TL;DR – A moment to catch our
breath before the onslaught is unleashed.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
You know, Game of Thrones is known for its sweeping storylines that explore events happening across continents. However, there are times in the show’s history where a bunch of main and supporting cast find themselves in the one location, and if you know anything about the history of the show, that is never a good thing. Well today, we look at an episode that is the calm before the coming storm, when everything is still but you can see the dark clouds and cracking lighting on the horizon.
So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s Winterfell a number of big plot bombs got dropped on us. There was the big news of John (Kit Harington) finally finding out who his real mother and father from Samwell (John Bradley). There was the growing sense that The North is not fond of being under anyone’s rule again. After fleeing from the destruction of The Wall in The Dragon and the Wolf Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) comes across the dead ruins of the Last Hearth and also finds the survivors of The Night’s Watch where they discover that the dead are on the move and heading straight for the Capital of the North. In the final shot, Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) arrives in Winterfell only to find Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) waiting for him, and this is where today’s episode starts off. Jamie is fighting for his life after pretty much betraying, or being at war at some point with everyone in the room. With only Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), who no one cares about in this case, and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) who people do care about, standing for him. However, while revenge would be nice, the dead are coming and they need every sword. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
is an episode that could have almost gotten away with having a 24-style clock timer count down because every
part of it was focused on that last reveal. Everyone is rushing to get ready
for a battle they know that best they probably won’t survive and at worst will
be just a blip in the march down the continent. You feel this dread and
resignation that no matter how much Tyrion speaks to the contrary, that most of
the people there have realised that there is a very slim chance that most of
them will see the dawn. There is an oncoming storm of dead coming for them, and
no matter how many battles they have miraculously survived, they know that few
if any will make it out of this one.
Well, what do people do when they see the coming abyss, they do what they do here. You prepare and plan for you to succeed, even if you don’t think it will be successful, because that is the way that might have a chance to get out of it. You may find solace in a quiet place alone, find a fire to warm yourself by, find some company to warm yourself by, reconcile with someone from your past, or even forge new friendships. Or you could be Tormund and completely not read the room and if they want to hear about the time you killed a giant and suckled at its wife’s teat for a good long while.
gave the show time to look at some relationships that had been neglected last
week and who are important for us to reconnect with before we maybe see them
die next week. Some of these were just little vignettes like with Lyanna (Bella
Ramsey) chastising Jorah (Iain Glen) for insisting that she go into the crypts
with the rest of the women and children. Goodness is Bella Ramsey a wonderful
find for the show, in every scene she is in she projects confidence and a ‘take
no crap’ attitude that means that you buy every moment she stands up to those seeking
to tear her down. So when she walked away with her men as a leader, you 100% bought
it. There was also some more visual storytelling, like how Podrick (Daniel
Portman) is now the one training fighters.
There were also more important reconnections that happened to pay off some storylines going all the way back to the first episode of the show. There was, of course, the conversations between Bran and Jamie in the Godswood under the weirwood tree. “The things we do for love” was the last time they talked but here we see that in the years since they have both become different people. We have Arya (Maisie Williams) finding one moment of happiness after Gendry (Joe Dempsie) brings her the weapon she requested. Also, we have the moment where Jamie makes Brienne an official Night of the Seven Kingdoms. It is here where we also discover that Daniel Portman has a beautiful singing voice. However, as you watch these touching moments like Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) plan out their post-conflict lives, you can’t help but think that the only reason the show is showing us this is because this is not a place where happy endings happen.
this was an episode of coming together and preparing for the coming storm, it
was also an episode where fractures have started to appear. Now all the Starks
are back in Winterfell, there is this clear feeling that The North is coming
together and that Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) does not have the social capital to
force her rule here, not while they are alive. There is this moment where Sansa
(Sophie Turner) and her are having a private moment, trying to build some sort
of relationship after a rocky start because they are both women who have had to
fight to be recognised. However, it because clear that they both have different
priorities. It is also clear that for Sansa family is everything, which we see
almost immediately as she greats Theon (Alfie Allen) the man who once betrayed
her entire family as a brother. Also after flying with Dragons last week, there
is a clear rift between John and Danni, which is amplified when he finally
tells her who his parents are, and that goes down like a ton of bricks. The
moment he told her, I had flashbacks to Ned telling Cersei (Lena Headey) to
take her children and leave. The Starks, always doing the noble thing, at their
In the end, do we recommend A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms? Yes, yes we do. This was an action-heavy episode, without a lot of action. It was a time for us to have only last moment with these characters before it all falls apart. To be honest, I am not really ready for next week and the carnage that is about to be let loose.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Game of Thrones
Directed by – David Nutter
Written by – Bryan Cogman
Based off – A Song of Fire and Ice by George R.R. Martin
Created for TV by – David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Music by – Ramin Djawadi
Production/Disruption Companies – Home Box Office (HBO)
Starring in Season 8 – Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Liam Cunningham, Nathalie Emmanuel, Alfie Allen, Joe Dempsie, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, John Bradley, Hannah Murray, Gwendoline Christie, Conleth Hill, Rory McCann, Jerome Flynn, Kristofer Hivju, Jacob Anderson & Iain Glen with Pilou Asbæk, Anton Lesser, Richard Dormer, Gemma Whelan, Ben Crompton, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, Daniel Portman, Bella Ramsey, Rupert Vansittart, Marc Rissmann, Richard Rycroft, Megan Parkinson and Seamus O’Hara, Staz Nair, Bea Glancy, Lucy McConnell, Conor Maguire, Thomas Finnegan, Logan Watson, Finn Watson, Fionnuala Murphy & Rosa Frazer