The last season of “Game of Thrones” — Episode 2


Evan Suk, Staff Writer

As we continue down the path toward the last episode of “Game of Thrones,” we come to the second episode of the final season. This episode, while serving as even more buildup for the ever approaching battle of Winterfell, delivered on many key moments for which fans have been hoping for a very long time. With so many beloved characters now converging at the same place, it seems that their imminent deaths are bringing them even closer together.

The episode, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” directed by David Nutter, is split into two distinct sections. The first part of the episode meanders along with a similar pace to the previous episode, with Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) arriving at Winterfell to fight for the living in the ever-approaching battle with the dead. However, although the audience knows that he has changed from earlier seasons, characters such as Daenerys and Sansa are still wary of Jaime as he played an integral role in murdering both of their fathers. When it seems as though Jaime’s fate may be sealed, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) steps to his aid. Throughout the show’s history, Jaime and Brienne’s respect for each other has grown. When she vouches for him, Sansa has no choice but to agree with her most trusted advisor. From there, we get a few more scenes detailing the relationship between Jamie and Brienne, as well as an intense scene between Sansa and Daenerys, debating what the fate of the North will be if they happen to win their battles against the Night King and Cersei.

However, this part of the episode is put to rest when Tormund and Beric return from Last Hearth, coming to inform Jon Snow and the rest of Winterfell that the dead are mere hours away. This is when the real meat of the episode comes into play. As the entire castle begins to prepare for war, the tone shifts into an anticipatory tension which seems to infect each character one by one. However, with all of these fan-favorites finally together, the showrunners seem to have decided that this would be the best time to pay off certain moments long-awaited by fans, and it works very well.

Groups begin to form: Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham), Tormund, Jaime, Podrick (Daniel Portman) and Brienne all gather by the hearth; Sam, Jon and Ed, the former members of the Night’s Watch reconnect; and Arya and the hound sit atop the battlements at Winterfell. These scenes are some of the most beautiful and fulfilling moments that we have seen for a long time in “Game of Thrones.” Arya and the Hound share a moment of respect, with each realizing how much the other has changed since they parted ways and revealing that they both do still care for each other. The remaining brothers of the Night’s Watch lament for their old ways and how they never would have thought they would find themselves where they are.

But the true heart of this entire episode is the meeting at the fireplace. Jamie and Tyrion sit alone by the hearth, drinking wine and reminiscing about their father, gearing up for the coming battle. One by one, Brienne, Podrick, Davos and Tormund all find themselves there together and they have some truly heartwarming conversations. While there is a certain darkness in their situation, the scene is overflowing with incredible humor, mostly through Tormund’s infatuation with Brienne and his outlandish tale of how he came to claim the name “Giantsbane.” Yet the true heart of this scene harkens back to the title. As they sit around the fire, Tormund inquires why Brienne has not yet been knighted. She responds that it isn’t tradition to have a lady be a knight, but Jaime reveals that any anointed knight, such as himself, can knight another person. As Brienne kneels before Jaime and he draws his sword, tears of viewers began to flow. The unspoken affection and respect between the duo come pouring out and we see Brienne smile for perhaps the first time in the entire series. As she rises, Sir Brienne of Tarth, the rest of the unexpected group stand and clap, bringing joy into this cold and hopeless night.

In the final scenes of the episode, Podrick sings a beautiful song during a montage of the rest of the occupants of the castle, finally landing on Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen in the crypts of Winterfell. As Daenerys approaches Jon, the latter reveals his true parentage along with his true name: Aegon Targareyan. Daenerys now knows that he is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne whether either of them likes it or not. Just as Daenerys begins to react, however, a horn blows in the distance and they both rush to the ramparts just in time to see a wall of white walkers lining the darkened horizon.

This episode was a much-needed breath of fresh air for this story but also had a devastating impact on viewers. So much happened in these scenes. There were so many moments that signaled a conclusion of an arc that, in the end, it can only mean one thing for the future: death. As many of you may know, the next episode is primarily composed of a battle sequence, the longest ever committed to film, taking over eleven weeks of night shooting. With so many characters finally finding themselves in this episode, true “Game of Thrones” fashion would have the audience know that next week, as the army of the dead approach, many of our favorites may not survive. I’ll see you next week.