The first episode of Game of Thrones Season 8 felt a bit jarring to me. A lot of meetings happened with only a bit of emotional pay-off to support them.
This second one is a major step up.
Emotional pay-off city right here.
Episode 2, titled “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” did what the previous episode did not manage to accomplish too well. It gave the characters some breathing room to actually interact with each other and have meaningful conversations.
Admittedly, the first episode, “Winterfell,” had a heavy burden to bear. It had to gather every principal character we know and drive them toward Winterfell in only an hour while at the same time dropping some major revelations on certain characters’ heads. (You can read my review for the first episode here!)
But this second episode shines because of all the character interactions and meaningful moments shared between them. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this episode, even though I knew as it drew to a close that it was going to end right as the White Walkers finally arrived at their doorstep.
Guys, the episode next week is going to give me a heart attack.
So let’s dive a little deeper into this episode!
“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” starts off with Jaime getting grilled by Daenerys Targaryen in Winterfell’s Great Hall. He announced himself to someone other than Bran, apparently, and so a meeting was called to see if he’s worth keeping around.
He fills them in on Cersei’s betrayal, and Dany is extremely pissed at Tyrion for not seeing through her lies. And when Sansa and Jon state that they think Jaime should stick around to help them in the fight, Dany is even more displeased.
Dany has been worrying me. At first, I thought everyone who has been saying she is coming unhinged were exaggerating things, but this episode showcased how her aggro style of handling obstacles in Essos (which used to cause me to erupt in cheers) is actually kind of fucked up. This turn of events makes me all stressed, because I don’t like thinking of Dany as a bad guy.
Aside from Dany’s sour expression during this meeting, a high note was Brienne of Tarth stepping up to vouch for Jaime. She called him the “most honorable man” she has ever met, which, knowing what she used to say about Jaime’s honor, made me want to tear up. Especially because her actions clearly moved Jaime. People have called him many things, and honorable was never one of them. But Jaime, if you think about it, has always been honorable. He and the rest of the world just ignored that fact.
Tyrion and Jaime put in some brotherly time with each other after Jaime is accepted into the Northern forces, and this reunion is touching because they’ve always been close despite being very different men.
Later, Dany tries to cozen up to Sansa, and it almost seems to work. However, things turn south when Sansa asks Dany what her plan is for the North. Sansa clearly wants the North to be free of the Iron Thrones, but Dany wants to rule all seven of the Seven Kingdoms. Dany gets this wrathful expression on her face that again worries me about her mental well-being.
Sansa indirectly pisses Dany off again when Theon arrives at Winterfell, pledging to fight and die for House Stark in the coming fight. It’s clear that all this loyalty to the North is getting on Dany’s nerves. However, as a member of the audience who has seen the shit Theon has gone through, this moment is undeniably sweet. Theon seems so passive, but by electing to follow House Stark in their hour of need, he is being more proactive and true to himself than he has ever been before.
Jon isn’t helping matters by avoiding Dany during these parts, though I suppose we can’t blame him for that. He found out that his lover is his aunt and that he is more of a claimant to the Iron Throne than she is. He’s got a lot to process.
However, when Tormund, Beric, and Dolorous Edd arrive from Last Hearth, the time for processing comes to a halt. The Night King and his army are only a day away. The fight is going to happen imminently.
Everyone decides to spend their potentially last moments in different ways. I’ll focus on the three most important.
So, first things first, Arya and Gendry get it on.
I won’t hesitate to admit that I was shipping these characters hard. Robert Baratheon’s words to Ned Stark about uniting their houses with Sansa marrying Joffrey came true in an even better way when Arya met Gendry. Even though they didn’t know each other’s heritage at the time, they made for a good match with their respective personalities.
So when Arya came up to Gendry on the eve before battle, I was all for it.
Until they started taking each other’s clothes off.
Mia and Bubba (who are watching the show with me) were present for my squeals of delight when they first kissed. But when Arya started unlacing her shirt, they were also there for my horrified cries of, “Cut to black! Cut to black!”
Arya is a grown woman now. She isn’t the young girl she used to be.
But I still can’t help seeing the young girl she was.
It was like seeing your little sister pop her cherry.
The second collection of characters waiting for the fight huddled around the fire in Winterfell’s Great Hall. It’s Tyrion, Pod, Davos, Jaime, Brienne, and Tormund gathered together, and those scenes were music to my brain. Every word between them either made me want to laugh or cry. It was perfect. That moment exemplifies why Game of Thrones is the best. You care about every one of these characters, and you take in every word they say, eager to hear more.
The scene is made even better by the fact that Jaime takes the time to make Brienne a knight. Only kings and knights can knight someone else, and Jaime is quick to point that out after Tormund asks why Brienne can’t be a knight.
This ties in to the title of the episode, and if you didn’t at least feel the inclination to smile or cry while watching this moment, where is your soul?!
The final part I want to mention is the conversation between Jon and Dany before the White Walkers arrive. Jon finally tells Dany about his heritage and his connection to her, and her first concern is that he has a higher claim to the throne than her.
Honestly, it was disappointing to hear that from Dany. She is just too obsessed with the Iron Throne for her own good. And the horns blaring the undead army’s approach sounded before Jon could say something like, “I don’t want the Iron Throne” or “Are you seriously not going to address the fact that I’m your nephew?”
This episode has me more pumped than the prior one, which is always a good trend to have on a TV show.
If you’re watching the show, be sure to mention what you think and so on and so forth!