(SPOILERS AHEAD!) Last week’s episode of Game of Thrones ended with a double whammy: Jon Snow finally learned that he is, in fact, Aegon Targaryen: true heir to the Iron Throne and — this cannot be stressed enough — nephew of his current lover, Daenerys Targaryen. We also saw the much-memed meeting between Jaime Lannister and Bran, who locked eyes for the first time since the Kingslayer pushed the now Three-Eyed Raven out of a tower way back in the pilot episode, after Bran caught Jaime having intimate relations with his sister, Cersei.
But we start this week’s episode, titled “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” with Jaime having a meeting with Daenerys, who has a personal grudge with this particular Lannister.
Jaime, of course, earned his Kingslayer nickname after killing Dany’s father, “The Mad King” Aerys II Targaryen. However, Dany has bigger things on her mind than just revenge. She questions Jaime about Cersei’s whereabouts, and if she plans to send her armies to help fight the Night King and the White Walkers, as she promised.
Jaime admits that Cersei never had any intention of sending an army to assist them, and has, in fact, enlisted Euron Greyjoy and the Golden Company army-for-hire to mop up anyone left after the fight against the Dead. Jaime, however, declares that he’s here to “fight for the living.”
Jaime’s brother, Tyrion, jumps to his defense, but Dany still doesn’t trust Jaime — and, in a rare moment of agreement, neither does Sansa. After all, he’s done terrible things to both of their families. Jaime defends his actions, saying he was at war and was simply protecting his house and family. That’s when Bran mutters the statement “The things we do for love” — which, of course, is what Jaime said before he pushed him out that window. Jaime reacts with stunned silence.
Not knowing what that’s all about, Dany asks Jaime why he’s now chosen to to abandon his house and family. Jaime says this war is more about that: it’s about survival.
Now it’s Brienne’s turn to defend Jaime, declaring him a man of honor. When questioned by Sansa, Brienne vouches for Jaime and says she would fight beside him. That answer satisfies Sansa, who rules that Jaime will be allowed to stay.
A surprised Dany turns to Jon, who’s so far remained quiet. Now he simply says, “We need every man we can get.” He then walks out of the room, leaving everyone to look awkwardly at one another, which is a running theme in this episode.
Dany’s also angry at Tyrion, her chief advisor, who seems to be messing up a lot these days. He admits he’s a fool for having believed his sister, Cersei, and Dany threatens to find another Hand of the Queen if doesn’t get his “I’m the cleverest man alive” thing back together.
Arya visits Gendry in the blacksmith quarters to check on the progress of the dragonglass weapon she asked him to make for her. She asks him about what it’s like to fight the White Walkers, and after some vague description, Gendry declares, “They’re like death.” That, of course, doesn’t at all frighten Arya Stark. “I know death; he’s got many faces,” she declares. “I look forward to seeing this one.”
Speaking of awkward encounters: Following his discussion with Dany and Sansa, Jaime decides to talk to Bran. He apologizes for pushing him out of the window and leaving him paralyzed, and seems surprised that Bran’s not angry, unaware of his whole “I have no emotions since I’m the Three-Eyed Raven” thing. Jaime asks why Bran didn’t tell everyone what he did, and Bran simply replies that Jaime can’t help them fight the Army of the Dead if he’s already dead.
Jaime then meets with his brother, Tyrion, and the Lannister-hating Northerners spit on the ground whenever they see the duo. Jaime notices a similar distaste among the Northerners for the Mother of Dragons, but Tyrion assures that she’s better than her ruthless Targaryen ancestors.
Tyrion then turns the conversation to Cersei, and asks if she was also lying about being pregnant. Jaime says that part is real. While Tyrion laments that he’ll probably die in Winterfell, he takes satisfaction that Cersei won’t be the one to kill him, and holds out hope that if he’s turned into a White Walker, he’ll be able to drag his zombie self to King’s Landing and kill his sister.
While Tyrion chatters on, Jaime watches Brienne train. He finds her later and the two talk military strategy for bit, until Brienne demands to know what the hell is going on — after all, they’ve never had a conversation this long without Jaime insulting Brienne. Jaime admits that he came to Winterfell because he’s not the fighter he used to be, and offers his service as a soldier — under Brienne’s command. They part awkwardly.
Meanwhile, Dany gets some advice from Ser Jorah. He says that while he didn’t like Tyrion and first, he’s since warmed up to him, and suggests that Dany forgive her Hand. He also suggests Dany mend fences with Sansa.
Dany agrees and meets with Sansa, and the two discuss their disagreement over Jaime, and who’s fault it is that Cersei tricked them. However, they start to bond over their shared family history, being women in charge, and the insanity of the world in which they live. They really make a connection over Jon, whom they both love, albeit in different ways.
Dany says that before meeting Jon, her only goal was to exact revenge against those who wronged her family and then retake the Iron Throne. But once she met the lovable apparent bastard, Jon, she joined him in Winterfell to fight the war against the Dead. She says she loves Jon and trusts him, and that’s only the second man she could say that about. “Who was the first?” Sansa wonders. “Someone taller,” Dany replies, referring to the late Khal Drogo, played by Jason Momoa. Score one for Aquaman.
But Sansa still has questions. What happens after the battle against the Night King? Simple: Dany takes the Iron Throne, she says. “What about the North?” Sansa replies. Her homeland still wants its independence. There’s a frosty pause but before Dany can answer, they’re interrupted by the arrival of Theon Greyjoy. He declares his intention to fight for Winterfell and regain the trust of the Starks, and Sansa tearfully embraces her foster brother.
On the ground, Davos gives some soldiers a pep talk regarding the battle to come, while Gilly directs the elderly to the Winterfell crypt for safety. Davos sees a young girl with burns on her face who wants to fight in the battle — she possibly reminds him of Stannis Baratheon’s late daughter, Shireen, with whom he had a bond. But Dvos and Gilly convince the girl to stay in the crypt to help defend everyone.
Meanwhile, the Northern crew — which includes the Night’s Watch brother, Eddison Tollet, the wildling Tormund Giantsbane and the Lord of Light-worshipping Beric Dondarrion — finally arrive in Winterfell. They tell Jon that the Northern House Umber has been defeated by the White Walkers, and anyone who hasn’t made it to Winterfell yet is now fighting for the Night King. They also declare that the Army of the Dead will arrive before the sun comes up the next day. Tormund then cuts the tension by asking the whereabouts of “the big woman” — referring, of course, to his crush, Brienne.
Everyone gathers for a meeting to strategize for the upcoming battle. Jon posits that if they take down the Night King, the rest of the White Walkers will fall. Bran says they’ll be able to isolate the Night King by using him as bait — the Night King, Bran explains, is hellbent on killing him, because he’s the Three-Eyed Raven. The Night King wants an endless night, and the Thee-Eyed Raven contains all the memories of the world. To kill him would be to erase all knowledge of all things.
Bran further explains that he’s marked, and the Night King will always know where he is. Theon volunteers to stay with him, and Bran agrees. Dany tells Tyrion that he should stay in the crypt, as she needs his mind to survive the battle.
Davos helpfully points out that having dragons on the battlefield should help them. Arya asks if dragonfire will stop the Night King, and Bran, for the probably the first time ever since becoming the Three-Eyed Raven, replies, “I don’t know.”
We then cut to a number of groups of people preparing for the battle. The Unsullied commander, Grey Worm, and Dany’s adviser, Missandei, speak about having a life together after the war. Sam asks Jon if he’s told Dany yet he’s true lineage and that they’re actually related. Jon replies no, and suggests that Sam stay in the crypt for the battle. Sam then rattles off his resume, which includes being the first person to kill a White Walker, and convinces Jon to let him fight.
Meanwhile, Tyrion and Jaime sit by a fire, drink wine and reminisce about their first visit to Winterfell, all the way back in season one. Brienne and her squire, Podrick, then enter the room, followed by Davos and Tormund. They all sit together and drink, and Tormund explains the lovely story behind his Giantsbane moniker, which includes killing a giant and then being breast-fed by his giant wife. The whole scene makes a pretty good argument that this should’ve been the show the entire time.
We then cut to Arya, who meets up with her frenemy the Hound, and the two drink together. Beric then joins them, and he and the Hound trade gravelly voiced banter and insults. Arya decides to leave and look for company that’s less “miserable.”
She finds that company in Gendry, who’s built her requested weapon: a double-pointed dragonglass spear that would make Darth Maul jealous. Gendry also reveals that he’s a bastard son of former king Robert Baratheon, which Arya then turns into an awkward conversation about Gendry’s sexual history. Arya says she wants to know what it feels like to sleep with someone before she dies, and puts the move on a willing Gendry. They kiss and undress, revealing Arya’s many scars, to Gendry’s surprise.
Back to Tyrion and company. He optimistically declares that they might survive the battle: after all, they’ve all survived many a fight. As he rattles off everyone’s battle stats, Brienne shares that she’s not a knight, as women aren’t allowed. Tormund says that if he was a king, he’d knight Brienne. Jaime then clarifies a king’s not needed to knight someone — any knight can do it.
Jaime then asks Brienne to kneel before him. After some hesitation, she accepts, and her former traveling companion officially makes Ser Brianne of Tarth her a Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. Everybody claps and cheers, and it suddenly gets very dusty in Winterfell.
Outside, the fierce Lyanna Mormont argues with her cousin, Ser Jorah, who pleads with her to stay in the crypt instead of fight. Seriously, this episode should’ve been called “You Should Stay in the Crypt and Other Awkward Conversations.” She declares that she will take the battlefield and that’s the end of it. Sam Tarly then interrupts and offers Jorah his family’s sword.
We then see a final montage of battle preparations as Podrick sings a plaintive song called “Jenny of the Oldstones.” The closing credits also feature a rendition of the song, performed by Florence + the Machine.
But before we get to the credits, there’s still one piece of business to settle. Danerys finds Jon in front of a statue of Lyanna Stark — who, unbeknownst to Dany, is his real mother. And just like Sam did in the last episode, Jon reveals the truth: he’s Aegon Targaryen, son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, and true heir to the Iron Throne.
Dany says that’s impossible, but Jon insists he knows it to be true. Before anything more can be settled, we hear the horns of battle ring out, and we see the Army of the Dead approaching.
There are only four episodes of Game of Thrones left. Episode three premieres Sunday night, April 28, on HBO.
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