A few years ago, the New York Yankees used the phrase “Looking forward, looking back” for their marketing slogan. It’s the typical snottiness you’d expect from America’s most successful and reviled pro sports team.
It could also apply to the latest episode of Game of Thrones. “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” brought the past to the present with just about every main character:
- Sam, Jon and Dolorous Edd stood atop the wall of Winterfell to reminisce about their early days on the Night’s Watch;
- Jorah had to re-live his failures to Dany in asking her to forgive Tyrion for trusting Cersei;
- Tyrion reflected to Jamie how much things have changed since their first trip to Winterfell;
- Tyrion reminded everyone they’d all fought against the Starks at one point or another in their lives;
- Jon re-wrote Dany’s family history right before her eyes.
And then there’s Jamie. His entire character arc played out in the opening scene: Dany held judgment on his fate for his sins against her family, Bran kept the secret of what he would do for his sister’s love and Brienne put her reputation behind his reformed character. That’s seven seasons of Jamie Lannister in a nutshell.
This led me to ponder when Jamie’s story is destined to end. Did his arc come full circle when he knighted Brienne? I feel like it should have. You can’t ask a character to change more than going from pushing a kid out a window to knighting the woman who saved his life. By all rights, his tale is done and he should die in the battle with the White Walkers. Right?
I can’t believe they’d get rid of him so quickly. And that doesn’t bode well for Brienne because as wonderful as the knighting scene was, there’s zero chance they both make it to episode four.
How do you know there is an afterwards?
This episode also posed a question that’s been rare in Game of Thrones: What happens after the war for the crown? Everyone in this saga is so focused on winning that no one’s thought much about actually governing. Except Sansa, who for my money has become the most electable candidate for the throne, if I may borrow a political term. She responded to Dany’s patronizing attempt at bonding over their mutual love for Jon by asking her point blank what would happen to the North under a Queen Daenerys. Dany didn’t much care for that, and the ice grew thicker between these two.
Others looked ahead, too. Greyworm asked Missandei if she really wants to grow old in Westeros, which surely means he ain’t gonna live to join her on the beaches of Naath. Jorah tried to convince Lyanna to wait in the crypts by telling her she’s the future of House Mormont. You can image how well that went. Even Tyrion got in on the fun, hoping he’d still get to die drunk and horny before admitting it might be as much fun to die and storm Kings Landing as a wight. (By the way, did you catch Jamie lamenting his fighting days are behind him in the same scene? I’m not sayin, I’m just sayin…)
That brings us to the most interesting forward-looking moment of the night. Sam and Jorah brought their relationship full circle when Sam, who was so influenced by Jorah’s father at Castle Black, gave Jorah the Tarly family sword and said, “I’ll see you when it’s through.” But as he was walking away, the last remaining Tarly heir turned to add, “I hope we win,” because he knows they may see each other again regardless.
Brienne, Greyworm, maybe (but not likely) Jamie, maybe (but more likely?) Jorah. Beloved characters are gonna start dying next week. Will we see any of them again as White Walkers?
And now some odd and end thoughts from season eight, episode two…
This will go down as one of my favourite episodes of the series. It had more great scenes than I can count (especially Bran and Jamie in the Godswood), and it was actually funny. Like I legit giggled.
How does a battle with the White Walkers even go? The dead aren’t going to retreat. You have to literally re-kill them all. I can’t fathom the Night King being stupid enough to go after Bran unguarded, so their plan to cut off the army’s head isn’t going to work. And where is ol’ icy eyes anyway???
Sansa’s reunion with Theon felt more emotional and authentic than her reunion with Arya or Jon. They shared some of the lowest moments of their lives together. It’s wonderful to see them both in better places.
Speaking of Theon, I wonder what Bran knows about his role in the upcoming battle. The nod he gave when Theon asked to protect him was…knowing?
I was basically up off my couch cheering for Arya when she stormed Gendry’s pants. Good for her! A lot of folks on Twitter felt uncomfortable with it given that we met Arya as a child. That’s fair. It didn’t bother me. I guess watching soaps all these years has me used to child stars getting more adult material. But she’s an adult know and she takes what she wants and she wanted Gendry. It felt authentic given the circumstance. I like this loads better than if Brienne had frolicked with Tormund.
Lastly, did the pull-back shot of Tyrion looking through the gaps in the wall remind anyone else of John Locke staring down the hatch at the end of Exodus? There was even a hint of a horn in the soundtrack. Loved it.
That got me thinking then about the differences and similarities between Lost and Game of Thrones. A whole separate blog post. Except to say that here we know what the show is building toward and where it’s ending. We’ve really known it most of the way. At least since Robert was killed. But with Lost we had no idea really right up until The End.