The second episode of the final season has aired and we still haven’t received the epic battle we were promised. Instead, we get something even better – a steamy romance scene and Podrick singing. All of our favorite characters wait in Winterfell for the army of the dead to arrive, interacting in ways they have never done before.
Firstly, we watch Jamie become accepted into Winterfell thanks to Brienne of Tarth who steps up to defend his honor. He then makes amends with Brandon Stark, who reminds us that if Jamie had not have pushed him out the window seven seasons ago, he would not have become the Three-Eyed Raven. Later in the episode, Jamie and Tyrian discuss the absurdity of them defending the North and toast to the perils of self-betterment.
The Lannister brothers are then joined by Brienne and Podrick who gather around the fire to have what could be their last ever drink. Tormund then appears to provide some much-needed comic relief and then shares what may just be the most bizarre story of the entire series. The strange scene is followed by one of the most emotional moments yet – Lady Brienne finally becomes a knight. The fierce and powerful woman is not one for smiling but when she receives her new title from Jamie himself, she beams from ear to ear while we wipe away our tears.
There were too many tender and powerful moments to mention but one that we cannot ignore was the coupling of Arya and Gendry. It’s not just that we have been rooting for them romantically, it’s that what we watched was Arya embracing the womanhood and humanity that she has been forced to suppress for the last few seasons. In the moments she embraced Gendry, she was no longer “a girl with no name” but Arya Stark, a strong and powerful woman allowing herself to give in to her human desires.
Arya may have got her big moment but many of the other interactions between characters were so ordinary that they became deeply intimate. Watching our beloved characters engage for what could be both the first and last time makes waiting for the next episode even more distressing. The battle ahead will be the greatest yet and we all know that by the end of the episode, we will have to say goodbye to some of our favorite characters on the show. These precious moments before the battle make the prospect of losing any one of them all the more upsetting.
Lastly, we can’t recap without at least mentioning Jon Snow’s big reveal to Daenerys. Kudos to Emilia Clarke and Kit Harrington who played the incredibly challenging scene perfectly. When Jon reveals the news, Daenerys frets about her claim to the throne while the wholesome Jon looks wounded that she is not more concerned about the fact they are lovers and related. Of course, incest is not outside of the norm for a Targaryen and Khalisi reminds us that she has yearned for the throne her entire life. Most of all though, we can’t help but think that the big reveal was just really bad timing. Before either could process the news, the horn sounds and the White Walkers appear. From this moment until the final episode concludes, no one is safe.
Entertainment For Us Winter Rating: Severe Weather Warning. Stay inside.