'GoT' Season 8, Episode 2: Recap of ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms'
SPOILER ALERT! Do not read any further if you have yet to see the Season 8, Episode 2 of Game of Thrones.
What would you do on your last night to live? It’s the calm before the storm in the latest episode of Game of Thrones. “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” the second episode of season 8, is filled with more reunions, confrontations, revelations, and even romance among the anxious characters at Winterfell.
The episode opens with a remorseful Jaime Lannister facing Daenerys and the Starks at Winterfell. He reveals that his sister (to no one’s surprise) lied about aiding in the battle against the undead, and that she has recruited Euron Greyjoy and the Golden Army to be at her disposal; regardless of family loyalty, Jaime clarifies he is committed to their cause up North. Daenerys and Sansa are skeptical––considering his involvement in the deaths of their fathers and demise of their respective houses––but Brienne of Tarth vouches for his trust. Given Tyrion’s (bad) advice to send the Unsullied to take over Casterly Rock last season, convincing Daenerys to trust Cersei was strike two. Daenerys threatens to replace Tyrion as her Hand as Jorah and Varys awkwardly stand behind him.
Outside, Arya visits Gendry at the blacksmith to check on the status of her requested weapon, but not without showing off her knife skills and some friendly flirtation––more on that development later.
The anticipated showdown following the stare-down between Jaime and Bran at the end of the previous episode was uneventful. Jaime visits Bran in the goodswood to apologize for crippling the boy in season 1. To Jaime’s surprise, Bran is not angry with him, and explains that, had Jaime not pushed him out that window, they wouldn’t be the different people they are now.
Tyrion and Jaime meet at the courtyard to do a little catching up, but Jaime gets distracted when he sees Brienne training with the soldiers. Brienne is suspicious of Jaime being uncharacteristically nice to her, and for the third time this episode, Jaime claims he is not the same person he once was, and requests the honor of serving under her command. *Sparks fly*
Jorah approaches an irritated Dany and asks that she forgive Tyrion and keep him as her Hand. Then, in hopes of crushing the palpable tension between them, Daenerys pays a visit to Sansa, who also vouches for Tyrion’s virtue and intelligence. The two make progress bonding over what they have in common, namely their undeniable girl power and love for Jon. Dany reveals her vulnerable side, but tension returns when Sansa asks about the fate of the North when Daenerys becomes the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. But, before Dany can answer, they are interrupted by Theon’s arrival.
Theon explains that despite the fact that his sister, Yara is traveling back to reclaim the Iron Islands, he chose to journey up north to fight for Winterfell––that is, if Lady Sansa will have him. Sansa replies with a tender hug. The internet launches another ship.
Jon is relieved to see Tormund, Beric, and Edd arrive safely at Winterfell, but they warn him that, no rush, but they should expect the Night King’s army to arrive before sunrise. In perhaps one of the largest gatherings of major characters in a single scene, the team convenes around a map table to strategize their plans of attack. Given that the undead outnumber the army of the living, the aim is to hit the Night King himself. Bran volunteers himself to be the bait, and reveals the Night King’s ultimate goal: to erase Westeros and its memory––which rests in the Three-Eyed Raven, thus making Bran his main target.
“That’s what death is, isn’t it? Forgetting. Being forgotten. If we forget where we’ve been and what we’ve done, we’re not men anymore, just animals.” -Sam Tarly
To redeem himself from his past actions, Theon pledges the Ironborn to protect Bran in the godswood. Jon and Dany plan to ride the dragons nearby, but when Arya asks if dragonfire has ever stopped the Night King, the all-seeing Bran is useless––“no one has ever tried it before.” So, the jury on that simple solution is still out. Daenerys also allocates an initially offended Tyrion to the crypts for safekeeping alongside Sansa, Missandei, and the rest of the women and children, because let’s face it, Tyrion is irreplaceable.
They all disperse after the meeting, and what follows is a series of scenes of everyone coming to terms with the fact that all their lives are very much at stake in just a few hours.
Tyrion––perhaps the person most equipped for this lengthy conversation––asks Bran to share the story of his journey. Unfortunately, that potentially very entertaining scene cuts right before Bran says anything.
Downstairs, as Missandei struggles to connect with the locals, Grey Worm promises to take her back to the beaches of Naath, and that his people will protect hers. That’s cute and optimistic, but this is Game of Thrones.
Jon, Sam, Edd, and Ghost (his first cameo since season 6, finally!) meet on the roof for some friendly banter and reminisce on their days in the Night’s Watch. And now their watch begins. (Again.)
Tyrion and Jaime sit and drink by a fireplace, reminiscing on their first time visiting Winterfell in season 1. Also in search of warmth, Brienne, Pod, Davos, and Tormund soon join them, making for a motley crew getting cozy at the hearth. Tormund once again, hilariously hits on Brienne (and misses).
Arya, the Hound and Beric chat on the roof, putting the past behind them. The men, however, bummed Arya out, so she quickly got up and realized she’d rather spend her potentially final hours elsewhere, leading to that scene that sent the internet into a frenzy.
Arya finds Gendry, and he finally delivers the weapon she requested: a double-edged spear with edges made of dragonglass. Arya asks Gendry what Melissandre wanted from him when they parted ways in season 3, and Gendry piques her interest when he reveals that as Robert Baratheon’s bastard, he is the last living person with Baratheon blood. Arya questions Gendry about his sexual history, and the scene takes a NSFW turn when Arya, not wanting to die a virgin, tells him to “take [his] own bloody pants off.” Note: HBO confirmed that Arya is at least 18 years at this time. After years of posing as a boy, let her embrace her womanhood!
Back to the Fireplace Club, where existential crises are abound, and a love triangle brews? Tormund, (justifiably) perplexed, asks why Lady Brienne is not a “Ser,” to which Brienne explains that women can’t be knights as per tradition. In another attempt to pick up Brienne, Tormund tells her that if he were a king, he’d immediately knight her; but, Ser Jaime one-ups Tormund with the claim that as a knight, he can make another knight. In this beautiful scene, Jaime calls Brienne to kneel at the center of the hall and officially knights her. She rises as Ser Brienne of Tarth, the first female knight in the Seven Kingdoms, and is proudly met with an applause from the room of male fighters. Another deserving win for the ladies.
Meanwhile, another anticipated meeting occurs: Jorah and Lyanna Mormont argue outside about the young Lady’s role in the upcoming battle. He tries to convince her not to partake in combat and remain in the crypts instead, but Lyanna, as feisty as ever, puts her cousin in his place and goes off to do as she pleases. Sam then approaches Jorah and offers him Heartsbane, the Tarly family sword made of Valyrian steel. Admittedly unable to wield the weapon, Sam gifts it in the name of his mentor and Jorah’s father, Jeor Mormont, the late Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.
When they run out of wine, Tyrion asks someone in their hearth circle to entertain them with a song. While a lovely Pod sings “Jenny of Oldstones,” we see a montage of the current scenes around Winterfell: Sam and Gilly anxiously trying to sleep with Little Sam between them; Sansa and Theon sharing a meal in the courtyard (and making eyes at each other); a naked Arya lying awake next to an also naked, sleeping Gendry; Grey Worm giving Missandei a final kiss before joining the Unsullied gearing up for battle; and Jorah mounting his horse.
And finally, THE secret comes out! Daenerys finds Jon (who has understandably, been dodging her) in the crypts and snuggles up to him as he stands in front of a statue of (his mom!) Lyanna Stark. Since the stories Dany heard about Rhaegar Targaryen prove he was actually a decent person, she explains that she can’t reconcile that with the fact that he (allegedly) kidnapped and raped Lyanna. Figuring this is as good a time as any, Jon lays down the facts: he reveals the true story of his parentage and his newfound identity as Aegon Targaryen, the legitimate son of Lyanna and Rhaegar. Since the last male heir of House Targaryen stands before her, Daenerys is in disbelief realizing what this might mean for her claim to the Iron Throne (and probably also the fact that she has fallen in love with her nephew). They are soon interrupted when horns go off, prompting them to rush outside: it’s time.
The episode ends with the Night King’s army (sans the King himself) looking on at Winterfell on the horizon. As the credits roll, Florence + The Machine's rendition of "Jenny of Oldstones" plays.
With all these fan-favorites coming together and the incorporation of several funny one-liners, this relatively quiet episode delivered a fair share of fan-service. Episode writer, Bryan Cogman described “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” as “a love letter to the characters”––a love letter or a goodbye letter? As we all know, the next episode will hit the ground running with the Battle at Winterfell––the longest battle sequence in cinematic history will take up the entirety of the longest episode in the entire series. Yes, it will be epic, and yes, there's a good chance your favorite characters will die.
Photos from HBO