The second episode of Game of Thrones’ final season was titled ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,’ or – more aptly – The One Where Jaime Lannister Gave Fleabag’s Hot Priest A Run For His Money in the Contest For the Sexiest Delivery Of The Word “Kneel.”
Booze, sex, tears and tenderness – surprisingly, we were presented with yet another action-free episode, where fans were treated to a whole host of heart-rending moments. This very much felt like it was some of our favourite characters saying goodbye: Samwell, Brienne and Pod all sadly seem poised to bite the dust. The episode made our hearts feel full, and the next episode – the Battle for Winterfell – looks ready to change all that.
As the episode begins, Jaime Lannister – who does the unwashed, scraggly-beard look remarkably well – pleads his case in front of a stony-faced Daenerys. It’s Bran that he has to worry about, though – after crippling him some years earlier, Jaime expects that the newly-wise Stark will snitch on him at any given moment. Alas, no – after Bran’s life-changing gap yah beyond the wall and his newfound zen outlook, he’s letting bygones be bygones – for now. Jon is also very in his feelings about being a Targaryen, and is giving Daenerys the cold shoulder because of it.
Another huge talking point of the episode was Arya and Gendry finally answering that will-they-won’t-they conundrum. Some people on Twitter seemed to find it weird, but to be honest, Arya probably orchestrated the most consensual, normal sex the show has seen, with a guy who is also nice and normal. If you had one night left on this world, surely you’d also like to get it on with a hunky blacksmith? Also, Arya telling Gendry to take his own pants off was Big Dick Energy if I ever saw it.
In a frankly uninvited but brilliant sidenote, Tormund informs everyone that he suckled at a giant’s breast for three months. Brienne looks suitably disgusted, and it’s hilarious. This, though, isn’t Tormund’s moment: it’s Brienne’s, and she finally gets the recognition she deserves for being the true MVP of this entire damn series. Seeing her well up and smile after Jaime knights her as Ser Brienne is possibly one of the most emotional moments of the two episodes thus far – and, if seeing Brienne leading a charge in the teaser trailer for episode 3 is anything to go by, sadly it looks like this episode was our last moment with her.
Forget Battle of the Bastards – Sansa and Daenerys are still well locked into the Battle of the Bitches. Exchanging falsities and holding hands, it is made perfectly clear that they remain in huge disagreement about the fate of the North once Daenerys sits on the Iron Throne. Even an initial bond over Jon being under 5’7 can’t fix this frosty atmosphere. Sansa does thaw considerably once reunited with Theon, though, which provides a lovely (and possibly romantic?) moment. Sure, Theon doesn’t have a dick anymore, but that didn’t stop Grey Worm and Missandei.
Normally in Game of Thrones you’re transported from one storyline to the next from continent to continent, and so it feels very odd for all storylines to have converged into one and for an entire episode to take place solely in bleak old Winterfell. Having the characters semi-aimlessly wander around and exchanging heartfelt nothings felt a little bit like you were watching the Before trilogy, but with more testosterone and cloaked men ladling out bowls of soup.
There were a few glaring absences this episode: Cersei, Euron and the Kings Landing storyline (what is she up to?!) and the dragons. Seeing as last episode we’re told that the dragons aren’t eating properly, it’s a little concerning that they weren’t seen – they are the North’s only real hope in surviving. Ending with the army of the dead advancing on Winterfell from the north, next episode it poised to be the most epic battle scene of Game of Throne’s history, having taken 55 nights to film (more than doubling the amount of time it took to film the Battle Of The Bastards). Brace yourselves.
Words by Steph Green