“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” – Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 2

This recap contains spoilers and reactions to the Game of Thrones Season Eight, Episode Two “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”  

After spending most of the first episodes of Season Eight reconnecting characters who had been apart for most of the last seven seasons, the second episode of the final Game of Thrones season used redemption and forgiveness to bring many characters full circle. One of the best written episodes in the series also brought to mind an important episode from Season Two.

Incredible Writing Of “Winterfell” And “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”

Much like the episode “Blackwater,” the drama in the “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” unfolded with the creeping anticipation of an upcoming battle. Instead of Davos and Stannis converging on King’s Landing, the Night King and the Army of the Dead are now approaching Winterfell. Like “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” “Blackwater” also contained lighthearted moments filled with wine and song.  Even The Hound and Beric Dondarrion are sharing a wine skin. These stakes are different than laying claim to the Iron Throne. Like Jaime Lannister says during his trial, “this goes beyond loyalty, this is about survival.”

That survival instinct is allowing characters to forgive each other for past transgressions. As odd as it would have seemed throughout crucial moments of the series, the sight of enemies becoming friends has brought out fantastic character interaction. Synergy was the glue of the first half of the series, but has been largely absent in recent seasons. Even if it is The Hound and Beric Dondarrion sharing a wine skin, the return of these moments is generating fantastic television.

Despite prior inconsistencies in their writing, creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff deserve heaps of praise for how well they have reunited characters in Season Eight. The dynamics between Arya Stark and Gendry Baratheon, Jaime Lannister and Bran Stark, and Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister have been perfectly fleshed out. Much like the final seasons of Breaking Bad and The Americans, it appears that Weiss and Benioff are resolved to wrap up the majority of character arcs.

And that is appropriate. After all, the next Game of Thrones episode is going to be a battle  royale for the survival of humanity. There is a good chance that several beloved characters could die before the ramparts of Winterfell. At least we got to spend a little more time with these characters before the next episode.

Redemption Of Game of Thrones Characters

The reunion of these characters culminated before a warm hearth in Winterfell. Jaime Lannister’s knighting of Brienne of Tarth was a rarity for Game of Thrones. It appears good things can happen to good people after all. Not only was it a long overdue honor for Brienne, but also a redemptive moment for the Kingslayer. Jaime, a man who had been skeptical of the vows of knighthood, realized that the true knight in the room had been denied the title.

Another appropriate redemption came to Jorah Mormont. A man who spent much of the series seeking a return to Westeros, is close to restoring his place amongst the nobility of the Seven Kingdoms. He will ride into battle with the Night King wielding Heartsbane, a proud sword made of Valerian steel and the sword of House Tarly.

What’s Next In Game Of Thrones?

The third episode of Season Eight will be the longest episode of the season. Its running length will be one hour and twenty-two minutes. The title of the episode is not yet known, but the plot will likely be almost entirely focused on the battle with the Night King. Odds are that some combination of the battle for The Wall in Season Four and the epic combat from “Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards” are on the table.

The anticipation for this battle was enough to promote a feeling of adrenaline throughout “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” You know the big event is just on the horizon. This not only could be the most action-packed episode of the season, but rank as the biggest episodes of television of the decade (at least until the series finale).

Even when the finale determines the fate of the Iron Throne, it is unlikely that dragons, wights, and Valerian steel will be critical factors. The action and the first wave of en masse deaths for beloved figures will come next week. There is a legitimate chance that it is the last episode for Greyworm, Jorah Mormont, Brienne and a handful of unexpected characters.

Despite the incredible writing and character moments of these first two episodes, whatever happens in the ensuing battle will make the start of the season seem dry. At least for one more episode, Weiss and Benioff allowed fans one last chance at watching beloved characters interact before the final act of Game of Thrones begins.

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