There were no explosions this time round, as a slow-burner of an episode revelled in building tension and indulging in a little bit of feel-good fan service. And it all happened in Winterfell.
There’s a lot to cover here, so we’re going to be as succinct as possible.
*WARNING : SPOILERS AHOY*
Jaime vs Everyone
Jaime arrived in Winterfell with no army, and everyone in the room has a reason to want to kill him. Dany and Sansa took the lead in expressing their desire to separate Jaime’s head from his neck, resulting in Tyrion doing his best to vouch for his brother.
Dany already has more reasons to distrust Tyrion after his series of errors
and his naivety in thinking Cersei would actually send troops. Standing up for his brother probably didn’t help matters.
Step forward, Lady Brienne Of Tarth.
Brienne, having pledged her life to Sansa, decides to step in and also vouch for Jaime, revealing the oath he had made to Catelyn (all the way back in Season 2) and what he did to make that happen. She neatly summarises Jaime’s character arc across the show’s seasons in less than five lines - which is enough for Sansa.
Lady Stark accepts Jaime’s pledge to fight for the living, visibly upsetting Dany in the process. And Jon? He just wants anyone that can swing a sword.
Dany vs Tyrion… And Sansa… And Jon…
Dany seemed to be on the warpath with everyone throughout this episode, even though (nominally) everyone is on her side.
First, throwing Tyrion under the wagon in front of Varys and Jorah - a crass display of her temper, with the petulance of youth present in her tantrum at Tyrion’s mistakes.
Tyrion, wisened as he is by being marinated in wine for most of the series, accepts that his position is tenuous - requiring Jorah to intervene on his behalf (without his knowledge) to remind Dany that owning and forgiving mistakes is a very important part of growth.
Dany and Sansa’s meeting in the dining hall of Winterfell started off brightly, as both women sought to bond over their common link - women leaders in a patriarchal world, stupid men in love and Jon. Dany does her best to reach out to Sansa, and she seems to respond in kind…until the question of the North and whom shall rule it after the Dead are dealt with is raised.
Instead of being diplomatic, Dany cannot hide her own discomfort at having the issue brought up right in her face. Sansa’s steely resolve in this scene is the best in the entire episode - showing us just how far she’s come - and revealing the possibility (in tandem with the Tyrion incident) that Dany is not the best candidate to rule the Seven Kingdoms.
Ah, Jon. Jon finally reveals his true heritage to Dany, who obviously finds the news unbelievable and shocking. It dawns on her that Jon/Aegon has a more legitimate claim to the throne than her - something which we don’t get to see her react to properly as the dead have arrived at Winterfell.
What will Dany do next?
The Blacksmith Warrior & The Assassin
Two things occurred to us while watching Gendy and Arya’s two scenes together. Firstly, Arya has a really really weird style of flirting - as if throwing dragonglass spearheads into a wooden pillar constitutes some sort of freudian embodiment of desire.
Arya then reminds Gendry about making her weapon, before she then proceeds to make use of his *weapon* later on.
Secondly, Arya has grown up. Her calm demeanour when finding out that Gendry is Robert Baratheon’s bastard shows us how in control of her emotions Arya is. She might still have the babyface and petite frame, but Arya is a woman now, and seizes her own destiny and sexuality to get what she wants.
A more badass way of facing death in the face, we cannot possibly think of.
The Knight and The Commander
This was the first real heartwarming moment in the episode - when Jaime requests to fight under Brienne’s command on the left flank of the Winterfell defence.
The former kingsguard has seen his station fall to that of common knight/soldier, yet arguably his character has risen in stature since he stuck out his neck (and hand) to save Brienne.
Their relationship grows even more when Jaime, in a fitting development in their bond, knights her. Fan service? Most definitely. Yet it also illustrates that the Ser Jaime Lannister that tossed Bran out of a window is no more.
He’s the valonqar, isn’t he?
The War Council of Winterfell
We got to learn a bit more about why the Night King is obsessed with Bran in his new role as the Three-Eyed Raven - with the Raven being a role that has been passed on from one person to another, through successive generations; they are living repositories of knowledge for all of Westeros.
The Night King wants to bring about the Endless Night, by wiping away all knowledge of the achievements of man in Westeros. That makes Bran the most obvious target, something which Sam Tarly highlights.
Everyone that has gathered in the War Council before the Battle of Winterfell goes along with the obvious plan - using Bran as bait to draw out the Night King, and having Rhaegal and Drogon nearby to protect him (presumably should Viserion make an appearance), with Theon acting as his personal guard with the rest of the Ironborn.
Felling the NIght King would end the threat of the Dead almost instantaneously - something which we know is probably easier said than done.
The Dead Have Arrived
After seven very long seasons, winter is finally here, knocking on Winterfell's doors. Strangely, two episodes into Season 8, Night King and Viserion are nowhere to be seen. Let's hope he makes an appearance in next week's 'The Battle For Winterfell' episode.
- Jaime and Bran - What a reunion! Bran keeps Jaime’s attempted murder of Bran a secret, knowing that there’s a larger picture at work. We wonder how this will turn out once the Battle of Winterfell is over.
- Tyrion and Jaime - Jaime confirms that Cersei’s pregnancy is real; and reminds Tyrion that she’s always been an expert in using truth to spin lies. Tyrion’s response? “She never fooled you, you always knew exactly what she wanted and you loved her anyway.” Burn.
- Davos, Gilly and The New Recruits - Seeing unwilling soldiers facing up to their mortality is always difficult to watch. Thankfully, they have the Onion Knight and Gilly (Tarly?) to ease them through it. There was a moment when a girl with a scarred face, reminiscent of Shireen, feistily declares her intention to fight; Davos does an obvious double take. We think we heard his heart break.
- Westeros Avengers and the Night's Watch return - Tormund, Beric, Edd and gang make it back to Winterfell with some terrible news; the Dead will be there by morning. Tormund then reminds us of his one true love, asking around for the big woman.
- Bran and Tyrion - Another heartwarming scene, harking back to Season 1 and Tyrion designing a horse harness for Bran. After all, he has a weak spot for cripples, bastards, and broken things.
- Greyworm and Missandei - As the first bunch of black people to ever be this far up north, they entertain fantasies of what to do after the war, like running back south. We will protect your people, Greyworm says. Aww, right? This begs a question: do they not know that Winterfell is not the capital? Why would they stay there if Dany takes the Throne?
- Jon, Edd and Samwell - reminiscing about their first days as brothers of the Night's Watch, and remarking that they are the only three left. Edd ends with a chilling line; the last man left, must burn the rest of us.
- Arya, The Hound and Beric - Arya, after sharing a quiet moment with the Hound and wondering why he continues to fight, quite rightly tells both him and Beric that she'd rather not spend her last hours with two miserable old shits.
- Jorah, Lyanna and Samwell - It’s quite amusing to see Jorah argue with Lyanna, and in the end obeying her commands as head of their House. The theme of family continues as Sam presents Heartsbane to Jorah, in remembrance of the lessons that his father, Jeor Mormont, taught him on doing the right thing. The people present at Winterfell are all the family that Sam has now.
We’ll see you for Episode 3!
- Theon & Sansa - Another lovely reunion that makes our heart go ‘awww.’ Episode 3 is going to break our hearts, isn’t it?
- The Drinking Party Of Winterfell - Now it’s a party, as Tyrion, Jaime, Brienne, Podrick, Davos and Tormund drink it up before the coming battle. We are treated to Tormund telling his super-creepy origin story for his Giantsbane nickname, as Tyrion sagely remarks that nearly everyone in the room had at one time or another fought the Starks. And now they are set to die defending their castle. Brienne gets knighted by Ser Jaime, and Podrick shows off his beautiful singing voice. Not a bad way to spend possibly their last night alive.
The highly-anticipated final season of 'Game Of Thrones' will be invading your TV screen starting 15 April and you get to watch it the same time as the United States on HBO (Astro Ch 411, 431).
Here's the best part: the episodes on demand will be uncensored!
If you're not a fan of the series but you're afraid of being left out when your friends discuss how awesome that week's episode is, you can actually catch past seasons of the series on Astro On Demand and Astro Go.