I know you still have your handkerchiefs in hand and that you too are thinking that after all these hugs and these collective moments from the next episode we should say goodbye to some of our favorite heroes, but for now we start to look more closely at the second episode, entitled “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms“, of the eighth season of Game of Thrones.
First of all you have to note that it’s the first time that we are in front of an episode entirely set in one place, in Winterfell, which gives us a sense of protection, of home. But let’s proceed…
After seven seasons, we have now learned that the opening credits are of fundamental importance. In this second episode, we notice only two small differences compared to the first one. First of all, Last Hearth, the castle of the House of Umber in which, in the last episode, we found Tormund and Beric, we see it surrounded by ice-colored tiles, a sign that the White Walkers have arrived there.
Then, moving towards Winterfell, we see the stronghold of Stark ready for battle, with trenches surrounding the entire castle.
Jaime and Brienne
The real protagonists of this episode are Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth, and there are three fundamental scenes that we must analyze more thoroughly.
The first is the initial one with which the episode opens, Jaime is ahead of Daenerys, Jon, Sansa and all others and is called to explain his decision to abandon Cersei and join the cause of Winterfell. The character is perhaps one of the few who has had a drastic change since the beginning of the series. Do you remember this when he first came to Stark’s Castle?! Now we see a deeply repentant Jaime and his only response to the mother of the dragons, “Because this goes beyond loyalty. This is about survival.” recalls Brienne’s words to Dragonpit, “Oh fuck loyalty. This goes beyond houses and honor and oaths”.
Despite this, Daenerys still doesn’t seem convinced, but luckily Brienne is the one who takes sides with the King’s exterminator and manages to persuade Sansa.
Jaime’s repentance reaches such a point that he humbly asks Bran for forgiveness, another character who is completely distant from the little boy of the first season.
The second important scene is when, outside the walls, Jaime and Brienne talk, and everyone has their own sword in their hands. Let us remember that the two swords were forged by melting Ice, Ned Stark’s Valyrian steel sword, which was taken from him after being arrested at King’s Landing.
The two swords, wanted by Tywin Lannister were given as a gift to Jaime, who in turn gave it to Brienne, and the other to King Joffrey who, after his death, was taken by the exterminator of King.
So, with Jaime and Brienne together with Winterfell, it is as if Ice had returned home.
The third and, perhaps most important, is the one from which the title of the episode takes its name, that is, the nomination as Knight of Brienne by Jaime.
This scene refers to another book by George R.R. Martin “Tales of Dunk and Egg” in which the protagonist is Ser Duncan l’Alto, enclosed in a volume with three other novels entitled, precisely A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. The same writer has confirmed that Ser Duncan is an ancestor of Brienne who, with this ceremony that has managed to give us goosebumps, has finally become a knight to all intents and purposes.
Arya and Gendry
Then comes one of the most anticipated moments and that has divided the audience more.
The story between the little Stark and Gendry has finally a climax. It’s this love scene that divided the fans, between those who couldn’t wait and those who still think that Arya’s character didn’t need a man, who shouldn’t give in to feelings like that.
This relationship makes us immediately think of one of the scenes on which the whole series is based, that of the pilot episode in which Ned and Robert, in the crypt, speak and the King reminds his friend Stark that he has a son and a daughter to join. At the time the reference was clear to Joffrey and Sansa, today we all think they could be Gendry and Arya.
As in the first episode, also in this one the references continue.
The first one is about Tyrion, which offers exactly the same sentence said in the first season “I always pictured myself dying in my bed, at the age of 80 with a belly full of wine and girl’s mouth around my cock”. To underline the fact that it’s a phrase already heard, we see Jaime ending it in his place.
Another obvious reference is the little girl who shows up in front of Ser Davos and Gilly asking for food and who seems to be ready for the battle. The little girl has a scar that covers half her face and can’t help but remind us of Princess Shireen Baratheon.
It is no coincidence that in this scene there are just Ser Davos and Gilly. It was Stannis’ daughter who taught them how to read.
One of the most touching moments is when Podrick, in front of the fire in the company of Jaime, Tyrion, Ser Davos, Tormund and Brienne, sings the notes of a song that seems to arrive in all the rooms of Winterfell.
The song, renamed Jenny of Oldstone, is not the first time it appears in the series and we put here the full lyrics of Podrick’s version:
“High in the halls of the kings who are gone
The ones she had lost and the ones she had found
And the ones who had loved her the most
The ones who’d been gone for so very long
She couldn’t remember their names
“They spun her around on the damp old stones
Spun away all her sorrow and pain
And she never wanted to leave
Never wanted to leave (x5)”
During the closing credits, Jenny Of Oldstone returns in the version sung by Florence and the Machine.
For the rest, the episode is a collection of collective moments, as if we were preparing to give the final farewell to the characters. After discussing the plans of war each prepares in its own way, with loved ones at your side.
The episode ends with the arrival of the Army of the Dead in Winterfell, which interrupts Jon and Daenerys just as he reveals his true identity.
We just have to wait.