After last week’s episode feeling like convenient conflict for the sake of progressing the story, episode 2 feels like a return to form. Honestly, we probably could have started the final season of the show with this episode and been none the wiser for missing last weeks.
As always, SPOILERS ARE COMING… duh.
For starters, I think I speak for most of, if not all of, the Game of Thrones fandom when I say that we are all officially scarred for life after that Arya and Gendry scene. I’m fully aware Game of Thrones has had some much wilder sex scenes before, but this, while being a great bit of long-awaited fan service, also felt like watching your sister hook up with her crush.
Yes, Maisie Williams is 22 in real life, and most likely a legal age in the show to do what she wants with her body, but for us, we’ve watched this girl-turned-woman grow up through the show! There is this connection we as viewers have to the few remaining characters left on the show, and Arya certainly fits that bill. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for them both, but just because your sister is having sex doesn’t mean you need to hear about it, let alone witness her side-boob first hand.
While this episode was another “laying the groundwork” type setup, there was a lot more anticipation and suspense being built up here. It spends time reminding you why you love certain characters, and that’s great, but this is Game of Thrones after all, and NO ONE is safe, ever.
Moments like Jaime knighting Breanne were so emotionally charged and long overdue. Knowing their history, and seeing Jamie admit that he wasn’t the soldier he once was, only to follow it up with “I’d be honored to serve under your command.” Is his arc and character growth coming full circle? Sadly, I couldn’t watch it without a thought constantly nagging me in the back of my head, “Jamie is probably going to die. (Hell, Breanne is probably going to die too.)” A good portion of this episode focuses on him, and his effort to make amends where he can with whoever will hear him out. Not to mention his conversation with Bran screams ominous foreshadowing. “How do you know there is an afterward?” Gulp…
These moments were long overdue and fantastic ways of tying up some loose ends, but after 7 seasons, we have been trained to wonder WHY there is so much emphasis being put on some of these characters. The simple truth is that there are only FOUR episodes left, ever, and there are going to be a lot of characters that most likely won’t see the end of this war.
Scenes like Missandei and Greyworm discussing what they’ll do after the fighting is over. How he wants to take her to the beaches of Narth. Beric, the Hound, and Arya reminiscing about the last time they were all together. Davos’ run-in with a scarred-faced girl who looks a lot like Shireen Baratheon (coincidence? I think not!). Jorah and Lyanna Mormont finally reconnecting after all these years. Sam gifting his Valyerian Steel family sword to Jorah.
Theon attempting to redeem his bitch-ass self by promising the Ironborn to Bran’s side as a means of protection. Or the simple assurance that “everyone will be safe in the crypts”?? Happily ever after isn’t really how Game of Thrones does things, so scenes like these, while comforting for the time being, really only make you wonder WHY the show is giving us these moments. Again, it’s most likely due to the fact some of, most of, these characters aren’t going to be around when the dust settles.
All other character moments aside, the focus on the crypts and everyone being “safe” down there is really starting to sound like a bad fucking idea. “Oh, there’s a zombie king with an army of undead heading this way? You say he can raise the dead simply by lifting his arms?! I just had a brilliant idea! Lets put all of our women and children in the one place that is stuffed full of dead people, they’ll be safe there.” While this isn’t confirmed, there has been a fan theory buzzing around for quite some time now, but after this episode, it’s gained a lot more traction.
This show throws scenes at you in an extremely delicate, subtle way that requires you to read between the lines if you don’t want to be completely caught off guard. The emphasis on these crypts being a “safe haven” probably means something will happen where that won’t be the case. It could be paranoia, or it could be how the show has trained us to think over the past 7 seasons, but I’m calling it now, those crypts aren’t going to be as safe as everyone thinks. I seriously want to be wrong about this though.
Speaking of tension, another recurring theme in this episode was “afterward”. After the war is over, after the wights are gone, after Danny claims the throne. It echoes the question(s) we as fans have been asking for quite some time now. Sansa was asking this question as well during her tense, awkward, “powerful women of Westeros” meeting with Danny. What started off as a scene where they seemed to be making amends, quickly pivoted to Danny realizing the North doesn’t want to be ruled by a foreign leader ever again. I mean, you can’t blame them, but obviously, that won’t fly with our Dragon Queen.
On top of that, our boy John has remarkably poor timing for delivering sensitive information. WHY THE FUCK would you drop a bombshell on your girlfriend-aunt moments before an army of the dead is about to attack?!?! Seriously man, what were you thinking?! I get wanting to not keep secrets from a family member you’re also banging, but how can you expect her to keep her head in the game when she now has to worry about a usurper?? Granted, Jon could easily ask that that information stays between him and Danny. He could still give her the throne and maybe just wants her to know the truth, but either way, his timing for divulging the bit of information was so bad.
Finally, we have Bran’s master plan of luring the Night King to the Godswood. While it is yet to be determined if this will work or not, location-wise I feel like Bran could’ve played “bait” somewhere that wasn’t deep within Winterfell. Clearly, he must have bigger ideas for the Night King, and clearly, it won’t be as simple as “lure him here and then someone stabs him with Dragonglass.”
If you remember back to “The Door” episode in Season 6, we saw the Children of the Forest tie a man to the Weirwood and plunge a piece of dragonglass into his heart, ultimately creating the Night King. Now, Bran wants to lure said Wight to an extremely familiar location? It can’t just be a coincidence, and it leads one to think that maybe there is another means to an end that Bran just isn’t choosing to divulge at this point in time.
Only four episodes remain, and this next one promises to be the largest sequence battle ever captured on film. The groundwork is laid, our characters are preparing, and the Wights have arrived. The Battle for Winterfell is about to begin!