The eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” continues with “A Knight in the Seven Kingdoms”. Everyone has assembled at Winterfell. The White Walkers are coming. But they’re not here yet, and there’s a long night ahead.
The episode opens with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster Waldau) answering for his crimes before Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and the Starks, a truly tense and gripping scene that answers a question we’ve had since as far back as the first season. How will Dany react when she comes face to face with the man who murdered her father? This scene didn’t go on for as long as I thought it would, and that’s probably a good thing. Daenerys’s reaction to Jaime’s presence is limited to a few (incredibly powerful) lines at the start, before Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) steps in to save the day, vouching for her friend.
This scene didn’t go on for as long as I thought it would, and that’s probably a good thing. Daenerys’s reaction to Jaime’s presence is limited to a few (incredibly powerful) lines at the start, before Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) steps in to save the day, vouching for her friend.
This scene is a reminder of just how far the character of Jaime has come since the first episode. From cocky, murderous knight to moralistic, righteous hero, this is probably the biggest character development of the series, and it all comes to a head here, with Jaime choosing to join the side of good against the tyranny of his sister. All of this is, of course, played masterfully by Waldau, who again proves himself as one of the series’ greatest assets.
From this, we move onto another hotly-anticipated reunion: that between Jaime and Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright). Though the characters interacted for literally 30 seconds in the first episode, there’s so much history between them that makes their meeting in the Godswood one of the tensest scenes in the show. Shockingly, Bran doesn’t seem to care much about Jaime’s presence, which lets last week’s cliffhanger down a little, but I suppose being the Three Eyed Raven leaves him with some rather different concerns. Oh well.
A meeting that is by no means short of tension is that between Dany and Sansa (Sophie Turner). The moment where the two held hands and reconciled was heartwarming, but Sansa’s demands about the North were equally as awesome. Again, this shows just how much character development has happened across the series; from sniveling, bratty child to headstrong, determined Lady of Winterfell, Sansa has been on such an enormous journey throughout the last seven seasons, and it’s summed up perfectly with this confrontation.
Clarke’s stony reaction, pulling away her hand, was perfectly played as well, showing that she’s determined to forgo any amity between herself and Sansa if it means getting what she wants: all seven of Westeros’s kingdoms. I’ll be interested to see how this dynamic continues to grow in the remaining four episodes.
The main emotional core of the episode comes down to Brienne, who this episode is titled after. Her wide-eyed grin after being knighted by Jaime has got to be one of the most triumphant and joyful moments in the whole show, and I really hope nothing bad happens to her next week because, and I hate to say it, happiness in Game of Thrones rarely lasts long.
We are treated to a slight stylistic change towards the end of the episode, with director David Nutter and writer Brian Cogman opting to include a montage of all the characters accompanied by Podrick (Daniel Portman)‘s incredible vocals. This sequence is one of my absolute favourite moments in the entirety of the show, elevating this episode to being my favourite of the season so far and one of the best overall.
And next week, the White Walkers are coming. Exciting stuff!
Overall, another more character-driven episode, with no major happenings save for Jon’s revelation to Daenerys of his true parentage. The peace and quiet can’t last for long, though, and next week looks sure to be a most exciting episode.
Game of Thrones continues next week at 9PM on HBO