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S08.E02: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

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Episode Synopsis:

Jaime faces judgement and Winterfell prepares for the battle to come.

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So...I’m not sure what to say right now. I’m surprised that the entire episode was taken up with battle preparation given we now have only four episodes remaining. I get, from a story telling perspective, the merits of having the entire episode setting up the great battle betweeen the Living and the Dead, and the banter and silent spaces are and we’re very effective in creating dread and fear of what’s about to come, but it would work better if the show runners had given us a full season with 10 full episodes. I don’t give a rats ass in a stomach bucket if some or all of the remaining episodes are a bit longer or not, this whole “let’s wrap this up and move on” was a huge dragon turd on A Viewer and it pisses me off. I loved the dialogue in this episode so much, all our best characters (I really don’t care a ton all anymore about Cersei or Urine et al) in one place, interacting with one another in the most delicious ways, and yet I couldn’t ENJOY the banter and set up as much as Id have liked to because in the back of my mind I kept thinking, ‘we only have FOUR episodes left, are they ALL gonna be about the NK bullshit?’ I guess what I'm saying is that this is the sort of episode that I normally love - not a lot of gore, and a lot of character dialogue and interaction, with a mix of emotions, and in normal seasons with a full 10 episodes I could enjoy these sort of episodes, but now I can't because my mind keeps racing to "yeah but you've only got x episodes left!' Okay, enough whining about that.

There was a lot of great interactions between old friends and rivals - Arya, The Hound, Beric Dondarion; the old NW bros + Tormund, Tyrion and Jaime; Brienne and Jaime; Sansa and Theon; Arya and Gendry; Lyanna and Jorah Mormont; Podrick, Brienne, Tormund, Davos, Tyrion, Jaime; Jaime and Bran; Theon and Bran; Sansa and Dany; Sam and Jorah - just so many really good connections being made despite the time crunch. It felt right that everyone at Winterfell is there right now, and yet at the same time it felt rushed.  

The Arya and Gendry sexy times in the forgery makes sense in context of what’s about to happen, human nature wise, but it felt gratuitous and fandomish to me nonetheless, and I could have done without it. Great for Arya, she’s a woman now. On the other hand, Jaime knighting Brienne brought tears to my 👀 and felt like it would empower her  in the battle about to come. The convo between Sansa and Dany started off okay, but you could tell Dany still has the Mad King blood in her, ditto her bitching at Jaime at the start of the episode. What doesn’t she get about her father being batshit crazy? 

I had an AHA moment when in the strategy room, when Jon said targeting the NK will kill all the WWs and wights and Bran volunteered himself as bait. So we’re going to have two battles going - one is the general Living vs. Dead and the other smaller battle will be around the weirwood tree with Bran and a smaller set of key key players protecting Bran and trying to lure in and take down the NK. We also now know that Bran is essentially the memory of mankind, or at least within Westeros, and the NK wants to kill him to wipe man’s memory and create a dark night that lasts forever. Okay, so I guess our theory of the NK wanting to end his torment isn’t happening, but man, they drop this huge piece of info on us -why he wants Bran- like it’s no big deal. I totally didn’t understand how such a huge piece of information was treated like ‘oh hey, can you grab me a mug o grog, thanks.’ Of course they don’t tell us how the TER came to be because...reasons take up too much time. 

Im not sure whether it was smart or stupid for Jon to tell Dany his real identity just before they have to go into battle...perhaps it will force both to fight with clearer heads and not be all schmoopy and lovesick about each other. Also, when he nodded to her and they left, I wondered where the dragons we’re and then I realized, when Tormund and Co arrived, they didn’t tell anyone that there’s an ice dragon, did they? I assume they saw Viserion at the Wall but maybe they didn’t actually see him? Does anyone remember?

The way Sansa greeted Theon also made me weep. Those two have gone through so much hell together, they share a bond that is probably stronger than that between Sansa and Jon or Arya. She’s been holding it together as the Lady of Winterfell, but seeing her break down as she hugged Theon really got to me - it bared her soul and all the hurt she's endured, and that's still fresh underneath her steely exterior. And the scene between Sansa and Dany just served to reinforce that Dany will be a shit ruler and Sansa would kick ass. I love how she doesn't mince words about the fate of the North with Dany. It showed how myopic and one track Dany really is. I've never been a huge Dany fan, she's been a necessary vehicle to get to dragons, but she's really not on my top list right now and I'm fine if she bites it.

I loved the scene between Jorah and Lyanna, he has no idea who he’s dealing with! And when Sam gave Jorah his family sword because he knew he couldn’t swing it, I liked the poignancy that Jorah would avenge Sam’s father and brother by using their family sword in the greatest battle of life. 

There is much more to say, but for another day...

ETA: Ghost...yes!!!

Edited by gingerella
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S08E02: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.

Now THAT title makes more sense than the one previously up there. Good fakeout, @raven , our stalwart defender!

3 hours ago, gingerella said:

Okay, enough whining about that.

I feel your pain, Ging. I had a similar, but different, experience. I don't remember how many episodes there are this Season, but I KNOW A Show is winding down and, as somebody is always saying: it feels like the leaves are falling and winter is coming. To me it's like heading on a cross country drive with your BFFs to start a new life on the far coast. The road trip is so much fun and you learn so much and grow the whole way that reaching your destination is anticlimactic. ☹️

But I have a sneaking feeling I'm going to enjoy re-watching this episode no matter how many years go by. Sure, it was excellent fun speculating about some of it, but it will be rewarding to remember what we got right, what we missed by a mile and what we got kinda right but not in the way we thought.

3 hours ago, gingerella said:

There was a lot of great interactions between old friends and rivals - Arya, The Hound, Beric Dondarion; the old NW bros + Tormund, Tyrion and Jaime; Brienne and Jaime; Sansa and Theon; Arya and Gendry; Lyanna and Jorah Mormont; Podrick, Brienne, Tormund, Davos, Tyrion, Jaime; Jaime and Bran; Theon and Bran; Sansa and Dany; Sam and Jorah - just so many really good connections being made despite the time crunch. It felt right that everyone at Winterfell is there right now, and yet at the same time it felt rushed.  

^THIS^ was the meat and potatoes (tofu and curried spinach for you vegetarians). And yes, there was a lot of box ticking going on in my head. But I was once again thrown back to season one seeing the mirror image of the (now) old warriors interacting with respect and camraderie - even though they were on opposite sides of the battles they were reminiscing about. (Beric and The Hound, Jaime and almost everyone there, Theon and all the Starks mirroring Ned and Barriston Selmy reminiscing about Robert's Rebellion, Jaime and Jory (dead Head of Ned's household guard) reminiscing about the Siege of Pike.

Things have changed but the way people are remains the same. The life lessons learned during all these conflicts soften the edges of the characters and when they look at their former (or even current) enemies they see themselves. Certainly the Stark extended family do. Just as Ned and Robert spoke so fondly and respectfully of Jon Arryn, so do Theon, Sansa and Jon speak of Ned. (and Arya, not to forget Arya!)

3 hours ago, gingerella said:

Jaime knighting Brienne brought tears to my 👀 and felt like it would empower her  in the g about to come.

This is both how we speculated the Jaime/Brienne story would wrap up... and not.  He would live up to her expectations of him because she believed in the real him. The person he always wanted to be, before all those rules you couldn't possibly obey without breaking another one, made him jaded. I DID NOT EXPECT him to make her a knight!!!!!!  The best surprise EVER.

3 hours ago, gingerella said:

We also now know that Bran is essentially the memory of mankind, or at least within Westeros, and the NK wants to kill him to wipe man’s memory and create a dark night that lasts forever.

This, for me, brought in the Oral Tradition concept from 1st nations peoples around the world. The Storytellers were the collective memory of a people. It's what made them a unique group. The TER, it now appears, is the vessel that houses the collected knowledge and experience of the 1st men and all their descendants. We learned that the NK has tried to wipe out all their history three (3) times but each time there was someone who had learned how to gather it back and keep it available. Now we know why the NK "marking" Bran was so important. Perhaps, instead of the TER being a way to keep track of the activities of the WW (my speculation)... it was the gift the CotF gave the 1st men to ensure they would keep track of themselves! (altered speculation).

3 hours ago, gingerella said:

when Tormund and Co arrived, they didn’t tell anyone that there’s an ice dragon, did they? I assume they saw Viserion at the Wall but maybe they didn’t actually see him? Does anyone remember?

As far as the show runners are concerned they didn't need to have Tormund and Edd speak about the re-animated Viserion because Bran blurted it out after the formal greeting of Dany and Jon had barely begun last episode. They already KNEW the NK now had a dragon on the dark side. Details might have been useful to share (how it now functions, what differences?: Not Much!), but... details, schmetails. WE all know.

Edited by Anothermi · Reason: Clarity, adding explanatory details
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I loved this oh so poignant episode, but the looming sense of doom - for the characters and for the series - left me feeling acute loss, before it even happens.

I had binge-watched the entire series in a matter of days just before the season premiere, so the many characters and plots were fresh in my mind.  Seeing all the reunions at Winterfell felt like a wonderful gift - just before the inevitable axe is about to fall.

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The knighting of Brienne gave me all the warm snugglies. Jamie and Bran confronting each other was necessary and interesting to watch. I've been one of these naysayers who didn't think Jamie could completely turn in his motivations from "for Cersei" to "for honor." While I'm not sold his redemption arc is over, he's well on his way. The fact that he knighted Brienne and offered to fight under her orders does wonders for his honorable side. I can't really tell if his respect for Brienne (and vice versa) is because there's a romantic link or because neither of these characters had every really had friends before. Jamie had his brother, but to everyone else he was a kingslayer. He had Bronn to a degree, but that wasn't a friendship build on mutual respect. It was built on banter and knowing that he couldn't fight well anymore. Brienne though, I don't think has ever had a friend. Look how she treated Pod as a nuisance at the beginning. It's an interesting relationship to watch.

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In the Opening, it was cool that the flipped tiles did creep closer to Winterfell.
But also - UGH.

There was a "calm before" quality to this episode, like the happy wedding celebration at the Twins before The Rains of Castamere started playing, or Bronn and The Hound drinking before the Battle of Blackwater, but it lasted an entire episode. It will make whatever follows even more heartbreaking. I keep thinking about the title of an old song from the mid 80's - Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? There were some poignant moments that felt like characters taking their leave of each other. Grey Worm talking about his retirement with Missandei to Naath aboard the SS Live4Ever felt very ominous. Ditto Jorah telling Dany 'yeah, Tyrion was the right choice for hand'. I think The Hound and Arya are safe - they didn't get to actually close the loop on their story.

Arya and Gendry hooking up was expected but oddly touching and so appropriate that it happened in the crypt. I am thinking now about how Robert Baratheon asked Ned Stark to be Hand of the King down there and said "We were meant to rule together. If your sister had lived, we'd have been bound by blood. Well, it's not too late. I have a son, you have a daughter. We'll join our Houses."

I always love the score to GoT, and this episode had a nice musical head nod when Davos and Gilly were trying to convince the girl that the crypts were the safest place, I noticed the music was based on the nursery song that Shireen sang back in S3E5 about the birds have scales and the fish take wing. So Davos is a goner.

Actually, there might be a scenario where we don't loose all that many secondary characters and maybe 1 or 2 primary character before the NK is defeated (primary characters to me = Tyrion, Arya, Cersei, Sansa, Dany, Bran, Jon, Theon, Sam, and Jaime, based on their having been our window into significant parts of the story by themselves and/or on screen time). Of this list Theon and Jaime are the most likely to bite it.

Speaking of Jaime, his conversation with Bran was just amazing - of course it had to be underneath the weirwood tree! Of course Jaime just flat out apologizes! Of course Bran was above having a human reaction! "How do you know there is an afterwards?" I also wish that at least half an episode could be devoted to just Tyrion and Bran telling each other their stories.

And JAIME KNIGHTED BRIENNE! Woo hoo! That was just a great moment, and we finally got to hear the entire charge.

I think it was Pod's singing voice that made the ladies tremble back at the KL brothel when they wouldn't take his money.

Dany showed some growth, she seemed more trying to figure out how to work with allies rather than subjects, but she will always resort to imperious and haughty when challenged. Considering that her entire identity since the end of S1 has been 'the Iron Throne is mine by right', I thought she handled Jon's info dump about his real parents with relative calm. I will guess that before the end, it will create a moment of doubt when she is trying to protect him or vice versa.

Next week is going to be bonkers.

17 hours ago, gingerella said:

Okay, enough whining about that.

Whinging: When your lips move and you're complaining about something. 😂

14 hours ago, Anothermi said:

We learned that the NK has tried to wipe out all their history three (3) times but each time there was someone who had learned how to gather it back and keep it available. Now we know why the NK "marking" Bran was so important. Perhaps, instead of the TER being a way to keep track of the activities of the WW (my speculation)... it was the gift the CotF gave the 1st men to ensure they would keep track of themselves! (altered speculation).

This was just tossed out as an aside in a brief conversation. Ugh. TELL ME MORE, YOU WEIRD THREE BRAN RAVEN! My guess is that the CotF also created the 3ER so that humans would have a storehouse of knowledge to call upon when they need to defeat the NK. Would the end of one mean the end of the other? IDK.

Edited by WhiteStumbler · Reason: Forgot Brienne got a knighthood! And Pod!
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10 minutes ago, Llywela said:

I am absolutely terrified right now for absolutely everyone.

Ditto.

No matter what happens, I am certain I will be utterly gutted.

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38 minutes ago, walnutqueen said:

No matter what happens, I am certain I will be utterly gutted.

The only death that wouldn't leave me gutted would be Cersei, like if she changed her mind and showed up at Winterfell just as the AotD attacks and got an ice spear in the heart for her troubles.

This episode left me in tatters. I can make a plausible case for anyone (and nearly everyone) at Winterfell dying next episode. I think the only survivors that I would put money on would be Dany and/or Jon, The Hound (unfinished business with The Mountain), one dragon (not the icy undead one), and Sansa. Everyone else is amongst the potential dead.

How wonderful was Pod's song? As A Viewer of A Show that is drawing the curtain down, I can certainly relate to the last bit...
They spun her around
On the damp old stones
Spun away all her sorrow and pain
And she never wanted to leave
Never wanted to leave
Never wanted to leave
Never wanted to leave
Never wanted to leave
Never wanted to leave

Edited by WhiteStumbler
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Honestly, almost anyone could die next Sunday. I'm mildly terrified. The last two episodes were emotional and storytelling precursors to lots and lots of death. Plus, our heroes are fronting every single section of the fight. Dany on dragons. Brienne leading the left flank (or whatever). Greyworm on the ground. Theon protecting Bran.

My death pool guesses: Greyworm, Theon, and Brienne. It breaks my heart to say it, but that knighting read like, "Look! She got the highest honor! Look how happy she is! She can die happy now! WAIT!! OH NO!! I DIDN'T MEAN IT THAT WAY! AAAAHHH"

Just cause I want to vent a bit... why was everyone 100% cool with Theon protecting Bran. Theon, the one who pretended to kill him for power which lead him to escaping and barely surviving (also dead Rickon). Same Theon who literally jumped ship when it came to protecting his sister, like yesterday. He's got major hangups over injury/pain/conflict/etc. He's a broken man. Why in the world would everyone be cool with him protecting Bran? Just whyyy?

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@DirewolfPup, I think I’m moderately terrified at this point, I feel your pain! 

Yeah, you’re right about the Theon protecting Bran but beggars can’t  be choosers and I think Sansa would stand up for him because she knows what he’s gone through with her at Casa Bolton’s House of Horrors, and she embraced him deeply when he arrived at Winterfell and I think that’s gave him some street cred. 

At this point, everyone who has arrived at Winterfell to fight the AotD is pretty much there to fight for the Living, at least that’s how I take it. There may be many former foes there now, but they’re united in their mission and willingness to fight side by side. All former beefs are off the table. So I think nobody’s holding anything against Theon because they need every person whose willing to fight. And it seems like this is Theon’s redemption arc and he will likely die defending Bran. Which is a drag for him because his character has gone through so much good and bad, I think back on how shitty his father treated him when he returned, it was so fucking sad, and it said heaps about how damaged he was. But yeah, Theon is at the top of my E03 deathpool list. 

Edited by gingerella
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My concern about Theon being the one to defend Bran is that, as I understood it, luring the Night King to Bran is the centrepoint of the gang's entire military strategy. The whole point of Bran being in the grove in the first place is to act as bait to lure the Night King away from his army, so that he can be taken down and thus wipe out his army along with him. Therefore, surely there should be more than one man in position alongside Bran, ready to strike - especially when that one man is not what you'd call the most tried and tested warrior in the assembled army. Yet unless I missed it there was no discussion of anyone else being positioned nearby, ready to take down the Night King. So that confused me a bit.

On 4/22/2019 at 1:41 PM, walnutqueen said:

I loved this oh so poignant episode, but the looming sense of doom - for the characters and for the series - left me feeling acute loss, before it even happens.

That was how I felt about it. As @Anothermi  said, this was an episode for rewatching - poignant, beautiful character interaction, building on years and years of history, setting the scene for the battle still to come and very effectively building a strong sense of tension and dread, but with no actual painful content within the episode itself. These first two episodes of the season might not be the most action-packed ever, but they are the bread and meat of the story, really - it is pretty clear that next week is going to be The Big Battle, and that battle will be given meaning by what has come before. By this episode, and by last week's episodes, the connections these characters have built with one another - and us with them.

On 4/22/2019 at 5:33 AM, gingerella said:

So...I’m not sure what to say right now. I’m surprised that the entire episode was taken up with battle preparation given we now have only four episodes remaining. I get, from a story telling perspective, the merits of having the entire episode setting up the great battle betweeen the Living and the Dead, and the banter and silent spaces are and we’re very effective in creating dread and fear of what’s about to come, but it would work better if the show runners had given us a full season with 10 full episodes. I don’t give a rats ass in a stomach bucket if some or all of the remaining episodes are a bit longer or not, this whole “let’s wrap this up and move on” was a huge dragon turd on A Viewer and it pisses me off. I loved the dialogue in this episode so much, all our best characters (I really don’t care a ton all anymore about Cersei or Urine et al) in one place, interacting with one another in the most delicious ways, and yet I couldn’t ENJOY the banter and set up as much as Id have liked to because in the back of my mind I kept thinking, ‘we only have FOUR episodes left, are they ALL gonna be about the NK bullshit?’

I actually felt the opposite - it seems to me that the Night King storyline is about to be wound up, the Big Epic Battle is already here - by the end of episode three it should in fact be over, since this one ended with the Army of the Dead reaching Winterfell, and I can't really see them dragging the battle out for more than one episode, unless there is some kind of twist still to come. If it does work out like that, that would divide the season quite neatly into two halves - three episodes for the Night King and three to resolve the game of thrones.

I guess, though, that the sense of rush comes from the impermanence of the situation at Winterfell. All these characters together in one place, fighting for a single cause for the first time in all these years of A Show - the relative peace of that situation can't last. The cooperation between all these factions can't last. When the Battle of the Dead is over and done with, whoever is left standing is going to have to pick up the pieces - and we already know how very different their fundamental aims and objectives actually are. Which means that this peace and cooperation is temporary, to be enjoyed while it lasts both by us and by them, because it will very soon be over, and the various factions will be left to figure out where they go next.

We got a couple of tastes of what is to come in this episode, with Jon telling Dany about his true parentage, and Sansa talking to Dany about the North's desire for independence, both of which seeded potentially devastating conflict still to come. It was actually really amusing to me that after everything we've said about the squick factor of Jon and Dany's relationship turning out to be incestuous, Dany didn't bat an eyelid at the thought of having slept with her nephew. The only thing she cared about, in that moment, was that his claim to the Iron Throne supersedes hers. I fear that her inflexibility will be her downfall, in the end.

I found her interaction with Sansa really interesting throughout this episode, because the main emotion I identified in Dany was jealousy. Envy. Watch her face when she sees Sansa talking to her steward about keeping the gates open for as long as possible, to allow more refugees to take sanctuary, and when Sansa rushes to hug Theon. I felt like Dany was seeing in Sansa something she knows she herself lacks, and doesn't know how to attain, if that makes sense, and it ties in with the way Dany was raised and that inflexibility we've seen in her time and again. She was raised with tunnel-vision. Reclaiming the Iron Throne was all that mattered, by any means - but it was a completely abstract goal. She doesn't actually know Westeros or its people at all, doesn't understand either the politics or the history that brought them all to this point, and I don't think she was the slightest bit prepared to have to deal with them, or really knows how to handle the political mess she has found. Her entire identity has been built around reclaiming the Iron Throne and she has never really stopped to consider what happens after that, how to hold it by anything but force, or how to negotiate a changing political landscape in which a return to the old regime may not be possible. She has many talents, but is not a natural diplomat, and I think she has demonstrated over the years that she is also not a natural manager. But Sansa is. Sansa is good with people, on the whole. She has learned to be a good diplomat - she has had to be. And she grew up as a nobleman's daughter in the sort of society in which a nobleman's wife was expected to manage the day-to-day logistics of running his estate, and has amply demonstrated her skill therein in these last couple of seasons, in which she really has come into her own. Sansa has earned the love and respect of the people around her, where Dany tends to command it, if that makes sense. And I think I saw Dany recognising that in Sansa, and perceiving it as a threat.

I really loved the gathering of the warriors before the fire in the great hall, representing so many previously opposing factions, all ranged together now as allies - but with so many refugees now clustered within Winterfell's walls, I did find myself distracted from the scene by picturing how many of those refugees could have been quartered in that enormous space, out of the wind and snow!

Edited by Llywela
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The fate of the world rests on whether the NK is killed or not. Theon is not the best choice to defend Bran alone. Firstly, they should have someone with a Valerian steel sword. Second, it should be a person not suffering from PTSD. Third, it should be the person who is the best sword fighter (Theon's good, but not the best). Fourth, why not have 3-4 people there in hiding? Why does it have to be just one. Terrible decision making. I'm sure at the end Theon will die and be a big old hero. Doesn't make the decision any less ridiculous.

@Llywela

Most certainly Dany is jealous. Dany had to literally free people from slavery before they loved her (Meesa!). Sansa has love and respect from people who didn't need freed. These people follow, respect and love her because she has the personality and skills to win the day.

My prediction for who for sure survives: Sansa, Jon, Tyrion, Jamie. Jamie has unfinished business with Cersei. Like my death prediction above, Jamie's going to have his life turn upside down when Brienne dies. He needs that loss to finally overcome his demons and possibly die trying to destroy Cersei.

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A beautiful episode, one that restored my faith in A Show's intent to be anything more than a cartoon in its final days. To be about something: what it means to live; what we will remember.

I think of that very long close-up of Ned about to be executed which played moments before the 8th season began, and how much I felt when I saw it again. The weight of it: as heavy as his broadsword (about to fall on his neck, and then be rendered into two). That weight was made of the man and what we knew of him by then, what his life had been and why he did and didn't die at peace. 

This episode gave bits of that heft to every scene. It paused the external conflict in favor of illuminating the internal: darkly, by candlelight before battle at dawn. Henry V, the prologue before Agincourt, with the story as its own hero:

"O now, who will behold
The royal captain of this ruin'd band
Walking from watch to watch, from tent to tent,
Let him cry 'Praise and glory on his head!'
For forth he goes and visits all his host.
Bids them good morrow with a modest smile
And calls them brothers, friends and countrymen...

A little touch of Harry in the night.
And so our scene must to the battle fly..."
 

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6 hours ago, Llywela said:

Yet unless I missed it there was no discussion of anyone else being positioned nearby, ready to take down the Night King.

Jon said that others -- including him -- would be hidden nearby, just out of sight. I'm not sure that sight is the Night King's prime stalking sense, but then again, this plan is what they have. 

Thinking of Valerian steel swords as a legacy. First, as a remnant of Valeria itself, now a wasteland "frozen" (as in, immobilized) by fire. Ned's family broadsword, which separated head from torso and then was itself split into two. One named "Oathkeeper" (which is who Ned was) by Brienne (another one), in honor of Jaime (of all people, bless her big heart and prophetic soul), when he made a gift of it to her. One named "Widow's Wail" by Joffrey (of all people, in one of his fits of poesy: see, Sansa Gets a Necklace, and, We All Lose a Hero). In her own last moments, Olenna Tyrell -- her every memory of Joffrey's wedding day still vivid and present to her -- noted that Jaime now carries this smaller sword, light enough for him to wield with his left hand. So in the battle to come, the Stark family sword will be on Winterfell's left flank, fighting side-by-side with itself.

The Mormont family sword, Longclaw, taken by Jeor Mormont into exile with him at Castle Black. Passed on there to his foster son (Ned Stark's adoptive son and nephew) Jon Snow. Jeor swapped its bear pommel for a wolf pommel, both fashioned like the circular dragon/wolf/stag/lion insignia in A Show's opening credits. It has previously killed one White Walker. 

Heart's Bane, the Tarly family sword, denied to Sam by his father and stolen back by Sam. He gives it to the knight he saved, who has many times saved the Queen who executed its previous owner and heir, Sam's father and brother. Who had previously betrayed their ancient oath to the Tyrells, and would otherwise have been killed in battle by Jaime, along with the rest of Olenna's forces.

And of course our own Knifey (so named by our departed sister Shimpy, Still of Her Name). The first and most avowedly Valerian of Steels. Famed more for its edge than for its pointy end. Owned and lied about by Littlefinger; wielded by Oaf, then Knave then Avenger; found at the throats of Bran, Ned and Littlefinger himself in its journeys from King's Landing to Winterfell to King's Landing to Winterfell. One more trip back to King's Landing, I think.

On 4/22/2019 at 3:36 AM, Anothermi said:

Things have changed but the way people are remains the same. The life lessons learned during all these conflicts soften the edges of the characters and when they look at their former (or even current) enemies they see themselves. Certainly the Stark extended family do. Just as Ned and Robert spoke so fondly and respectfully of Jon Arryn, so do Theon, Sansa and Jon speak of Ned. (and Arya, not to forget Arya!)

His is the legacy. I think that's the story. 

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43 minutes ago, Pallas said:

Thinking of Valerian steel swords as a legacy. First, as a remnant of Valeria itself, now a wasteland "frozen" (as in, immobilized) by fire.

What a magnificent encapsulation of those legacies that follow this epic opening salvo, @Pallas !

- Ned's sword re-united on the left flank with Brienne & Jaime (wipes away a tear of sweet justice)

- Jeor's sword, again to be wielded by a true leader

- Heart's Bane. Such a convoluted, tragic path! I hadn't thought about all that, so thanks for illuminating it. In the hands of Jorah, a good man with principles honed by finding his purpose in life, and forgiven for his weaknesses, on behalf of his father, by the person who saved him.  Commander Mormont saw the value in Sam. Sam saw the value in Jorah.

- and Knifey! What a journey!  Two  round trips from King's landing to Winterfell - and perhaps one more before the story ends?

I remember so many posts (back on TWoP) trying to figure out who's knife it was. We were hobbled by the unpredictable time frames the show gave us. But Littlefinger was high on the suspect list - and became famous for getting around Westeros 10 times faster than everyone else. ☹️

More than a list (which we put together a few years ago) but an entire History! Brava.

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3 hours ago, Pallas said:

Jon said that others -- including him -- would be hidden nearby, just out of sight. I'm not sure that sight is the Night King's prime stalking sense, but then again, this plan is what they have. 

I rewatched the scene in the Winterfell Strategy room (as opposed to the one at Dragonstone):

Sansa exclaimed: “You want us to use you as bait?

Arya: We're not leaving you alone out there.”

Theon: He won't be. I'll stay with him. With the Ironborn. I took this castle from you. Let me defend you now. (Bran nods assent)

So Theon wasn't going to defend Bran on his own. Poetically fitting, as I see it. HE would represent the Stark in him – defending his “family” - and the Iron Born who followed him would represent the Greyjoy in him. Finally bringing together the two sides within Theon that Jon gave him permission to embrace back in Season 7 in the Throne Room at Dragonstone when Theon tried to ask permission to go and rescue Yara. (Jon basically said "Why are you just standing there" indicating you don't need permission to defend your family)

Jon then argues that the dragons need to be near Bran to protect him but not so near that they keep the Night King away. He plans to use them to pursue the Night King if he comes.

(NO!NO!NO! Don't burn down the Weirwood tree!!!)

So, yes, Jon planned to be nearby (as @Pallas pointed out above) and if the dragons (plural) were going to defend Bran at a distance, then Dany would also be there.

Arya asks if fire will stop him. Bran admits that nobody knows. No one has ever tried.

I spitball that No One (Arya) will give it a try! As per someone's (Gingerella's) spitball earlier in another thread.

As for Theon being the worst person to defend Bran? What with all the harkening back to the early days of A Show... I remembered that Theon has already saved Bran's life in Season 01. From the Wildlings (with Osha). Robb tore a right strip off of Theon for that because he shot his arrow at the Wildling using Bran as a shield.

Theon was an excellent archer and confident in his abilities. If only for Story sake – he IS the right person to be there to protect Bran.

On 4/21/2019 at 9:33 PM, gingerella said:

So we’re going to have two battles going - one is the general Living vs. Dead and the other smaller battle will be around the weirwood tree with Bran and a smaller set of key key players protecting Bran and trying to lure in and take down the NK.

Yes! It! Does!  Great observation, Oh creator of the Spitball Wall.

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