With the enemy rapidly approaching, there is a lot of reflecting in this episode of Game of Thrones. The odds are not in their favour, and death will come for them all. Whether they fall into line with The Night King or meet some other doom, there is no escaping it.
Spoilers are ahead. Do not read if you haven’t seen the episode yet.
After the big reveal from the last episode, there is an awkward tension in the air. Jon (Kit Harington) has become distant and more moody than usual, which seems to trickle down. If anything, they all need to have their wits about them now, more than ever.
There is a mutual distaste for the Lannisters in Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), and for a brief, fleeting moment they are almost at an agreement. Jaimie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldu) has come without an army at his side, but that should’ve been expected. Cersei is the master of manipulation. He wants to fight for his own survival and those around him. Now is not the time for grudges, at least not until the war is over. Luckily for Jaime, Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) vouches for him, when others would see him dead.
Survivors from the wall make their triumphant homecoming, the very few that they are. Revealing the dangers are much closer than they all anticipated. Anyone who is not there in Winterfell, is already at the mercy of The Night King. This is the moment they have all been waiting for, whether they are ready or not. As Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) aptly puts it, “We’re all going to die, but at least we die together.”
Bran (Isaac H. Wright), all-seeing and all-knowing, has been their guide in what is to come. It is him they truly want, to cease all life as they know it. He must be protected at all costs, but he is the vessel that will draw The Night King to them, hopefully making him vulnerable. If he goes down, the rest of the dead go with him. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and they are running out of options. Theon (Alfie Allen) volunteers to protect Bran, as a sign of redemption.
Everything seems to be reaching a boiling point and the tensions are high. This is truly the calm before the storm, and everyone seems to be feeling it. In what could be their final moments on earth, there is much time for reflection and seeing how far they’ve all come. Even the stiffest drink will not qualm the fear they are all surely feeling, but being around like-minded comrades sure help. In the great hall, there is an unlikely bond between seasoned warriors and great minds.
I think one of the characters that stand out in this episode is Brienne of Tarth. She has always been such an outstanding force of nature in this show, and a true warrior. Her loyalty runs deep and she would sacrifice herself to save others. When it comes to light that she can’t be knighted because she is a woman, those around her will not allow her to step onto that field without that honour. I mean if they are about to die, screw traditions right? Jaime knights her, bringing their journey full circle.
As preparations continue, there is no rest for the weary. This episode really feels like one long goodbye. So when Gendry (Joe Dempsie) and Arya (Maisie Williams) end up in the sheets together, it comes as no surprise. There may not be another day, so why not seize the moment when they have it? Elsewhere, there is certainly trouble in paradise between Daenerys and Jon. Instead of hiding the truth from her, Jon lets her in on it too. The reaction is what is to be expected, shock, disbelief, and heartbreak. If he is a Targaryen, it means that he can lay claim to her throne.
Winter is at their doorstep now, the army of the dead are there. Any other issues they may have will have to wait until after the battle. That is if any of them survive through the onslaught. The next episode, promises to bring fans the most epic, cinematic fight scene we have ever seen.