by Steve Lancaster 4/26/19
First up: Episodes 1 & 2 • Season 8 begins, as all HBO series do, with recaps of the previous seasons to bring the casual viewer up to date. At the end of season 7 the wall has fallen to the Night King. The proposed alliance between the Dragon Queen and Cersei never really came about. Cersei, craw-fished and is planning war on who, or what survives the battle with the Night King. Jamie has left Cersei and is traveling to Winterfell to join the fight against the Night King. It is almost the last step in his redemption.
At Winterfell the armies are assembling from the North, Daenerys has arrived with two dragons and two armies. The Stark family has reassembled, or what is left of it, and the last of the night watch from the wall has arrived as have the wildings. Littlefinger, Lord Baelish has been executed by Arya on orders of her sister Sansa. Everyone still alive from season one is gathered in Winterfell except Cersei. I wonder if she feels left out and will sulk?
In Episode 2, Jamie arrives in Winterfell. Daenerys wants to execute him but is overruled by a moving speech from Breann of Tarth. Jamie and Breann have history together alternately holding each other captive and rescuing each other from captivity. Breann has sworn fealty to Sansa and Sansa trusts her without question. Sansa goes for allowing Jamie to stay based on Breann’s speech. She is the Lady of Winterfell, her house, her rules.
They prepare for the coming fight, episode 3. Most of the rest of episode 2 discovers how each character is dealing with the possibility of death in a most grisly fashion. Women who do not fight and children are sequestered in the deep crypts, regular citizens are drafted for the ranks and the warriors contemplate their demise in drink and stories. This is where we find one of the best and most moving elements of the entire series. The title of episode two is, Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.
It centers on a gathering in the hall of principle characters including Jamie and Breann. The conversation gets around to knighthood and why Breann is not a knight. She says tradition reserves knighthood for men. Jamie announces that all that is required to make a knight is another knight and offers to knight Breann.
This act is not just rewarding Breann but is the final step in Jamie’s redemption as a knight. It is not just Breann who stands a Knight of the Seven Kingdoms but also Jamie. The Jamie that almost murdered Brandon Stark in season 1 is not the same man in season 8. It is very moving and fully brings Jamie into the fold of all who are going to fight the Night King who has just appeared on the horizon. The battle for Winterfell is about to begin, Sunday night at 20:00.
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