[Spoiler Alert: The remainder of this article will discuss Season 8, Episode 1 of “Game of Thrones”]
The second episode opens on a tense scene between Daenerys and Jamie Lanniester, as Khaleesi seethes with rage while confronting the man who murdered her father, lovingly known as the Mad King. After a lengthy debate about his trustworthiness, which was supplemented by a powerful character defense by Breanne of Tarth, it is eventually determined that Jamie should be allowed to stay and fight in Winterfell. It then thrusts Jamie into awkward conversations with various individuals at the castle who he’s wronged throughout the last decade, as it’s noted that he’s caused a lot of pain for many who have decided, for the most part, to let bygones be bygones as they attempt to fight for their lives against the undead.
The episode as a whole feels like a filler piece – grappling between the dramatic escalations that took place last week, and will take place again next week during what’s certain to be an epic battle.
Throughout the hour-long episode, we see the majority of the show’s main characters coping in their own ways with what they see as almost certain death.
It’s evident at this point that Cersei is certainly not fulfilling her promise to bring her troops to Winterfell to fight for the living, which has angered Daenerys to the point that she begins to doubt Tyrion’s intelligence as the hand of the queen.
It’s also drummed up drama between Daenerys and Sansa, who, given her complicated history with Cersei, knew it wasn’t wise to ever take her for her word. Daenerys approaches Sansa and extends an olive branch, and the two actually appear to quash their differences for a moment. That is, until, Sansa raises the question of what will happen to the north should Daenerys take the iron throne. Sansa makes it abundantly clear that she doesn’t intend to give up her home to another ruler again, and fans know that Daenerys doesn’t take kindly to those threatening her authority.
It is revealed about half way through the episode by the remaining members of the Nights Watch and Tormund Giantsbane that they have had to go around the Night King on their way to Winterfell, and that the undead will reach the castle by morning.
The remainder of the episode is filled with emotional moments as the characters express what the feel they must before the battle.
Missandei and Grey Worm, undoubtedly the best love story of the series, discuss where they might spend the rest of their days together should they survive. As many anticipated after the first episode, Arya makes a move on Gendry, saying that she wants to know what it’s like to be with a man before she dies.
Tyrion predictably copes by sitting in front of a fire and drinking wine, eventually garnering a group of some of the show’s best characters to join him. After a discussion about how Brienne has never been knighted despite her impeccable service, Jamie knights her himself. We see a softer side to Brienne here, as she’s faced with reconciling the feelings she’s long had for Jamie that she’s never confronted.
We end the episode in the tombs once again, as Jon stands in front of a statue of his mother, Lyanna Stark. Daenerys joins him, sensing him withdrawing from her as he obviously grapples with the realization that he is in love with her, but she is, in fact, his aunt.
When Jon reveals this to her, she’s rightfully shaken up, but more concerned about the fact that Jon now has more of a legitimate claim than her to the Iron Throne.
Tune in next week as we recap what is sure to be an eventful battle scene on the next episode of “Game of Thrones.”