Game of Thrones 8.2: “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” Recap & Commentary

“This is different. This is…. death.”

Impending, inescapable doom is one helluva feeling. The most recent episode of Game of Thrones, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” does its best to capture the morale and mindset of our heroes before they attempt to defeat death itself. For being a part of the abridged final season, the episode slows things way down with zero fighting and zero deaths.

But that doesn’t mean it was a bad episode or that it’s out of place in a final season. It’s essentially one last hurrah for the supporting characters we’ve grown to love. Surprising stars of this episode include Brienne of Tarth, Podrick Payne, Gendry, Grey Worm and Jorah Mormont. Even Ghost returned. Almost all of them seem to get closure, which should make you very, very worried for next episode.

The Night King has broken through humanity’s gate and has his eyes set on Winterfell, Bran, and probably your favorite character. It certainly doesn’t help their chances that the next episode is directed by Miguel Sapochnik, who oversaw “Battle of the Bastards” and “Winds of Winter” to close out Season Six. While viewers are in for a treat with Sapochnik at the helm, don’t expect much in terms of hope or positivity.

The end is near. Just like last week, we’ll sum up what happened and then speculate as to what’s next. The plot was light this episode relative to what many expected, but there were still a lot of important moments.  

Recap

Jon Tells Daenerys Who He Really Is

At the end of the episode, Daenerys finds Jon alone in the crypts of Winterfell. Up until this point, Jon had been actively avoiding her, unsure of how he should tell her the earth-shattering news of his lineage. He chooses to do so in front of the statue of his mother, Lyanna Stark. Shocked, Dany thinks it might be a power play by Jon to take the throne.

She’s frustrated and taken aback, even though it’s not Jon’s fault. She loves him, but this revelation makes her, understandably, go into crisis mode. Her entire identity has been her rightful claim to the Iron Throne. She asks Jon if he intends to pursue the Iron Throne, but before he can answer, the horn sounds because death is at the door.

Dany already seems slightly unhinged this season, and this, plus the abject trauma of what’s about to happen, aren’t great signs for her sanity. She’s always based her rule on her right to do so, which she also used to justify some of the more cruel things she’s done. She even feels entitled to the North despite Sansa’s very reasonable reservations. Dany isn’t willing to compromise and rule the Six Kingdoms, how is she going to react to potentially ruling none?

The Bran Plan

The Night King’s army is far too big to defeat. If met head on, Winterfell will fall as quickly. The only realistic way to defeat the White Walkers’ massive force is to cut its head off, which would leave the army of wights useless.

How do they get the Night King close? Bran reveals that the Night King wants to erase all of history, which means killing the Three Eyed Raven aka Bran himself. The plan he wants is to use himself as bait to lure the Night King where they can then spring an ambush. It’s a bold plan for sure, but also really the only choice they have. Theon and the Ironborn will defend him by the Weirwood, with the dragons likely close by. It just might work.

Closure

Many characters had their closure moments before the big battle. Their arcs are complete and gives clues to who will be among the dead come next episode. That’s not to say that every character that got closure, but many certainly will.

To recap who got closure: Brienne finally becomes a knight and will have Jaime serve under her. Davos helps a girl with greyscale. Podrick shows he’s a good fighter, gets to hang out with Tyrion one last time, and belts a tune. Gendry and Arya consummate whatever their relationship is. Jorah gives Daenerys some final advice, tries to reconcile with Lady Mormont, and receives the ancestral sword of House Tarly. Missandei and Grey Worm talk about their future together. Tormund pursues Brienne and gets drunk. Theon returns to Winterfell, is embraced by Sansa, and will defend Bran. The Hound, Beric Dondarrion, and Arya shoot the shit. Jaime apologizes to Bran, professes his gratitude to Brienne, and reunites with Tyrion.

Oof. That’s a lot of foreshadowing.

Speculation Zone

Which character was the star of Episode Two?

Sam: Samwell Tarly. John Bradley has done an absolutely fantastic job this season as the Lover of Ladies and Slayer of White Walkers. While not of the same stature as Jon or Dany, every time Sam is on the screen, he steals the show. Sam is one of the few honorable men left in Westeros and Jon’s closest confidant. But most importantly, he’s just so likeable. You can’t help but smile every time makes a witty comment or gives Jon advice.

Nick: It’s close between the two Lannister brothers, but I’d say Jaime. He knew he was going to get shit on by coming north, but still did it for the sake of life itself. He didn’t cower before the council either, and affirmed his actions. Watching him confront Bran and interact with Tyrion made the episode for me. Jaime’s reactions to other characters, especially Tormund, also provided much needed comedic relief in a sullen episode. I’m doubtful he makes it through the season, but Jaime has come a long way from the incestous, arrogant, child-crippling prick we first meet. To me, that’s one Game of Thrones’ crowning achievements.

What was your favorite moment of Episode Two?

Sam: The fireplace scene. It’s a combination of so many fan-favorites coming together to reminisce. I laughed out loud watching Tormund tell his giant story and it cleverly tied up plot ends. It was also satisfying to see Brienne finally get knighted.

Nick: The fireplace scene. Jaime, Tyrion, Davos, Tormund, Podrick, and Brienne all huddled around the fire, getting hammered to commemorate the likely apocalypse they face. Jaime, Tyrion, Davos, and Tormund are among my favorite characters and watching them get to enjoy one last night was both heartwarming and depressing. In short, it was classic Game of Thrones.  

Who’s right about Northern sovereignty, Sansa or Dany?

Sam: Sansa. Sure, Dany is a Targaryen and has sought to take the Iron Throne her whole life for her house because it was “stolen” from her. However, this claim is now questionable at best. Since Robert Baratheon’s death, the Seven Kingdoms have not been united in the slightest. Southern Kings have constantly betrayed the Starks despite their loyalty. Why should they bend the knee to another Southerner who spent her entire life outside of the Seven Kingdoms, much less the north? Furthermore if we’re assuming a Targaryens should sit on the Iron Throne, Jon Snow (Aegon Targaryen) would be ahead of her.

Nick: Sansa. I don’t think Dany is a good leader or has legitimate standing to command the north. She’s been justifying her conquests based on birthright, which feels a little tone deaf given what everyone in the Seven Kingdoms has gone through and faces now. Why can’t she just let the North go to ensure their loyalty and respect? She wants to break the wheel, but is also incensed when a region wants to do the same. She’s an excellent conqueror, but her claim to the North is weak, unless she marries Jon.  

Will a main character die next episode (Jon, Dany, Arya, Sansa, Jaime, Tyrion, Bran)?

Sam: I could see Jaime or Arya. Both will certainly be in the heart of the battle, but Jaime and Arya don’t have a lot of responsibilities outside fighting to the rest of the storyline. While yes, it’d be great to see Arya and Gendry or Jaime and (Ser) Brienne grow old together, the writers have to kill someone off and Arya and Jaime seem like they would have the fewest consequences.  

Nick:  It certainly feels like Bran, Jaime, or Arya are the only options. They wouldn’t leave the Jon/Dany conflict on a cliff hanger only to kill one of them before it plays out, would they? Sansa and Tyrion will be far from the fighting so they’re probably safe. Bran is too valuable and Theon has to sacrifice himself for someone, so my guess is Jaime dies if anyone. With only one hand, Jaime will be vulnerable against the dead.

Who Will Die in the Battle of Winterfell?

Sam: Theon, Gendry, Jaime, Gilly, Jorah and The Hound.

Nick: Grey Worm (that Missandei scene was the kiss of death), Theon, Jorah, The Hound, Brienne, Gendry, Gilly, Lord Commander Edd, and Jaime.

Who Will Kill the Most Wights (excluding the dragons)?

Sam: Jon Snow. If previous battles have taught us anything, Jon Snow will mow down wights.

Nick: Tormund. The dude is an absolute animal on the battlefield.

What’s One Thing You Want to See Out of the Battle of Winterfell?

Sam: Dragons fighting. Ever since the Night King got Viserion, we’ve been looking forward to him battling Drogon and Rhaegal. The aerial battle between Dany and the Night King with their respective dragons fighting their brother’s figures to be spectacular.

Nick: No cop outs from the writers. Be fucking brutal. The Battle of Winterfell has the potential to be the best episode of the series if done right.

Will the Bran Plan work?

Sam: Probably not. I don’t think Bran will die necessarily but it’d be strange to kill off the Night King in only the third episode. Theon’s definitely going to die with honor protecting Bran though.

Nick: At the very least they might be able to kill the ice dragon. I can’t see the Night King dying in Episode Three though. That’d be way too anticlimactic. His death/victory will take place in King’s Landing.

This Episode Emphasized the Safety of the Winterfell Crypts. Are They Really That Safe?

Sam: Definitely not. With the amount of times the crypts were called “the safest place to be,” I can’t see them being entirely removed from the conflict. There are far too many main characters set to hide in the crypts for them to be completely safe. I think some, like Gilly might die defending children if the Wights do break into the crypts.

Nick: It’d certainly be one of the most fucked scenes in Game of Thrones history if the wights raid the crypts and slaughter the women and children. The foreshadowing was so heavy though, I don’t think they’re as safe as the gang seems to think. There’s also something to be said for hiding the defenseless in a cemetery against an army that literally raises the dead.

One Wild Prediction for the Battle of Winterfell:

Sam: Lyanna Mormont will kill hella Wights.

Nick: Tormund and Beric Dondarrion somehow maintain their survival streak.

In the spirit of Bran, is there even an afterwards?

Sam: I think so. Something tells me Jon Snow and company will find another way to survive.

Nick: The Night King feels unstoppable. Without Cersei’s help or some other revelation, oblivion almost certainly awaits our heroes.

Iron Throne Power Rankings

Sam:

  1. Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen
  2. The Night King
  3. Daenerys Targaryen

Nick:

  1. The Night King
  2. Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen
  3. Sansa Stark

-Sam Shiffman and Nick Shiffman

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