Before you start reading, this post is dark and full of spoilers!!! Close it and come back after you have seen the episode if you don’t want to see anything before watching!
Episode two of the eight season of Game of Thrones, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” is for me a reminder of why the show has become the phenomenon that it is, and will go down as one of the best episodes of the entire series run.
Of course, we all love to tune in to watch the grand spectacle of the battle scenes. But a show with endless battle scenes would soon become boring without something else to anchor it.
This latest episode of the final season of HBO’s groundbreaking fantasy series shows what it’s real strength has always been…its ability to almost make us believe that these characters are real-life people experiencing life-altering events, not just through big battle sequences, but through the quieter moments of human interaction shared over a drink by the fire on the eve of battle, or the subtle political power playing taking place around a war room table.
It also serves as a great lead in to next weeks epic Battle for Winterfell, a nice calm before the storm offering before all hell breaks loose. There is plenty to sink your teeth into this week, but here are 10 key points to mull over before your heart is well and truly shattered by the next episode!
The foreshadowing of Tyrion’s death/Cersei’s Murder
Cersei’s death has long been discussed among fans, I even included some talk in my pre-season post about it. And this episode had a clear reference to it, but also to Tyrion’s own fate. In a conversation with Jamie after they are reunited at Winterfell, Tyrion remarks about what might happen if he falls during the coming battle:
“Maybe after I’m dead, I’ll march down to King’s Landing and tear her (Cersei) apart myself”
To me, I think that sounds like a direct reference to a long held theory regarding Arya. It seems that Tyrion’s words allude to him dying at either Winterfell, or down the line in the inevitable battle at King’s Landing later in the season. Arya, now a Faceless Man of course, will then take his face and disguise herself as him in order to get close to Cersei and kill her. Thus, the “Valanqor” part of Cersei’s prophesy will be fulfilled, but in a interesting way.
Brienne FINALLY becomes a Knight
Brienne featured heavily in this episode and it was an emotional one. Since she was introduced back in season two, we know that all she has ever wanted was to become a knight but seemed destined never to achieve it due to being born a woman.
The whole scene of Brienne being knighted was beautiful to watch. Tormund turning out to be a huge feminist, shocked that Brienne wasn’t considered a knight in the first place. Jamie, someone who originally mocked and ridiculed her when they first met, now respects her as warrior, declares her a knight and offered to serve under her in the coming battle. Ser Davos, Tyrion and Pod looking on and treating her like they would any man. Brienne’s own pride at finally becoming what she has always dreamed of being. It was an amazing moment for the character!
The only thing is…I hope this isn’t a sign that she will die in the next episode. Gwendoline Christie has been incredible as Brienne through the last seven seasons, and I’d love the character to survive to the end. I’m also still wondering if Cersei’s prophesy about someone more beautiful coming to take what she holds dear is referring to Brienne, as I talked about here.
Multiple people commented throughout the episode about the crypts beneath Winterfell being the safest places for the people too young, old, or ill equipped to fight in the coming battle with the dead. The most notable of these being Gilly, who is going to be hiding there with Little Sam when the fighting starts.
But it seems to have escaped peoples notice that the Night King can raise the dead, and the Winterfell crypts are full of the remains of the Stark family and others from down through the centuries. True, many of these remains are sure to have turned to dust by now, but perhaps many are more recent. Being in the crypts is not as safe as they think.
The Night King is coming for Bran
When the Night King touched Bran in one of his visions back in season six, I knew there had to be more to it than just a simple throwaway moment. Now, Bran has revealed that the Night King is coming for him, planning to kill the Three Eyed Raven before wiping out the rest of humanity so that there will be no one left alive who can remember what the world was like before.
It hasn’t been explicitly stated, but I do wonder if the Night King was only able to use Viserion to bring down the wall because Bran had passed through it and broke the magics that protected it.
Further to that, I spoke last week about how the Night King shouldn’t have been able to distinguish little Ned Umber as the lord of his house when he left his message for the Night’s Watch to find on their way to Winterfell, as he has spent thousands of years away from the world of men beyond the wall and wouldn’t know the current lords and ladies of Westeros. What if his touching Bran has also led to a connection between the two, and now what Bran sees and knows about the past and present, the Night King also knows too?
Whatever is happening here, the connection between the two is out in the open now after much speculation.
In my post about episode one last week, I spoke about how I was surprised at how anticlimactic Theon’s rescue of Yara was. I was convinced it would be an epic battle, with Theon ultimately redeeming himself by laying down his life to save her. Of course, that didn’t happen and she took off for the Iron Islands to reclaim them and Theon headed for Winterfell to fight for the Starks.
That makes sense. Way back in season two, Theon attempted to take Winterfell by force and is the reason that Bran, Rickon, Hodor and Osha went on the run. He is bound to want to right that wrong by helping fight the dead protecting Bran.
But something that I NEVER saw coming was the hints of a possible Sansa/Theon romance. Where did that come from? I know that the two have a bond in that they both were terrorised by Ramsey Bolton, but I would never have thought there was anything possibly romantic there. But I think the implication was clear with that shot of them staring into each others eyes in the final hours before the Night King’s assault begins.
Perhaps I was right in thinking that Theon will die a heroic death…he will just die protecting Sansa instead of Yara. (On that, I hope Yara isn’t just going to spend the rest of the series sitting tight on the Iron Islands. She’s a great character, we should see more of her!).
After spending the first episode mostly avoiding each other, Sansa and Daenerys had a sit down this episode to thrash out their differences. And I think the moment was a perfect example of how both women have changed over the course of the series.
When Daenerys walks in to the room, we hear Sansa telling Lord Royce to keep the Winterfell gates open as long as possible so as to give the people of the north as much opportunity as they can to flee there. It serves to show a parallel between Sansa and Daenerys. Daenerys in the earlier seasons was all about the people, being a leader that is respected rather than feared, breaking chains and freeing slaves and giving them a home. Now, it seems that her thirst for the throne has lead to her beginning to shed her compassionate side for a more ruthless one. Sansa on the other hand has no real desire for absolute power, and appears more interested in protecting as many northern people as she can.
Another moment shows how far Sansa has come in terms of interactions with powerful figures. During their conversation, it seemed clear to me that Daenerys was willing to say whatever she could to get Sansa on side. The Sansa from the earlier seasons would likely have been fooled by this manipulation, but now she sees right through it. She knows Daenerys only wants her on side so that she can rule the north and is unprepared to just let her have it after they all fought so hard to take it back from the Boltons.
Daenerys is visibly put out when Sansa asks what will happen in the north once the war is won. Daenerys from the earlier seasons saw the importance of gaining allies and working with people to achieve her aims. Now, instead of doing the smart thing and offering to work with Sansa on governing the north, she is held back by her thirst for power and unwilling to give an inch even if it will ultimately benefit her.
This coupled with Daenerys’ reaction to Jon revealing his true parentage (immediate dismissal, declaring it nothing more than wishful thinking on the part of his brother and best friend) seems to hint more than ever that Daenerys will not allow anyone to stop her from taking the Iron Throne, even though she now knows she doesn’t have the strongest claim. I could see her being presented with an opportunity to kill Jon during the battle in next weeks episode, possibly trying to burn him with dragon fire. But, as Jon is a Targaryen, the fire won’t kill him as we know. But, it will destroy his relationship with her, and make it all the easier for him to kill her if needs be.
Grey Worm or Missandei is going to die (if not both)
Not much to say on this one really. They made plans for their life together after the war to head back to her home in Narth and live out their days on the beaches there, happy and content. Not…going…to…happen!
One of them is definitely dying before this season ends, if not both of them. And it will be a sad moment. While neither are within the top tier of characters, they have a sweet relationship and are likeable together, so it will be hard to see them torn apart!
Davos reminded of Shireen
Did you spot the heartbreaking moment when Davos was serving food to people at Winterfell, and a young girl approaches? She had a scared face and spoke bravely of wanting to protect Winterfell. It’s instantly clear she reminds Davos of Princess Shireen, Stannis Baratheon’s daughter who was horrifically burned at the stake by Melisandre and her father in season five. While it was a lovely scene in the sense of seeing this tiny girl so eager to protect her home, it was a sad callback to one of the shows most harrowing moments.
Well it finally happened, after years of speculation that it would. Gendry and Arya hooked up. I must admit though, I thought the writers would take a different route on this, one that nobody was expecting.
When Gendry was reintroduced last season, I thought it would lead to him meeting Sansa first and them falling for each other. If we remember back to season one, it began with Sansa leaving Winterfell to travel south to marry Joffrey, a Baratheon (in name at least). As we know, Gendry is the last of Robert Baratheon’s bastards, and as such, has a legitimate claim to the throne. I thought the show might come full circle, and have Sansa marrying a Baratheon, albeit a much nicer one than the one she was originally betrothed to.
Arya and Gendry sleeping together does make sense though, in that they have always shared a bond. However, in my opinion, I don’t think she loves Gendry. She just chose him because she wanted to lose her virginity before she potentially dies and he is somebody she is comfortable with. Although, what if there is more to it?
What if Arya, having taken Tyrion’s face, kills Cersei in the throne room of King’s Landing, then reveals that she is pregnant with Gendry’s baby, and knowing him to have a claim to the Iron Throne, declares him the King of the Seven Kingdoms and she marries him and becomes his queen (albeit more of a warrior queen, choosing to fight her own battles rather than have them fought for her)?
Where is Melisandre?
She was mentioned twice in the latest episode, and that little girl who spoke to Davos harkened back to one of the biggest moments she had on the show. She is virtually the only high profile character who hasn’t made an appearance yet, and we know that she herself said last season that she would have to return to Westeros to die. So, where is she? Could she make a surprise appearance during the battle with the Night King?
Did you like this weeks episode? What are you most excited to see next week? Let me know below…
Images credit: HBO