5 Takeaways from 'Game of Thrones': Season 8, Episode 2

April 22, 2019
Wolves in Winterfell

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In the winter of 2011, I binge-watched the first season of Game of Thrones with my father. As soon as “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” ended, I texted him. “A treat before the apocalypse,” he called the episode. He’s right. The writers gave us a gift last night: no death or violence, just characters we’ve known for years connecting as human beings on the eve of certain doom. For viewers, it signaled the beginning of the end. Next week is gonna be brutal.

  1. Bran isn’t angry at Jaime at all, because, without that push, neither one of them becomes what they are now: the world’s memory and a man who has a chance to die with honor. CALLED IT. SORT OF. Bran did not reveal exactly what “the things we do for love” meant to his family, because he needs Jaime alive for the coming fight, not executed. But he did drop a few other truth bombs: namely that the Night King wants to erase this world, that he has tried to do this before, with many other Three-Eyed Ravens, and that there might not be an afterwards. Gulp. Death is forgetting and being forgotten, says Sam. We’ve heard this before, whether it’s Tywin telling Jaime that the Lannister name must live on long after they’re rotting in the ground, or Sansa telling Ramsay Bolton that his words, house, and name will all disappear. But Bran being bait worries me. I also have this eerie feeling, based on Jon wanting their two dragons to defend Bran, and the Night King currently riding the third, that Rhaegal and Viserion will end up neutralizing each other, leaving just Drogon in play. 
  2. Sansa and Dany had a heart-to-heart, seemingly at Jorah’s suggestion, that still didn’t quite make things right between them. Sansa does not want the North to bend the knee ever again, and Dany can’t - or won’t - make that promise. (Sansa is also wearing what looks like armor. Where does she plan on being during the upcoming battle? Certainly not praying with the women and children, waiting for Ilyn Payne to step in with his sword if necessary.) Sansa is a survivor. She has been manipulated and hurt, emotionally, physically, and otherwise, and she will not let anyone treat her as weak or stupid ever again. Wonder if that’s why she’s so sensitive to the idea of Jon being manipulated by someone he loves. Also wonder if “men do stupid things for women” was one last jab at Littlefinger. All that said, I am here for the platonic, genuine love blossoming between Sansa and Theon. They're both survivors.
  3. SPEAKING OF PLATONIC RELATIONSHIPS. Brienne vouching for Jaime and Jaime volunteering to fight under her command were both lovely moments that underscored exactly where most of Jaime’s true growth has come from. Yes, he loved and still loves his evil sister. But he also recognized the goodness and honor in Brienne from the start of their relationship. He protected and respected her, even before he gave her Oathkeeper. And then. AND THEN. Jaime made Brienne a knight and she smiled with tears in her eyes and I full on cried and it was my very favorite part of the whole episode. F*** tradition, to quote Tormund, who is still very much into Brienne in a non-platonic way, and who we now know way, way, WAY too much about. 
  4. SPEAKING OF NON-PLATONIC RELATIONSHIPS: Arya and Gendry! This explains all the flirtatious looks the youngest Stark girl was giving the last Baratheon boy in episode 1. She knew she didn't want to die a virgin, she made it happen, AND she made Gendry take his own bloody pants off. Talk about female empowerment. Frankly, if Gendry hadn’t handed Arya an actual weapon - a dragonglass-tipped staff that looks very familiar from her time in Braavos - I would have thought “weapon” was a euphemism this whole time. STICK EM WITH THE POINTY END AM I RIGHT. My husband points out that “the seed is strong” in Baratheons, as Ned Stark learned, and that maybe this night will lead to the united future of their houses. Robert did want to join them, back in the day...
  5. For most of the episode, Jon made like his direwolf (so nice to see him btw) and TOTALLY GHOSTED DANY. Kinda funny that Sam called Jon out for waiting for some imaginary perfect time to tell her the truth: also funny, Sam listing all his VERY IMPORTANT ACCOMPLISHMENTS to his friends. Jon didn’t exactly take Sam’s words to heart, though. He only told Dany because she went looking for him and happened to find him in the crypt, brooding, as he is known to do. Jon said Bran and Sam (his brother and best friend, HOW CONVENIENT) revealed the truth about his parents to him, but we only saw the conversation with Sam - was that a slip (meaning that he heard from Bran through Sam), a lie, or something we’ll take in good faith happened off screen? Dany was immediately upset about his better claim to the throne as AeJon, NOT the whole having relations with a relative thing. And it didn’t seem like ruling together crossed her mind in any way, even though they do seem to really love each other. And speaking of convenient, here comes the Army of the Dead to COOL DOWN their conversation just as it's getting HEATED. A Song of Ice and Fire indeed. 

Stray thoughts: to continue the puns, Tyrion is on THIN ICE with Dany. He learns from his mistakes though, says Jorah.​ I smell a redemption arc. Jaime confirms that Cersei's baby is real, at least as far as he knows, but then again she did lie to him about pledging her army to the North, so really it's anyone's guess! Podrick has SO MANY HIDDEN TALENTS! And everyone keeps pointing out how improbable it was that Ser Davos, who is old and not much of a fighter, survived the Battle of the Blackwater AND the Bastards. Will he make it a trifecta with the Battle of Bwinterfell? 

One last thing: my heart soared when I recognized Florence Welsh's lovely voice over the closing credits. Here's Florence + The Machine's full version of "Jenny of Oldstones"

 

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