The second episode of Game of Thrones season 8 starts off immediately were the previous ended. Ser Jaime is being confronted by Dany and Sansa in the great hall of Winterfell. Dany recalls what she wanted to do to the man who killed her father. It is an odd scene as the Stark’s have had beef with the Targaryen’s.
Jaime does little do defend himself against accusations of both Dany and Sansa. Tyrion ends up in hot water with Dany when Jaime states that Cersei never had any intention to send her army north to help in the fight against the Night King. Jaime’s reprieve comes when he states he would do it all again. Bran interjects and says “the things we do for love”. For Brienne this is a signal to tell Dany and Sansa how Jaime helped her when she was captive at Harrenhal. She does not mention Jaime’s reason to kill the Mad King, nobody does. As the army of the dead are close at hand Jaime is asked to stay and fight. Though the consequence of that is Jaime acknowledges Dany as his queen.
There is plenty more Jaime in this episode. His reunion with Bran is redemptive, if cryptic. His reunion with his brother is better than the last time. Tyrion dares to mention Tywin and this time there is no angry outburst. Jaime also has a reunion with Brienne, but instead of a rapprochement there is only tension. It stands in contrast with the understanding between both Lannister brothers that they are both going to die at Winterfell. Perhaps the tension between Jaime and Brienne can be seen as an indicator they will both survive the coming battle.
Dany and Tyrion
The disagreement between Tyrion and Dany also comes to a head. Dany blames Tyrion a great deal and he does not deny it. Instead it is Ser Jorah who tries to resolve the dispute. He states that Tyrion can learn from his mistakes and Dany should let him. Jorah also suggest to Dany she mend fences with Sansa. That appears to go down well until Sansa demands the North remains separate from Dany’s kingdom. This issues remains unresolved as the discussion is interrupted.
And so Tyrion gets a reprieve. In fact during the later war council he takes an active role with a lot more authority than before. Tyrion refuses Dany’s suggestion to take shelter in the crypts. Preferring instead to lead from the battlements. The battle plans are hardly sophisticated. Brans indicates the Night King is there for him and so he will try and lure him into the Godswood. Jon fears that the Knight King will not commit himself if he perceives too much danger to himself.
Gendry and Arya
And then there was the love scene between Gendry and Arya. It was a scene I thoroughly approved of – and not just because of the teasing that had been going on since the season’s premiere. There is plenty of history between the two. Both characters were previously considered core to the show, but after season 4 that changed. After’s Gendry’s misfortune in fucking Melisandre (mentioned in the episode) we did not see him for several seasons.
Arya also disappeared, sort of. As exciting as her time in Braavos was the original Arya vanished and instead we got some sort of dark angel bent on revenge. She got that, she killed the Frey’s as well as a few others. And despite her being well placed in Winterfell to counter the army of the dead I also wanted to see a ‘new’ original Arya. By hooking up with Gendry there is a possibility for a brighter future. Odd thing is, neither of them are obligated to survive the fight with the army of the dead.
As a whole tying up the loose ends of the show was a lot more enjoyable in this episode than it was in the first of the season. This episode felt refreshing, giving most characters a new dynamic whether or not they will survive or not. I like genuinely not knowing who will die and who will survive. The series is so far ahead of the books that guessing no longer works.
R + L = J + Dany knows
And then there is the final scene, set in the crypt of Winterfell. Dany approaches a brooding Jon. She becomes disheartened when Jon tells her the statue they are standing at is that of Lyanna. Dany begins to apologize and states she cannot understand why a man such as Rhaegar raped Lyanna. Jon interrupts her and tells her he didn’t. Jon explains who he really is – Aegon Targaryen. Dany is shocked and a little bit angry that she is no longer the legitimate claimant to the throne.
Oddly the scene lacked impact, it is as though the big mystery of the books, R + L = J, is actually not that important. At this moment I am thinking it is not even that important that either Dany or Jon survive. The Night King will be defeated, but then there is still Cersei and breaking the wheel. For 8 seasons we have believed that Dany will get it done, with help, but strictly speaking that is not necessary. Arya can kill Cersei, the hound will kill the mountain and one of the Greyjoy’s can kill Euron.
I really enjoyed this episode – in contrast to last week which was dull. There is a lot to see beyond what I described. Characters drink and talk with each other as Winterfell prepares for battle. Subtle dialogue hints at feelings about past events and future consequences. I suppose it is all necessary if next week will be an hour+ long battle. There might some scenes at the end describing the consequences of that episode but otherwise we will have to wait until episode 4.
This was my Game of Thrones S08E02 A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Review. I hope you enjoyed it.