‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 episode 2 recap
Sunday's episode of "Game of Thrones" amped up the emotional connection with the remaining characters while also ending on a major cliffhanger.Image By: Photo courtesy of HBO
Virtually every remaining character in the series is gathered together at Winterfell to fight the Dead. With so many lovable characters in the same presence, episode two of season eight of “Game of Thrones” titled “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” did a remarkable job of reminding us why the show truly works so well — the emotional depth and the rich characters.
Starting in the hall at Winterfell, Jaime is under pressure from Daenerys, angered by the fact that he assassinated her father, King Aerys, despite being a monstrous villain. Jaime reveals that Cersei lied to everyone when she said that the Lannister army would accompany the North to fight the Dead, a revelation to Tyrion and Daenerys’ distaste. Jaime also reveals how Cersei has the Golden Company and is ready to fight whoever loses the upcoming battle against the Dead. Tyrion does his best to defend his brother, yet it’s Brienne who convinces a skeptical Sansa that Jaime is a changed man and despite fighting the Starks in season one, has the best intentions to fight alongside the Starks as an ally.
Afterward, Jaime and Bran have a moment by the Weirwood tree, in which Jaime questions why Bran didn’t expose Jaime for pushing him out of the tower in season one. Jaime apologizes, and Bran recognizes Jaime’s personal growth, stating they need Jaime to fight alongside them and revealing the truth would not be beneficial at the moment.
Throughout the episode, we see the forces at Winterfell preparing for the upcoming battle that will take place next week against the Night King. The Unsullied, Dothraki, Northern houses and soldiers, knights of the Vale, Ironborn, Wildlings and Night’s Watch have all gathered and are helping build trebuchets and weapons made of Dragonglass, feeding everyone as best as they can, protecting the villagers who cannot fight and organizing battle defenses in the field.
While Gendry is busy crafting weapons, he and Arya have another moment in which their friendship blossoms further. Arya requests a specialized weapon be built for her after showing off her fighting skills to prove to Gendry that she is capable of fighting the Dead. In a rather surprising scene, the two an intimate moment while waiting for the battle to start, with Arya initiating it in a dominating manner that reveals the strength and confidence of her character. This scene may prove unsettling to some, for Arya started off on the show as a little girl. However, this scene is important to show Arya is a mature young woman now who is capable of feeling love and has grown into an even more independent individual.
What made this episode so memorable is how it honored our remaining characters individually. We’ve grown to admire and respect these dynamic survivors for several years and it was rewarding to have a touching moment dedicated to nearly everyone still alive.
While I was disappointed that Sansa and Sandor Clegane haven’t reunited yet after Sandor saved her and protected her in season two, offering to bring her to Winterfell. After Theon saved her from the horrors of Ramsay Bolton in season five, it was touching for the two to be reunited.
Tormund, Beric and Ed return to Winterfell with the Wildlings and Night’s Watch, giving Jon a chance to touch base with his old friends. Tormund warns that the Dead are on their way and they will strike before the sun comes up tomorrow.
Mirroring the battle on the wall in season four, Jon and Sam talk about Daenerys while standing outside the walls of Winterfell as they look out for the incoming army. Jon and Sam similarly discussed Ygritte back in season four while waiting for the Wildings to strike, which makes this scene not only reminiscent of the past but a touching reminder of the strength of Jon and Sam’s friendship. The two are still as close as brothers and were able to have another laugh with their friend Ed, a scene that was touching and fitting considering everything the three men had been through together at the Wall and beyond. We even get a glimpse of Jon’s direwolf Ghost during this scene, who has been absent for quite some time.
Lannister brothers Tyrion and Jaime had two meaningful moments, both expressing the depth to their relationship. The scenes they spent together in this episode reinforced how close these two brothers are despite all the family tensions involving Cersei and their father Tywin. A rather fun scene was when Jamie and Tyrion were sitting by the fire talking about the past when several guests come and join them.
This scene stands out not only for its humor involving Tormund flirting with Brienne, but because we see six unique characters all reflecting on their pasts before fighting and potentially dying together. Most notably, Jaimie knights Brienne, a way of thanking her for having his back earlier in the episode, but also due to the deep admiration and respect he has for Brienne not only as a person but as a true friend. Earlier we get to see Jaime tell Brienne he came north to fight alongside her, yet another example of the one-handed knight expressing his respect for her. The relationship between Jaime and Brienne has been one of the show’s most complex and surprising duos and it was beautiful to see them have a tender moment together before the battle.
Ending this scene, Podrick sings a Westerosi song titled “Jenny of Oldstones,” the song sung while we get to see the preparation just before the Dead arrive in a cinematically artistic and touching moment. Florence and the Machine sing the song as well in the ending credits, a wonderful way to end the episode. Podrick will most likely perish next episode, so it was nice for him to get a last memorable moment before fighting.
A scene that was rather underwhelming came after Jorah visits Daenerys, in which he advises her to meet with Sansa to clear the air on their tension. The two women who have each gone through unimaginable terrors and overcame their brutal obstacles discuss Jon mostly, the conversation light until Sansa questions Daenerys on what will happen to the North (which she emphasizes is now free) if Daenerys were to sit on the Iron Throne.
Some other sweet interactions involve Grey Worm and Missandei, who discuss returning to Missandei’s home, island of Naath, after the war. Grey Worm will most likely perish as well in the upcoming battle, so this scene served as a tribute to their relationship. Davos also had a heartwarming moment when he serves food to a little girl with a facial disfigurement, similar to the greyscale of Shireen Baratheon who he was deeply close with. Davos advises her to protect Gilly and the other women and children in the crypts, an adorable and touching moment in the midst of horror.
A rather unpleasant aspect of the episode was the selfishness of Daenerys, who, despite joining forces to fight the imminent threat of the Dead, continued to criticize Tyrion for his past miscalculations and focused on her claim to the throne. Despite this, the group plans the battle, a notable revelation being Bran willing to make himself vulnerable in order to draw the Night King in, for it is Bran he truly wants. Theon bravely volunteers to defend Bran in the Godswood, saying it is his duty to do so due to his betrayal of the Starks in season two and his siege of Winterfell.
One of the most rewarding scenes was when Arya and Sandor Clegane (The Hound) sit and drink together atop the outside halls of Winterfell while waiting for the Dead to arrive. The two briefly reflect on their pasts and seem to have forgiven each other. These two are in my opinion the single greatest duo in the show due to how they complement each other despite their differences and learned to become friends despite their former hostility towards one another. Beric also came along and allowed Clegane to make another joke at his expense, while Arya got to reunite with Beric, a former enemy of hers due to selling Gendry to Melisandre in season three.
The last touching moment involves Jorah Mormont urging his little cousin Lyanna not to fight in the battle, which obviously she rejects. Sam gives his family’s sword Heartsbane for Jorah to yield, an action that further makes these two men wonderful friends for us as the audience to witness honor each other.
Finally, in the crypts of Winterfell, we see Jon finally break the news to Daenerys about the truth to his lineage. Jon reveals he is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark — Aegon Targaryen. Daenerys is obviously reluctant to the idea at first, but we get to see the fear in her eyes as the truth seems to make sense to her. The scene is quickly cut once war horns echo throughout Winterfell and we get a glimpse of the White Walkers making their way on horseback. Still absent is the Night King and Viserion, which helps build the anticipation of their earth-shattering entrance.
It was disappointing that Varys didn’t have a single bit of dialogue, and he has been wildly underused so far this season, but I am hopeful they’ll use this intriguing character more as the fight shifts to Cersei. There was also no sign of Melisandre, yet she will without question make an important appearance sometime this season to help fight the Dead, perhaps even next episode. Further, Meera Reed didn’t make a return to Winterfell with her father Howland Reed, who was with Ned Stark when Jon was born in the Tower of Joy after their fight with Sir Arthur Dayne.
“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” not only gave us the biggest cliffhanger of the entire series but reminded us why we have become so invested in so many unique misfits throughout the course of the show. The episode followed our remaining characters on what they expect to be their last night. While some like Arya wanted to experience love for the first time, many simply drank as if it were their last. Whatever the intentions may be, each character strived for some human connection and was rewarded with being around the remaining people they love as they prepared for an unspeakable daunting battle.
Next week will feature the single biggest battle in the show’s history, and we will sadly say goodbye to several characters. We can only hope that our favorites survive the battle against the Dead and hope that the brutal week-long wait for the next episode goes by quickly.
Dominic LeRose is a staff writer for the Daily Cardinal. To read more of his work, click here.Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter