If you thought the war over Middle Earth and the Battle for Helms Deep was nerve-wracking in Lord of the Rings, you still know nothing, unless you were one of those fans that just couldn’t wait to see the episode like the rest of us and entertained the episode’s leak just six hours earlier, thanks to Amazon Prime in Germany.
SPOILERS AHEAD: If you haven’t watched Season 8, Episode 2 of “Game of Thrones,” locate your nearest dragon and fly far away, as the Army of the Dead awaits you below.
The Dead Are Already Here: The Battle For the Seven Kingdoms Is About to Begin
For the second episode of the final season of Game of Thrones, Winterfell prepares for its battle against the Army of the Dead with an hour full of reunions, reconciling, wine, and some gut-wrenching truths.
Evident from the past two episodes are both HBO’s and the writer’s passion for bringing an unjust political climate together in what seems as the most unlikely of scenarios–letting bygons be bygons in a time of survival.
Most of the episode takes place around a ’round table,’ where we learn a little bit more about the Night King’s plan, at least from how Bran Stark sees it.
So, with our characters, where are we? Let’s recap:
Bran Stark: “I Am Its Memory”
After 3 years, we finally have a decent understanding as to Bran’s role as the Three-Eyed Raven. According to Bran, he is a living history of Westeros–a force whose job it is to watch over the world and keep it safe, but also to keep its secrets. For this reason, the Night King wants to remove him from history, specifically, the world’s past, most likely referring to their origin.
“He wants an Endless Night. [He] has one goal: to erase Westeros, their memory; I am its memory,” referring to Westeros.
However, Sam retorts explaining that Bran’s “memories don’t come from books. And your stories aren’t just stories. If I wanted to erase the world, I’d start with you.” This leads the table to agree to do as Bran suggests and leave him to camp out in the Godswood alone in order to draw the Night King out, as he is already “marked,” back from Season 6.
Now to throw some J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter into the equation–as the relationship between Bran and the Night King continues to unfold, can “one live while the other survives,” or are both of their existence tied to the other?
Luckily for Bran (and Winterfell), his former guardian, Theon Greyjoy, pledges his allegiance to protecting him while the North battles the Army of the Dead.
Jaime Lannister: “The Things We Do For Love”
The episode begins with Jaime pleading before the high court of the North– Lady Sansa, ‘Queen’ Daenerys, Warden, Jon Snow, and Tyrion Lannister.
However, things don’t go too well for Tyrion, when his brother tells Daenerys that his sister never intended to send their armies to the North, making it seem as if Tyrion was up to something, or was just a plain fool.
“I came to help fight for the living, I intend to keep my promise,” he told the Court.
Admitting the wrongs he did, but not apologizing for them, as everything he did, was out of love for his house and family, he did admit to his complete and utter distrust for his sister Cersei. Promising his allegiance and sword to uphold his promise to fight for the living, Jaime begs the High Court to see him not as the Kingslayer, but as a man who is loyal to protect those he cares for.
Bran: In a moment where it seems that Bran would reveal the truth to not just the Court, but Winterfell, on why he was bound to a wheelchair, he instead seems to publicly lend favor to Lannister.
“The things we do for love, right?” he stated directly to Jaime, referring back to the very line Jaime said to Cersei back in Season 1 statement he said to Cersei as he pushed Bran out the window, leaving Bran to his paraplegic fate.
Soon after, they have their first encounter since Season 1, where Jaime asked Bran why he didn’t rat him out. The young Stark explained to Jaime that he would be useful in the upcoming war and to have him killed wouldn’t do anybody any good.
Lady Sansa: While initially seeming to share in the Queen’s distrust of having the Kingslayer’s stay (and probably live), Lady Sansa quickly changed teams once Lady Brianne of Tarth stood tall, announcing her complete trust and support for Jaime, after their history together.
“I trust you with my life, and if you say you can trust him, then I trust you, and I think he should stay.”
Obviously, this was another knife and public sign of disrespect to Daenerys, which seems to be temporarily placed on hold, as the Queen hesitantly deferred to Jon Snow to make the final call.
Admitting they could use another man of his stature, it is agreed that Jaime can stay. But that doesn’t prevent him from being thrust into a plethora of awkward encounters with those he had wronged over the past eight years.
Fireside Chats: “Fuck Tradition”
The most chilling, yet emotional part of the episode is the fireside chat that takes place, as Jaime Lannister, Tyrion Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Podrick (Brienne’s squire), Davos Seaworth (warming his ass), and Tormund Giantsbane (creeping on Brienne), are drinking together around the fire.
Tyrion asks the group to sing a song, but all decline except for Podrick, who begins to sing the famous novel song, “Jenny’s Song.” About a woman named Jenny of Oldstones and her prince, Duncan Targaryen, the song foreshadows the current romantic situation with Jon and his aunt, and her sights on the Iron Throne.
Tyrion begins to identify moments of honor they’ve had, now coming together under one roof:
“It’s strange isn’t it–almost everyone here has fought the Starks, at one time or another. And here we are in their castle, ready to defend it, together.” —Tyrion Lannister
“At least we’ll die with honor,” replied Lady Brienne. Playing off Lady Brienne’s statement, Tyrion goes around the fire, pointing out the victories they’ve each had, lending favor to the notion that he believes they will survive the war against the Dead.
Sir Brienne of Tarth: “Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”
“Sir Brienne of Tarth, defeated the Hound;” Tyrion emphasized, “pardon me, Lady Brienne.”
“She’s not a sir?, asked Tormund Giantsbane, confused.
“Women can’t be knights,” replied Tarth. “Why not?,” asked Giantsbane.
“Tradition,” Brienne immediately countered. “Fuck tradition,” Giantsbane replied.
And with that, Jaime Lannister seems to redeem himself, remembering the vows he once took as a knight to protect Winterfell, and knights Lady Brienne, pronouncing her Sir Brienne of Tarth:
“Kneel, Lady Brienne. Do you want to be a knight or not? Kneel. […] In the name of the warrior, I charge you to be brave. In the name of the father, I charge you to be just. In the name of the mother, I charge you to defend the innocent. Arise, Brienne of Tarth, a knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” —Jaime Lannister to Brienne
Lady Sansa: “What About the North?”
“We both know what it means to rule people who aren’t inclined to accept a woman’s rule. And we’ve both done a damn good job of it.” —Dani to Lady Sansa
She continues to assure Sansa that she loves Jon; however, that is Sansa’s last concern.
“What about the North? It was taken from us. We took it back. We swore we’d never let anyone take it again,” she exclaimed.
Back to square one, Dani pull her hand back from Sansa, showing what will appear to be an on-going struggle between the two, unless certain truths unfold as between Dani and Jon.
And of course, the heartwarming reunion between Sansa and Theon Greyjoy, took Dani by storm (no pun intended) yet again, as she begins to understand the effect the Starks have had on the people around them.
Arya Stark: “A Girl With Many Faces, Still Yearns For Her Humanity”
Forget reconciliation with the Hound, let’s talk about the intense and almost emasculating sex scene between Maisie Williams’ character and her former traveling companion, Gendry, played by Joe Dempsie.
You couldn’t help but laugh when Arya asked Gendry his “body count,” quite literally. It felt like one of those awkward first-time college sex encounters.
But to put your minds at ease, everything here was legal and kosher! Now 22-years-old, Williams first joined Thrones when she was 11, having grown up, literally in front of fans. According to Williams, the showrunners let her decide exactly how much she wanted to show (or didn’t want to show).
“David and Dan were like, ‘you can show as much or as little as you want,'” William explained in a previous interview with Entertainment Weekly. “So, I kept myself pretty private. I [didn’t] think it was important for Arya to flash. This beat [wasn’t] really about that. And everybody else has already done it on the show, so…”
For Williams, the most important part about Arya’s battle-eve night of romance, wasn’t filming the scene–rather, it was a major turn in her character’s development. Since Season 1, Arya has been struggling to survive up and until the later seasons where we saw her transform into a survivor who learns how to fight and take revenge. Her moment with Gendry really brought her character back in touch with her humanity.
So, who’s still a virgin on Game of Thrones? At this point, who bloody knows.
Daenerys: “Duncan Targaryen Gave Up the Iron Throne For Love, Will They Do the Same?”
Near the end of the episode, we find Jon Snow again in the tombs, staring at the statue of his mother, Lyanna Stark. As Daenerys joins him, Jon continues to pull back from her, as he had during the course of the episode, struggling with the haunting thought that he is truly is in love with her.
Asking him who he was staring at, at last, Jon tells her the truth, revealing himself as Aegon Targaryen, her nephew. Distraught and shaken up, it appeared that the only thing on her mind was Jon’s legitimate claim to the Iron Throne.
But, after hearing Jenny’s song, does this foreshadow that either Dani or Jon would renounce their claim to the Iron Throne in the name of love? Playing off that notion, could Bran’s earlier statement to Jaime also foreshadow the possibility that either Jon or Dani would yield their claim to the Iron Throne to the latter, out of love?
As the conversation between the two Targaryens seems to grow more uncomfortable, the horns sound as the Army of the Dead have arrived at Winterfell.
Season 8, Episode 3: TEASER
If you need to know anything about next week’s episode, it’s going to be 90 minutes of pure battle and awesomeness.