Slight spoilers for Game of Thrones, Season 8, Episode 2 – “Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” below image.
Game of Thrones’ second episode of its eighth season, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” premiered on Sunday. After arriving at Winterfell at the end of episode one, this episode begins with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) being questioned by Sansa (Sophie Turner), Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), and Jon (Kit Harington) in front of some of their respective trusted councils.
As they question his intent and his loyalty to his sister, it seems like Sansa and Dany are about to have Jaime killed. But Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) steps forward and vouches for Jaime’s honor. Vowing to trust life to Jaime, to fight beside him, she convinces Sansa and Jon, leaving Daenerys no option but to allow him into their army. But Jaime isn’t the only one being questioned, so is Tyrion’s (Peter Dinklage) abilities as Hand of the Queen. Given Jaime’s confession that Cersei (Lena Headey) isn’t and was never planning on sending her forces to help them.
This episode also offers a bonding moment for Daenerys and Sansa, both first aiming for Jaime’s execution. When she visits Sansa later on, Daenerys declares her love for Jon. Unmoved, Sansa declares the goal of the North, they will not bow to another again.
With this episode holding all of our favorite characters it’s important to note their interactions and arrivals. Theon (Alfie Allen) arrives and asks Sansa if he could join her army, which she happily accepts, addressing Daenerys as Queen, but pledging fealty to Sansa. Edd (Ben Crompton), Tormund (Kristofer Hivju), and Beric (Richard Dormer) also return to Winterfell.
While their reunion with Jon is heartwarming, they inform everyone about the casualties at Last Hearth, the death of the Umbers, and that anyone who arrives after them is with the Dead. They also tell them that they only have until the next day to prepare for the battle. Less than a day to prepare, before the sun rises, the Dead will be at their door and the rest of the episode sees those in Winterfell contemplating the impending death that is coming towards them.
Viewers saw Arya (Maisie Williams) and Gendry (Joe Dempsie) grow closer, offering a moment some fans and shippers have been waiting for. Jaime and Tyrion reminisce about their lives leading up to where they are now, bringing the two brothers separated by their sister back together again. However, they’re joined by Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham), Brienne, Podrick (Daniel Portman), and Tormund. They all drink together, tell stories, and then we see Jaime formally knight Brienne. Rising Ser Brienne of Tarth, she is the first female knight in the seven kingdoms and achieves one of her childhood dreams.
Meanwhile, Daenerys finds Jon visiting Lyanna Stark’s grave. With Jon pulling away from her throughout the episode, the revelation of the last episode where he tells her about his true heritage is visibly weighing on him. As he reveals the truth of his heritage and the love between Rhaegar and Lyanna, she is unsettled. Just as Dany is about to say something, the horn is blown, informing everyone that the Army of the Dead has finally arrived at Winterfell.
The episode ends.
Besides “The Battle of the Bastards,” this has to be one of my favorite episodes that the show has aired. From the comedic timing, to the tense moments, the overall sense of nostalgia, and even some heart-warming moments, I couldn’t think of any other episode that more perfectly set up a big battle. Yes, there are only four more episodes left and fans are eagerly waiting for a fight, but this episode fits well, it is the “calm before the storm.”
One of the more comedic moments in the episode was during Jaime’s interrogation. Jaime is trying to make his case when Bran interrupts him and says “The things we do for love.” It’s a heavy line that brings weight but also brings a laugh from viewers. It was a fantastic line for his character to deliver, given Jaime’s lack of remorse for his actions against the Houses of the women he is standing in front of. It was the last thing that Bran heard from Jaime before he pushed him out of the tower window in Winterfell. It lets Jaime know that Bran, even after becoming the Three Eyed Raven, still remembers.
The scene where some of our favorite side characters are having drinks is definitely meant to get audiences even more invested in rooting for them to survive. However, if shows like The Walking Dead have taught audiences anything, it’s that, that amount of character focus before a big battle usually doesn’t go well for that character.
In front of the fire is filled with multiple moments of joy. Tormund attempting to flirt with Brienne never disappoints. His story about the giant’s milk is by far my favorite scene of his, as we learn why he is called Giantsbane. I’ll truly be devastated if he doesn’t make it. But beyond that, finally seeing Brienne be knighted, and by Jaime was fantastic. The emotion on her face and how she handled herself shows the incredible talent that Christie has as an actress.
The interaction between Sansa and Daenerys definitely captured the audience’s attention. It seems like everything was leaning to a peaceful alliance, but Sansa knows that the people of Winterfell won’t just bow down to a foreign Queen. They’ve had their home taken away and have fought hard to get it back. Sansa does make a valid argument, and if everyone finds out the truth about Jon, they’ll be more inclined to not follow Dany. This sets up what will surely be an intense moment between the three of them later on, if they survive that is.
On top of that, Jon revealing his identity to Daenerys will lead to even bigger issues in deciding who will take over the Iron Throne. She no longer has any real reason to play nice with the people of Winterfell. She could take over by force, but if she does, she will be giving into what her father once was. I sure hope the show doesn’t take this road immediately, but I also won’t be surprised if she does. It all depends on how it is handled and whether or not Jon even wants to take over as king. However, there is no doubt that he will do anything to make sure that his family and people are safe.
Overall, I really dd enjoy this episode from start to finish. This was definitely an improvement from last week’s episode. More plot points have been implemented, which will surely have big impacts on the remaining episodes. With Avengers: Endgame and the “Battle of Winterfell” all happening next week, emotions will certainly be at an all-time high.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 P.M. EST / 6 P.M. PST on HBO, HBO Now, and HBO GO.
Final Rating: 8/10 Accolade Ceremonies