The second installment of the final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, “Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” stands on an island of its own compared with the other episodes thus far in the series. For one thing, it was the first Thrones episode I can recall that stayed in one locale — it took place entirely in Winterfell.
But more notably, this episode was light and fun, and had more personality than any other I can remember. Certainly a breath of fresh air for a show in which everyone is constantly in danger of death or despair at a moment’s notice.
I see what they’re doing. The series is winding down fast, so why not dedicate an episode to personalize some of the less prominent characters right before the battle we’ve all been waiting for set to take place next week. It’s a smart tactic, just one we’re not accustomed to.
An episode as unusual as this one made for some memorable moments from plenty of different sources. With the army of the dead approaching Winterfell, and everyone’s life in Winterfell very much in jeopardy, here are my favorite drop-the-mic moments of dialogue: .
Bran to Jaime: “The things we do for love”
As creepy and awkward as the Three Eyed Raven formerly known as Brandon Stark is, he’s fast becoming the clear-cut king of satisfying, shut down one-liners. Back in the season seven finale he confirmed that Lord Petyr Baelish betrayed everyone’s favorite dad Ned Stark. Leading Arya to slit his throat for that — as well as many other crimes.
A season later it’s Jaime Lannister whose head may be on the chopping block. Daenerys reminisces of hearing stories of her father, the “Mad King,” and his murder, which Jaime committed. Although Jaime seems very clear that he wants to put past family conflicts aside to fight for the living, he shows no remorse for earning the title “Kingslayer”.
Jaime stands his ground in front of Daenerys, Jon, and the Starks, claiming he’d do it all again as he was protecting his family and house in a time of need. To which Bran, with his signature soulless stare, quotes Jaime’s Season One line “the things we do for love.”
This show distinguishes itself from all others for a handful of great reasons. One is the complete lack of throwaway, irrelevant moments. Much of Season Eight reiterates how crucial the events that took place in Season One were .
Bran’s line here refers to what Jaime said right before pushing him out of a window after witnessing the infamous incest scene between Jaime and Cersei in the series premiere. Since everything really comes full circle in this one-of-a-kind show, this moment was poetic justice. Now Jaime, who’s already undergone maybe the show’s wildest character arc, has a chance to redeem himself in the great war.
Dolorous Edd to Samwell Tarly and Jon Snow: “Samwell Tarly. Slayer of the white walkers. Lover of ladies. As if we needed any more reason to know the world is ending.”
In an episode which aimed more comedic bullets than any other, some landed, some didn’t, and some just went on too long. Even by Thrones standards, some got a little too uncomfortable for my taste.
But this exchange between the last remaining members of the Night’s Watch was golden. Knowing Samwell is intended to be George R.R Martin, author of “A Song of Ice and Fire” upon which GOT is based, makes it even funnier.
I love how even when speaking highly of himself, Samwell still uses his classic trembling tone. He exudes this while reminding Dolorous and his best friend Jon that he was in fact the first to kill a white walker. Dolorous sloughs this aside and maintains the belief that putting Samwell out on the front lines is a poor decision. Be that as it may, being effectively George R.R Martin himself gives Samwell an opportunity others may not have. Don’t be shocked to see a heroic moment from the most unlikely of sources in combat next week.
Tormund to Night’s Watch members: “The big woman still here?”
I equally love and hate the fact that Tormund undoubtedly stole the show Sunday night. As one of my favorite characters, it was great to see him climb out of the pool of second tier characters to get plenty of camera time and memorable lines.
Fans were already attached to Tormund for his heroics surviving the wall’s destruction. With last episode’s memorable moments, this would be a grand GOT opportunity for the show to kill him off. The show is as cold-hearted as Winterfell itself. Once a character builds a lovable following like Tormund is doing, that usually means they’ll die.
The fiery redhead continues his pursuit of Lady Brienne throughout the show. Earlier in the series he tells The Hound about his great desire to marry and have children with Lady Brienne. They’d be great beasts that would conquer the world he explained.
Tormund and Lady Brienne are two of the most physically imposing people in all of Westeros. The prospect of these two creating offspring is straight up scary. Understandably, Brienne is turned off by Tormund’s… let’s call them odd tendencies. But come on, if she and Tormund survive the white walkers, she should seriously consider going through with it. How often do you get to give birth to the Westeros equivalent of LeBron James and Serena Williams?
Daenerys to Jon: “If that were true, it would make you the last male heir of House Targaryen. You’d have claim to the Iron Throne.”
Dany isn’t messing around these days. She has zero intention of taking a backseat to anyone in Westeros. Prior to this quote, she tells Sansa she’s only known one goal: the Iron Throne.
Despite highly anticipated reveal that Jon Snow is Aegon Targaryen and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, Dany isn’t giving it up easily to the man she’s openly said she’s in love. She says “you’d have claim to the Iron Throne” with a threatening glare right through his soul, as if to say ‘don’t you dare think about taking that throne from me.’
The show needs to create conflict. But in reality, Jon’s too good a guy to cast this distraction over Dany right before the white walkers arrive. But it sure does make the battle and its aftermath much more interesting. Especially since Jon, Dany, Bran, and Samwell are the only people that know the big secret so far.
If both survive, which I believe is the most likely outcome, will the two be at odds over this? This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen Jon sacrifice a great position of power and leadership for the betterment of those that matter to him. Maybe he’ll defer to Dany, but this is the almighty Iron Throne and Jon has given up plenty to rise the way he has.
The biggest question remaining in the series is how the two Targaryen powerhouse characters approach ruling Westeros together, assuming the two make it out of the next episode alive. You know what is about to hit the fan, with battles both in Winterfell and most likely King’s Landing taking place from start to finish in a massive third episode this coming Sunday. It feels criminal making us fans wait a week but it’ll be worth it in the end.