This week in the world of Westeros, Daenerys is faced with Jaime Lannister, the killer of her father, the Mad King. She and Sansa both make clear their disdain for him, but Brienne says she will vouch for his character. Meanwhile, Arya encourages Gendry to hasten production on her weapon. Outside Winterfell, Jaime and Bran talk about who they’ve become. The Lannister brothers discuss their new Targaryen Queen, as well as their sister’s lies. Jorah pleads Daenerys forgive Tyrion. She goes to Sansa in an attempt to make a connection. Their conversation has to be cut off when Theon arrives, pledging to fight for Winterfell. The men from the Wall arrive safely. Bran surmises that the Night King will come for him, and volunteers to wait for him as bait. Grey Worm and Missandei talk about what they’ll do after the war. Jon and Sam reminisce about the wall while the Lannister brothers likewise muse on old times. Gendry gives Arya her completed weapon, a bo staff, and she comes on to him. Jaime knights Brienne. Jon tells Daenerys the truth about his parents. Everyone waits in Winterfell as the Walkers march on.
Alex: “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” is the calm before the storm, with the heroes all taking stock of what led them to the coming battle with the White Walkers. It’s fun seeing them all interact and prepare in their own ways, but what I found most striking was the sense of doom they all feel. Pretty much everyone is convinced they’re all going to die, and the jokes, drinking, and revelry are a distraction from what they believe is their impending deaths.
Virginia: I saw someone say that there are so many heartwarming moments in this episode because a lot of these characters will likely die next week. I guess the big mystery is who will survive long enough to face Cersei in the final battle. I really enjoyed the lighthearted moments in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” and there were a lot of emotional reunions too. What was your favorite part of the episode?
A: Definitely when Brienne becomes a knight. It hadn’t registered with me, or maybe I just forgot, that she wasn’t an actual knight, but seeing her receive the honor, and from someone she respects as much as she does Jaime, was gratifying. She says she doesn’t want the title, but when she’s actually knighted, it clearly means the world to her. And she’s more than earned it.
V: Gwendoline Christie’s smile during that scene was so sweet. I don’t know if we’ve seen Brienne smile before, but I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen a smile like that from her. There seems to have been some shock with regards to Gendry and Arya, but honestly, I saw that coming. The only thing I question there is the expression on her face afterward. I wonder what she’s thinking then.
A: She seems less than pleased. I don’t know if she doesn’t like how it happened now that it’s done, or maybe Gendry isn’t exactly a stud (not that she has anything to which to compare him). I liked that scene; it seems natural that someone who’s never experienced one of life’s big milestones would want to make sure she did before a hopeless battle with undead creatures. I found her earlier scene with Gendry in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” more interesting, though; while everyone else is ruminating on their bleak fate, Arya is looking forward to facing a new threat. The sex scene afterward shows that, while she is raring to go, she’s also at least a little worried. We’ve seen so much of her as an unholy death-dealer that it’s nice to be reminded that she’s human.
V: I think it also served as a stark (tee-hee) reminder that she isn’t a child anymore. Out of the Stark kids, she’s still the one who looks the most like a child. “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” focused a lot on how much has changed since season one, and Arya is certainly an example of that. Yet at times, even though she’s killed people and done a lot of other adult things, I forget how much she’s grown. I think that might even be why some were caught off guard by the scene. If they survive this battle (and I believe at least Arya will), I wonder if they’ll really be together or if this was a one-time deal. I thought they seemed to really like each other before this episode. Anyway, how about that scene with Bran, Dany, and Jaime? I lost my mind when Bran spoke!
A: The Starks have perfected the art of shade in these past couple of episodes. Bran’s later reasoning that he won’t rat out Jaime because he doesn’t want to lose a warrior as skilled as he before the White Walkers show up makes sense, but I appreciate that he couldn’t resist getting a dig in. That entire opening scene of “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” is great; Jaime is effectively on trial by the people he’s hurt the most and has to plead his case to people who very much want him dead. And once more, they play up Jaime’s dueling natures; he’s trying to be a better man, but he also makes no apologies for his actions during a war, even when faced with the people who suffered because of him.
V: I find it interesting that nobody stood up for him in regards to Daenerys’ father, the Mad King. As you said, most of the people in the room hate Jaime, excepting Bran and Tyrion. But most people would agree with his actions against Aerys because he was a threat to his own citizens. I guess it was naïve of me to expect anyone to point this out, but it was driving me crazy. Of course, many of his later actions are harder to defend, but that was Dany’s main grievance with him, and he was morally and practically correct in that instance.
A: It would behoove her to learn about Aerys sooner rather than later, so she can avoid becoming too much like him. A piece of Jaime’s redemption, if they continue to go down that road, could be helping Daenerys become a better leader by showing her the endpoint of the path she’s on. I liked how this brought out Daenerys’ frustrations with Tyrion as well; as brilliant as he usually is, he’s got a soft spot for his family and has made some serious miscalculations of late. I do think she’s been a little too hard on him, but I don’t blame her for not taking his word for it that Jaime is a big puppy dog who just wants to be friends.
V: I agree completely. Her feelings are valid, but the way in which she expresses them comes across as harsh and, frankly, bitchy. I also don’t like how she disagrees with her advisors in public like that; her intent is to make him look bad, but that reflects poorly on her. I’ve been unable to make up my mind about where I think her story was going, but I feel like she is going to go mad. We’re already seeing signs of her going mad with power, and I can imagine her lashing out at Jon or even Bran/Sam for telling him about his parentage. Of course, only time will tell, and this could be a horribly wrong prediction, but if true, man, what a wild ride it would be. I did enjoy her moment with Sansa where they finally connect and discuss the situation openly. I still think Sansa is right to ask for the North to be sovereign; it’s what the people want, and what does Dany need with it/them anyway?
A: I loved that scene in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” It starts with Daenerys thinking she’s playing Sansa but ends up exactly the opposite. And I don’t blame Sansa or anyone else in the North; they just liberated themselves, and now this all-powerful dragon queen who incinerates anyone who opposes her is suddenly demanding fealty. I still think Daenerys will eventually come around, and I hope the kingdoms are divided rather than ruled from the Iron Throne, but she isn’t exactly instilling me with confidence that her rationality isn’t completely gone. Hopefully, Jon’s newly discovered lineage will give her some perspective.
V: Either that will happen, or there’s going to be a really nasty falling out. It was driving me crazy waiting for the news to get out to the other characters, but in terms of practicality, I wonder if it may have been better to discuss the details after the Walkers and Cersei are dealt with. On another note, a small moment I really liked is when Davos is pouring soup and talks to a little girl who looks vaguely like Princess Shireen. This is also all we’ve seen of Gilley this season, I believe.
A: That was a beautiful little scene, and I like how protective they are of her feelings as well as her safety. She’s a reminder of Davos’ greatest failure, as well as what they’re really fighting for. Davos is older and has lived his life, but he can do all he can to leave the next generation with a better world (or, in the case, any world at all). I think you’re right about Gilley’s first appearance being in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” which is fine with me. I don’t much care for her or Sam, though I guess I prefer her slightly to him; at least she’s not whiny. I wonder if they’ll pay that off and have the little girl save everyone in the crypt.
V: I like Sam and Gilley OK. I don’t feel strongly about them one way or another. That would be awesome if she is able to defend everyone somehow. Another idea I’ve heard is that Podrick’s song in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” (which was lovely, by the way, and reminded me of Pippin’s song “Edge of Night” for Denethor in Return of the King) and all this talk of the Stark crypt is foreshadowing the Night King using his powers to awaken the Stark ancestors. Wouldn’t that be crazy? Also, do you think his dragon and Dany’s dragons will kill each other?
A: There’s definitely gonna be a dragon throwdown. I think one of Dany’s remaining ones will die, but the other – not sure if it’ll be Drogon or if they’ll go for the hurt and kill him – will take out the evil one. The Night King bringing back the dead Starks would be amazing, and make the fight that much more personal. Next week’s episode is supposed to have an 82-minute runtime, so there are almost certainly going to be some twists and turns once the war starts. It would be a neat way to bring back Ned; the ultimate paragon of virtue becomes a soulless monster trying to kill his family. I imagine most of the character conflict will be put on hold so the battle can be as epic as it needs to be, but that would certainly bring some drama to it. And since they’re all warriors, the Brienne-Jaime-Tormund love triangle could be resolved through the action.
V: That only amplifies my belief that Jaime will die this season. If Brienne goes with anyone, it shouldn’t be him; he has redeemed himself in abandoning his sister and joining the heroes, but he still isn’t righteous enough for someone like Brienne. I’d like to see her with Tormund, again assuming that she would be interested in being with anyone. Plus, if Jaime does survive the battle with the Walkers – and, eventually, with Cersei – then what? The Starks and countless others would still be unlikely to forgive him. He’d still be an incestuous murderer. I feel the same way about Theon; likewise, he’s a better person than he was before, but I still think someone whose mistakes include murder can never really be considered a hero. On another note, I’m intrigued by Bran’s willingness to serve as bait for the Night King. Could he actually be the old friend Bran referred to last week, as opposed to Jaime? After all, Jaime was an acquaintance of Bran Stark, not the Three-Eyed-Raven. Again, this could be some overthinking, and it probably doesn’t matter anyway.
A: It’s possible. I wonder if Bran has seen the future and knows he needs to sacrifice himself to the Night King to stop him. It could just be nobility, but they made such a big deal about how dangerous it is and how they all want to protect him that it feels like a setup for something. Bran laying down his life would be a nice callback to Hodor, who spent his life waiting to die for Bran; this would be his way of earning it. It would also make up for him being so weird and creepy.
V: I wouldn’t miss him as a character, although some of his line delivery is amazing, as we mentioned earlier. The bit with Hodor made me so mad; why should his whole life be ruined and ultimately given in service of something he can’t possibly begin to understand?
A: It was sad and unfair, and I think having Bran similarly sacrifice himself would go a long way toward making up for it. I believe someone unexpected is going to die next week in addition to some of the ones everyone is calling, like Theon. Bran could fit the bill. Another thing “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” had going for it was comedy; with doom and gloom marching into Winterfell, most of the characters seemed in good humor, and there were some great laughs. Which were your favorites?
V: Tormund’s facial expressions kill me every time, especially when he’s talking to or about Brienne. I guess it’s debatable whether this was a very funny scene, but I love it when he looks around and asks, “Is the Big Woman still here?” Likewise, some of the banter between Jon, Sam, and their friend from the Wall had me in stitches. In the scene we mentioned with Daenerys and Sansa, it was pretty funny when they chuckle about Jon’s height.
A: That was really funny. I think I laughed hardest when Brienne allows Podrick half a glass of wine and Tyrion overflows his cup. I’m jumping around a bit, but another thing that struck me about “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” was Grey Worm asking Messandei to be with him when the war for the throne is finally done. It’s a sweet moment, but it makes me wonder if one of them is not going to make it out of this alive.
V: I would expect it to be Grey Worm who dies. That would be sad, but I’m not quite as invested in them as I am other characters, some of whom are also likely to die.
A: Next week is gonna be a nail-biter.