Thursday, April 25, 2019

Game of Thrones - S08E02 Recap and Review

SPOILERS follow...

The episode picked up with Jamie Lannister's trial at the great hall of Winterfell. Daenerys stated how much she had been anticipating to come face to face with the King Slayer (her father's killer) and how she had fantasized about retribution. Jamie, however, did not defend his actions nor did he apologize. Tyrion's plea for his brother's life was immediately shut down (considering his previous record of showing blind spots towards his family). But it was Brienne of Tarth's turn to come to the rescue. Brienne might actually harbour some romantic feelings toward Jamie considering their rather long history: Jamie once saved Brienne's honour and paid a rather hefty sum for his chivalry by losing his right hand (which was his greatest strength as a swordsman). Jamie also once opened up to Brienne about his concept of honour and why he killed the mad king even though he was under oath to protect him as a member of his KingsGuard.

Sansa Stark, due to her complete trust in Brienne, voted in favour of Jamie. Other than Brienne's testimony, perhaps Sansa's actions were fuelled by her power struggle with Daenerys in trying to establish who the alpha was in Winterfell. Daenerys treated Sansa's ruling as just a vote on her council, and then turned to Jon Snow for his opinion. Jon said they could use any additional soldier that they could get.

Daenerys, clearly shaken by Sansa's power play, went to have a private conversation with her and extended an olive branch. After dissecting the issue, Sansa disclosed he skepticism regarding Daenerys and how she might be manipulating Jon. But Daenerys claimed the contrary and confessed that it was she who was blinded by her love for Jon! Sansa and Daenerys seemed to have reconciled for a second, but their disagreement over the North being independent or a part of the seven kingdoms put their peace on hold.

Speaking of putting things on hold, Jon avoided Daenerys for much of the episode. He was clearly shaken by the news that he, Aegon Targaryen VI, was the rightful heir to the seven kingdoms... Daenerys finally caught up with him in the Winterfell crypts, next to Lyanna Stark's statue, where Jon told his lover and aunt of his recent findings. Daenerys' first impression was of mistrust for another pretender to the throne, but it seemed that their feelings for one another was deep enough to get over this hurdle. This conversation was caught short by a call to the wall...

The other characters also tried to celebrate their potentially last night of life in style. Arya consummated her relationship with Gendry, and on another front, Tyrion, Jamie, Brienne, Podrick Payne, Tormund, and Davos drank wine next to the fireplace. Besides Arya becoming a woman, the other "empowering" moment was when Jamie granted Brienne's wish of becoming a knight of the seven kingdoms (which was also the title of this episode). As for ranks of chivalry and knighthood, "Dame" is the appropriate title for a female knight, but the writers decided to use "Sir" instead. If Brienne identified as male, then Sir would be the right rank, but she doesn't... If virtue signalling was any higher in Westeros, they might have called Daenerys and Cersei kings!

Wrap up:
Similar to the season premiere, we got another "calm before the storm" episode. The show tried to position all the secondary characters in the right place before the big war. We witnessed some dramatic conversations (a la earlier seasons), but no action. Considering the fewer number of episodes in the final season, audience may expect more progression after watching on third of the season (2 out of 6 episodes), but I actually didn't mind it. Even the slower episodes of Game of Thrones are still much better than anything else that is, or has ever been on TV. I'd give it an 8.5/10.

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