Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2 recap: As White Walkers reach Winterfell, truths emerge for Starks, Targaryens and Lannisters

Rohini Nair

Apr 22, 2019 08:09:24 IST

Spoilers Ahead. 

Oh my goodness, what an episode!

It's as though the Game of Thrones showrunners took Bran's message from season 8 episode 1 to heart (“There's no time for all this. The Night King is on the march”) and jumped right into things with episode 2.

There are no wasteful moments as we land in the midst of a confrontation in the Great Hall of Winterfell between the just-arrived Jaime Lannister and sundry Starks, Targaryen(s) and allies. Daenerys is angry on two counts: 1. Here stands before her the man who murdered her father, Aerys “the Mad King” Targaryen. And 2. He hasn't even brought the Lannister army with him as Cersei promised. Sansa too isn't pleased — pointing out that Jaime attacked Ned Stark in the streets and fought against her family (although most of that time was spent as Robb's prisoner).

Jaime says he is here only to keep his promise of fighting for the living. Further he tells the gathered party that Cersei has been brought the Golden Company by Euron Greyjoy, and that she should be more than a match for anyone who survives the war against the dead.

Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2 review: With death at their doorstep, Jaime, Jon et al hold us spellbound

Tyrion speaks up for his brother, and is silenced by Daenerys, who is furious that he has misjudged Cersei. Matters get heated, until Brienne steps in and vouches for Jaime. She speaks of how he saved her from being raped by Locke and the other Bolton men, at the cost of losing his own hand. She tells Sansa that it was Jaime who armed and tasked her (Brienne) with bringing the Stark girls to safety, having vowed before Lady Catelyn that he would do so.

Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2 recap: As White Walkers reach Winterfell, truths emerge for Starks, Targaryens and Lannisters

Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran in Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2. Image credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

Sansa accepts Brienne's trust in Jaime and offers her own. Jon too says they need every man they can get. Daenerys gives in to their advice — although she later lashes out at Tyrion for believing Cersei would being her armies North, and threatens to strip him of his position as Hand of the Queen. Ser Jorah and Varys look on sympathetically.

**

Arya watches Gendry working in the forges. She asks if he has made her weapon yet, but Gendry hasn't. They speak of the fighting they've done and she wants to know what it's like to battle a wight. Gendry tells her it's “like death”. “I know death. It's got many faces. I look forward to seeing this one,” she says, shooting several dragonglass spearpoints into a post. Gendry is astonished.

**

Bran sits by the weir tree in the godswood. Jaime comes to him and asks why Bran didn't tell the others that Jaime was the one who pushed him out of the tower. He apologises. Bran tells him he isn't angry, and that Jaime wouldn't have been the man he is now had he not pushed Bran off the tower — just as Bran wouldn't be the Three-Eyed Raven.

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2. Image credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2. Image credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

Jaime later meets Tyrion and the two discuss Daenerys — and Cersei. Tyrion asks if Cersei was lying about her pregnancy but Jaime says she wasn't. “She was always good at using the truth to tell her lies,” the brothers note, before Jaime wonders how he could have been so blind to who she was. Tyrion corrects him: “You knew exactly what she was. But you loved her anyway.”

Jaime sees Brienne in the distance, overseeing the training of the fighting men. He goes up to her and offers to serve under her command. She is touched and consents.

**

Jorah comes to Daenerys and tells her she must forgive Tyrion. On his advice, Daenerys also attempts to smooth out her equation with Sansa. After a somewhat rocky beginning, Sansa and Daenerys appear friendlier, and the former finally admits that she is afraid Jon has been manipulated (into giving up his kingship) because of his love for Daenerys. Dany points out that all her life, she's only wanted to win back the Iron Throne. And yet here she is, fighting a battle half a world away. She wonders who it was that was manipulated, and confesses that she loves Jon too. He's only the second man whose word Dany believes, she says, and when Sansa asks her who was the first, Daenerys replies: “Someone taller”. Their tete-a-tete takes on a less amiable tone when Sansa asks what will happen to the North when the war against the dead is over and Daenerys has her Iron Throne. Sansa wonders why the North should yield when they fought to take back their land. Dany is not pleased at this remark, but they are interrupted by the news of an arrival.

It is Theon and some of the Ironborn. He brings Daenerys up to speed on Yara's rescue and her subsequent journey to the Iron Islands, and says he has come to fight for Winterfell. Sansa is overcome and rushes to hug him.

Nikolaj Coster Waldau as Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2. Image credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

Nikolaj Coster Waldau as Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2. Image credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

Also arriving at nearly the same time, are Tormund, Edd and Ser Beric Dondarrion. Jon and Sam are happy to see them, and the men tell them of what they found at the Last Hearth and of the death of the little Lord Umber. Jon realises that the army of the dead could attack within the space of one night.

All around Winterfell, preparations for the impending battle are in full swing. Jon holds a war council with all the major personages and chalks out a plan. “Our enemy doesn't tire, doesn't stop, doesn't feel,” he reminds them. Killing the Night King is their only hope as the numbers of the dead would be far too overwhelming for the Winterfell party to fight off.

Bran speaks out and says the Night King will come for him. He says he will wait for him in the godswood. The others are reluctant to let Bran expose himself to danger, but he assures them that this is the only way.

Sam wonders why the Night King wants Bran and he replies that he wants to kill him, just like he has killed many Three-Eyed Ravens before him.

“He wants to erase this world and I am its memory,” Bran says, to which Sam replies: “That's what death is, isn't it? Forgetting.”

Kit Harington as Jon Snow, with Maisie Williams as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2. Image credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

Kit Harington as Jon Snow, with Maisie Williams as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2. Image credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

Theon says the Ironborn will guard Bran in the godswood; it is his way of offering penance for taking Winterfell from Bran. Jon and Daenerys say they will be close by, with the dragons — but far enough for the Night King not to sense their presence.

As the hours to the battle grow shorter, Tyrion asks Bran about his story (how he became the Three-Eyed Raven). Grey Worm meets Missandei and tells her they will return to Naath when Daenerys’ battles are over. On the Winterfell ramparts, Jon, Sam — and GHOST! — keep watch. They are joined by Edd, who pronounces: “And now our watch begins”. The trio remembers their times at Castle Black and their fallen friends — Pyp and Grenn.

Inside the Great Hall, Tyrion and Jaime sit by the fire. Tyrion jokes about how upset their father Tywin Lannister would have been, to see both his sons possibly die in a bid to protect Winterfell. Pod and Brienne join them, as do Davos and Tormund. As they trade stories of all the battles they've been — all these people who've fought against the Starks at one time or the other and are now ranged with them — Pod sings a poignant song. And most poignant of all: Jaime knights Brienne.

**

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2. Image credit Helen Sloan/HBO

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2. Image credit Helen Sloan/HBO

Arya sits with the Hound and wonders what brought him here, with the Brotherhood and fighting with Jon beyond the Wall. Ser Beric sits with them. She leaves to practise her archery and is found by Gendry, who gives her the weapon she asked for — a replica of the wooden staff with which she would fight the Waif back in Braavos, except tipped with dragonglass.

Arya asks Gendry what Melisandre wanted with him and he tells her the Red Priestess wanted his blood. He explains he is the bastard of Robert Baratheon. Arya and he then fall into bed and make love.

**

Sam overhears Jorah and his cousin, Lady Lyanna Mormont, arguing over whether or not she should head onto the battlefield. Jorah wants her to stay in the crypts but she refuses. As she walks away, Sam presents Jorah with the Tarly family sword — the Valyrian steel-made Heartsbane. Jorah is overwhelmed; Sam tells him it is because Lord Commander Jeor Mormont made him a man.

**

Daenerys comes upon Jon in the Winterfell crypts. He has been distant all day, but stands close with her by Lyanna's statue. She wonders how her brother Rhaegar — who was widely considered to be so good — could have raped Lyanna. Jon replies that Rhaegar didn't: that he loved Lyanna and married her, and that they had a son. That Lyanna was afraid of Robert Baratheon murdering her child and so, as she lay dying on the birthing bed, asked her brother Ned to raise the baby as his bastard. Jon reveals that he is that child, and that his name is Aegon Targaryen.

Conleth Hill as Varys, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont, in Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2. Image credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

Conleth Hill as Varys, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont, in Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2. Image credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

Daenerys is shocked, and she wonders how it can be true. When Jon tells her it was Bran and Sam who told him, she points out that is convenient indeed for Jon, to have his brother and his best friend assert the “truth” of his identity. Jon tells her he knows it is the truth.

Just as Dany remarks that this makes him the last male Targaryen and heir to the Iron Throne, a horn sounds. The army of the dead is at the gates of Winterfell.

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While you're here, check out our Game of Thrones season 8 coverage. From opinions to analysis, reviews and recaps, news and photos — we've got it all. Oh, and also our podcast — GoTCast

Updated Date: Apr 22, 2019 11:02:13 IST

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