A Binge Guide for Season 8, Episode 2 – “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”
By Greg Enslen
Episode Number: S08E02
Original Air Date: April 21, 2019
Time: 58 minutes
Synopsis: Jaime faces judgment and Winterfell prepares for the battle to come.
The updated animated map during the credits shows a few important locations: the Wall, Last Hearth, Winterfell, and King’s Landing. Updated in this episode are the blue tiles of the undead moving past Last Hearth and approach Winterfell and updated defenses around Winterfell, including rows of tents a spread along the northern edge and a pit filled with fire and spikes surrounding the castle.
The Great Hall
In the Great Hall at Winterfell, Daenerys Targaryen confronts Ser Jaime Lannister about his murder of her father. Jaime, known as the King slayer, stabbed her father in the back to keep him from destroying King’s Landing. Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, Tyrion Lannister and others watch as Dany grills Jaime about the aid Cersei promised to send to fight the Army of the Dead. “She never had any intention of sending her army north,” Jaime replies. She has Euron’s fleet and 20,000 “fresh troops” in the Golden Company, a mercenary army she’s hired. But Jaime intends to keep his promise to fight for the living. Brandon Stark speaks up, quoting the words Jaime said just before he pushed Bran out the window in S01E01. Brienne of Tarth stands to defend him, saying he is an honorable man.
Notes: Brienne mentions the time she was captured and Jaime defended her. In S03E07, after Brienne was captured by Roose Bolton and held at Harrenhal, Jaime protected her, even jumping into the arena to save her from a bear. No one seems to be mad at Jaime about trying to kill Bran in S01E01 and it never comes up during this “trial,” even after Bran quotes him.
In the Winterfell forge, Gendry Baratheon continues producing more dragonglass-tipped weapons for the upcoming battle. He’s interrupted by Arya Stark, who’s commissioned him to make her a special two-ended spear tipped with shards of dragonglass. Gendry says the creatures are like “death,” but she’s not impressed. “I’ve seen death. It has many faces.”
Jaime Lannister approaches Brandon Stark in the Godswood, apologizing for pushing him out of the tower window on his last visit to Winterfell. But Bran understands—Jaime did it for his family. Bran confuses Jaime by saying he’s “not Brandon anymore.”
Notes: Jaime pushed Bran out of the tower window in the final moments of S01E01.
In the Winterfell courtyard, Tyrion and Jamie discuss the coming war and their return to Winterfell. They talk about Dany’s dragons and Cersei betrayal. Jaime walks outside the gates to see the preparations for the upcoming battle: trenches and pits filled with spikes, a wooden bridge that can be retracted, and Brienne and Podrick Payne training soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. They have a long conversation in which Jaime doesn’t insult Brienne, which confuses her. “I’m not the fighter I used to be,” Jaime says, asking to join her group.
Jorah Mormont meets with Dany to ask her to listen to Tyrion, despite his flaws, and to make friends with Sansa. Dany goes to Sansa and they discuss the coming battle, their families and the difficulty of being a female leader. Dany complements her, yet feels they are at odds. Sansa knows that Jon loves Dany. “Men do stupid things for women. They’re easily manipulated.” But Dany disagrees—she and her forces are in the North to fight the Night King because Jon asked. It looks like they’re bonding until Sansa asks that the North remain free. In the Great Hall, Theon arrives to pledge his support for House Stark.
Notes: Jorah mentions that Tyrion rarely stopped talking “between Volantis and Meereen.” This journey took place in episodes S05E03 through S05E07. When Sansa talks about men doing “stupid things” for women, she might be referencing a great number of things such as her brother Robb not honoring his agreement with Walder Frey and, instead, marrying Talisa, which created the conditions for the Red Wedding.
Quotes: Daenerys Targaryen: “He never should have trusted Cersei.” Sansa Stark: “You never should have either.” Daenerys: “I thought he knew his sister.” Sansa: “Families are complicated.”
In the Winterfell courtyard, Ser Davos Seaworth feeds a line of hungry refugees. Gilly tells a few of the women that during the fighting, they’ll be safest in the crypts beneath Winterfell. A young girl with a scar on her face asks Davos what will happen. She wants to fight, and Gilly asks her to come to the crypts to protect her.
The survivors of Last Hearth arrive, including Tormund Giantsbane, Beric Dondarrion and Dolorous Edd, greeting Jon Snow and the others. They tell of what happened at Last Hearth and warn of the approaching Army of the Dead, which will likely arrive at daybreak.
Notes: The little girl with the scarred face obviously reminds Ser Davos of Shireen, the young daughter of Stannis Baratheon the befriended Davos and taught him how to read. She was burned at the stake in S05E09 as an offering to the Lord of Light.
In the Great Hall, Jon Snow reviews the plans for the coming battle with the lords and ladies gathered around a scale model of Winterfell and the surrounding environs. He goes over the plan: kill the Night King, and the rest of the white walkers might fall. Jaime says he’ll never expose himself, but Bran volunteers to draw him out by waiting in the Godswood. Sansa doesn’t want to use him as bait, but Bran is sure the plan will work. Theon and the Ironborn offer to protect him until Dany and Jon can attack the Night King with dragon-fire.
The rest of the armies will hold off the dead as long as they can, and then Ser Davos or Tyrion will signal to light a trench that surrounds Winterfell that the dead should not be able to breach. After the meeting, Jon avoids talking to Dany, and Tyrion remains behind to talk to Bran.
Notes: This scene includes all four surviving Stark children, the first such scene since S01E01. The war map shows Dany’s Unsullied making up the bulk of the defense force, arranged in the middle in front of the gates of Winterfell. Stark forces line up on the left and right flanks, with the Dothraki outing front of the Unsullied. Forces from House Arryn assists on the left flank and House Mormont will defend the interior of Winterfell, including the Great Hall. This is the first time Bran and Tyrion have interacted since S01E04, when he gave him sketches of a saddle Bran might use to ride a horse.
In the courtyard, Grey Worm oversees war preparations and discusses his future with Missandei. She wants to return to Neath a free woman and live out her days in peace. Grey Worm vows to go with her.
Atop the walls, Sam tells Jon he needs to tell Dany about his news—that he is, in fact, a Targaryen. Dolorous Edd joins them, a mini-reunion of the crows of Castle Black along with Ghost, Jon’s direwolf. When Jon asks after Gill and little Sam, suggesting that Samwell might want to hide in the crypts, Samwell reminds them that he can take care of himself.
In the Great Hall, Tyrion and Jaime drink near the fireplace and talk about how angry their father Tywin would be to learn his two sons were likely to die defending Winterfell. They are joined by Brienne, Pod, Ser Davos and Tormund. Tormund tells the story of how he got the nickname “Giantsbane”: he killed a giant when he was 10 and then suckled at the breast of his wife for three months.
After discussing how many battles they’ve survived, Brienne mentions she can’t be a knight because she’s a woman. Surprising her, Jaime Lannister holds an official ceremony and makes Brienne a Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. Afterward, Podrick sings a haunting song about Jenny Oldstones.
Notes: This is the first time Ghost appears since S06E03. Samwell runs down a list of his prior acts of bravery, including being the first man to kill a white walker (S03E08), saving Gilly on numerous occasions, surviving the Fist of the First Men (S03E03), killed a Thenn (S04E09), and stealing a “considerable number” of books from the Citadel library (S07E05). The song is a reference to “Jenny’s Song” from the George R.R. Martin books and is thematically similar to the song sung by Pippin in LOTR “The Return of the King.”
Quotes: Tormund Giantsbane: “It could be our last night in this world, you know.” Brienne of Tarth: “Yes, well, I'm glad you are here. Here fighting with us. Glad you survived Eastwatch.” Tyrion Lannister: “Would you like a drink?” Tormund: “Brought my own. [to Jaime] They call you "King Killer".” Jaime Lannister: “I'm sure someone does.” Tormund: “They call me "Giantsbane". Want to know why? I killed a giant when I was ten. Then I climbed right into bed with his wife. When she woke up, you know what she did? Suckled me at her teat for three months. Thought I was her baby. That's how I got so strong. Giant's milk.”
On the wall, Arya and The Hound share a drink before Beric Dondarrion joins them, discussing the Lord of Light and his plans. The Hound doesn’t want to hear any sermons. Arya leaves, and Gendry finds her practicing her bow and arrow. Gendry has completed her double-ended spear. Arya asks what the Red Woman wanted, and Gendry says she wanted his blood for a spell—he’s Robert Baratheon’s bastard son, surprising Arya. She grills him about his past female conquests, and then moves in: she wants to know what it’s like before it happens. Kissing him, they strip and get busy.
Notes: The Hound asks Arya if Beric was ever “on her list,” and she replies “for a little while,” implying that he’s not any more. As of the last mention, her list now contains only three names: Cersei, Ilyn Payne, and the Mountain. The scars on Arya’s back are probably from injuries she sustained while fighting the Waif.
Eve of Battle
Jorah Mormont argues with Lady Lyanna to stay in the crypt, but she will not hide from the fight. Samwell meets with Jorah, explaining how Jorah’s father trained him at Castle Black, then Jorah Heartsbane, the sword he took from House Tully. Later, he rests in the crypts with Gilly and little Sam. Sansa and Theon share a quiet repast while the Unsullied and Jorah take up positions outside the walls.
Daenerys finds Jon Snow in the crypts below Winterfell. Reluctantly, he tells her of his true parentage. The news is devastating, shattering their future—and her plans for the Iron Throne. Before they can discuss it further, three horns sound: the Army of the Dead approaches.
Notes: This is the first time Jorah and Lady Lyanna, both of House Mormont, shared a scene. With the appearance of Heartsbane, all Valyrian steel weapons introduced so far on the show are now gathered in Winterfell: Longclaw (Jon Snow), Heartsbane (Jorah Mormont), Oathkeeper (Brienne of Tarth), Widow’s Wail (Jaime Lannister) and the Valyrian steel dagger carried by Arya.
Quotes: Daenerys Targaryen: “Who's that?” Jon Snow: “Lyanna Stark.” Daenerys: “My brother, Rhaegar, everyone told me he was decent and kind, he liked to sing, gave money to poor children...and he raped her.” Jon: “He didn't... he loved her. They were married in secret. After Rhaegar fell at the Trident, she had a son. Robert would have murdered the baby if he ever found out and Lyanna knew it. So the last thing she did as she bled to death on her birthing bed, was give the boy to her brother... Ned Stark... to raise as his bastard. My name, my real name, is Aegon Targaryen. It's true, Dany. I know it is.” Daenerys: “If it were true, it would make you the last male heir of House Targaryen. You'd have a claim to the Iron Throne.”
Everyone prepares for battle in their own ways: some seek comfort in the bottle, others in the arms of a lover. Some apologize, setting past grievances aside, while others take this last opportunity to tell the truth, not wanting to take any painful secrets to the grave.
Getting to see Jaime interact with all of these people in turn was a delight—he’s not sure if they’re going to accept his help or just execute him, but Brienne steps in and vouches for him. It’s a nice reversal—he’s used to being in charge and taking the fight to the enemy, but in this case, he needs someone else to step up and vouch for him to avoid the sharp edge of an axe to the neck.
Winterfell prepares for war, with Gendry cranking out weapons, half of the cast in one room working out battle plans, and Bran sitting in the corner, watching over it all. Some of the foreshadowing is a little heavy: if they tell us one more time that the Winterfell crypts are safe, I’m gonna lose it. And that guarantees they’re not safe, right? Not sure why they need to tell us so many times—do they think we’ll forget?
This entire episode is about waiting: waiting for the Night King to attack, waiting to hear any news from Last Hearth, waiting to find out how long (or if) Jon will tell Dany about his true parentage. It makes the episode an exercise in frustration, really. And while some of the scenes are necessary and welcomed, the rest of the episode seems to drag, as if they know the battle is coming soon but they can’t get it started quite yet. I’m sure the point here was to play up the tension ahead of the coming battle, but for me, it dragged in so many parts I was left frustrated.
The title of the episode refers to the scene where Jaime makes Lady Brienne of Tarth into a full-fledged Ser and Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. There are no scenes set anywhere other than Winterfell.
Nudity and Violence:
Stripped—There isn’t any abject nudity during their lovemaking scene (45:30), but you do see some major Arya side-boob and most of her butt.
NOTE: All sites accessed on accessed May 22, 2019.
Game of Thrones Wiki, several pages. http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Game_of_Thrones_Wiki
HBO Game of Thrones synopsis. http://www.gameofthrones.com/game-of-thrones/season-8/episode-2
New Rockstars, “Game of Thrones 8x02 Breakdown.” https://youtu.be/1Kw7t_q0zvU
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