Thoughts on Game of Thrones, Season 8 Episode 2

A third done with the final season, let’s see where we stand?


66 thoughts on “Thoughts on Game of Thrones, Season 8 Episode 2

  1. nhradar says:

    The preview gave away the reason for the “Bran in the Godswood”plan, I think. It sets us up for conflict between Jon and Danaerys, now that we have the seeds of distrust there. With him in the Godswood, D can’t protect both him and the army with the dragons. So she’ll have the opportunity to abandon him there (Theon’s heroic sacrifice!). And Jon will have to wonder if she’s trying to sacrifice Bran to thrown R+L down the memory hole.

    From a casual viewer perspective, this may also set up Jon’s heroic flight in on dragonback to kill the Night King and save Bran the way he could not save Rickon, too.

    As for Jorah as hand of the queen, well, seems sound, given how persuasive he was with Lyanna Mormont. What could go wrong?

  2. Just realized I completely forgot my will happen/won’t happen structure from episode 1.

    In terms of the will: the war coming down to the godswood is biggest on my list.

    In terms of the won’t: I’m highly skeptical that all the Brienne/Jaime stuff will happen at Winterfell; I think their storyline will end in the Riverlands and Crownlands.

    • Brett says:

      I’m pretty sure we’re going to get some scenes with Jaime and the Hound going back into King’s Landing, so they can do Clegane Bowl and have Jaime take out Cersei before opening the gates to the city.

    • Blackmambauk says:

      Bloody hell, seems the site didn’t upload my comments on this episode (think it’s due to the link i had in it). So to give the short version as i don’t gave time to rewrite it all out again. The episode was a typical walk and talk episode from D&D, with the usual Saint Tyrion comments mixed in with all the you’re stupid comments form many of the characters.

      The Gendry and Arya scene is very typical tone deaf stuff from D&D to use Gendry’s rape to lead into Arya wanting to have sex with him simply because and her to browbeat him into proving he’s a man. Which fits with their view that a male isn’t a true male unless he is a person that swears, brags about killing, loves sex and so on. Along with how a true woman is one that hates everything feminine, isn’t like other girls, is surly or aggressive. Is catty with other woman and undermines them etc. It’s a truly tone deaf message to send in a time where we are realising how toxic these lines of thoughts are and how they have impacted many people.

      Briennie’s scene in another show would be truly heartwarming, impactful and earnest, with writers that had been consistent with her character, not undermined her book arc, personality with what D&D have done with Brienne on the show as Turtle pace brilliantly details on her tumbler blog. D&D do not put in the work to earn these moments and they should be called out for it. With the amount of times they have pulled the rug on the audience for caring.

      • Thanks for the reblog!

        Yeah, as teen romances go, it’s pretty bad.

        I have to see, I did find Brienne’s knighting moving, although that mostly comes down to Gwen Christie’s radiant smile.

        • Blackmambauk says:

          No problem, you more than deserve it :).

          Gwen has consistently acted the hell out of her scenes in the show, no matter what she has been given, especially with Jaime actors, it’s why i was so frustrated with feeling little for the knighting scene, that’s how much the show has numbed me to stuff i want to always cheer for, because i feel D&D have violated the trust needed between them and the audience too many times with their antics like Shireen and stannis in season 5. With Gendry last season and so on.

          Like with Stannis actor Stephen, it’s a tragedy to me that they were denied the nuance arc that their characters have in the books on the show. Because of reasons that were D&D’s decisions.

      • Jim B says:

        I was rather “meh” on the whole Arya/Gendry thing — Maisie Williams still seems so young to me that it felt a little creepy to watch, but I thought it was handled reasonably well if the show was determined to go there.

        I’m not sure that “rape” is the right word re Gendry. My recollection of that scene was that he was consenting to all the sexual activity with Melisandre, it was when she stopped that part and brought out the leeches that he objection. Certainly a violation of his autonomy, but I wouldn’t call it rape.

        In any event, I don’t agree with your overall read on the scene. Arya wasn’t “browbeating” Gendry — she was bringing up the subject of sex and asking him whether he had done it (he mentions three women in King’s Landing), then she confessed that she hadn’t and wanted to find out before she possibly died. Honestly, the scene read like a model of mature consent-seeking dialogue, not just by the standards of this show.

        I also think that the show has explicitly rejected the whole “real women aren’t feminine/women are catty” tropes you mention. Last week’s statement by Arya that Sansa is the wisest woman she knows, and their reconciliation in general, seemed to me to be a fairly firm refutation of the “girly stuff is lame” sentiment that was fine for an immature, rebellious Arya in the early seasons. And I think the Sansa/Dany dialogue, while not the strongest part of the episode for me, did at least put some meat on the bones of their conflict and make it clear that they’re sniping because of Jon and because of broader political conflict, not because they’re worried that the other is prettier so some such trivialities. It’s not that I think you’re wrong about the show screwing up these issues at times, I just don’t think that this season has been an example — if anything, they’re cleaning up some past errors.

        • thatrabidpotato says:

          Show!Arya is 18/19 by this point, so in theory it’s perfectly all right. But I’m a book reader above all else, that’s who these characters are to me, and Book!Arya is 12 1/2 at the most by the end of Dance. The idea of Arya engaging in consensual sex with anyone is just fundamentally wrong to me no matter how many times I tell myself that the character’s situation is different in the show. I just can’t reconcile it.

          • sambocyn says:

            it’s creepy that Arya (and Sana) were very young girls at the start of the show. like wtf D&D, you then add a Sansa rape scene that wasn’t even in the book, and an Arya sex scene “as soon as Arya is 18?” it’s gross.

  3. artihcus022 says:

    Apparently Dan B. Weiss wrote most of the lyrics of Jenny of Oldstones. Martin never got beyond the first couplet because he couldn’t find the words he needed to conjure the effect. So kudos to Mr. Weiss there since it’s an addition that feels Martin-esque, and it captures the sentiments of both Tragedy at Summerhall and metaphorically the overall show and upcoming battle. I wonder if Martin can claim rights to this version or use it in his final books.

    I continue to find “Northern Independence” a cop-out even if it is basically signposted as endgame here. And I find it bizarre that Sansa would bring it to Dany when Jon already bent the knee and became Warden, and Sansa asking for independence is a) going behind Jon’s back, b) Breaking the chain of command, c) In practical terms announcing a campaign to become Queen of the North. I kind of feel that Dany is being made out of the bad guy here for doing stuff any other character, Stannis et al, would do in her position.

    Let me say, that the build-up to the Battle of Winterfell confirms some of my fears about ASOIAF and why it can potentially fail where LOTR succeeded. LOTR felt like the story of all Middle-Earth rather than “Gondor and you losers are invited”, the build-up to the Battle definitely does feel like “North and Starks and you losers are invited.” It doesn’t feel like the story of Westeros, and to me, Poor Quentyn’s Eldritch Apocalypse theory is Martin finding a way to make that into a Westeros story when Euron opens a “second front” in the Reach. The way it’s set up now, if they beat the Night King next episode, and then the finale is a battl with the GC and for KL…which I guess would be “the scouring of the shire” here. That would suck big time.

    • Trevor says:

      I agree. The show wants to put all the actors in scenes together for the final season. This completely works in the medium of a show, but it’s bonkers to think that every major character’s journey in the books is going to end in Winterfell. The Eldritch Apocalypse gives another place for characters to appear at the climax.

    • Well, there’s one good thing I can say for Mr. Weiss.

      Cop-out isn’t the word, I just wish there was more nuance in the discussion of it. As people have been pointing out, how does Sansa square Northern independence with her army of Valemen? Does Northern independence include the Riverlands? The Vale? Where do the wildlings fit?

      • thatrabidpotato says:

        I’m of the opinion that D&D don’t really think about internal politics in any kingdom other than the North (and they do a bad job with the North’s). The Riverlands bending the knee to Robb made a lot of sense in the context that it happened, and I can see them doing it again for Sansa. The Vale’s an entirely different matter: House Arryn is an ancient house in its own right, the kingdom is freaking named after them, and the Vale and the North fought a war that lasted for a thousand years. Why would the Vale just happily bend the knee to the Starks without major concessions going the other way?

        D&D don’t think about that kind of thing. The Starks are the heroes (which indeed they are) so the world revolves around them (no, no it doesn’t).

    • Murc says:

      LOTR felt like the story of all Middle-Earth rather than “Gondor and you losers are invited”,

      It might have FELT like this but that wasn’t, you know, substantially true. The vast majority of Middle-Earth was part of Sauron’s coalition, and it is an explicit plot point that Aragorn spends much of the rest of his life kicking the shit out of them in a vast project of imperialism as he rebuilds Gondor’s empire.

      Gondor was also the Last State Standing in a northwestern Middle-Earth that was, largely, a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

    • thatrabidpotato says:

      “Dany being made out to be the bad guy for doing exactly what Stannis would do in her position” describes 90% of the hate directed her way for the last 20 years.

    • LaHoz says:

      I agree completely, it doesn’t feel like the story of Westeros. It has, arguably, always been the story of the North and King’s Landing. The South (especially the Reach) never had much representation. Part of the reason many people didn’t like AFFC and ADWD (especially AFFC) was because in many ways ASOIAF became a different story in those books, with the jury out on how succesfully it did. I have never been able to get too much into the Eldritch apocalypse thing, mainly because I can’t bring myself to care about Oldtown and the Reach.

      (The Dornish plot I like a bit more because at least it will end in King’s Landing; Arianne being briefly the Queen of Westeros, only to burn up afterwards with the rest of the city, seems like decent payoff.)

      This is the only thing that makes me think that, despite Maester Steven’s convincing arguments, Winterfell might fall and the White Walkers might reach further south. It’s the only way to involve at least part of the rest of Westeros in the struggle (even then, people in the Westerlands will be lucky enough to never be involved with any conflict).

      If the novels weren’t already as long as they are, one could imagine a flood of refugees from the North and Riverlands into the South as the Others slowly make their way down the Kingsroad (they are zombies, after all), and a gathering of forces to make a last stand at Harrenhal or some other place. But it’s extremely unlikely; the books are long enough, things will resolve themselves in the North.

      Which might be a shame; the abrupt pivot between the struggle for King’s Landing and the struggle for humanity was one of the reasons Season 7 sucked. I have no doubt Martin can do much better than Benioff and Weiss, but I wonder why any Southern lord would believe the Others are coming or care too much about it (other than Stannis, of course).

      • artihcus022 says:

        There’s this weird tendency where deconstructive works tend to become, over time, less democratic than the staid stuff that played it true and blue. Marvel Comics were the bad boys who subverted DC Comics stories and came off as all rad, and then you sit back and notice that DC has historically put out more female superheroes than Marvel has (Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Hawkgirl, Supergirl among others). You find that DC has more room for civilian supporting casts than Marvel do in their stories, where the over-emphasis on teams and team drama ultimately gives a sense that the superhero community is the only community they know and the only one that matters. This is especially apparent in the MCU as Patrick Willems pointed out.

        You see this with LOTR and ASOIAF. LOTR says and believes that everyone matters. In the Hobbit, some random newly introduced human ends up killing the dragon the story was building as the villain. In LOTR, Eowyn, romantic runner-up, ends up killing Witch King of Angmar not Gandalf and Aragorn. And the Hobbits are the center of the story but also marginal observer-participants and the agency they have is of a limited but crucial kind. Gollum and Grima Wormtongue, the minor minion characters in other stories end up being the crucial game-changers, Gollum takes out the one-ring, Grima takes out Saruman. For all that the likes of Moorcock and Mieville have attacked Tolkien for the aristocratic and staid view he projects, that’s a quality you don’t see necessarily in their stories. Take Moorcock’s Elric, which is entirely about him, and while it’s critical, subversive, dark and bleak, the story is about Elric being the most important person in that world.

        ASOIAF the books for all its subversion, meta-critical views and so on, doesn’t have that carnivalesque sense you get in Tolkien albeit it’s better than Elric. AFFC is about the only book in ASOIAF that breaks that, and it does it by mostly moving most of the “main characters” to the other books. GOT the show is much worse in that regard.

    • Eziro says:

      what’s this Eldritch Apocalypse theory? Anyone able to give me the rundown of where this came from please.

  4. Steven Xue says:

    I enjoyed Jenny’s Song as well. Having Pod sing it reminded me of when Pippin sang Edge of Night in Lord of the Rings.

    I didn’t realize there was a intense shipping war going on over the Jon/Dany/Sansa love triangle. Is it really that bad? Personally I think its ridiculous because in my mind there’s absolutely no way Jon and Sansa could ever work as a couple. Its not only because they are closely related by blood (considering Dany is Jon’s aunt), but also because they grew up as siblings. At least Jon and Dany only met last season and are still unaware that they are in fact very close to each other on the same family tree.

    • Yeah, it’s been a big thing. Mostly on Tumblr, a bit on twitter. Maybe on reddit but I don’t keep up with ASOIAF reddit much these days. It got weird and more intense when Jon and Dany actually slept together.

      • thatrabidpotato says:

        I do keep up with r/ASOIAF, and it’s… not very intense there but present. Like a shipping cold war. Most people seem to have accepted Jon/Dany, but many of those that have accepted it don’t like it, and there’s a minority of holdouts of other ships.

    • Brett says:

      It’s a love triangle? It seems like they’re just setting up the Sansa/Daenerys thing so that Jon has a “torn between his Stark sister and his Targaryen lover” bit going into the last few episodes.

      • I don’t think it is. But people who are into “Jonsa” are extremely of the belief that is, which leads to some really weird theorizing that Jon only slept with Dany out of political motives, etc.

        • Brett says:

          To be fair, Kit Harrington and Sophie Turner did have a lot of chemistry in their scenes together last season. I knew they weren’t going to do it, but it was still pretty “Woh!”.

  5. artihcus022 says:

    This episode during the montage seems to hint at Theon/Sansa which I am not entirely comfortable from a global perspective…but for the versions in the show, couldn’t care less.

    • I doubt it, if only for purely practical reasons. I think it’s more a reflection of their survival vis-a-vis Ramsay.

      • Jim B says:

        Yeah, Sansa and Theon have had some common experiences. On top of the whole Ramsay marriage, they both have betrayed House Stark and yet “come home” to fight for it, and they’ve both been subjected to prolonged captivity at the whims of a cruel and temperamental captor (Ramsay, Joffrey).

        I suspect it’s also a relief for Sansa to spend time with a man who isn’t pursuing her sexually. That would probably be true for any beautiful young woman, but especially for one who has had to endure the creeping of Joffrey, Littlefinger, and Ramsay among others.

    • Brett says:

      Theon’s probably going to die in the next episode. It won’t be as blatant as Grey Worm’s “I’m just two days from retirement” foreshadowing, but I think it’s going to happen.

  6. Jennifer Arenskjold says:


    i’ve followed Race for the Iron Throne for years, I’m afraid I’m a lurker, but have always been impressed by your output and tremendous knowledge.

    Just want to let you know I am not able to receive your ‘thoughts’ for some reason. I’m only getting the comments – I’ve always enjoyed them as well, great food for thought, but I would like to read what you are saying.

    Do you know why I wouldn’t be receiving it – just a blank – and then the comments.


    Jennifer Arenskjold

    • artihcus022 says:

      I had the same problem. D’you see the blue buttons on top showing 1 and 2. You can click that. This is to hide spoilers more effectively. Just click on the blue button marked 2 and you should access it. If there are still problems of access let us know.

    • Hi, it’s a change that WordPress has made to the page break fuction. It still works, just differently than before: as articus says, you need to click on the blue number 2 button and it should be there.

  7. Troy Larson says:

    Yeah, Tyrion in this episode is the epitome of telling instead of showing. He has been a terrible Hand. His plans have consistently set Daenerys back, and he misreads just about everyone. But no, everyone says Tyrion’s a really smart guy, so that’s what we’ll run with.

    The fact that Jaime needs a nudge from Tyrion & Tormund to knight Brienne bothers me. And I agree that in the books they’re not making it to the North, and will more likely be in the Riverlands when the dead make it as far as the Trident.

    Is it bad that the background toxicity is just expected at this point? Let’s just sweep the casual attempted child murder under the rug.

    • It’s so strange b/c it’s an entirely self-created problem: the writers could have easily come up with some other source of tension, or had the situation resolved by Tyrion in some impressive way.

      Agreed that it’ll happen in the Riverlands, but I don’t think the dead will come down to the Trident.

  8. David White says:

    I too have been having problems reading text. I finally clicked the “2” and saw actual text, but I thought I had done that before. Either the link was fixed or I really did something different.

    No one is mentioning Tormund in this episode. BookTormund is jolly and willing to make fun of himself, ShowTormund is just intensely creepy. I really wanted to hear the “Giant’s Babe” punchline to his story followed by a loud “Har!” Instead he delivered the whole story with this staring intensity that just makes everyone scrunch eyebrows and shake heads.

    I could see BookTormund becoming attracted to Brienne and pursuing her. ShowBrienne just looks at him like he’s odd, but BookBrienne would be scared and suspicious, like Tormund is playing some cruel joke on her (like her past suitors – I forgot the guy’s name). ShowBrienne has all the self confidence to just think Tormund is weird, but BookBrienne is not comfortable receiving sexual attention. Just one more thing that the screen can’t translate to the page….

    • Brett says:

      There’s no “Har!” with ShowTormund! That bothers me.

      I think it’s one of those things where the show-runners picked up on something that the fans liked, and then have just given them more and more of it until it’s become annoying.

  9. Murc says:

    So the whole plan heading into this season was that supposedly all six episodes were supposed to be one big movie;

    Steven, you are far more charitable than I’d be with that “supposedly.”

    I’m gonna say it straight-up; when they made that claim, they were lying. They were 100% lying. At BEST, they were lying to themselves; more likely, simply to the rest of us. Especially because of this:

    Whatever Jorah may ever have been, a statesman wasn’t really one of them. On the other hand, squelching it so quickly makes it all a bit of a waste of time.

    That whole thing was 100% “we’re writing an episode of television” writing; which is to say, they were short, so they needed a C-plot in order to get to the allotted running time. Which is fine and all, but flatly contradicts their claim of “one big movie.”

    I can’t imagine any of the shippers are going to be particularly thrilled with the Sansa/Daenaerys chat. Which I’m not unhappy about, given how unpleasant it’s gotten on social media in some places.

    I fought in the Zutara Shipping Wars of 2005-2008. Nothing phases me anymore.

    Arya’s obsidian spear thing feels a bit too Sekiro’s Shinobi Tools for me

    I guess we know what Let’s Plays SOMEONE has been watching for the past few weeks.

    • 1. Supposedly is a very hard working adjective.
      2. Agreed. The very circular nature of the plot, that you could practically have lifted it out and you wouldn’t notice its absence, is a tell.
      3. Heh.
      4. Oh yeah. I don’t remotely have the skill for a game like that, but it’s absolutely gorgeous to watch people play well.

  10. Jim B says:

    I’m actually sort of pleasantly surprised by the tone and pace of these first two episodes. I had a feeling that this final season was going to be an endless parade of big splashy battles with CGI effects and dramatic deaths and sweeping musical scores, and no doubt there’s plenty of that in store, but having some of these quieter character moments has been nice.

    I remember reading a commenter on another site lamenting that episode 1 didn’t give us a Jorah-Lady Mormont interaction, and I thought “well, that’s asking for a bit much,” but damned if they didn’t do it.

    That said, I think the execution remains flawed. Among other things, Dany only comes off slightly better in episode 2 as in 1. I don’t really buy that Dany is in the north out of love for Jon, and don’t understand why they want to undermine her that way — I don’t see why she couldn’t be acting out of a Stannis-like realization that there’s no point in being the ruler of seven dead kingdoms. I can’t decide whether the producers are setting us up to see Jon as the better choice of ruler, or setting the stage for Jon’s heroic sacrifice to “teach” Dany a lesson she should a learned a dozen times over by now.

  11. Murc says:

    I’m gonna go there:

    The most interesting Game of Thrones scene I’ve watched in the past couple years is that Sesame Street ad they just dropped.

    Because when I think of Cersei Lannister, you KNOW I also think about Big Bird, Grover, and Elmo, right?

    • The Sesame Street stuff was very good. Did you see the Westworld one?

      • Murc says:

        I did! It was pretty good, but it really couldn’t top Lena Headey portraying Cersei Lannister really struggling with Elmo. You could see on her face she was playing it like “This is it. I’ve finally lost my grip on reality. I’d better keep faking it in front of Tyrion.”

        • Speaking of Lena Headey…I was randomly watching a British legal show from the 80s/90s and Lena Headey was the guest star in an episode, playing an ambassador’s daughter who was on trial for doing a murder. Imagine my surprise when there was an incest theme in the episode!

  12. Midwest_Product says:

    Blink and you’ll miss it, but Ghost was up there on the ramparts with Jon and Edd and Sam. He lives!

    • thatrabidpotato says:

      And now he has to share Jon with a dragon. TFW when the gigantic wolf the size of a horse is the lesser of your two pets.

      • Jim B says:

        “Eh, I like to wander off on my own for months at a time, so it’s nice that Jon has other friends. But if he tries to climb on MY back, he’s going to need that priestess again.” — Ghost

    • Brett says:

      I kind of wonder what they’re keeping him around for. Book-Ghost must not die so that Jon can be revived, since they didn’t bother to do that in the show when bringing him back.

      • I think at this point it’s a pure legacy thing. They did it season 1 because they were staying faithful to the books, but they hated doing the animal handling work, so they’ve phased them out as much as possible.

  13. bookworm1398 says:

    So am I the only one who was disappointed with Brienne’s knighting scene? I feel like she should have said – I’m looking around here and seeing non-knights include Dany, Jon, Arya, Bran, Tyrion, Grey Worm. Knight are Jamie and Jorah. I’m better off passing on the knighting thing.

    • Jim B says:

      Perhaps that’s what you would have done in her situation. It’s certainly what Sandor Clegane would have done. Objectively you can make a case for refusing (though I’m not sure why Dany and Tyrion, both of whom have executed people in cold blood, are such great advertisements for non-knighthood; they strike me as at least as morally flawed as Jorah if perhaps not Jaime).

      But wherever you or I come out on that question, I don’t think it’s out of character for Brienne to accept. She’s wanted to be a knight all of her life. Yes, she’s learned from painful experience that not every knight is honorable, and not everyone with honor is a knight, but that doesn’t mean she’s decided that knighthood is irrelevant, let alone a negative.

      You can still like a character even if they make decisions that you wouldn’t.

      • Haplo-6 says:

        Plus, it completes her arc so she can be killed and zombified. Jaime emotionally fight her wBrienne. This episode is going to be loaded with these confrontations.

  14. Brett says:

    I thought the episode was fine, and it did get me unabashedly eager for the next one of those. I haven’t felt that eager about a coming Game of Thrones episode for years.

    I’m just not a fan of Jon telling Daenerys his secret, and then leaving the whole “you are the true heir” thing on a hanging note. It just doesn’t seem like Jon would do that, and it’s merely being pushed so that they can have an immediate rift between Jon and Daenerys once the White Walkers are defeated at Winterfell.

    The Arya/Gendry stuff . . . meh. Apparently Maisie Williams and Joe Dempsie were like ” . . . Seriously?” when they came across that in the script.

    • thatrabidpotato says:

      “Apparently Maisie Williams and Joe Dempsie were like ‘ . . . Seriously?’ when they came across that in the script.”

      If they haven’t gotten used to having to say that when they read D&D’s scripts, I’d be surprised.

  15. Sly says:

    A wildcard prediction:

    The Battle for the Dawn doesnt actually end at Winterfell. Bran might live or die, but the Army of the Dead incurs severe loses by most (if not all) of the White Walker “captains” being taken out over the course of the episode. After killing Rhaegal and wounding Drogon enough so that he cant fly, at least temporarily, the Night King flees to “make” reinforcements in the one place where hundreds of thousands of humans are gathered with no real means of defending themselves against him: King’s Landing.

      • thatrabidpotato says:

        Somebody on r/ASOIAF theorized that the Dead’s assault on Winterfell is a decoy; that the good guys are going to win only to find out that that was only part of the Army of the Dead. The rest of it is heading south with the actual Nights King to attack Kings Landing and raise the whole populace, and they’ll have to chase them down and fight a massive new Army of the Dead when they’d thought they won.

        IDK if I agree with it, but it seems interesting.

      • Sly says:

        Not saying it makes it makes sense from a broader perspective, nor that it would account for a satisfying climax for people who take a more holistic view with the novels. I’m saying given how the last ~2 seasons have been going, and with the narrative omissions from the novels that suggest pretty big disparities with whats going to happen in Winds of Winter and Dream of Spring, it makes more sense within the confines of just the show than having the final confrontation be between the survivors of Winterfell and the Golden Company in the final or penultimate episode.

  16. rewenzo says:

    I thought this episode did a very good job of having Sansa show some emotion and interest in other characters besides inwardly rolling her eyes at everyone’s foolishness. Sansa being overcome by emotion at Theon’s return and her being friendly (for a bit) with Daenerys were nice to see.

    What I still don’t understand is:

    (i) the Northern independence thing. Like when Jon bent the knee to Daenerys was he just offering his personal loyalty to her or was he kneeling on behalf of his kingdom? This is never explained and I don’t think the plot would suffer if you made clear what Jon was at least purportedly trying to do. You can still have Sansa and the rest of the North disagreeing but it’s unclear what’s going on here. Like, does Dany think the North is officially hers now or does she think it’s not officially decided but she’ll work something out?

    A related subplot to this is that Jon did not need to bend the knee to Daenerys to get her army and her dragons north. She already said she would do that before he pledged his allegiance. That’s just a thing he did.

    (ii) relatedly, does Jon *want* to be king? Nothing in the series has ever indicated that Jon has any desire to be king of anything. Why would that change now when everyone is going to die and he’s fallen in love? Why is the Aegon Targaryen thing even relevant? The whole time Jon’s been about “it doesn’t matter who the king is, this is a fight for human survival” and now all of a sudden we’re supposed to believe that he’s decided he wants to be king of the ashes after all? I would have thought the biggest issue for Jon after learning about his parentage is that he’s just had sex with his aunt.

    (iii) Small thing but what does the North remember about the last time the Targaryens brought dragons north? In the books, I don’t think anything like that ever happened, except for Jahaerys and Alysanne’s visit to the North. But the whole point of Torrhen Stark kneeling in the Neck was to prevent the dragons from being flown north and waging destruction, so that reference was confusing.

    • thatrabidpotato says:

      I think Jon bent the knee on behalf of the North, but he did it without consulting anyone so Sansa, representing the rest of the North, is trying to undo it. Which is massively problematic in that it directly undermines Jon’s authority and essentially amounts to a personal campaign to become QITN, but D&D don’t think that deeply.

      No, he doesn’t, but they’re clearly trying to set up a doubt in his head whether Dany really is fit to be Queen so there’s the question of whether he’ll challenge her for it. I hope that he won’t in the end, because they’ll both be dead, but they want the dramatic tension.

      Last time was in the Dance, Jacaerys Strong, excuse me, Velaryon, rode his dragon north and negotiated the Pact of Ice and Fire.

  17. Eziro says:

    So is it possible we might have all the dead in the Winterfell crypt rise up and attack the garrison from within?

    That leaves me wondering how much we know about the dead-raising ability of the Night’s King/White-Walkers in the show at least. Can the NK raise an army out of the graveyards of Last Hearth? Because if he can (and can perform the sorcery from some distance) he could essentially hop from castle-town to castle-town raising dead and making it impossible for westeros to defend from all angles.

    I also hope we see wights fighting with weapons like we saw in pre-FistoftheFirstMen and not Hardholme.

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