Game of Thrones – “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”: Waiting to die
Season 8, Episode 2
Aired: April 21, 2019
Director: David Nutter
Writers: Bryan Cogman
I’m so glad that in this final, truncated season, they found room for this episode.
After last week’s breezy reintroduction to this world, I was so happy we were able to just sit with these characters and feel the weight of the moment as they all wait for the Night King’s army to descend upon them.
The early moments felt a bit rushed. In a longer final season, I would have liked more time devoted to the trial of Jaime Lannister. Instead, there was really only time for the other characters to voice their brief objections before Brienne jumped in to defend him. I completely bought that Brienne’s defense would sway Sansa, but had more trouble accepting Dany accepting it. As she states in the scene, she has thought about the moment she got to be face-to-face with the Kingslayer a lot. To cave so easily doesn’t feel on brand for a character who has a long history of defiantly doing what she feels is right. I do believe they could have earned her pardoning of Jaime, but just not in the time allotted.
The Theon stuff was similarly rushed. I get Sansa welcoming him back, but the other Starks have reasons to be wary. I also felt like it was odd that everyone in the war room scene just went with his offer to protect Bran as they use him as Night King bait because: 1. There are reasons not to trust him to do this since he’s betrayed the Starks in the past and 2. These days he’s not consistently emotionally well enough to fight, which makes him an odd choice for this job. I kept hoping Arya or someone else would pipe up and say, “I’ll be there too,” but again, everyone just accepted Theon’s offer.
However, if rushing those two moments where necessary to give us the time for everything else in this episode, I’m totally fine with it. I loved all of the quiet moments we got with characters congregating together waiting for a battle they’re all convinced they’ll lose.
The standout moment is the one that gives the episode its name. I absolutely loved watching Jaime knight Brienne. It was a lovely character moment for everyone involved and one that feels earned after the past seven seasons. Jaime and Brienne’s relationship is easily one of my favorites in the show and this felt like a nice payoff for both of them.
Everyone else gathered around the fire really shined too. I like that the show tossed a bone to Tormund/Brienne shippers by having him there being flirtatious, but didn’t dwell on it too long. Tyrion felt more like the Tyrion of old in this scene as he was back to sipping wine and being charming. (I particularly loved him overfilling everyone’s glasses.) It was also nice to discover Pod’s lovely singing voice.
Elsewhere, I like that Arya spent some time with the “old shits” before sneaking off to seduce Gendry. The Night’s Watch reunion and Sam giving his sword to Jorah were also great character moments. (Sam continues to be an MVP this season.) Sansa and Theon sharing a meal together felt sweet, too.
This episode felt like a really important moment of calm before the coming storm. The emotional moments felt real. Sitting in the stillness as everyone waits for the battle to begin was a really wise move. It raises the stakes and helps build suspense. It also makes the impending deaths of (I assume) a large chunk of these characters land even harder.
“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” reminded me why I love this show. I can’t wait for next week’s impending gut punch
And another thing …
Let’s speculate on who lives and dies in the coming battle: Jaime went to Winterfell to die a noble death, which is exactly why I think he’ll live. The Starks all feel safe to me, as does Dany. I think Grey Worm definitely dies after his “One week away from retirement” speech in this episode. Night’s Watch Edd also feels like he won’t make it. Tormund, Davos, Pod and Beric are all fair game as cannon fodder. However, I think what we all need to prepare ourselves for is …
Brienne is going to die next week. I get no satisfaction from this prediction, but it feels like where the story is headed. We need one major death for the threat of the Night King to feel real and, unfortunately, she is the perfect choice, especially after being made a knight. I think she dies and Jaime and Pod both witness it and it hurts like hell for all of us to watch.
Speaking of predictions, I recently made these ones on Twitter: “Jon Snow ends up on the Iron Throne because he doesn’t want it. Dany turns on him and is undone by her ambition. Jaime kills Cersi.” I think the seeds were planted for Dany to turn on Jon in this episode as she reacted quite negatively to the revelation that he’s a Targaryen. You could see her already calculating his threat to her claim on the throne.
Written by Joel Murphy. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact Joel firstname.lastname@example.org