The latest episode of Game of Thrones may have been light on action, but it was full of big revelations that kept the plot moving as he head towards war with the dead.
Warning! Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 2 lie head!
This week's episode of Game of Thrones found the forces of mankind busy inside the walls of Winterfell, preparing for their first encounter with the White Walkers and the Army of the Dead. Between the war preparation, the strategizing and manufacturing dragonglass weapons, the characters found a lot of time for tense, brooding conversations.
The result was an episode reminiscent of the early days of Game of Thrones, with whispered intrigue that drove the story more than any sword fight ever could. The show was high in tension and character, which viewers picked up on and appreciated, even though it foreshadows some serious danger for our heroes next week.
Game of Thrones has proved that there are still a lot of revelations to come off of the battlefield, and this week they played out in real time. Here are eight of the biggest revelations from Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 2, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms."
First off, the cliffhanger teased at the end of the premiere fell a little flat as Jaime Lannister was greeted in Winterfell's main hall. While he suffered a quick deposition by Queen Daenerys for some of his past crimes, he was defended by both Tyrion and Brienne of Tarth, winning Sansa's approval. Finally, Jon Snow pointed out: "we need every man we can get," and that was that.
Jaime did have another scene with Bran in the Godswood, where he asked why Bran did not tell the assembled lords that it was Jaime who had pushed him out of a window. Bran replied that mankind needed Jaime's help in the upcoming war, which means that his Three-Eyed Raven powers must have shown him something important in store for Jaime.
Perhaps more literally than ever before, this week's episode confirmed that winter is really coming. Lord Commander Edd and the Night's Watch, as well as Beric Dondarrion, Tormund Gianstbane and the wildlings, arrived at Winterfell after sneaking around the Army of the Dead.
The northerners filled Jon and the others in on what had happened at Last Hearth, with Tormund saying: "whoever's not here now is with them." They also announced that the Army of the Dead would be at Winterfell's gate "before the sun comes up tomorrow."
This was the crux of the whole episode, setting up a long night of feverish preparations and conversations by the fire.
The tension between Daenerys and Sansa Stark took a surprisingly rational step forward this week, when Jorah Mormont urged the queen to speak with the Lady of Winterfell. In the scene, Sansa cautiously voiced the reasons she was weary about Jon bringing Daenerys to Winterfell, saying that men often do stupid things for women they are in love with.
Daenerys responded by pointing out what a powerful position she was in beforehand -- poised to take over King's Landing, achieving her lifelong goal. Instead, she was in Winterfell, so she asked "who manipulated whom?"
Sansa could not argue with that, and Daenerys said plainly she was really in love with Jon. This seemed to smooth things over between the two powerful female leaders, which many fans appreciated. However, it is unlikely to stay that way once she finds out about Jon's family tree.
Over the course of the episode, we saw a few abbreviated conversations about who will fight in the upcoming battle. Unsurprisingly, Brienne is not only taking part but leading the left flank in the battle. Jaime, it turns out, wants to serve under her leadership.
Meanwhile, Arya assured Gendry that she will be on the battlefield too, reciting her "I know death" monologue from the trailer. Once he saw her throw three dragonglass daggers, his doubts abated, and later he even brought her the two-sided spear she had requested. Gendry confirmed that he himself will be out on the battlefield as well, presumably with a dragonglass hammer.
Even the self-described craven Samwell Tarly will fight the White Walkers. In a humorous reunion scene on top of Winterfell's battlements, Sam reminded his friends that he was the first man to kill a White Walker in their lifetime. He also killed a Thenn at Castle Black, and defended Gilly many times.
Finally, against Ser Jorah Mormont's protests, the young Lady Lyanna Mormont of Bear Isle assured him she would be fighting. Jorah smiled at her fiery demeanor, and soon after Sam presented him with House Tarly's ancestral sword.
The women and children may not have as peaceful a night as they are hoping as they hide in the crypts. Many fans think the White Walkers' power will awaken the dead Starks entombed down there before the battle is over.
Another important scene came later on when the leaders of Winterfell gathered around a table for a war council. They talked strategy a bit, when suddenly Bran Stark decided to dump some of his Three-Eyed Raven information on them.
Bran revealed that his arm still bore the mark of the Night King from the time they met in a vision. He said that this undead leader's primary goal would be to find Bran, as he had done with countless Three-Eyed Ravens before him. He proposed waiting for him out the Godswood, hopefully giving Jon and Daenerys a chance to kill him with dragonfire.
The scene was a rare case of transparency for Bran, and at least one clever character finally took notice. At the end of the scene, Tyrion pulled up a chair and asked to hear Bran's story, but the camera cut out before we could hear him tell it. Presumably, this information will aid Tyrion later on.
The episode's most emotional moment came as a few characters tried to drink away their anxiety around a fireplace later on in the night. Brienne of Tarth was defensive, having been bullied so much in her life, while Tormund and Jaime were trying to shower her in compliments. Finally, putting his money where his mouth was, Jaime decided to use his knightly station to make Brienne a knight as well.
The scene was paced just right as Brienne walked over and knelt before Jaime. He touched her shoulders with his sword three times, reciting the charges of knighthood under Westeros' religion of seven gods. Brienne rose, now an anointed knight, with tears in her eyes.
Incidentally, the episode's title, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," is also the title of a collection of stories about a Westerosi knight of the past named Ser Duncan the Tall. George R.R. Martin wrote the prequel stories and, after much fan speculation, confirmed that Brienne is a descendant of Ser Duncan, though she does not know it yet.
After years of hoping they would be romantic together, fans finally saw Arya and Gendry hook up in the hours before battle. The sex scene was undoubtedly one of the most talked-about moments from the show, and the first real confirmation that their feelings were more than friendly. The scene also revealed that Arya had a hint of fear, and was not sure she would survive the coming battle.
Finally, like the premiere, this episode ended in the crypt with a dramatic revelation about Jon Snow's parentage. The King in the North spent the whole episode avoiding Daenerys and brooding over what Sam had told him about his secret past as Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark's son. Daenerys found him at last, standing in front of Lyanna's grave in the crypts.
Despite talking to Sam about waiting for the right moment, Jon blurted out the truth in mid-conversation. Daenerys' reaction was not so different from his own, starting with confusion, then disbelief, then straight to anger. She had just begun to question whether Sam and and Bran might be lying about Jon's parents when three war horns sounded, signalling the White Walkers' arrival.
All in all, fans felt this revelation was as poorly communicated as last week's. Many wished Jon had explained himself better and been less emotional. They also thought it was odd that both of their minds jumped straight to the rules of succession, not mentioning the fact that they are related. Still, it makes sense that in a world like this their first priority is the Game of Thrones.
The show airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.