Game of Thrones returns to lớn form with a bittersweet beauty of an episode that acts as a deep breath (& a drink) before the war.

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More satisfying was how the others rallied for each other now that politics are moot. The best moment of the night is the one where “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” received its title. Faced with imminent death, Tyrion, Jaime, Brienne, Podrick, Davos, and Tormund Giantsbane all stumble inlớn the Great Hall looking for hearth and fellowship. Not unlượt thích their nobler counterparts in J.R.R. Tolkien’s grander alternative to Westeros, they have found community và now communion in an unlikely place.

Yet it is stranger still for a show as cynical as Game of Thrones that so many smiling faces can be found amongst former enemies. As Tyrion is the one lớn vocalize, as is his gift, they’ve sầu all at one point or another stood against House Stark—obviously Tyrion and Jaime as Lannisters, Davos as Stannis’ Hand, Brienne as Renly’s knight in all but name, and even Tormund who once upon a time might’ve greeted Jon Snow and all “Northerners” with an axe pháo instead of a hug. Now they’re here lớn defend it lớn their last breath. Tyrion is right to smirk at the thought of their father seeing his two sons reunited after a patricide as allies to the Starks.

Still, Tyrion speaks too optimistically when he says he thinks they can all survive sầu. Come this time next week, many or all of the characters we’re watching laugh & nói qua suspicious looks as Tormund pours beer down his gullet và speaks of suckling from the teats of widowed giants will be dead. Mayhaps all of them. That makes it all better that each can tóm tắt a wry glance when Tormund revealed himself to be the Homebrewing hipster of the Seven Kingdoms. Seeing Tyrion, meanwhile, pour wine for his former squire until his glass overflows is worth a thousvà speeches about “family” & “the team” on a thousvà other shows. These two haven’t even had more than a scene together since 2014, but the unspoken joy of being reunited within their shared passion for drink is infectious.

This is realized even more by the contrast of how much they’ve changed. I’ve sầu long suspected that one of the reasons Tyrion has lost his gift for scathing wit is because most of his best lines were authored by George R.R. Martin. But maybe this is too glib considering he is no longer the same man he once was. As much as Jaime Lannister has gone through startling transformation over eight seasons, Tyrion is long past his whore-mongering “impish” days when he too first set foot in Winterfell. “The perils of self-betterment,” Tyrion bemoans with fair insight. A man weighted by the constraints of power và a Hand’s pin he barely can keep stuông xã to his chest cannot be the smartass who always gets the last word. After all, it’s Tyrion who gives a look of caution lớn Jaime before the Kingslayer insult a gingerhaired ally sitting across from hyên ổn, just as it is Jaime, who once mocked the very idea of nobility, that now celebrates it in Brienne.

For too long the “lady knight” or “large woman” of trò chơi of Thrones has gone by monikers unbefitting her honor và worth. The noblest person on the show by far, she has long run from her heart’s desire. She refused to ever let Podriông chồng điện thoại tư vấn her a knight, and dared not ask it of Renly or Jaime, two men she loved enough khổng lồ serve but always at a distance & a glance away from eye-liên hệ. When Jaime offers his h& lớn the better person—the truer knight—by requesting lớn serve sầu beneath her comm&, she flinches. Unlượt thích Tyrion she has never been able khổng lồ vocalize her wants, desires, or even awareness of the situations around her. Situations like the plain injustice of a woman of unparalleled talent & skill not being anointed a “knight” because of tradition.

In the shadow of death, we can say fuck tradition, and that world becomes a little more perfect when Brienne kneels a lady and rises the truest knight. As the happiest face in Winterfell, it is a poor omen about what will come for Ser Brienne next week, but tonight it is worth all the gold in Casterly Roông chồng. It is something lớn be savored, lượt thích Podrick’s singing, a reunion of the Brothers in Blaông chồng standing atop a wall, Grey Worm’s promise lớn Missandei for a future that will never be, or a rekindling of old flames.

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Indeed, probably the moment to lớn be most written about và agonized over is Arya Stark and Gendry of House Baratheon (fuchồng tradition) finally uniting the Wolf và the Stag. It’s been a relationship that’s always been there, at least since they met in the season 1 finale. Arya eyed Gendry as more than just a frikết thúc throughout seasons 2 và 3, albeit he knew her only as his little sister then. But the glances she stole of hlặng above a forger’s flame were not of sisterly affection. Nonetheless, I never fully expected trò chơi of Thrones khổng lồ go there, particularly before the real endgame will be settled. But therein lies the point.

Whether Arya is a teenager or in her 20s now (the timeline is intentionally left fuzzy in the series), she had the ability to study Gendry’s physique in season 2 và feel the sting of betrayal when he chose to leave sầu her in season 3. Since that breakup, she has become a woman who defies all conventions of her age và even some of our own. She takes what she wants from the Freys, in pies & blood, & she gives what she needs khổng lồ in equal measure from the likes of Petyr Baelish và Meryn Trant. Ever since she told Jaqen H’ghar that “a girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, và I’m going trang chủ,” Arya has known exactly who she is & what she wants. That she would wish khổng lồ experience sex, particularly on the precipice of death, with the only torch she’s ever carried is entirely natural and true to the most iconoclastic Stark. So she takes Gendry with as much force as she took Walder Frey, doing in her young adulthood what she dreamed of in her childhood.

Their fotrả lời before this moment also allowed for several of the subtler joys of the night. Little things like Arya dismissing the cryptic shorthvà with which Gendry và a thousand movie/TV characters speak of foreboding things as “really bad.” It also saw Arya, once stealing a perfect bullseye away from Bran, now firing openly and proudly before an archery target. And never missing. Her ability khổng lồ also land her shot on Gendry & his initial false modesty is true, yet speaks ill of his chances. Tonight she waits alert và troubled by the side of her slumbering lover. I have sầu a hunch that by this time next week, she’ll be forced to stare into that face again with its much bluer eyes.

This really is the over of things. Which is why we’re more or less beginning where we started. Once more Jaime has a word in private with Bran Stark, although now in shameful regret as opposed khổng lồ snide indifference to the little boy he was pushing out a window. Unfortunately the scene is robbed of its full emotional potency since Bran Stark has completely uploaded his soul to the Westeroyêu thích cloud & cannot be bothered with heart-to-heart apologies, even in the presence of the Heart Tree. Still, he sums up the beauty and poignancy of this night. When Jaime attempts lớn explain he is no longer the man he was, Bran remarks, “You still would be if you hadn’t pushed me out of that window. And I would still be Brandon Stark.” These two people, a boy và the humbled man who wronged hlặng, are genuinely different souls eight seasons later.

If you think bachồng lớn every character from those early seasons who still breathes, even perma-brooder Jon Snow, you’ll see the shades of their past etched into the dramatically different, & much more so dramatically satisfying, persons they are today. Daenerys is not a passive sầu pawn in men’s games but a queen who has shattered their game board; Arya is not a young girl who grieves the adventures she’ll never allowed lớn go on, but a woman who’s seen too many grim adventures lớn waste time on grief for the road not taken; Sansa, once the girl who naively dreamed of marrying a king, will now be able lớn refuse fully bending before a queen more than necessary while defending the rights of her people; và Jaime & Bran are now allies surrounded by former enemies, be they Greyjoy or Targaryen, wildlings & crows.

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That is the true terror of the Night King: not only will he kill these characters you love sầu, but he’ll kill the culmination of all their pain, all their growth, and all their transformations. It will come to mean nothing. They’ll be forgotten in a way Ned, Catelyn, Tywin, & even Ramsay’s ghosts were not tonight. There will be no ghosts if only the dead inherit the earth. It is the threat khổng lồ their shared history—the ties that keep them apart yet bind them together as the living inhabitants of Westeros—that has made this brief, better world possible. “He wants to erase this world and its memory,” warns Three-Eyed Bran while speaking of the Night King. The threat of losing this world, or its purpose for being after eight seasons, should scare viewers. More than any theory, this admission by Bran of White Walker motive should dispel the prospect of the Night King ascending the Iron Throne.

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For the show to lớn have a purpose, this world must have a future—someone must be left khổng lồ rethành viên those who have died và those still yet to lớn meet the Many-Faced God. That dread of meetings yet to lớn come is what brought serenity and joy to lớn tonight’s episode. Nothing but a deep breath, it was one full of reflection and a bittersweet flavor that’ll last long in our own collective memory. More so than last week’s premiere, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” reminded us why we love sầu these characters, và why it’ll hurt so much when we say lớn the Many-Faced God next week, “So it is today, old friover.”

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