What would you do if you had one night left to live? That's one of the questions at the center of "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," as all of those assembled in Winterfell make final preparations for the imminent battle against the (very slowly approaching) army of the dead.
Winterfell is currently hosting royalty and the heads of great houses who surely pictured their final hours spent in a more luxurious manner, but the options available to them in the North are quite limited. Which means they basically have to live like common people and sing and drink and screw, because there's nothing else to do.
This was probably the single least violent episode of "Thrones" to date. If you placed a bet that there would have been an episode with more "songs sung by Podrick" than drops of blood shed, time to collect your very big winnings. It was an episode for everyone to get things in order, to take stock of their lives. Next week brings us the first of four super-size episodes and maybe the most epic battle yet. What we just saw could very well be the last moments of peace the Seven Kingdoms will experience.
Key points in "Game of Thrones," season 8, episode 2:
The redemption of Jaime Lannister
It's been a long journey for Ser Jaime, who was cast as a clear villain in the show's very first episode when he sent Bran Stark plunging to his near-death after the tree-climbing kid caught Jaime and Cersei taking part in one of their regular incestual acts. Standing probably just a few hundred feet from where that attempted murder took place, Jaime finds himself face-to-face with a lot of people who have a lot of problems with him and manages to make "peace" with most of them in episode 2. But Jaime's most full redemption comes through his dealings with Brienne of Tarth when he makes her a knight. It almost makes one wonder whether his journey will come to an end sooner rather than later in the final season.
The weakening of Daenerys
From the first scene, Dany's frustrations were evident. Face to face with Jaime, the man who literally stabbed her father in the back and ended her family's reign, she had to defer to Sansa and Jon's wishes to keep him alive instead of killing him on the spot, which surely would have been her first choice given what we've seen of her in the past.
She feels let down by her top adviser, accusing Tyrion of being either a traitor or a fool after they are made aware of Cersei's deception, and Tyrion cops to being a fool. (More on this below.) When she visits Sansa later, she says they seemed to have some common ground when it came to Jaime, before Brienne intervened. The two of them are pretty clearly at odds, and the reason is Jon. And although they too seemingly made peace, if the war is won, Sansa makes it clear that the North planned to never bend the knee to another ruler again.
But the biggest threat to Daenerys' consolidated power comes when she visits Jon in the crypts of Winterfell where Jon drops the bomb on her. It's a story we've heard three times now, so we know the details...
The preparations for battle
The army of the dead are on the (extremely methodical) march - they've already reached Last Hearth, which is where Tormund, Eddison and Beric found poor little Ned Umber impaled last episode.
The dragonglass and Valyrian steel won't be enough to defeat an enemy that doesn't stop, doesn't tire and doesn't feel. The only way to defeat them will be to get to the Night King - he was the one who reanimated all the dead, so if they can take him out, all those that he raised will be taken out, too. The key to making this happen is Bran.
Instead of hiding, Bran will use himself as bait and wait in the Godswood, an attempt to lure the Night King into the open before his army destroys everyone.
Is Tyrion smart or stupid or what?
There was a time when Tyrion was both the heart and soul of the show and the smartest man in the Seven Kingdoms. Those days are long gone. Not only has he taken a backseat in terms of storyline to those with more legitimate claims to the Iron Throne, but he's also become something of an idiot. It's becoming too much to overlook lately so it was actually kind of nice to see it addressed in episode 2.
The deflowering of Arya Stark
Is there something somewhat unsettling about a sex scene featuring a character who was an actual child when this show first premiered? Yes. Does this put it in the top 5 of unsettling sex scenes in "Thrones" history? It does not. Is that progress or a reminder of how disturbing and/or gratuitous this show could be in the past? Maybe a little of both? (It sounds like it was a bit awkward for everyone.)
... And that's the story of how Arya Stark lost her virginity.
Tormund's name and other TMI:
- Jaime confirms that Cersei was telling the truth about being pregnant. (Mazel Tov.)
- Why is Tormund called Giantsbane? It's a charming story, really. At the young age of 10 he killed a giant and then crawled into bed with the giant's widow, who thought he was her baby. So that giant nursed him for three months and if milk does a body good, just imagine what giant's milk does. That's why Tormund is such a physical specimen. The best part of this story was when Jaime shot his brother an actual Jim Halpert-stare during the telling of this tale.
- Missandei tries to make some small talk with some Winterfell children and they run away almost immediately. Maybe racial harmony can be added to the To Do List after defeating the army of the dead.
- Theon's redemption arc is a lot smaller than Jaime's, but his return to Winterfell to fight on behalf of Sansa and his offer to protect Bran show that he's trying to do whatever he can to make things right with the Starks.
- We already know about Podrick's skills when it comes to the bedroom. This week, we saw that he's much-improved as a swordsman and on top of that, he can carry a tune. A true renaissance man.Washington Post