All aboard the Hype Train! Check out our biggest takeaways from the Season 8, Episode 2 A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms!
Our MVP of the Episode: Sansa Mothafuckin’ STARK.
Sansa was flexing hard all over this episode. First, she pardons Jaime after hearing Brienne vouch for him and the promise he made to Cat, then she welcomes Dany into a one-on-one before growing stonecold and asking her point blank, what does Dany even want with the North? All of Sansa’s dialogue has been perfectly reasonable and many, many questions that the audience has for Dany- don’t you remember what your father did? How can we be sure you’re not manipulating Jon? How exactly are you going to rule the North and why should we bow to you and thank you when the North has had to be self-sufficient for the last few years? Can’t you see why we’d be wary?
For a few minutes, there’s some great dialogue where Dany expresses great admiration for Sansa’s trust in her advisors and how they listen to her. It’s almost as if she might relent and concede that the North can remain its own entity (you know, like how she did with Yara and the Iron Islands without literally any qualms), but then the power-hungry side of her takes control again. More on that later.
Then, just to drive the home Dany’s “Oh shit, I think Sansa’s in charge here,” Theon comes back with the news that Yara has retreated and that he’s there to pledge loyalty- but it’s not to the person he last called his queen. It’s to his home, Winterfell. It’s about ten times more heartfelt and determined than how he first appeared in Meereen. It’s another loss for Dany and now she has to worry about what might happen if she challenges an extremely popular leader who is growing more and more powerful as people continue to step forward and support her.
Campfire scenes are still awesome
We got the hints of the roadtrip spinoff show we’ve always wanted, as Tyrion, Jaime, Pod, Davos, Brienne, and Tormund sit around a campfire and commiserate over what it means to be a man. This episode was a bit like Season 2’s Blackwater– serving us moments of levity and character development just before a devastating battle. This is only going to help us feel the anxiety and tension in the next episode, as we watch our favorite characters- who just reminded us why we love them- stare down the army of the dead.
Arya’s got the hots for Gendry (don’t we all?)
In one of the oddest scenes ever on this show, Arya Stark and Gendry strip down and get it on. Us watching Arya and Gendry is what J.K. Rowling must have felt like when Neville Longbottom showed up shirtless on Twitter. It was weird, the build-up was cringey, but whatever. We can accept this over Missandei and Greyworm, who can just leave Westeros now for all we care.
It’s a tad uncomfortable to watch but the sentiment is nice- Arya was about to enter her teens when she met Gendry and was torn away from normal puberty and development of becoming a woman. The more we think about it, the more it seems appropriate that she would choose Gendry and that he would more or less reawaken those feelings in her. We’re not crazy about it, but we accept it.
Theon is home.
Theon’s arc is one of the most complete- he’s really come full circle from being a ward of Ned Stark, to trying to prove himself as iron born, then struggling to accept himself, and finally heading home to Winterfell. While there’s a lot of moments on this show that feel fan servicey or derived from fan fiction (such as the above), Theon returning to serve the North feels very natural and right. There’s something beautifully painful as he pledges himself to Sansa. The moments for Theon are small, but they make such a difference in the overall message of this episode.
Jaime Lannister wants to be Podrick Payne
Man, everyone wants a piece of Brienne, huh? First, it’s Tormund trying to catch her eye, now it’s Jaime begging to be her squire. We’re not sure if this is supposed to be… romantic or not (Kelly really, really hopes not), as Brienne doesn’t seem to be reciprocating but Jaime’s got a severe case of googly eyes going on. We’re going to hope that it’s Jaime realizing that Brienne is everything that is good in the world and someone he aspires to be more like. It’s really quite wonderful to see Brienne getting accolades from management this season- everyone acknowledges in this episode how selfless, brave, and noble she is and how she’s managed to retain her dignity when everything in the world has worked against her.
Speaking of Podrick… he’s 1,000% going to die
Not that he had a lot of lines in this episode, but there were lots of lingering shots on Pod this episode and we think he might be one of the first major casualties of the next episode. It was enough reminders of what we really like about this character- we saw him be young and impressionable in his reunion with Tyrion, he was a proud papa when Brienne got knighted, we got to see exactly how far his sword combat skills have come, and he got that musical number. THIS HAS GUTWRENCHING DEATH WRITTEN ALL OVER IT.
Episode’s Least Valuable Player: Daenerys Targaryen
This episode was the first one to really allow us to oppose Dany. We’ve obviously done this before but they’ve always been cliched or moments of badassery that we eventually got tired of. This episode finally highlighted her poor decision-making, rash judgment, and bad temper- there’s really no room here to defend her.
The episode serves to slowly crumble Dany’s world around her. She’s forced to let Jaime Lannister, her father’s murderer, live- even though she knows perfectly well that her father was a madman. Then, she watches Sansa be taken seriously as the Lady of Winterfell without any complaints or opposition from her peers. Missandei and Greyworm, her two trusted advisors, make plans to leave instead of staying to help her rule. Theon, someone who she thought had pledged to House Targaryen, also openly declares his sword to Sansa and it’s visible that Dany is aware how popular Sansa is and how it will be impossible to control everyone if she were to challenge Lady Stark.
The final nail in the coffin comes when Dany seeks solace in her boyfriend- but then Jon breaks the news to her that he’s the son of her brother. Dany realizes that Jon is actually the rightful heir to the Iron Throne and this seems to be the moment that sends her over the edge. Everything she’s expected for herself, carried herself on, all of her plans- they’re not subject to the wills of other people anymore. It’s a very clear denial of her destiny.
The episode ends as she lashes out at Jon, who she thinks will challenge her for the throne. This moment delivers the message to Jon that Sansa and Sam were right- Dany would not declare herself to him the way he bent the knee to her. It should also tell Jon and the others that Dany is not right for the throne simply for the fact that she can’t put the title and past differences aside in order to serve the realm as he, Sansa, Theon, Brienne, and all the other characters in this episode do.