Hello and welcome back to Game of Thoughts, our sweaty, breathless recaps and discussion of everyone’s favorite fantasy TV Show, Game of Thrones! Now we’re down in it, the end is in sight, so grab your House Banner and hold you smallfolk tight, it’s gonna be a long night! As always, spoilers will appear behind the cut, because I WILL NOT be that person.
Are you sitting comfortably? Are your neighborhood dogs barking because of all the yelling coming from your house like mine are? Then let’s begin.
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms was a character and story-driven episode with no action to speak of, and yet it was one of the strongest episodes because of all the fantastic performances. Functioning as a ‘calm before the storm’ installment, it gave several characters time to bond, to smooth over rough history, and to have poignant and important meetings. There were also several salient book references: Jenny of Oldstones is sung, and Brienne of Tarth’s lineage is reference right there in the title.
There were a few small surprises but mostly a lot of big, emotional payoffs that have been years in the making.
Interestingly, all the action centered in Winterfell and we saw no other locations. Fitting, and reminiscent of Season 4’s “The Watchers On the Wall,” which was also centered completely at Castle Black.
Now, let’s dive in! Spoilers below the cut!
The big hero of this episode was Brienne of Tarth, for several reasons:
- She speaks for Jaime during his trial, saving him from a vengeful and wrathful Danaerys
- She agrees for him to be part of her flank when battle is joined
- She is finally knighted (MY HEART)
- Her relation to Ser Duncan the Tall is referenced in the words ‘Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’ – although the words are part of any knighting ceremony, they’re also the title of the GRRM book chronicling Dunk’s travels with a young king Aegon the Unlikely
When Brienne stood there beaming after Jaime knighted her (BECAUSE IT COULD HAVE BEEN NO ONE ELSE) I cried happy tears for her. Gwendoline Christie perfectly nailed that character and we are richer for having her. I am also terrified that Brienne receiving this very, very long-deserved recognition means we are about to lose her.
As mentioned above, this episode is basically the calm before the storm. Hell, the next episode is a battle, so the showrunners go to great lengths to remind us how much we love these characters and why we fell in love with them in the first place before viciously pulling our hearts out through our nostrils.
Rather than try to break down the various scenes and what happened, here is a list of quotes from the episode and a little context.
And after these words were said by Danaerys, thus allowing Jaime to live and battening down her crazy for the moment, all the sphincters present in the great hall loosened. I expected Bran to take a more active part in the trial and remind everyone that Aerys was insane, but Brienne standing up for Jaime was too perfect.
“I know Death. It’s got many faces.”
Gendry, like many people and most notably Jon in the previous episode, makes the mistake of still viewing Arya as a child. She very tidily disillusions him (and scares a rando smith half to death) by throwing three dragonglass daggers with pinpoint accuracy. Gendry very clearly wants to be in her fighting squad when battle begins, and she very clearly wants to be in his pants. To which I say, “Get it, Arya. By God you’ve earned it.”
“I’m sorry for what I did to you.”
When Jaime approaches Bran in his newly issued Winterfell armor, I was struck by how much the Kingslayer had changed from the Golden Lion of Season 1, in appearance as well as behavior. He literally says as much during his apology to Bran, to which Bran raises the interesting point that had Jaime not thrown him out a window, Bran would just be Brandon Stark, and Jaime would still be the dickish Jaime Lannister of old. I’m not sure I agree with that though – I like to think Jaime would have eventually begun his path of redemption regardless.
This scene also dropped a bigass hammer when Bran asked Jaime why he imagined there would be an afterwards. Things are not looking good for Jaime. I have a concern.
“So. We’re going to die. At Winterfell.”
Jaime and Tyrion talk about old times and muse on what Tywin, the greatest and most Daddy Lannister of all, would have thought of them dying for the Starks, fighting the dead army, with dragons. What, indeed.
“I’m not the fighter I once was.”
Two important points from this scene where Jaime goes to visit Brienne in the training yard:
- Brienne accepts him into her command
- Podrick Payne has bloomed into a stud
“….it broke my heart.”
Jorah Mormont tries to talk some sense into Danaerys regarding her treatment of Tyrion. Another wonderful scene from a great actor who nailed a part.
“What about the North?”
Danaerys and Sansa almost start to bond over their mutual love of Jon and some of their unique experiences as women in this cruel world, but Sansa is too smart and highly cynical, given her experiences. Plus, she, like the rest of Westeros, have been ruled by a mad queen by a little while now so it’s understandable why they’re not in a rush to put another mad queen, and a TARGARYEN, on the throne.
I missed writing a quote for Jon, Sam, and Edd’s talk on the battlements because I just wrote GHOOOOOOOOOOST on that line. GOOD BOYS ALWAYS COME HOME!
“I fought for you, didn’t I?”
Sandor Clegane, drinking some wine on the battlements, reminds Arya that he has fought for other people besides himself. He fought Brienne of Tarth for her, when he and Arya found out that her whole family was dead. He could have just handed her over for some money, but he didn’t. It wasn’t exactly altruism at work, but it was a step away from his old ways.
“I think we might live.”
Tyrion, Jaime, Pod, Davos, Brienne, and Tormund are the greatest group of drinking buddies Westeros could ever have. This was one of the best scenes, not because of the writing, which was still great, but because of the shared history among all these characters. Davos and Tyrion were on opposite sides of the Battle of Blackwater, but it was literally nothing personal.
Pod breaks out a fantastic song, the Game of Thrones equivalent to Pippin’s song during LOTR, although if memory serves Jenny of Oldstones was about a woman that a Targaryen king fell in love with and cause a series of disasters leading to the Blackfyre rebellion, although I can’t verify because A Wiki of Ice and Fire seems to have crashed.
- Lyanna and Jorah Mormont was great and I loved it.
- Sam giving Jorah Heartsbane to fight with (although the nerd in me was like ‘YOU ARE NOT GOiNG INTO BATTLE WITH AN UNFAMILIAR WEAPON JORAH ARE YOU CRAZY’)
- Tormund went for it. He came to Winterfell with one priority. He didn’t score, but he tried and damned if he didn’t come up with one of the better pickup lines I’ve ever heard.
- Arya and Gendry – I was not prepared for that but sure, it’s the eve of battle. GET SOME KIDS.
- Missandei and Gray Worm experiencing shitty treatment from racist Northerners -UGH. I love that they have plans for after the battle but seriously PLANS FOR AFTER THE BATTLE is a terrible plan for characters to have before a battle. Because DEATH. These characters have earned a happy ending more than most. I want Missandei to see the butterflies and beaches of Narth. I want Gray Worm to see her seeing the butterflies and beaches of Narth.
- Alfie Allen continues to put in some amazing performances in scenes that are under a minute long. He and Sansa’s embrace had me in tears, and when they were hanging out eating soup later (if memory serves Ramsay pulled out most of his teeth, in the book anyway) it was a nice moment indicating that he and Sansa had been spending some much needed friend time together. Him wanting to defend Winterfell to try and put the past right is so great, and I am also very worried we will be losing him next episode.
All right, folks. That’s me signing off for the night. Next week – THE BATTLE OF WINTERFELL. We’re not ready, but nobody is ever really ready for a battle. People are going to die and I’m not ready.
I’ll be watching it at a friend’s house and I just hope they know what kind of noise and emotion they’ve invited into their house.
Have a great week!