is what we cut to next, with Dany walking into a conversation between her and Bronze Yohn Royce, about keeping the gates open as long as militarily possible, to enable more people to flee into the castle from the countryside. This scene winds up going all sorts of sideways, but it has appeared that Sansa has been the lead ruler this entire season.
This scene is going so well. Dany is actually holding her hand on Sansa’s as she tells her she is there because she loves her brother. They look like they are on the verge of friendship and understanding, if not downright sisterhood. Dany’s opening up, Sansa’s opening up… and then we start to talk of “afterwards.” We haven’t beaten the Army of the Dead yet, but we’re worried about afterwards… and then Sansa goes off the “We said we’d never bow to anyone again, WHAT ABOUT THE NORFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF BITCH” and then we’re interrupted. (Sansa, you’ve been super smart, but that wasn’t. For one, you are not even Warden of the North — JON IS. You should have stopped at “I should have thanked you the moment you arrived.)
We’re interrupted… by Theon Greyjoy, and some Ironborn soldiers. Mind you, even though Jaime Lannister was instantly brought for a Trial in front of Daenerys, a man who has literally captured this castle is allowed to walk, with armed men, into the presence of both the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and the Lady of Winterfell.
Oh, it doesn’t matter… didn’t you know that Sansa Stark was madly in love with the eunuch that captured her family’s castle and killed their people? I know I did, I’ve called that from the start! (Oh my goodness, where did this come from and why? I get that Arya’s going to be the one to save the Stark line, but you could have just kept her a Lannister…or even had her become a Clegane. Where the fuck did this unrequited love for Reek come from?)
I just love seeing Gilly stepping up and becoming a leader. There sure isn’t anyone calling her a dirty Wildling here. She fits in well, and she is smiling as she helps people. We all love you, Gillyflower.
It’s so good that they gave us such a heartwarming scene, after essentially reincarnating a new Shireen into almost the same body and having her try to get food from Davos — as well as telling him that she’s a fighter that will defend the crypts. Rip my heart out, fuckers. 🙁
Tormund, Edd, Beric, and company all arrive. Hugs, jokes, and much rejoicing. Tormund’s getting ready to steal this episode, just get out of his way. 😀 After he tells us that the Night King’s army will be to Winterfell before the sun comes up tomorrow. Doom is knocking on the door, and we’re about to get a sense of the depth of it here shortly with Mr. Three-Eyed Raven speaking out.
Bran tells them that he is the Night King’s target, and that the Night King will expose himself to try to attack Bran… which does play into several significant theories. It’s good to see everyone taking these words to heart, as certain people are really going to need to understand that Bran can SEE EVERYTHING here. We also learn that there have been “many” Three-Eyed Ravens… but he seems to indicate that it has been the same Night King that has tried. Maybe not lending to the idea of him needing successors — especially when Bran tells us his goal is to essentially delete this world, delete this world’s memory.
The scene with poor Missandei and then Grey Worm is just heartwrenching. Even though they are little girls, you see racism and fear in their faces… even towards the gentle, amazing Missandei. You can see that it is destroying her. They have come to help, and Missandei has felt nothing but hate and fear towards her since she has arrived. Amazing acting, as you can truly feel the pain Missandei feels. Grey Worm and Missandei are one of the show’s more touching minor pairings, and you hope that they both survive the upcoming battle, and that one day they are able to see Missandei’s homeland… together.
“And now our watch begins…” Just a truly great scene between Jon, Edd, and Sam, and truly shows the growth in Sam, that he doesn’t WANT his friends to see him as a coward anymore, even though he freely admitted it when he first met them. Regardless, none of that matters to these three true brothers. That they are able to make such loving jokes and be fully supportive of each other at all times shows us what brotherhood truly is — and it isn’t about blood at all. Those two men are King Aegon’s brothers, and I hope they are all able to survive, though I think that is wishful thinking. They’ll be brothers, even in death, though… “Last man left, burn the rest of us.”
The scene around the fire just shows what the true greatness of this show, and the books that spawned it, has always been — the amazing characters and their interactions. They could do a whole season of that scene around the fire, telling stories (like the payoff of the Tormund GiantsBABE story/theory) and we’d all watch and love every minute of it.
Arya and the Hound actually get to really TALK for a second, and we see the love we all knew was there. That is one theory of mine that has definitely not died, as sad as it will be in the end. (Arya will wind up mercy-killing Sandor after he falls against The Mountain, once she’s done killing undead-zombie-Gregor.) I’ll definitely echo Heather Baxendale-Walsh’s thoughts today, and say that the friendship that has developed between the Hound and Beric has turned into a fun thing, especially when you consider that Sandor HAS killed Beric before.
When Arya asks Sandor “Why are you up here” the answer is simple, even if he can’t put it into words. He’s there to protect Arya and his “little bird” — the Lady Sansa. Sandor doesn’t really have a love interest in the story (some tried to connect him to Brienne, but that is just a grudging respect, and a camaraderie over Arya, not love. The SanSan theory appears to be dead as far as love goes, although he may still get his song from his little bird, when his time comes. He starts the story as a sworn shield, and he’s going to end the story as a sworn shield, even if we never actually see him lay it at their feet. He’s also going to show to be one of the truest knights in the story… even though he’s always said “I’m no Knight.” Yes, you are, Sandor — and you’re one of our favorites. Big credit to Rory McCann for an amazing job over eight seasons.
(Here’s a link to The Cast Remembers with Rory McCann. I’m showing this link because you can truly tell that even as much as we’ve all loved Sandor Clegane, he loved playing him even more.)
Then we have Gendry give Arya her spear… before she takes a second one of her choosing. The Stark line has been saved from extinction… as long as Arya lives, of course. We all knew that answer, but it is always nice to have theories confirmed. It’s a good thing, too, because I don’t think there’s a person alive who understands what Sansa is thinking… unless she has sworn to a life of celibacy after the disgusting start to her sex life, with the constant rapes by Ramsay.
Then we get to the Knighting of Ser Brienne of Tarth, by Ser Jaime Lannister. One of the most beautiful and powerful scenes in the entire series, and the majority of a character arc now completed. I still think she either has to lose or marry Jaime, but she was always destined to be a Knight, and now she is one. I still believe she needs to Knight Podrick, but it is what it is. We can’t always get everything right.
The awesome show of empowerment of women extends to the next scene, with Little Bear Lyanna talking to her cousin, Ser Jorah Mormont. They never wanted Brienne to fight, but she fought, and is now a Knight and one of, if not the best fighter in all of Westeros. Jorah is telling the Little Bear that she shouldn’t fight, as others have tried before. It is funny how we see neither Lords Manderly or Glover here, ready to fight the Night King, but we sure Little Bear. I hope Aegon lives long enough to decorate at least two spikes, with the heads of those two cowards. I think the Little Bear likely dies next week, but I think she is going to die in truly heroic fashion, saving a main character, and showing that she truly did belong defending the North with the others.
Samwell interrupts the Little Bear and Jorah, but that’s OK, she was done with people telling her she shouldn’t fight, anyway. She wishes Jorah good fortune, and clears the way for Sam. Sam is no coward, but he’s one of the smartest men in all of Westeros — and he knows that Valyrian steel belongs in the hands of a Knight who can put it to good use. Jorah’s given up his sword, now Sam’s given up his. It is in the right hands, and it was if a final key was entering a lock — I think they are setup to win the fight ahead.
Podrick’s beautiful song leads us into a “parting is such sweet sorrow” montage as the forces at Winterfell prepare to make war… and the song ends as we cut to Jon in the Crypts, with Dany approaching…
Jon tells her the truth. He’s Aegon Targaryen. Her response is telling… “If this is true, you’d be the last male heir of House Targaryen… you’d have a claim to the Throne.” All Dany cares about is the Throne. She’s supposed to love Jon, but does she still love him knowing his claim actually is the rightful claim? Jon’s ALWAYS been the rightful King… and…
<HORN BLAST> <HORN BLAST> <HORN BLAST> — three means White Walkers, y’all… and here they are. Dany nods at Jon, you’ve got to think they are going to mount the Dragons, but we see the Walkers forming up, and…fade to black.
The preview for next week gave away pretty much nothing, but I think it will be yet another week where we do not see Cersei or King’s Landing. GoT obviously has a history of doing full-episode battles, and I think the entirety of next week will be the Battle of Winterfell, and potentially the Retreat from Winterfell…
Who did Varys hang out during the rest? It is definitely interesting that we don’t see him in all those scenes. He’s friends with Tyrion, why wouldn’t he have been in that room with Tyrion and everyone? Is this the betrayal everyone expected? Did he sneak off to give information to Cersei? Or did D&D just flat forget to use him in those scenes?
I could just be reading too much into it, but we see him when they devise the battle plan, and then we do not see him again. He is directly behind Dany at the War Council, but he doesn’t appear in a scene after that. His mind is certainly almost as important as Tyrion’s, but Dany makes no fuss about sticking him in the Crypt, or anywhere else for that matter…
Where’s Melisandre and Kinvara? The Lord of Light isn’t going to be present at this battle? The entire reason that Jon lets Melisandre leave the North without being hanged is that the Great War is upon us, he’s seen the Night King, and she “can help him win that war.” Well, WTF you at, girl?
I’ll be writing up another post later on about how some major theories are holding up, and where things may go from here, so make sure to check for that tomorrow!
I wish you good fortune in the wars to come!