HBO tried their best but there’s only so much you can do when people around you have got twitchy fingers. The second episode of Game of Thrones season 8 was leaked online thanks to someone in the German division of Amazon Prime. It has since been uploaded to zillion websites. The first episode, ‘Winterfell’ as you’d recall, was leaked an hour early. This really isn’t a great time to be the HBO chief right now!
Coming to the meat of the matter, Episode 2, titled ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’, is very different from what we’re used to expect from Game of Thrones. Fifty-five minutes just flashed right in from of my eyes without anyone dying, nor did the location move away from Winterfell. There was talk of death, of course, and plenty of drinking, and some intimate moments with…Arya Stark. Wait, did I just spoil it for you? This is a written update, mate. The headline says it all. Do stick around for some more spoilers.
‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’ begins right after Jamie Lannister’s arrival at Winterfell. He soon finds himself in front of a committee consisting of Daenerys Targaryen, Sansa and Bran Stark, Jon Snow, his brother Tyrion, and a few others. The group debate over Jamie’s arrival at Winterfell while Tyrion tries to defend his brother. We realise that ol’ Jamie has switched sides for good. He intends to keep his promise of helping the fight against the White Walkers and reveals Cersei Lannister’s deepest, darkest secrets – the one about betraying their alliance.
Lady Brienne steps in to vouch for Jamie, following which Sansa allows him to stay in the castle. Dany looked scandalised that her authority as queen was being undermined. She immediately turned to her boo, Jon Snow, for support. Jon echoes Sansa. The animosity between Sansa and Dany continues, though, at this point, it is reduced to a few glares. As Jamie reveals Cersei’s plans, we realise that Sansa was the most rational of the lot, predicting her moves in ‘Winterfell’. Tyrion gets a talking to from Dany, for failing her repeatedly as the Hand of the Queen. In this case, he had failed to predict Cersei's betrayal.
Gendry is back, and this time, Arya clearly has the hots for him. While he’s busy working himself to death at the smithy, the youngest Stark sister observes him surreptitiously. However, she also wants to check on her new weapon – the one she tasked Gendry to design in ‘Winterfell’. Arya took the opportunity to show off some of her mad skills with throwing knives, scaring, and also impressing the lad. Way to go, girl!
Next up, we FINALLY get to see Bran and Jamie have a little chat. Jamie apologies to him for shoving him out of the tower window all those years ago. But Bran has moved on. He’s now sage-like and serene. You could butcher a direwolf in front of him and he’d never give a damn. Bran reveals that he’s no longer what he used to be, that he’s changed and no longer pissed at Jamie for nearly killing him. Their chat turns pretty unnerving quickly. Bran concedes that he never told anyone about Jamie trying to kill him because they needed him to stay alive and fight. And when the Kingslayer asked him about his plans after the war, the crippled soothsayer simply said: “How do you know there’s an afterwards?’ Yikes!
We get a look at the streets of Winterfell and it is evident that the castle is gearing up for a siege. Tyrion catches Jamie and the brothers catch up. Did you know, Tyrion’s idea of a nice death is to die on a bed, aged 80, with a belly full of wine and a girl’s mouth wrapped around…well you know what! Jamie spots Brienne training some recruits, and Podrick too. The latter has managed to learn how to use a sword, so there’s some hope for him after all. Moving on, Jamie initiates a bit of small talk with Brienne before blurting out that he wants to be under her command in the army.
Ser Jorah meets Daenerys for a heat-to-heart. The old, friendzoned knight drove some sense into the queen, who’s so hell-bent on claiming that ugly throne that she began undermining Tyrion’s intellect. He literally began to help the same dude who stole his job as the queen's hand! Cupid has a sick sense of humour, I must say. However, this was more of a professional chat. As Queensguard to Dany, and her friend, he makes the young queen rediscover the art of forgiveness and give Tyrion a break. Failure or not, the dwarf is still one of the smartest men in Westeros. He also has another suggestion: talk it out with Sansa.
The Lady of Winterfell is, as I observed before, changed markedly. She’s not knitting sweaters for the winter, but running logistics when Dany pops up. At first, seems like Dany is simply clearing the air between them, pledging her love for Jon, trying to convince Sansa that she’s just her tryna be her new BFF, and that she’s actually fighting her brother’s war. But Sansa is smart and sharp with her words. All that mollycoddling from Dany couldn’t make her forget about the future of the North once the war is over. Whom does it belong to? Daenerys, a Targaryen? Or the Starks, who’ve held it for centuries, and have now reclaimed it? Dany doesn’t have a good enough comeback and removes her hand from Sansa’s. Top marks to Winterfell’s new Lady for pulling that off.
Daenerys doesn’t get to answer, as the group is now interrupted by Theon Greyjoy, who returned to Winterfell with news. His sister Yara, is taking back the Iron Islands in the name of Dany. Sansa is happy to see him back and safe.
Meanwhile, the Night’s Watch made it to Winterfell and is greeted by an overjoyed Jon. Good lord, there seems to be no end to reunions! It’s like episode one never ended. Tormund is obsessed about meeting the ‘big woman’, Brienne. The arrival of the Crows, however, does speed things up a notch, as they dump a huge load of dung on Jon’s happiness: the army of the dead is just a few hours away and “whoever’s not here now, is with them.”
The lords, ladies, and advisors convened for a meeting with Jon and Dany. There’s a lot of strategizing that takes place and for the first time since the first episode, Bran looked useful. The Night King has his mark on him, essentially making the kid a homing beacon, a sort of GPS if you will, for the dead king to descend upon. The group decide to use Bran as bait and keep reinforcements at the ready. Theon vows to be with Bran in this expedition. The idea is to kill the Night King swiftly, coz if he dies, his hold over his army will also go with him. Meanwhile, it seems Dany has got over her mood swings and forgave Tyrion. She needs him for his mind. So the Imp has to stay safe in the crypt and not go out into the fray.
Missandei and Grey Worm have a moment together, planning their future after the war. On the ramparts, Jon and Sam catch up, with the former revealing that he hasn’t told Dany about his heritage. Like a loyal friend, Sam advises Jon on how to tell his lover that she’s actually his aunt. Whoever wrote this script really knows how to tickle the funny bones.
Down in the cosier part of the castle, Jamie and Tyrion share a drink by the fire, talking about simpler times. They’re soon joined by Pod, Brienne, Ser Davos, and Tormund (who desperately needs a wingman to impress Brienne). Of course, with Tyrion in charge of the wine goblet, everyone takes a swig. Tell you what, if I had to wage a war, I’d definitely need a Tyrion and a bunch of homeboys talking smack about everything. Perfect ‘bro’ moment! During the drink-and-tell session, Jamie knighted Brienne.
The Hound and Arya catch up on the ramparts. They’re joined by Beric Dondarion, but Arya leaves them quickly as the older men get into a squabble. She has better things to do, such as inspecting her new weapon and asking Gendry how many women he’s slept with. Arya, of course, hasn’t dated anyone, and with war looming, her teenage hormones are like ‘what the heck, let’s do it!’ Word of advice: plan these things ahead. It was depressing to see the two of them struggle to take off their clothes.
Lyanna Mormont is still the badass that she was, telling Ser Jorah that she’ll fight and not hide in the crypts. Sam catches up with them and presents Jorah with his family’s sword. Sam knows he can’t fight, so believes the sword should be put to better use.
We finally have Jon standing at the crypts, having a last look at his mum’s statue. Daenerys joins him. After nearly 52 minutes into ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,’ Jon finally reveals his secret. Dany doesn’t believe it at first but Jon tries to convince her. She is shocked to realise that Jon, aka Aegon Targaryen, has more claim to the Iron Throne than her. That has got to sting, no doubt.
Before long, a bugle is sounded. The White Walkers have arrived at Winterfell. Finally, we’re close to a battle. It’s time now for episode three!