Game of Thrones: Season 8, Episode 2 – “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” Review
As a calm before the storm episode, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” offers plenty of feel-good moments. In a typical season, the early episodes lay the groundwork for the big spectacle event, usually episode 9. In this final shortened season, episode 3 will be epic, so “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” is a quiet prelude with many plot points to set up. Fan reaction is very positive, even more so than the premiere. I personally enjoyed it but because I’m not super sentimental the heart-felt moments didn’t resonate with me as much as other fans.
The remaining key characters including Jamie converge onto Winterfell for an episode set entirely in one location. If George R.R. Martin had written the scene between Jamie, Daenerys, and everyone in attendance, he would have found interesting angles to explore like when the Hound was on trial by the Brotherhood. But the function of the scene wasn’t to put Jamie on trial, the writers needed to justify why Daenerys and the Starks allow Jamie Lannister to fight along side them.
As a result of Jamie showing up alone without an army, everyone is up to speed that Cersei has double crossed on their agreement. This puts Tyrion in a bind because as the Hand of the Queen, he’s been making one mistake after another. Although he previously pointed out that Cersei’s one redeeming quality is the love she has for her children, misjudging Cersei seems very uncharacteristic of Tyrion. Before the series is done, we need one more big play from Tyrion to put him in the forefront and show why he’s a clever strategist. If he received some foresight from Bran, a conversation which took place off-screen, Tyrion might have something up his sleeve.
On the other hand, Jamie and Brienne’s arc are complete. Brienne is knighted, her squire Pod whom she’s been training has become a skilled swordsman and she’s leading one flank of the army. Jamie has abandoned his toxic relationship with Cersei for good and he apologized to Bran. Jamie is most compelling when he’s misunderstood and then changing people’s perspective of him through his actions. About the only thing left to do in Jamie’s redemption arc is a sacrificial death or a grand, honorable deed. The scenes between Jamie and Brienne have a genuine affection that’s been earned over the course of the series.
The White Walkers’ motivation sound rather ominous. The Night King wants to bring forth an endless night, by erasing the world and its memory. Although the books and TV series are two separate entities, George R.R. Martin doesn’t usually create significant characters without complex motivations. It’s possible there might be a further reveal on the White Walkers’ motivation and why exactly they want to erase memory.
Aside from characters contemplating impending doom, a large chunk of the episode focuses on touching moments. Characters are given what will likely be final moments together. Sansa hugging Theon is memorable because of what they suffered together at the hands of the Boltons. Because Sansa accepts Theon, especially after what Theon did to the Starks, his redemption arc is pretty much complete. A couple of other nice touches is when Tyrion fills up Pod’s cup to the rim and when Sam gives Heartsbane to Jorah.
I’m not sure what to make of Arya and Gendry. It’s a physical relationship based on respect but not love. Has Arya grown too cold that she may never fall in love? Perhaps it’s the awkwardness of the scene, seeing Maise Williams in a way we have never seen her before. Speaking of awkward … Jon reveals the truth to Daenerys. “My real name is Aegon Targaryen”. Jon doesn’t say it triumphantly, he says it as a matter of fact. Since it’s been established that Jon believes in speaking the truth, his forthrightness is believable, just the timing before a big battle is not ideal. I like Emilia Clarke’s facial reaction as we see her process this information from denial to contemplating the significance of this reveal.
- Gendry really likes to tell his story about the leeches.
- I like how this episode lays out where characters will be in the battle and what it might mean. Bran and the Greyjoys are in the godswood. Tyrion and Gilly are in the crypt. Brienne and Jamie are in the left flank.