The first two episodes of Season 8 have come and gone, and there are only 4 episodes of the show left. It took two years of waiting, but it almost seems like it is going by so fast now that it’s here.
Well. I won’t spend too much time recapping the episode, as I would rather spend time talking about what I think it all means and what will happen next.
I have to say that this has been one of my favorite episodes in a long time, for a variety of reasons. The first episode was important mainly for its reunions, and for pushing the story closer to the final climactic battles. Now this episode had brought us just to the edge of the first, and probably largest, of the final battles: the (Third) Battle for Winterfell.* People are making lots of dragonglass weapons and obstacles. It appears that they have made huge trenches full of spikes and (eventually) fire. I had noticed in the previous episode that masons had affixed dragonglass pieces to the tops of the merlons along the castle walls. They are going crazy with the fortifications, and I am glad for it. It means the battle is really going to be huge.
Anyway, we start off with Ser Jaime Lannister, facing what appears to be some sort of trial for all of the awful things he has done throughout the series (and before, since Daenerys talks about how he killed her father, the Mad King). Eventually Brienne steps in and defends him, vouching for him, and it is decided that they will keep him around a while longer.
Daenerys then tries to improve the relationship between herself and Sansa, and they do seem to make some progress before an interruption, when Theon and his handful of Ironborn arrive at Winterfell so that Theon can offer to fight for the Starks and further his redeeming character arc. It is a touching moment, actually, to see how he and Sansa respond to each other. Like I mentioned earlier, the first episode of this season was notable for its reunions, but this episode had its significant reunions too, starting with Theon and Sansa. In the course of the episode we also see other significant reunions: Jorah Mormont and his little cousin Lady Lyanna Mormont; Jon Snow and his buddies Dolorous Edd and Tormund Giantsbane; Tyrion Lannister and Podrick Payne; and lastly Ghost and the legions of direwolf fans (like me) who have been waiting for him to make his reappearance. Go Team Direwolf!
The reunion between Jon and his Nights Watch friends is somewhat bittersweet, as they warn him that they found Last Hearth overrun by the Night King and that they have at longest until tomorrow morning until the dead arrive. This time limit injects a new sense of purpose into everyone, and allows a last burst of friendly relations (especially between Arya and Gendry) between all of the old friends before the apocalypse literally walks up to the gates of the castle. And it is interesting to see Arya in ways we have never seen her – as an adult woman who (for the moment) is in charge of her own destiny and she clearly wants this moment with Gendry and she is having fun making him squirm.
The little gathering in the great hall of Tyrion, Jaime, Brienne, Podrick, Ser Davos, and Tormund takes a turn for the absolutely charming when suddenly Jaime decides he is going to knight Brienne. I particularly loved the expression on Pod’s face when she denies that she wants to be knighted. Clearly he knows her mind.
The brief conversation between Missandei and Grey Worm was sweet and also charming, and it makes me think someone is going to die. After all, we are on the verge of much tragedy and loss with this major battle coming, one which I fully expect a LOT of characters are not going to come out on the other side.
Thus we get the scene where they plan the battle. I am still surprised at the extent to which Bran still does not see his own role in events as clearly as I would think. But he does seem to understand the Night King’s motivations and is offering himself up as bait to try to bring him out into the open. One thing we see repeated in this episode is that a lot of people are going to be hiding in the crypts, and that fills me with dread. Remember a while back when I mentioned a fifth column could suddenly (and literally) pop up in the Winterfell crypts? I am now more convinced that ever that is not only possible but even likely. What happens if people are forced to come face to face with dead Starks of the past? That also makes me wonder if we will ever see “celebrity” wights. No, I don’t mean famous people showing up in undead cameos (although that might also happen). I mean whether or not we will see the wights of dead show characters, like recognizable characters, like an undead Hodor making an appearance. Things like that. This show is just messed up enough that I could see that happening.
So here we are, on the brink of this major battle, one in which we can expect a LOT of people to not survive.
I hate Cersei SO MUCH.
*I guess this is the third one of those, after the first one resulted in the annihilation of Stannis’ forces and the second was the Battle of the Bastards.