And then there were four. After the long anticipated return of Game of Thrones, you could argue that the 2nd episode of the season had even more anticipation. Because the first one was the “recap and reunion” episode if you will, while the second episode was about pushing things forward in a big way. Or so they hoped. And that’s I why I ask you to read this Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2 Review full before you potentially berate me for what I’m about to say in regards to my feelings on the episode.
The problem with “A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms” was that it honestly felt like an extension of “Winterfell”, the season premiere. And while that would be a good thing most times, the problem here, and the problem that many are noting online, is that “Winterfell” was basically a talking episode. The only thing “action-packed” that happened was the dragon ride and then the encounter at The Last Hearth. But this episode…didn’t even have that.
Granted, there were many scenes that were poignant, or important, or very well shot. Such as the opening with Jaime Lannister facing his roasters in Dany and Sansa. And Dany calling out Tyrion for yet another failed plan was very nice. Oh, and Bran’s “the things we do for love” line had to be one of the coolest burns ever despite him “not being Brann anymore”.
The Sansa/Dany scene was great too, as was Theon’s return, the drinking by the fire scene, and certain others. But while I am all for character drama, there was barely a sense of action in the entire episode. The best we got here was the sparring scene with Pod (who looks very grown up right now) and the preparations of the Battle For Winterfell that we now can CONFIRM is next week…seven very long days away.
Now, I grant you, the Battle For Winterfell will be an epic slog of a matchup that will apparently last the entire episode, and we still will have Cersei Lannister to deal with afterward. But there’s a difference between setting the stage, and dedicating multiple hours to that stage being set up. Game of Thrones has thrived on being able to balance the character moments and great acting with action and moments that helped define each episode in a non-talking way. Even the pilot had action in a non-combat sort of way and that’s why it was so enjoyable.
That’s not to say that this wasn’t enjoyable, this episode will get a good score, but there were some scenes that were either weird, hard to watch, or confusing. A great example is Arya. While Arya was brilliant in the premiere between the “arrival” scene and her reunion with Jon, The Hound, and Gendry, here…not so much.
She had another talk with the Hound…that literally went nowhere. And while I loved the line about her not spending her last night in the world with “two old s**ts”, it was still an odd scene that had no clear purpose. And then…there was the Gendry scene. Not the forge scene, that was fine, but the one AFTER that. Yeah, THAT scene.
Yes, if you look at my review last week, you’ll see that I was more than happy to see Arya and Gendry get together eventually. Keyword…EVENTUALLY! They literally bull-rushed us into it. And yeah, I know, that’s exactly how Arya would do it…but it just felt hollow. If you look on line, there’s a big divide between loving the scene because of Arya “getting some” and not loving the scene because of the timing and ‘age” of Arya and Maisie Williams. I personally didn’t like it because of storytelling reasons.
And while I liked the Grey Worm and Missande scene in theory, it just felt too on the nose. Plus, we know they were going to be together after what happened in Season 7, did we NEED to hear them say they would be together after the war ended? I don’t think we did.
It’s the little details that can make or break an episode. Like the Sansa/Dany scene. I LOVED that scene…until Sansa’s “What about the North?” question. Sure, it makes sense that she asked it, but it’s another case of “politics” getting in the way of “common sense”. She’s worried about what might come after (which in this case is guaranteed a few months down the “timeline”) instead of the fight that’s in front of her. All because she doesn’t trust Dany. How does that make sense?
Plus, while there were great scenes in great places, and touching characters moments like Davos and Gilly talking to the young girl who wanted to fight, or the “Our Watch Begins) scene, but some of it was really on the nose and predictable. Such as that final scene…
Yes, Jon finally told Dany who he was, and instead of acting shocked, or horrified at what was just revealed to her, Dany went full dragon and got mad because Jon now has a claim to the throne. And because Jon could answer her…the horn blew for the battle to start. How convenient.
Enough about the low points though! This Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2 Review will end with the talk of the internet! Brienne has been knighted!
As I noted earlier, I loved how that fireside chat came to be with both main and supporting characters coming together to get warm before the winter death arrives. And it was the little moments that made it so much fun even before the knighting scene. Tyrion talking about past battles and their “experiences”, Tormund revealing how he got his name and still trying to impress Brienne. Pod and Tyrion drinking even though they shouldn’t, it was great fun.
And then…the knighting scene. There was nothing in that scene that was wrong or out of place. Tormund’s “F**k tradition” line, Brienne’s early acceptance of her ‘fate’ in regards to being a person who can’t be a knight, and then Jaime realizing that he can do something pure and decent right then, right there, and he did it without hesitation or asking for reward.
But what really sealed it for me was the clapping, the toasting, and then Brienne’s reaction to it all, a very pure and innocent smile and laugh about how she finally was a knight. Gwendoline Christie is an amazing actress, I knew it before, but this sealed the deal.
“A Knight Of the Seven Kingdoms” is going to be a very divisive episode, that much is very clear. You’ll either hail it as a masterpiece of storytelling (as I have already seen online), or, you’ll think it’s too “talk heavy” and full of fluff before the “real” season begins.
I did enjoy this episode, but I won’t deny that it’s one that has made me think about how much I liked it. And usually I don’t have to do that with Game of Thrones. Either way, onto the Battle For Winterfell.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2 Review
For those desiring a lot of action, “A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms” isn’t for you, but despite its faults, there are some amazing character scenes that drive it forward just enough to last us until next week.