Synopsis: Jaime is brought in front of Daenerys, Jon and Sansa who are operating as some sort of triumvirate of leadership for the North. Daenerys recounts the stories she heard growing up about the man who killed her father. Jaime tells them that Cersei lied about helping them but he still rode to offer his services as promised. Tyrion defends Jaime but Dany isn’t having it. Sansa agrees, Jaime fought her father as well. Bran throws in a little shade reminding Jaime he shoved him out a window once. Brienne stands up and defends Jaime’s honor, reminding Sansa about Jaime’s oath to Catelyn. Jon shrugs and says they need every man they can get and Daenerys concedes. Jon bitches out before Daenerys can talk to him directly and Bran creepy stares at Jaime some more. After, Dany chides Tyrion for his screwup with Cersei. Gendry continues to make weapons as Arya visits, questioning if he’s made the one she wanted yet. Arya asks about the dead and what it was like to fight them, while also showing off her targeting skills. Jaime visits Bran at the Godswood and apologizes for what he did. Jaime says he’s not that person anymore and wonders why Bran didn’t tell anyone. Bran says he would be no help in the fight if he let Jaime get murdered. Later, Tyrion and Jaime reconnect, laughing about their circumstances since the last time they were in Winterfell. They talk of Cersei and Daenerys, with Tyrion taking comfort in knowing if he dies in the battle he will at least deny Cersei her vengeance. Jaime finds Brienne and asks to serve under her command. Jorah pushes Dany to forgive Tyrion for his mistakes. After, Daenerys visits Sansa. The two have a downright cordial meeting, with Sansa realizing Daenerys truly cares for Jon, but when she questions Dany’s plan for the North, Stormborn turns cold. They are interrupted with the return of Theon. He updates them on Yara and offers his support in the battle. Sansa is happy to see him.
Davos and Gilly are serving food to the townsfolk. A little girl with scars on her face reminds them of Shireen, the girl who taught them both how to read. Tormund, Tollett and Beric reunite with Jon. The dead are on their way, they say. Jon meets with his war council to work on strategy. Bran offers that the Night King will be looking for him, so offers himself as bait. Theon and his men will defend Bran. Daenerys tells Tyrion that his place is with her in the crypt. Again, Jon shies away from Dany. Tyrion sidles up to Bran eager to hear his story. Grey Worm and Missandei discuss their future after the war, never a good sign. They talk of returning to her home, Narth, where they appreciate diversity more than the North. Jon and Samwell (and Ghost!!!) talk about Jon’s truth and if he’s told Daenerys yet. He’s waiting for the right time. Tollett joins them, the last of their Night’s Watch pledge class. Tyrion and Jaime have a drink by the fire, lamenting how far they’ve come and how much easier it was when they were bad people. Podrick and Brienne join them, and soon so do Tormund and Davos. Tomund isn’t shy about how thirsty he is for Brienne, telling them the story of how he got his name (he killed a giant and then breastfed on his widow), and then crushes a beer. Arya finds the Hound, and they have a quiet, subtext-laden reunion. Beric joins them. They share a drink, but Arya leaves, not wanting to spend her last hours with them. As she practices her archery, Gendry arrives with the weapon she asked for, a staff with a dragonglass blade at the end. Gendry tells her that he’s Robert’s bastard. Arya asks about his sexual history, as she undresses. She doesn’t want to die a virgin.
Tyrion and his crew continue to drink around the fire. Tyrion thinks they might live the coming battle, which causes laughs. Tormund questions why Brienne isn’t a knight, and she says women can’t be, it’s tradition. Jaime suggests that any knight can make another knight and offers to officially knight Brienne. She kneels before him and he makes it official while the others look on and Ser Brienne finally manages a smile. Lyanna and Jorah argue about her going into battle, and she vows to fight for the North, despite his objections. Samwell interrupts to give Jorah his Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane. Jorah graciously accepts. Podrick sings the others a song. In the crypt, Daenerys finds Jon. Before they get too close, he tells her about what he learned about his history. She immediately realizes that this gives him a greater claim on the throne than she has and questions the source of this information, his brother and his best friend. Before they can unpack all of that, the horns sound, the war is here.
Comments: This episode is entirely setting the table for the battle episode next episode. Filled with wonderful character moments and steamy piles of (one assumes) foreshadowing, it’s a much stronger effort than the previous outing. It would never work as a season premiere, but it still manages to make that episode look useless in hindsight. At first, it cuts through a bit of the bullshit with Daenerys and Sansa. For such a feminist show, it felt a little frustrating that two strong female leaders were instantly at odds with each other, but in their first scene alone it did feel like they were both approaching it more honestly. Daenerys wasn’t all throne focused and admitted her feelings for Jon, but Sansa wasn’t so quick to just go all bygones about it. Her continued focus on doing what’s right for her people demonstrates again that she’s the truest leader to come out of the Stark family. Plus, her outfit in the scene was baller. It is interesting where the show seems to be pushing Daenerys. She’s been a sympathetic protagonist since the beginning, with her forays into darkness feeling somewhat justified, but after making a case for nearly a decade that this is the horse to back, in the past few episodes she seems more focused on the title she’s owed rather than her interest in making the world a better place. Curious where this is actually going, which is, of course, the point. There’s a lot of talk about the crypt this episode and how it’s the safest place. It’s said easily five times, which obviously means it’s not the safest place. Seems weird how no one has thought that an army led by a guy who can reanimate the dead may be a problem in a place where they are surrounded by corpses. Arya punching her V-card could be a classic horror movie mistake. Still, it was good that one of the Stark kids gets a seemingly normal sexual awakening. Robb banged Talisa and got murdered for it. Sansa was raped. Jon gave it up to Ygritte and she died in his arms. He did it with Daenerys and found out she’s his aunt. Bran might be cool that he became an avian triclops before becoming a man. That all said, I don’t like Gendry’s chances now. The best moments in the episode, in my estimation, where everything with Jaime and Brienne. Jaime has come a long way since that first episode when he tried to murder Bran, and a lot of that was either near Brienne or thanks to her. For him to humble himself in service to her was a great culmination to their story, only to be overshadowed by his knighting her. Brienne has always fought with ferocity borne out of the disrespect she’s faced her entire life. To finally get some validation, from someone who was initially snide about her role, was great. Gwendolyn Christie really nailed those moments, and her victorious smile (her first on the show?) through tears was an affecting moment. As the horns sound for the upcoming battle and what promises to be a brutal next episode I can hardly contain my enthusiasm. That said, I expect a large number of casualties. My guesses: Tollett, Tormund, Grey Worm, Jorah, Lyanna (I know), Gendry, Beric, Theon, and maybe even Davos. And if I’m being honest, I wouldn’t be shocked by a left-field option like Arya. I also think we may see some last-minute savioring from Melisandre and or Nymeria and the wolfpack. Also wondering if we will not see Cersei or King’s Landing again next week (or if as some theories suggest that is where the Night King and Viserion have flown).
Bran: The things we do for love.
Sansa: Families are complicated.
Sansa: Men do stupid things for women. They’re easily manipulated.
Jaime (about Cersei): She’s always been good about using the truth to tell lies.
Tyrion (to Jaime about Cersei): She never fooled you. You always knew exactly who she was and you loved her anyway.
Tormund: We’re all going to die, but at least we’ll die together.
Title: In reference to Jaime and Brienne, both knights now that he has given her that promotion, and in demonstration of how far they both have come.
Deaths: Episode number three in the entire series to not feature any deaths.