The 300s Breaks Down Game of Thrones S8E2

Obvious Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t caught up on Season 8 of Thrones yet come back later.

With only four episodes remaining in Game of Thrones I’m already starting to feel a twinge of sadness. This is my favorite show of all time, which I’ve invested hundreds of hours of my life into and in a month it’ll all be over. After that I don’t think TV will ever be the same. So with that being said, enjoy the final month of Westeros because when it’s over you’ll miss it. Now I’ll get into full on fanboy mode in a minute, but just so I don’t get accused of being a blindly loyal fan I want to touch on a couple of negatives. The biggest complaint I’ve heard about Game of Thrones’ final season thus far is that the first two episodes have been dull set up and full of fan service that rely on scenes of characters learning info that viewers already knew in some cases for years.

I’ve enjoyed the first two episodes, but I am a bit uneasy with 1/3 of the final season being devoted to setting the table and catching up with friends. I’m sure we’ll all look back and miss these moments when the final 4 episodes are just pure carnage leaving me an emotional wreck.

The one complaint I’ve had since the showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss diverged from George R.R. Martin’s books (because he can’t finish the damn things) is that the writing has become a bit more predictable. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched the entire show through 7 or 8 times, but I feel like I am hyper aware of the foreshadowing the writers drop in dialogue. Rarely does a line slip by in conversation like it would have in earlier seasons. After the Red Wedding we were all shocked, but rewatching the episodes prior to that you see little bread crumbs that Martin was dropping the entire time and you can’t believe you missed it. In seasons 7 and 8 when anything major happens I find myself immediately thinking well yea that makes sense because so and so directly alluded to that a couple of episodes ago.

Khaleesi is bordering on annoying in season 8 and I feel like its been so blatant that the showrunners are doing it intentionally. Similar to what I just wrote in the paragraph above, it sticks out to me a bit more when a character is really leaning into a plot line heavier than usual because it usually means the writers are trying to throw you off the scent (redemption, betrayal, upcoming death). Khaleesi has acted like an uninformed power hungry ruler at best and a catty new girlfriend bickering with her boyfriend’s sister at worse. Its completely understandable for a normal  person to be irritated with how things have played out for Dany with the North giving her whole team the cold shoulder. But that would be for a normal person, Dany is not normal. She has been bought and sold, raped, imprisoned, abused and underestimated at every turn. She’s one of the most cunning, ruthless, yet caring characters in the entire show. So for the showrunners to have her fuming because Jon’s sister didn’t initially like her, the North didn’t initially thank her, and to blame Tyrion for trusting Cersei (as did she) comes off hollow. Khaleesi would have expected all of these things so to have her lashing out at Tyrion and Sansa and Jon just seems odd, which is why I expect a total 180 out of her in the next 4 episodes. Just smoking wights with her dragon, saving lives, and being the leader that she’s been built up as for the last 7 seasons.

Now lets break down some of the biggest plot lines from S8E2. LETS GO

  • Jaime returns to Winterfell
    • It’s the first time he’s been back since he kicked Bran out of a window in the pilot all those years ago starting this whole series of events. Another one liner from Bran reminds us that nobody in that room knows how Bran fell except for him and Jaime: “The things I do for love.” Thats what Jaime said right before he tossed Bran from the empty tower. Catlyn and  Robb Stark knew, or at least suspected, but nobody else in that room was there for those conversations. Theon might actually know as well from his time on King Robb’s war council in Season 2, but he doesn’t arrive until later.
    • Again Khaleesi acts out of character seeming like she cannot wait to behead the man that killed her father, despite knowing the horrible things her father had done and planned to do to the thousands of innocent lives at Kings Landing. She shuts down Tyrion’s defense because of a clear conflict of interest, so it takes some serious character witness testimony from Brienne of Tarth to convince Sansa and save Jaime’s life.  Moral of the story is we’ve all done some shit, but we need to band together if we’re to survive the night.
  • Jon reveals his true identity to Khaleesi
    • This probablyyyy could have been handled with a little more tact, but as the showrunners said in the Ep 1 Inside the Episode, Jon’s not the fastest on the uptake. Never one to really play politics Jon just basically blurts out the biggest secret in the history of Westeros and Khaleesi is understandably a little skeptical. The past couple of seasons have also given us a bit more humor as well, or maybe it’s just my dry sense of humor, but Khaleesi’s response to the bombshell news made me laugh out loud: “Oh your brother and your best friend told you that you’re the real king? Thats convenient.”
  • Bran finally provides some sort of motivation for the Night King
    • It’s  been 7+ seasons and we still hadn’t received any real motivation for the Night King or the White Walkers. We know how the White Walkers were created, we know why they were created, but aside from the war with the First Men and the Children of the Forest thousands of years ago we don’t really know why the Night King is coming back or what he wants. Faceless and motivation-less villains are fine to a certain extent, but when you’re this close to the end and we still don’t know what the big baddy wants? Not ideal. Well Bran finally provided a glimmer of info in between  his fragment sentences and hints of clues like he’s the goddamn Riddler. The Night King is coming for Bran because he is the Three Eye Raven. If he can kill Bran then he can erase all of mankind’s memories and history and create a Long Night. As Sam opines, without memories to look back on, mankind never really existed at all did they?
  • Bran also threw some cold water on the Dragons>Night King expectations
    • It may have just been a throwaway line, but Thrones so rarely wastes words that this stuck out to me. Someone says “well won’t a dragon kill the Night King?” Bran aka the Three Eyed Raven says “I don’t know. No one’s ever tried.”
  • Lyanna Mormont still takes no shit
    • Sneaky one of my favorite characters in the show as a girl who might be all of 12 just spitting venom in the faces of the most powerful and well respected leaders in all the world. Also when Jorah tells her to hang out in the crypt away from the upcoming battle, the little lady from House Mormont basically tells Jorah to go piss up a rope. As Lyanna once said, every man or woman on Bear Island is worth 10 men from the mainland when it comes to fighting. We’re about to see.
  • The drinking circle and the knighting of Brienne
    • A very emotional and potentially foreboding scene. We see some of our favorite characters all together for the first time. As the showrunners said on the Ep 1 Inside the Episode, it’s easy to forget how much these scenes really mean because we as fans have been with these characters all the time for years, but these characters haven’t seen each other since season 1 in some cases. A fair criticism has been that his is all pure fan service and does nothing to further the plot. While I understand the criticism, I thought it was a great episode and was probably a goodbye for a lot of characters.
  • Sansa and Theon reunion
    • Not gonna lie, this one got me. It was a bit dusty in The 300s HQ watching Theon ask to fight for Winterfell and Sansa running over to hug him. Theon has done some terrible shit and he has paid some horrific consequences so to see him climbing up the redemption ranks was pretty emotional.
  • The Arya-Gendry sex scene
    • Look, I know its on everyone’s minds so lets just get on with it. This was probably the one moment that set twitter on fire more than anything else that happened in Episode 2. I get it, it’s weird because we basically watched this girl grow up over the past 7+ seasons. But we’re going to be cool with incest and slavery and whore houses, but we draw the line at this? Grow up Count Chocula.
    • Also, Arya is going to WRECK some wights with that dragonglass spear.
  • Tormund remains the MVP of GoT
    • Last week he stole the episode when he ran into the Night’s Watch in Last Hearth and Edd shouts out “Look out he’s got blue eyes” to which Tormund hilariously replies “I’ve always had blue eyes!” Well he remained the MVP of the show with another A+ quip about the love of his life, Brienne.
      As I sit here writing this though I start to worry about Tormund’s longevity. Despite the lack of returned affection from Brienne I could see Tormund sacrificing himself to try and save the big woman’s life. I might cry next Sunday.
  • Episode 3 is going to wreck me I can just feel it.
    • We spend most of Episode 2 preparing for the Battle of Winterfell as everyone is training, setting up defenses and traps, drinking, and even singing. It is the calm before the storm in the most literal sense. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Brienne, Grey Worm, and Jorah all bite the bullet next week. Brienne has finally become a knight, the thing she has wanted more than anything, so it would not be unlike Thrones to now axe her. Grey Worm’s talk of a future life with Messandei all but guarantees that will never come to fruition. Before the episode Jorah was my pick to be the emotional first killing, but then Sam gives him a vaunted Valyrian Steel sword and I figured that may buy him some more time. However, looking back on that conversation with his cousin Lyana about the future of their house, I feel a heroic sacrifice coming from Jorah to save the fiery young lady’s life.
    • I can feel a real sense of dread in the air with Thrones fans. We’ve all been yelling for more action and more Dragon on Ice Dragon crime, but we’re going to lose some beloved characters next Sunday and I don’t know if I’m emotionally equipped to deal with that. We’re in the homestretch now as Episode 3 will be “the biggest battle in the history of TV and film.”

Got any ale?

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