“Game of Thrones – Season Eight – “A Knight of Seven Kingdoms” (2009-2019)

Fantasy

Six Episodes

Created for HBO by: David Benioff and D. B. Weiss based on A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

Featuring: Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gwendoline Christie and Alfie Allen

Jamie“I swore to fight for the living, that is a promise I intend to keep.”

Arya Stark:“First, I robbed you.”

There can be fewer television shows going today that are more closely watched than “Game of Thrones” (2009-2019), especially as the production has been cloaked in secrecy that has only increased from year to year, this has been magnified by the fact that there has not been a new episode in almost two years. Another reason that there has been so much secrecy is that this eighth season is also the shows last which has only heightened expectation as well as fans and news outlets offering their own theories about how it will all end, who will live, who will die and what will be the fate of the seven kingdoms of the fictional Westeros. 

“Game of Thrones” (after a reportedly terrible pilot) has introduced new actors as well as directors and writers while at the same time blending them with more experienced and veteran talent which ten years felt refreshing but now in this final season it could be said that the entire cast (those that are left) are all now strong veterans who are on a victory lap of sorts no matter how the plot unfolds and resolves itself. 

This episode (as well as the last one) really are all laying groundwork for episode three which is going to be the battle for Winterfell which means elements need to be set in place, not only that but as an audience we need to be let in on truths as well as questions. Of course any new questions that are posed need to be paid off in the next four episodes, that means for a change we are going to have a conclusion. Last week was all about reunions, that is for the perceived ‘good guys’, they not only had some nice moments but also set up what is to happen this week as well as next. Of course the two biggest reveals were, Jon, finding out about his Targaryen background, and then Jamie coming face to face with Bran, which was where we left the episode.

Once again though this is another episode where we call back to previous seasons and where relationships that have been formed now come into play and actually mean something for once. In previous seasons it has seemed that we have seen characters randomly put together but now those relationships have had payoffs in this episode on multiple occasions, such as Jamie and Brienne, Tyrion and Jorah, Sansah and Theon as well as many many more. Of course in the opening we see a small showdown with Jamie and Daenerys, who decides the fate of the one time Kingslayer. As well as that there are still smaller battles being waged on multiple fronts, the more obvious one being between Daenerys and the now ‘Joan of Arc’ looking Sansah who seems just as entitled as Daenerys which is a false attitude for both to have, especially as his heritage was revealed last week.

Another element that comes through is the question of what happens after both the war with the dead as well as the war with Cersei. We have multiple scenes with questions about what happens after, no-one really knows if they will even survive the battles to come which is a reality that comes to pass as not all will be triumphant. Along with that we also witness some of the main characters reminiscing on better times, which is an age old trope on the eve of any major battle. This trope is played out to its fullest, it not only builds tension but sets the table for all the major characters, it either acts as a goodbye or a cementing of their importance for the story that is going to unfold in the final half of the season. What all the conversations illustrate is the redemptive arc that almost all the characters have travelled as well as the alliances that have now been formed for better or for worse. There are conversations that mainly revolve around death which is again is part of the trope of the the eve of battle where they all recount the many battles they have survived as well as the very real situation they find themselves in. Two of my favorite parts of this episode happen in one location, where Jamie Knights Brienne, something she has wanted her entire life which cements the importance of these two to each other, it is not a sex scene but it is as close as they get. My other highlight is when
Tormund Giantsbane discloses how he came by his surname (which many people will know is a bastardisation of Giantsbabe), it is a great story that I though we would never hear, but it is a real treat.

There does seem to be too many people heading for the crypts, I wonder if they realize how many people are buried beneath as well as the power in the undead army which can raise the dead, I am assuming that those people are going to have fight the undead anyway regardless of where they are.

Of course this episode ends with the approach of the Night King and his army, although we did not actually see him or his ice dragon, I wonder the fate of that being in the episodes to come. Of course the question is who will perish from the Winterfell side in the next episode, I think it goes without saying that Theon is for it, which is fitting considering his sins from previous seasons. I assume there must be a high body count that will consist of many of the characters we have come to know and love, but who will make it to the battle to come at Kings Landing? I would assume that Tyrion as well as Jon, Daenerys, Sansah are really the only guaranteed survivors, everybody else is fair game.

Looking forward we know there is going to be two episodes that will be devoted to massive battles clocking in at around an hour and a half so outside of those we will possibly have more narrative based episodes which will be good counter programming as well as hopefully sorting out storylines from previous seasons. Some of the elements of the show that I hope we will see is some actual magic as well as more story based episodes. I also think that Bran should and needs to be explained more, some of the actual rules for him are confusing, I mean shouldn’t he be able to know anything, very odd. So onward to next week and the biggest Game of Thrones episode ever which is saying something, I cannot wait.

Episode One: “Winterfell”

Written by: Bryan Cogman Directed by: David Nutter

The battle at Winterfell is approaching. Jaime is confronted with the consequences of the past. A tense interaction between Sansa and Daenerys follows.

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