Alright folks, that concludes “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” Bryan Cogman’s episode will…certainly be remembered. You can see our live viewing comments in our Disqus thread below, or read our episode highlights and lowlights. The CAROL boards may be a bit empty this week…
Back in our early book snobbery days, Julia and I dubbed another Cogman episode, “Kill the Boy,” the ‘warm milk episode.’ I never knew how much Bryan Cogman would be able to top himself.
The only part that stirred me emotionally was Gendry and Arya, and I wasn’t looking for horror and disgust. Otherwise I contemplated new meanings of the word “boring.”
Highlight: This is the first time I’ve ever been truly stumped. My heart felt things for Missandei and Grey Worm’s talk about retirement, but it’s so obviously telegraphic their deaths that I can’t even enjoy it.
I kind of liked Lyanna berating her disgraced cousin and wishing him good fortune? I know it’s cheap fan service, but at least it was kind of okay.
Lowlight: I have minor quibbles with a whole lot in here, not the least of which was Jon just randomly being the “Warden of the North” without us ever hearing that before. But I screamed, hid behind a pillow, and fought an active urge to run out of the room during the Arya/Gendry scene. I’m glad it was super duper clear that she was making that decision for one reason only (literally to experience it before death, and that makes sense), but it was so long, so linger-y, and so uncomfortable.
The pacing itself could be another episode lowlight, frankly.
I was so bored! I ran out of margarita halfway through the episode and wasn’t nearly drunk enough. This episode was so nothing that it easily could have been 10 minutes at the beginning of the battle episode and still have all the meaningful content included. Even George Lucas would be like “god! Have someone do something other than sit and talk or walk and talk!”
Highlight: I feel like I should be happy that Sansa and Dany were vaguely nice to each other, even though that’s so weird on this show that it gave the scene a bizarre, unnatural vibe. And it failed the Bechdel Test hard. And what the fuck was Sansa wearing… anyway, good for Sansa for pushing back on Dany a little and not totally betraying her mandate from the North. (like someone…) Sansa is really the only competent ruler here, isn’t she? And Lord Royce is a very competent butler.
I wanted to like Jenny’s Song, since I’m all about the songs in aSoIaF, but the lyrics didn’t feel particularly Martin-esque to me. Nice enough, I suppose.
Lowlight: The Tyrion’s Fan Club tour? Dany just parroting what Jorah told her? Sansa apologizing for not immediately offering to braid Dany’s hair? Sam showboating? Beardy being creepy at Brienne? Arya’s awkward segue from Gendry talking about how he was sexually assaulted to her propositioning him by badgering him into telling her his sexual history? God, I don’t know.
Exposition exposition exposition! Let me tell you all about things we’ve done and the reasons we’re all here! This episode had a lot of unearned attempts at emotional beats. I don’t quite know where to start.
Highlight: Generally, I liked the atmosphere of the calm before the storm. It was effective *enough* in just enough moments to work. But god there was a lot distracting from it.
In terms of scenes, I liked Pod’s singing over the montage of various people preparing before the battle – I especially liked Missworm’s kiss before he leaves, that was very authentic. As per usual, Missworm is too pure for this world and had the nest moments in the episode.
I also liked the final scene with Jon revealing his parentage to Daenerys. It was as organic as that conversation can be – though I’m surprised Dany believed the story that Rhaegar raped Lyanna. Also, Dany’s reaction was good, and was what I would expect in that scenario. That said he’s not a super threat to her claim bc they’re in love and can just get married sooo it’s a problem with the world’s most OBVIOUS solution.
Honorable mention: the reasonably sized war planning map that fits on a table. No luxurious floor maps in the north!
Lowlight: I literally don’t know where to begin. I have so many issues with this episode. The first thing that jumps out to me is Arya and Gendry – I just find this icky. I think part of it is that Maisie Williams (Arya) was so young when she last filmed with Gendry in season 2, it is uncomfortable to watch this happen. I also find it very uncomfortable in a meta way because I don’t like show runners writing sex scenes for actors they first met as children. It’s all icky to me.
Next I’d say the scene with Sansa and Dany was a big disappointment. I thought for sure that Dany was going to ask Sansa to be Hand of the Queen, which would’ve made sense (allying the North with the Iron Throne) and because Sansa is actually capable, and Tyrion isn’t. But no. Instead we failed the Bechdel (spelling?) test and talked about how in love with Jon we all are. Stop trying to lampshade this love story, Cogs, there’s nothing you can do to fix it. Though I love Dany’s very meta question, “Why do I feel like we’re at odds?” It’s the pattern, your grace. It’s the pattern.
Honorable mention: the drinking party. I love sitting-in-front-of-a-fire AUs!