The Final Chapter: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

Zachary Bahar, Asst. News Editor

After a pretty lackluster beginning, the second episode of the final season of Game of Thrones, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” returns the show to its roots through an episode of politics, conflicting relationships and undead zombies.

The episode begins with the trial of Jaime Lannister. After 10 years, the former Kingslayer finally becomes a man of honor and comes to Winterfell to fight for the living. But, on defending his brother, Tyrion, becomes more estranged from Queen Danaerys.

As the Army of the Dead nears the castle gates, each of our characters apologize, forgive past sins and spend time with the ones they love knowing that the coming battle may very well take their lives.

Sansa and Dany forgive one another while still preparing for a future after they beat the Night King. The last surviving members of the Night’s Watch reminisce on those they have lost as they retake their vows, Tyrion reflects on self-improvement, Arya and Gendry share an awkward sex scene and Jaime knights Brienne.

Finally, just as Dany learns that Jon is the true heir to the Iron Throne, a horn sounds three blasts announcing the coming of the Night King and the Army of the Dead.

This episode is substantially better than the first episode of the season, largely due to the dialogue between the characters and the themes that the episode chooses to present.

The characters know that this could very well be the last night on Earth, and knowing this, they choose to embrace life in all of its forms whether that be drinking with friends, celebrating those they have lost, restating the vows that have guided their lives and morals or loving one another both physically and emotionally.

This is shown most clearly through Arya and her interactions with Gendry. After years serving the Many-Faced God of Death, that Arya chooses to embrace life and take action to be with someone that she loves speaks volumes.

The choice to embrace life is also seen in one of the longest scenes of the episode, Tyrion’s last drinking party.

As characters gather around the hearth, they drink, flirt and sing with one another. Each and every one of them has fought against the others at some point, but when faced with life or death they know that life is the only thing that matters.

So much of Game of Thrones is about how men and women suffer and die, it’s a good change of pace to see the show focus on life, even if it is only for a short time.

This is most clear in one of the centerpieces of the episode, the knighting of Sir Brienne of Tarth. Brienne is the first female knight in Westeros, breaking a thousand years of tradition. For 7 seasons she has quested after knighthood and with it coming from her love, Jaime, the moment is especially touching.

The episode also deals with how we atone for our past mistakes. This includes Theon’s embrace of Sansa and Jaime’s apology to Bran, marking their first conversation since they sent each other on diverging paths through life.

Every choice that these characters have made has brought them to this moment, where they stand to fight for life and, at least according to Sam for memory, both our own and the shared memory of humanity.

The episode ends with a memory: a song. Jenny’s Song reminds the audience of two things: the love that these characters have for one another and Valar Morghulis, all men must die, which we see in the flesh as the Dead arrive.

The themes and conversations that the writers have brought back into this episode makes it a continuation, and in many ways a conclusion, to the original seasons and to A Song of Ice and Fire. It also marks the last episode of Thrones that runs less than an hour long, with the final episodes each lasting at least 70 minutes.

With the dead arriving at Winterfell, everyone in the North is a member of the Night’s Watch: the horns that wake the sleepers, the watchers on the wall, the shields that defend the realms of men, the light that brings the dawn.

Everyone who in Winterfell must stand and fight against the coming threat, lest they wish to die a brutal and bloody death. With the next episode being rumored to be the longest battle ever committed to film, there should be plenty of drama ahead as the characters we’ve followed for eight seasons finally face the greatest threats Westeros has seen in 8,000 years.

I give “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” 8 Horns of Giant’s Milk out of 10.