A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms on the Edge of a Dark and Scary Night

 

Wow- this episode was magic. From the second it appeared on catch up right up until the haunting notes of Jenny’s Song as it played out, I knew I was watching something special unfold. Despite there being very little in terms of special effects, a focus on dark candlelit scenes and the sense of being on the periphery of the story, there was more tension and atmosphere here than I’d seen in a long time. Focusing on character over action, this was an episode worthy of the earlier seasons and reminded me why I’d fallen for it in the first place.

It’s the kind of episode where you feel like you want to pick up all the pretty pieces and admire them in turn, but never feel like you can put it together in a way that does it justice. Poignant and moving, I laughed, cried and laughed through tears as the impending doom settled over the entire cast. Because while we hold our breaths along with the characters, on the edge of a battle no one can escape, I had this YOU’RE ALL GONNA DIE thought echoing in my mind. Which brings me onto spoilery notes…

spoilers game of thrones

AHHH DON’T LEAVE YOUR WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN THE CRYPTS- the enemy is a necromancer who brings people back from the dead!!! (I can’t take credit for this- though I had a niggling feeling about it the whole time cos as a fantasy rule the place where everyone is safe is not at all safe- but my friend pointed this out to me and when they did I was kicking myself cos of how obvious this is).

It’s not all terror and foreboding though- there were a whole range of the *feels*. Not least from that swoopingly romantic moment when Greyworm and Missandei kiss (she’s not gonna make it guys). But also the point that seems to have fascinated a lot of internet folk: Arya and Gendry getting it on. I could debate whether she was into it or not, but the thing that really strikes me about their scenes together is how far the show has come. Way back in season 2 I’d have shipped that, but now, with the impending doom, it feels less important… which only makes the doom seem more impending. For me, Arya’s best part in this episode wasn’t even that- it was having her deliver the line from the season trailer:
arya season 8.2

I also LOVED the callbacks to earlier seasons. So often we get to see how far everyone has come and the massive contrast with the first series- especially when we see the Lannister brothers interacting. It’s not a perfect episode, by any stretch of the imagination. There are lines I can’t imagine making their way into the book (Jaime confessing to his past sins in the crudest terms, even to his brother). And there are moments in the dialogue that aren’t great (sorry, pointing out that “really bad” is a bad line doesn’t stop it being a bad line). HOWEVER there also some very beautiful moments- with Roman ideas like:

samwell forgetting.png

I also adored this Tyrion moment:

story bran tyrion.png

Especially since I think Tyrion knowing this story could prove important- Tyrion has always been one to prove the adage “knowledge is power”.

On the topic of the Lannister brothers, Jaime’s trial was a bit of a lowpoint, since I felt there could have been more to it. That could just be me though- I made the mistake of watching the teaser and building it up in my head. Not that it mattered too much- there were payoffs in other ways. The entire episode does more than enough to reward fans- not in a fanficy way- but in a way that feels earned. In a way that says: “yes, we know you have been with us on this crazy journey for years, HERE IS YOUR REWARD!” One of the absolute best things was how Brienne and Jaime’s relationship was at the forefront of the episode. And the moment he knighted her was… *electric*. There’s no other way to describe it. I also really liked the build up- where it showed the hardest thing to do sometimes is to admit you want something- but at the same time that’s what really living is. Having a dream and given that dream a voice.

In a different way, I feel like a lot of characters have found their voice now- not least Sansa (hehe please turn a blind eye to the awkward segue). She was the *STAR* of the episode for me- which can’t be too surprising since, in the biggest TV turnaround I’ve ever had, she’s somehow become my favourite character (from being my least favourite in season 1- what does this show even do to us?!) It was one hundred percent confirmed that Sansa gets THE BEST reunions. Plus she she incredibly sharp, forgiving people when it’s politically expedient, she also knows when to stick up for the North’s interests. This isn’t simply looking out for her own self-interest- this is looking out for own people and their best interest.

This is in STARK CONTRAST to Dany (hehe pun intended 😉) All she cares about is the damn iron throne- not the people of Westeros. I will say, for the sake of the part of me that still likes her, that Dany’s hard edge very nearly softened… Until the very end of the episode and her confrontation with Jon- seeing only the worst in him when he has only ever been honourable and calling him a liar (poor Jon looked so bemused- cos, duh, he’s not trying to steal the throne from her). Not that all these squabbles matter cos the Night King is getting the throne…

Okay I jest, I jest. I think no one is getting the throne (and the #forthethrone marketing campaign is similar to last year’s “the lone wolf dies… but the pack survives”).

There were so many other things going on in the episode that I could be here a while longer talking about them all: Tormund being awesome, the little bear, Ghost’s cameo, Jaime and Bran in the God’s Wood. But I think as much as I never wanted to leave this episode, all good things must come to an end…

winter is here

So what did you think of this episode? Did you enjoy it? Are you terrified for what’s coming?  Let’s panic together in the comments!

37 thoughts on “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms on the Edge of a Dark and Scary Night

  1. It was a great episode with loads of touching moments. Obviously, Brienne’s big moment was the highlight of the episode really. As for Dany, I think the crazy streak in the Targaryen’s is coming out… and it has been for a few seasons; though she had always been very authoritarian. Oh, and I don;t know what to think about the crypts. The show hasn;t said it much, but the books make it clear that there is something magical about the crypts. Them, and Winterfell were made by the same man that made The Wall, and it is heavily hinted that they offer protection against the dead.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ahh I really agree! Yeah it really was. And yeah definitely think that too. I’ve been thinking it for while (though the tarly thing was the last straw for me) yeah that’s a really good point about the magic down there… But what’s worrying is how the night king broke through the wall… So it might not be so safe anymore… (hoping that it’s gonna be fine, but I have my suspicions 😉 )

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never been more stressed out over fictional characters. And I’m really worried that the Night King is going to pull the old send 100 soldiers one place and the rest somewhere else trick. And the somewhere else is King’s Landing.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That Melisandre and Arya gif and that second Arya gif has aged well!

    “Really bad.” George R. R. Martin would never. But, hey, Gendry speaking colloquial is more fitting than nobles speaking colloquial.

    I’ve been a Sansa stan since season 1. Still can’t believe people hated on a sheltered child who grew up with parents like Ned and Catelyn (with parents like these two, why wouldn’t you trust people?) and was fed on dreams and fairytales. But most of all… who hates a child? Except Joffrey, that makes sense.

    The squabbles matter, in my opinion, in the sense of it revealing which characters truly serve the people and which just want power for powers sake. It remains a Game of Thrones. Let’s hope the IT is destroyed anyway and a council is built instead.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes!

      Oh yeah that makes sense!

      Totally understand that- even though I didn’t used to like her. But now I completely see that point of view and agree with it. I actually feel bad for disliking her (but also I think one of the reasons is that Arya was such an awesome character in contrast and it’s a testament to the story that my views have changed so much).

      That’s fair!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think, in some sense, she was meant to be a foil to Arya & we were supposed to be annoyed by her. Anyway, she’s grown up and some of the audience have grown up too with her and that’s all that matters, really!

        Like

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