Wow. Yes, we did just watch 58 minutes of nothing. Okay, that’s being harsh. There were some small moments of hilarity and one pretty nice genuine moment, but overall this episode was the definition of padding. In case you were unaware, episode 2 of the final season of Game of Thrones just aired last night and unlike the many hearts it apparently won over on Twitter, this Coggers episode just left me bored and a little disgusted. Let’s get into it!
*This week in reveal the spoilerific title two hours later, we found out this episode was called “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” Would have definitely ruined the episode if we read that beforehand…*
The episode opens on Jaime’s “trial”? Would you even call it that? Dany talks about all the stories Viserys told her and what she dreamt she would do to him once she took back her kingdom, but Jaime tries to tell her he’s here to fight the good fight against the dead, revealing Cersei’s betrayal. Tyrion speaks up for his brother, but Dany doesn’t want to hear it. Understandable considering he’s the one who allied her with Cersei in the first place, but don’t you worry Saint Tyrion lovers. This Tyrion bashing wont last for long!
Sansa is on Dany’s side, citing Jaime’s crimes against her own family, which Jaime specifically says he does not regret, because what is an arc right? I know, I know—I’m naive for even getting frustrated with Jaime’s storyline anymore, considering he’s 100% Larry, but with that Brienne scene that gave the episode its name, and with the whole first ten minutes revolving around convincing Dany that Jaime is a good person, the angry book snob in me came right back! Just give me bumbling Larry and I’ll forget it all.
Brienne vouches for him and in turn, so does Sansa. Dany looks at Jon for counsel, and after sitting there absentminded and just heavy breathing, he sides with Sansa. That is mostly what Jon will do this whole episode. Mouth breath awkwardly and barely speak. That is apparently how one deals with a life-changing identity reveal.
After this meeting, Dany has her doubts about Tyrion but Jorah sticks up for him! See! I told you not to worry! The Saint Tyrion apology tour starts here, because we can’t have people bad mouth Tyrion for too long! People might start to think he’s not the bestest.
Bran-bot moves a lot this episode, now that his old friend finally arrived and Jaime finds him by the heart tree. Jaime apologizes for pushing him out the window (but not for stabbing Ned through the leg or anything else Sansa brought against him in the last scene) but Bran reassures him that there’s no need to apologize, it made him into the man he is today and he’s needed here, fighting the fight against the endless night. This is the kind of stuff that makes me angry! How are you going to have Bran just absolve Jaime of what is probably his most heinous crime?
This is why the journey George RR Martin puts Jaime on is so interesting. This man throws an innocent child out a window, unforgivable. Yet, through growth, we grow to like him. But is there truly redemption for someone like that? Jaime’s journey is about reckoning with what he has done in the past and finding redemption through that, not absolution or even forgiveness.
And then following Bran just forgiving him, we have a scene where he pledges to Brienne his sword, saying he’d be honored to fight under her command. A lot of this episode revolves around this connection, a connection that is so ingrained in that pathway that Martin played out for a character that Larry most certainly is not. It just doesn’t work when they try to bring the two together. However, I will say I do adore the chemistry between Gwendoline Christie and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
Dany and Sansa are no longer frenemies…or are they? Dany goes to her to try and talk through their frostiness from the last episode, and the two almost make headway. Sansa apologizes for not being kinder to her (I mean you had a point Sansa, don’t forget the actual point!) and Dany says it’s okay, she is here because she loves Jon, Sansa has nothing to worry about…except that isn’t why Sansa should be or was worried the last episode? And I surely hope Dany is not just here for that, but for other things like saving all of humanity and because she saw the army of the dead? What happened to not wanting to be the queen of the ashes?
Sansa tells Dany that Tyrion is a good man. He has never been anything but decent towards me.” #TyrionApologyTour2019. Okay, this is one also might have ignited the book snob in me. He literally was her captor and she was forcibly wed to him as a child while his family murdered hers and he did nothing. But he’s so great. God forbid she doesn’t think Saint Tyrion is perfect.
Well, this beautiful female bond forming immediately stops when Sansa reminds Dany that the North still wants liberation. But before they can discuss it, because why actually show the meaty part of the conversation, they get interrupted! Theon is here! He and Sansa have a really nice emotional hug…but that’s about all they get this episode other than some looks towards one another. It’s an episode apparently too jam-packed for them to have had a convo.
Tormund, Beric, and Edd arrive and, after some hugs and bonding, let Jon know that the army of the dead will arrive before the morning… Did they not have scouts? Or use the Bran-bot? Were they literally just waiting for the army arrive at the door? Everyone meets up to discuss strategy and Branbot decides now is the time to info dump that the Night King is after him because of that mark he left on his arm, and that he wants to kill Bran to kill all of humanity. Without Bran, no one will remember anything. Or something like that? Glad Bran randomly decides when to info dump based on D&D’s plot needs. Oh, and the battle plan is to kill the Night’s King in the hope that it will make everyone else go down.
As everyone gears up for the battle, MissWorm has a cute moment where they decide to go away together once the war is won and Dany is on the throne because Northerners are racist as shit. Arya talks to the Hound on the battlements and she accuses him of fighting for no one but himself. He says he fought for her. I know D&D really love the Arya/Hound relationship, but what is with him having literally no interaction with Sansa? Yes, they really under stressed that in the show, but in two episodes of them just throwing people together for reunion’s sake, this seems like a weird avoidance.
And then…the scene happens. Earlier in the episode, Arya flirted with Gendry by throwing some dragon glass arrowheads expertly and speaking a trailer line, and later he finds her in the crypts and gives her the weapon she requested. Also, did he make that in a day? Didn’t he say he didn’t get to it yet earlier in the episode?
Anyway, she takes it and then they randomly transition to talking about sex. Or rather, they talk about Melissandre sexually assaulting Gendry, and then she asks him how many people he’s had sex with. We’ve literally had everyone on this show make light of the whole Melissandre thing and it really sucks. Then she tells him she wants to have sex for the first time before they might die and they start making out, clothes coming off and all.
While I’m totally on board with conceptually someone wanting to experience sex before they die, and while it’s also nice to have a consensual sex scene for once, the whole thing just skeeved me out. Probably because we’ve seen this girl grow up on our screen and there’s a weird pattern of needing to throw all of their female actors into sexual or nude situations. When Sophie Turner came of age, Ramsay raped Sansa. When Maisie Williams did, we saw her partially nude. Don’t worry, HBO made a point to remind us that Arya was 18 on twitter before the episode aired!
All for these actors growing up, they are certainly old enough to make those choices on screen now if they want, but the fact that these writers have known them as children, writing them into these situations, that frankly don’t even need to be there is what’s making me uncomfortable. Had they thought it was really necessary for her character, we could have even cut away. But I’ll also argue here that it wasn’t.
For the last few seasons, Arya has been distant, remote, and hell-bent on killing. Had they actually followed through with an arc of her coming of age while having to deal with things beyond her years and essentially lose her childhood, I think this scene would have been poignant even. However, they’ve literally set NONE of this up. I have no idea who Arya is supposed to be on this show anymore, what she wants, how human she is. This character doesn’t seem like the same one who threatened to skin her sister’s face off last season and couldn’t even find it in her to connect with Hot Pie.
In other parts of the castle, everyone else is having fun drinking-around-the-fire session, and Tormund tells the origin story of ‘Giantsbane’. We spend a good five minutes listening to him talk about suckling from a Giant’s teats. Tormund continues to make eyes at Brienne and asks why she isn’t a knight. What a good idea! Jaime decides to Knight her on the spot, as a knight himself.
It’s a beautifully acted scene between Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Gwendolyn Christie. It’s even a beautiful moment in isolation, but how I wish it actually had an overall plot context. Anddd how much do I wish that Jaime thought of this on his own? That is was spurred by something within him, not Tormund. It was most definitely the best part of the episode though, and the only scene with substance.
As the army arrives, Jon is in the crypts (leader of his army who?) and Dany goes to find him. He’s looking at the statue of Lyanna and decides to tell Dany about his parentage. She is shocked, and seems upset, as it makes him the true heir to the Iron Throne. But before we could get into that part of the conversation, the horn blows and the army of the dead arrive!
This episode was truly one of the worst episodes of Thrones for me. But apparently, the internet loves it. So much for some dissatisfaction last week! Ah, I remember this feeling. Next week is a battle though so at least it’ll be some fun CGI!