REVIEW – Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2 – “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”


The dark cloud of The Night King's arrival is very much cast over Winterfell.  This week really did feel like that calm before the storm with a lot of reflection, some awkward moments and a couple of bombshells thrown into the mix.  So let's relax, probably for the final time this season, and find out more about "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms".

Thus begins the Jamie Lannister apology tour, starting with Daenerys.  I was starting to think that this wouldn't last long, and Jamie would be the one we would be watching bleed all over the floor.  This is also the first thing that Daenerys and Sansa have agreed on, so things weren't looking good.  It also doesn't help that he admits that Cersi's army not only isn't coming, but she's amassed an even bigger army to take down whoever survives the battle at Winterfell.  That is when Brienne stands up and vouches for Jamie.  Not only does this save his life, it shows how much trust that Sansa has in Brienne.  She is one of, if not the most, honorable person in the room anyway.  So Jamie gets to live to apologize another day.  I did love Bran's line about the "things we'll do for love" and the subsequent look on Jamie's face.  So let's talk about the two of them for a moment.

There's a point where the two do meet and chat very quickly.  Jamie apologizes, as much as you can for pushing a kid out of a window and crippling him for life.  Much to Jamie's surprise, not only is Bran not mad at him, he seems to understand why he did it.  Bran doesn't give Jamie outright forgiveness, but Jamie does have a bit of a hard time processing the whole thing.  Even as a fan, I have to say that Bran is on another level right now.  Then you get another candid moment where, Bran says he will protect Jamie's secret because he can't help them fight if he's already dead.  That is a pretty blunt observation, and hard to argue with.  Even Jamie wonders if that will still be the case when the battle is over.  Still, he has at least temporarily made his peace with both Bran and Sansa.

From here, the episode really does make the rounds as if this is their last night before they all get slaughtered.  We ALMOST get to see Sansa and Dany bury the hatchet.  They're bonding over their family issues, over the fact that they're both strong women and then the question comes up.  What about the North?  What will Dany do when this is all over and the North won't bend the knee?  Silence, and a very timely interruption stopped that answer.  This makes another encounter even more awkward for Dany a bit later on, and I think you know where I'm going with this.

First I want to talk about THAT scene, that all of social media seems to be talking about.  Arya gets her weapon from Gendry, but that's not what stole the headlines.  Arya starts by hilariously interrogating Gendry over his past sexual history.  Imagine the most blunt first date you've ever had, and then triple it.  What Arya was getting at was, if they are all going to die, she wants to know what it's like to make love at least once.  Without getting into details, Arya had no trouble taking control of the situation and the Arya/Gendry shippers got what they wanted much earlier than expected.  I will say that they have an odd chemistry, but it does seem to work.

Now I want to skip to my favorite part of the whole episode.  It starts with Tyrion and Jamie sitting by the fire, talking about how funny it is that they now sit as Lannisters helping to defend the Stark's castle at Winterfell.  Slowly but surely, they are joined by a couple of more people at a time.  Brienne even drops her guard a little bit to sit down and have a drink.  The most hilarious moment came when Tormund talked about how he got his Giantsbane moniker.  Once you get the image of him suckling a giant for her milk, it's hard to erase it.  I will admit that I was laughing the entire time he was guzzling from that horn.  It's also hilarious how he tried to proposition Brienne, who could not have been less interested.  That's when things turn more from the hilarious to the heartfelt.

Brienne actually admits, in a roundabout way, that she always wanted to be a knight but couldn't because of tradition.  When facing what they are all up against, tradition absolutely goes out the window.  Jamie reminds them all that any knight can create another knight.  That is when Jamie does the most honorable and redeeming thing that he has done to date.  You can feel the pride in the room during the impromptu knighhood ceremony.  With tears in her eyes, and a smile on her face, Brienne of Tarth rises as knight.  Things might seem dark, but this is one of those times where Game of Thrones gave us a moment of celebration that we can always remember.

From celebration comes the bombshell that we were all waiting for.  To cut right to the chase, Jon finally tells Dany that he is actually Aegon Targaryen.  Dany immediately questions the validity of this information, given the sources that it came from.  It doesn't take her long to realize that this means that Jon would be the true heir to the Iron Throne.  This completely changes Dany's body language, and is an alarming sign of things to come.  It was almost like the flip of a switch, and you have to wonder, how far will she go to get to that Iron Throne.  When she was talking to Sansa, she was saying how that is what she has wanted since she was a little girl.  She also talked about being in Winterfell to fight "Jon's fight", which is a point that can't be overlooked given this new information.  We are about to find out what Dany loves more, Jon or the Iron Throne.  I have a sinking feeling that she will choose the latter, and may go to extreme measures to do so.  She was already in a bad mood with all of Tyrion's recent mistakes.  Jorah talked her down, but she has been a bit on the prickly side since the season has started.

That's when they get the signal, and they know that the battle for Winterfell is about to begin.  We get to see the Night King's army in the distance.  I will say if the plan really is to use Bran as bait to lure the Night King out, I am not ok with that.  Bran can be as cool as he wants with it, but I feel like he has been through enough at this point.  Whether I like it or not, that seems to be what they are going to do.  I'm not saying that Jon or Sansa like it either, but desperate times apparently call for desperate measures.

There are a few other moments here and there that I didn't mention, and some characters that we are reminded of from season's past.  It was almost like taking inventory before the big battle, so when someone dies, you remember them before it actually happens.  So not only are they going to torture us emotionally, they are going to give us a little preview first.  One thing that was done extremely well is, it really feels like an epic battle is coming and that the end is near.  It also makes you look ahead and realize how much of the rest of this season will be the actual battle.  The setup for this has given me hope that the battle itself will live up to the hype that we have had to endure for the better part of 2 years now.  The beginning of the end of the race for the Iron Throne is here and I can't wait for what's to come!

(Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO)