In the ‘Game of Thrones’ recap, Jamie Lannister stands before his accusers, the Night King’s target is revealed and Jon is forced to tell Daenerys the truth…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
There is a very ominous vibe throughout the latest episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ titled ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’.
What starts as a trial of sorts for Jamie Lannister after he arrives at Winterfell quickly dissolves into preparation for the upcoming war against the army of the dead — a battle most amongst the living don’t expect to survive — and thus they begin preparing for the end.
Obviously with four episodes remaining in the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’, we know this is not actually the end but the tone throughout this hour certainly felt like impending doom.
As the workers around Winterfell prepare the armament, Tyrion faces a bleak future where he may be relieved as Hand of the Queen, his brother Jamie turns from general to soldier and Jon reconnects with his brothers from the Night’s Watch as they prepare to live out the oath they took so many years ago.
“I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men”
Meanwhile, Daenerys attempts to bridge the gap with Sansa after they got off to a rather icy start while she can’t help but notice that the new Warden in the North, Jon Snow, can barely look at her for some reason — but we all know why and by the end of the episode she will know as well.
As the night grows colder and the sky that much darker, it’s rather apparent that seemingly everybody is preparing to fight to the death — and judging by their demeanors, the end is coming for all of them.
And in those final closing moments, the horns sound as the army of the dead arrives at Winterfell to ignite the battle to end all battles.
With that said, let’s get to our recap for the second episode in the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ titled ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’…
The Trial of Jamie Lannister
Jamie Lannister’s arrival in Winterfell isn’t exactly greeted with open arms considering the litany of crimes he’s committed against numerous people who he supposed to fight alongside in this upcoming war. Daenerys regales him with memories from her brother, Viserys, who told her stories about how Jamie earned that nickname ‘the Kingslayer’ by stabbing their father in the back and then slitting his throat.
Now Daenerys has no illusions about her father — she knows he was a mad man — but he was still her father and Jamie took a solemn oath to protect him or die.
Sansa agrees with Daenerys that Jamie can’t be trusted and Tyrion speaking up on his brother’s behalf only further enrages the queen thanks to what she just learned about their sister Cersei Lannister.
“She never had any intention of sending her army north. She has Euron Greyjoy’s fleet and 20,000 fresh troops, The Golden Company from Essos, bought and paid for. Even if we defeat the dead, she’ll have more than enough to destroy the survivors”
~ Jamie Lannister
Tyrion is not on the Daenerys’ good side these days after a long string of mistakes since he became Hand of the Queen. It forces Brienne of Tarth to take up for Jamie while saying that he’s honorable and she would gladly vouch for him. Because Sansa trusts Brienne as much as anybody in the Seven Kingdoms, she believes that is enough to give Jamie a pardon and allow him to fight alongside them in the war.
Jon Snow also believes that having one more living fighter is better than none with the army of the dead on their way to kill everybody. Ultimately, Daenerys sides with her advisors and grants Jamie clemency but she’s getting sick and tired of Tyrion’s missteps when it comes to advising her.
Last season, Tyrion failed to anticipate Cersei’s moves on the battlefield and it cost them the Iron Fleet, the Dornish army and the Tyrell family — all three powerful allies in the war to reclaim the Iron Throne. Now Tyrion has failed to predict what his murderous and treasonous sister would do to protect her reign as queen and it could ultimately cost Daenerys any chance to defeat her.
“Cersei still sits on the throne. If you can’t help take it back, I’ll find another Hand who can”
~ Daenerys Targaryen
As for Jamie, he’s still atoning for the sins of the past including a face-to-face confrontation with Bran Stark.
Back in the meeting with the queen, Bran quoted Jamie by saying ‘the things we do for love’ as he spoke about his devotion to his family and how he wouldn’t change anything he’s done in the past. That is the line that Jamie spoke just before pushing Bran out of the tower window when he caught him having sex with Cersei during King Robert Baratheon’s visit to Winterfell.
Jamie wonders why Bran didn’t tell Jon or the queen the truth about how he fell from that tower since he clearly remembers everything that happened now. Instead of throwing him to the wolves, Bran all but forgives Jamie for his past transgressions while giving him a pardon — for now anyways — for shoving him out of that window.
Bran: “You won’t be able to help us in this fight if I let them murder you first.”
Jamie: “What about afterwards?”
Bran: “How do you know there is an afterwards?”
Bran’s stoic and somber demeanor sums up just about everybody’s mood during this episode because for all the petty bickerings about houses, thrones and titles, none of it matters if living can’t survive the army of the dead.
Following his meeting with Bran, Jamie returns to the courtyard where he meets with his brother Tyrion for the first time since they reunited at King’s Landing last season. Tyrion admits fault for trusting that Cersei would actually march her army north to join the war against the dead because he believed her pregnancy gave her something worth fighting for. It turns out, Cersei’s pregnancy, which Jamie confirms is real, is just another case of their sister turning something to her advantage — in this case convincing Tyrion that she could be trusted.
Often called the cleverest man in Westeros, Tyrion hasn’t felt all that clever lately and he says his downfall is underestimating his opponent. In this case that means selling his sister Cersei short and that is a grave error indeed.
Sadly Tyrion expects to be torn apart by the dead any day now but at least that means Cersei won’t be the one to kill him. Then again, Tyrion waxes that perhaps he’ll turn into one of the Night King’s soldiers, who will then in turn murder Cersei so there’s always a silver lining.
While Tyrion talks, Jamie decides to go down to the courtyard where Brienne is preparing her soliders for the upcoming fight. Brienne will be leading one of the groups of solders defending Winterfell outside the walls and while Jamie may only have one hand, which means he’s not quite the swordsman he once was, he would still gladly stand shoulder to shoulder with her until the end.
“I’m not the fighter I used to be but I’d be honored to serve under your command if you’ll have me.”
~ Jamie Lannister
Jamie Lannister has come a long way from the man he was during season one and now he’s prepared to give his life because that’s the oath he gave to Daenerys back in King’s Landing. It seems the promise he made to Catelyn Stark all those years ago — to return Sansa home in exchange for his life — has stuck with him. These days, Jamie is nothing if not a man of his word.
As for the rest of Winterfell, everyone is pitching in to do their part — even a little girl being served stew offers to stand on the front lines to defend her home. Davos is taken back by her bravery and Gilly comes along to offer an even better suggestion — she should come to the Winterfell crypts where she can help protect the women and children not able to fight for themselves.
An Endless Night
A frustrated Daenerys is still mulling over what to do next after allowing the man who killed her father to fight alongside her in the war while the frustration over Tyrion’s inability to offer good advice is reaching a boiling point.
Jorah comes to visit Daenerys and decides to offer her a piece of advice about her faith in the Hand of the Queen.
He reminds her that he betrayed her long ago and she ultimately forgave him because what he did right far outweighed what he did wrong. As much as Jorah wanted to be Daenerys’ Hand, he realized that the job was better suited for someone like Tyrion, who has a mind for such things. That’s why he believes that Daenerys should give Tyrion another opportunity to prove himself before firing him and choosing a new Hand of the Queen.
Following that meeting, Daenerys calls one of her own with the Lady of Winterfell to hopefully put ill feelings behind them for the good of the people.
The two powerful women find common ground being great leaders in positions that have historically been held by men. They also share love for Jon Snow, which could eventually make them family.
Sansa voices her concerns that perhaps Jon gave up his crown as King in the North for the wrong reasons — because he’s fallen in love with the dragon queen.
Sansa: “Men do stupid things for women. They’re easily manipulated”
Daenerys: “All my life, I’ve known one goal: the Iron Throne. Taking it back from the people who destroyed my family and almost destroyed yours. My war was against them. Until I met Jon. Now I’m here half a world away fighting Jon’s war alongside him. Tell me, who manipulated whom?”
Just when it appears the two of them will find peace, Sansa decides to ask Daenerys about the North. She knows that the northerners will never trust a southern king or queen again after what happened to Ned Stark when he moved to the capital to serve as Robert’s Hand of the King. The betrayal and years of hard living under Joffrey Baratheon and then being forced to bow and scrape to the Bolton family was enough for every person in the North to declare they would never bend the knee to an outsider again.
Before Daenerys can answer Sansa, they are interrupted by the arrival of Theon Greyjoy and his host of Iron Born. He has arrived after freeing his sister Yara, who he says is going to take the Iron Islands back from Euron as service to the queen. As for Theon, he has traveled North to fight for his family at Winterfell.
Sansa embraces Theon and welcomes his help in the war.
Another arrival brings Jon out of the castle when the horns sound and he finds his last remaining brothers of the Night’s Watch coming through the gates at Winterfell alongside his friend Tormund Giantsbane. Jon embraces his brother Dolorous Edd, who brought the rest of the Nightswatchmen here to make their final stand against the dead as well as Beric Dondarrion, who was at Eastwatch-by-the-sea alongside Tormund when the Wall came crashing down thanks to the Night King riding on the back of an undead dragon.
That’s when they are forced to tell Jon the bad news — the Night King draws near after laying waste to Last Hearth and turning House Umber into more dead soldiers for his army. Luckily, Tormund, Edd and the rest of the men were able to ride around the slower moving army of the dead but there’s not much time left until they arrive.
The dead will be at the gates of Winterfell before morning.
Jon puts together a war council will all of the leadership to prepare for the battle plan ahead with the army of the dead landing at their doorsteps sooner rather than later. Because of the sheer numbers that the Night King possesses, there’s no way to defeat them in a straight up battle because that would just be an impossible war to win.
Instead, Jon remembers a lesson he learned after going north of the Wall to capture a wight to bring back to King’s Landing with him to convince Cersei the army of the dead was real.
When Jon killed a White Walker in the battle, all of the wights who followed him collapsed into a pile of bones and ash. He figures out that by destroying the creature responsible for making the soldiers will ultimately kill them all. In this case, the Night King has created everybody who follows him from White Walkers to the wights so killing him may be the only real way to stop this fight before the dead have demolished the living. The problem is getting the Night King out into the open so they can attempt to kill him but Bran reveals that won’t be a problem after all.
“The Night King made them all. They follow his command. If he falls, getting to him may be our best chance.”
~ Jon Snow
Bran then reveals that the Night King has two major objectives in his war — kill every living thing in the known world and erase any memory that it ever existed by murdering the last known Three-Eyed Raven aka Bran, who knows everything that has ever happened throughout history.
“An endless night. He wants to erase this world and I am its memory.”
~ Bran Stark
Because Bran as the Three-Eyed Raven is a living breathing imprint of anything and everything that has ever happened in this world, the Night King believes destroying him is a crucial step in wiping out all life in existence.
Bran decides to use himself as bait to lure the Night King into Winterfell where they might actually have a shot at killing him. Bran was marked by the Night King during one his visions, which is how the White Walkers were able to find the lair of the Three-Eyed Raven in the first place. That mark serves as some kind of homing beacon that always leads the Night King to him and that’s why Bran wants to sit in the Godswood just waiting for him to arrive so they can draw him out into the open.
Jon and Daenerys will ride the dragons into the battle and Theon pledges the Ironborn to protect Bran in the Godswood as they await the Night King’s arrival. Daenerys orders Tyrion to wait in the crypt along with the women and children because as valiant as he has fought on the battlefield in the past, his mind is his best weapon and she will need that if they are successful in defeating the dead. A smile creeps across Jorah’s face as Daenerys heeded his advice and decided to keep Tyrion as her Hand of the Queen.
In the end, Tormund offers a grim prediction for the war ahead while proudly fighting alongside everybody in that room.
“We’re all going to die but at least we die together.”
With that, the war council breaks for the evening as everyone prepares to get some rest or at least gets ready for the inevitable fight to come.
The Final Countdown
In what could be their last night in the known world, everybody has different plans for how they will spend these final hours.
Earlier in the day, Arya tracked down Gendry and asked about the weapon he has been tasked with forging for her out of dragonglass. Gendry scoffs that her weapon is more important than the others and while he respects Arya’s ability to stand up to rapers and Lannister goons, the fight they have ahead is like nothing she’s ever seen before. Or at least that’s what he believes.
Obviously, Gendry has gone through a lot since he was sold to Melisandre by the Brotherhood without Banners but he has no idea the journey that Arya has taken since that time. He’s clueless about Arya’s training and her ability to kill anyone at any time after learning from the master assassins of the Faceless Men.
She proves her point with a demonstration throwing dragonglass daggers at a wall, hitting the target again and again after Gendry describes the creatures they are about to fight as death incarnate.
“I know death. He’s got many faces. I look forward to seeing this one.”
~ Arya Stark
Later that night, Arya finds the Hound hunkered down by himself on a wall, drinking a flask of wine. She wonders why the Hound is here fighting for Winterfell when he’s never been willing to fight for anyone but himself. He then reminds her that he once fought for her — before Brienne of Tarth kicked him off the side of a mountain.
As rough and grumble as the Hound might be, he’s always had a sense of purpose and while he may not act like he cares, there’s an inherent goodness to him deep down.
In the midst of that conversation, Beric Dondarrion arrives and finds out that he’s no longer on Arya’s kill list, which is probably good news for him considering he’s on the last of his nine lives. Beric then begins to philosophize about this moment being exactly where the Lord of Light has led all of them but before he can get too deep into his sermon, the Hound interrupts him.
“Thoros isn’t here anymore so I hope you’re not about to give a sermon. Because if you are, the Lord of Light’s gonna wonder why he brought you back 19 times just to watch you die when I chuck you over this fucking wall.”
~ The Hound
Everybody laughs and Arya decides to leave to handle some other business because she’s not going to spend her final hours sitting around with these two old miserable old shits. Instead she heads downstairs to practice with her bow and arrow until Gendry arrives with the weapon she was promised.
He has built her a staff with dragonglass blades at both ends — a similar weapon to the one she trained with inside the House of Black and White except this one can kill White Walkers. The interesting part is that it appeared from the original drawing to be some kind of projectile weapon and as we saw earlier in the episode, Arya is rather adept at hitting her target with every throw.
Is it possible that she plans on using this weapon to strike down the Night King on the back of a dead Viserion much like he did to kill the dragon in the first place?
Gendry’s arrival also comes with some information as he finally reveals to her that he is Robert Baratheon’s bastard son and then recounts his night with the Red Woman after she put leaches on his cock to take out his blood. Arya then questions Gendry about his experiences with women, outside of that lone occasion.
Her curiosity is peaked because if this really is the last night she’s living, Arya doesn’t want to die a virgin.
“We’re probably going to die soon. I want to know what it’s like before that happens.”
~ Arya Stark
With that, Arya kisses Gendry before they both take off their clothes and have some end of the world sex. Yes, it’s a little weird picturing Arya in a sexual light considering she was actually a child when this show started but she has transformed into a woman and no one can deny we’d all have similar thoughts regarding sex if knew that death was coming for us in a matter of hours.
As for Jon, rather than spending time with his queen, he decides to reconvene the Night’s Watch one last time alongside his former brothers. He suggests that Samwell stay in the crypt to protect Gilly and little Sam but he scoffs at the idea that he can no longer defend himself or help in this fight.
Samwell: “Everyone seems to forget I was the first man to kill a White Walker. I’ve killed Thenns. I’ve saved Gilly more than once. I stole a considerable number of books from the Citadel library. Survived the Fist of the First Men. You need me out there.”
Dolorous Edd: “Well if that’s what it’s come to, we really are fucked”
All jokes aside, after losing so many of their brothers in battle, these are the last three members remaining of that early class of men joining the Night’s Watch and now they are together for this great war.
As for Grey Worm and Missandei, they still feel unwelcomed in the North but they always have each other. Grey Worm pledges after this battle is done and they help Daenerys reclaim the Iron Throne that he will take Missandei back to her home in Naath where they will enjoy the beaches together. He promises to protect her and Naath as long as he lives. They share a passionate kiss before Grey Worm leaves to lead the Unsullied into battle.
Just after the war council ended, Tyrion decided to sit down and talk with Bran about his rather odd journey leading him to this moment. While we don’t see this conversation it seems obvious that whatever Bran tells Tyrion may end up playing some part in the battle to come as the Hand of the Queen looks to redeem himself.
Later that night in one of the great halls at Winterfell, Tyrion and Jamie share a drink while laughing at how their father would have reacted watching them sitting there about to defend the North alongside the Starks. The two man party soon starts to grow after Davos arrives to get warm along with Brienne and Podrick looking to do the same. Tormund soon follows as well as everyone has a few drinks and prepares for the long night ahead.
As Tormund continues to have eyes for Brienne, he starts to notice that Jamie is also looking in her direction as well. That’s when he decides to tell the story about how he earned the name ‘Gianstbane’ after killing a giant when he was just 10 years old and then crawling into bed with the giant’s wife and suckling at her teat for the next three months.
He then guzzles down a horn of fermented milk while everyone in the room watches in awe and a little bit of disgust.
The conversation then shifts to Brienne, who has never been knighted because she’s a woman, and tradition says only men are eligible to become knights. Tormund says if he was a king, he would knight her 10 times over. That’s when Jamie has a revelation of his own.
“You don’t need a king. Any knight can make another knight.”
~ Jamie Lannister
In a very sweet ceremony, Jamie — as a sworn knight and former leader of the King and Queensguard — anoints Brienne of Tarth as a Knight of the Seven Kingdoms and as tears well up in her eyes, she achieves the one thing she’s always wanted in this world. The room applauds loudly as Ser Brienne can’t help but smile.
Outside the castle, Jorah Mormont is arguing with his cousin Lyanna about fighting on the front lines versus staying inside the crypt. Jorah’s father and Lyanna’s mother are brother and sister, which makes them cousins. After Jorah was disowned, his father took the black and became Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and numerous other members of the Mormont family died in battle during the War of the Five Kings, it was Lyanna who was left to lead them all.
Jorah doesn’t want Lyanna to get killed but she insists that she’s been fighting these battles all her life and she’s not going to stop now because the odds aren’t on her side.
Samwell then appears with a gift for Jorah — Heartsbane, the ancestral family sword made of Valyrian steel that belongs to House Tarly. Samwell stole it when he left Horn Hill a couple of seasons ago — technically the sword would have gone to him anyways after his father died by right of succession — but he’s not capable of wielding such a weapon.
Because Samwell learned how to be a man from Jorah’s father Jeor while in the Night’s Watch far more than he ever learned from Randyll Tarly, he feels it’s only right to pass this sword onto him. Jorah will now carry his own Valyrian steel sword into the battle against the dead.
Back in the great hall inside Winterfell, Tyrion isn’t ready to go to sleep because no one is really going to get any rest on this night while knowing what’s coming for them all. He suggests that somebody should sing a song and it’s Podrick who finally volunteers. He sings a tune called ‘Jenny’s Song’ — a song mentioned in George R.R. Martin’s books and a potential harbinger for what’s about to happen in ‘Game of Thrones’.
‘Jenny’s Song’ is about a woman named Jenny of Oldstones — a commoner who fell in love with Duncan Targaryen, who died 40 years before the events in this show take place. Duncan was the rightful heir to the Iron Throne as the eldest son of Aegon V Targaren (also known as ‘Egg’). Aegon had broken with the Targaryen tradition of incest and attempted to marry his children to men and women from some of the other great houses in Westeros and Duncan was expected to wed the daughter of Lord Lyonel Baratheon. Instead, Duncan fell in love with Jenny, a common folk, which ended with a Baratheon uprising after their promised vows were broken. The Baratheons were quickly stamped out but the problem created by Duncan still existed.
So Duncan faced an ultimatum — either give up the woman he loves or give up the crown.
Duncan chose Jenny and abdicated the throne by passing on his rightful place to eventually become king of the Seven Kingdoms. With Duncan no longer in the line of succession, his younger brother Jaehaerys was promoted as the next king instead. One more note about Duncan — he had black hair, a contrast to most Targaryens and a similar color to another potential king in our current story.
Much like his brother, Jaehaerys married for love rather than the woman he had been betrothed to wed but he ultimately forced his son and daughter to marry each other, bringing back the Targaryen tradition. The reason behind that marriage was because Jenny of Oldstones had a friend who was a witch and she prophesized that the ‘Prince who was Promised’ would come from the bloodline of Jaehaerys’ children — Aerys and Rhaella.
Now if those names sound familiar, they should — Aerys II Targaryen was the future ‘Mad King’ and Rhaella was his sister-wife. Aerys and Rhaella would give birth to their first son Rhaegar, who is in turn the father to Jon Snow. Aerys is also the father to Daenerys Targaryen, once again keeping that prophecy alive that the ‘prince who was promised will deliver the dawn’.
So it all comes together with ‘Jenny’s Song’ being the one that was used in the latest episode not only because of the ties to the Targaryen family and the prophecies but also the story about Duncan abdicating the throne for love — perhaps a harbinger for the decision that awaits Jon Snow.
And finally, Jon stands in the crypt of Winterfell in front of the statue erected in Lyanna Stark’s honor. When Daenerys finds him there, she asks about Lyanna and the conversation turns to sadness when she mentions that her older brother Rhaegar, who was described as kind and gentle by everyone who loved him, had kidnapped and raped her.
That’s when Jon decides to tell her the truth — Rhaegar and Lyanna were in love and they married in a secret ceremony. After Rhaegar died in battle against Robert Baratheon, Lyanna gave birth to their only son and then made her brother Ned promise to protect him. If Robert knew that Rhaegar’s son was alive, he would have him murdered immediately.
So Ned raised his sister’s son as his own and his name is Jon Snow.
Obviously, Daenerys is shocked by this news and she wonders if it’s accurate, considering it came from Jon’s brother and best friend. Jon promises that the information is real, whether they like it or not.
“If it were true, it would make you the last male heir of House Targaryen. You’d have a claim to the Iron Throne.”
Before Jon can answer, the horns sound and they both run outside where they find they find everybody staring off in the distance.
A few dead horsehooves land in the snow as the army of the dead has finally arrived as the White Walkers lead the charge with Winterfell just a few hundred yards away. The great war is finally upon us.
‘Game of Thrones’ will return next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET for the longest episode of the series as the living battle the dead at Winterfell…