The entirety of this episode takes place during the final days at Winterfell before the arrival of the Army of the Dead. We begin with Jaime standing before everyone having arrived at the end of the last episode. Daenerys talks about Jaime murdering her father during his time as hand of the king, whilst Jaime brings the news of Cersei’s betrayal. Tyrion of course petitions for Jaime, but Sansa agrees with Daenerys. Brienne then steps in to defend Jaime, and tells Sansa of Jaime’s oath to Catelyn, which wins Sansa over. Jon believes they need every man they can get meaning Jaime is allowed to stay. Daenerys is upset with Tyrion for trusting Cersei, and makes threats that if he disappoints her again she’ll find a new Hand of the Queen.
Jaime approaches Bran to apologise for pushing him out of the window. Bran says the event changed them both, and says he’s not angry, and didn’t tell because they need him. Jaime and Tyrion discuss Daenerys, and Cersei’s deception. Tyrion says that Cersei never fooled Jaime, he loved her despite who she was. Jaime then approaches Brienne who is overseeing some of the training. Jaime says he would be honoured to serve under Brienne’s command on the left flank.
Jorah comes to Daenerys to vouch for Tyrion, saying that he owns and learns from his mistakes. After another suggestion Daenerys approaches Sansa. They discuss the tension between them, with Sansa saying men do stupid things when they are in love, as Jon is with her. Daenerys says she also loves Jon and that’s why she’s here fighting Jon’s War. Sansa asks what happens to the North if they are victorious, saying they would never bow to anyone else again. Before Daenerys answers Theon arrives and brings news of Yara’s recuse.
Tormund, Beric, and Edd arrive at Winterfell informing Jon about the dead’s arrival at The Last Hearth. They speculate that there isn’t long before the dead arrive. Battle preparations are made, where Jon says that getting to The Night King is their only chance. Bran says the Night King will come for him, the Three Eyed Raven, which will give them the chance to king him. Bran will be the bait, and wait for him in the Godswood, Theon volunteers to protect him. Tyrion and Daenerys argue over whether he should fight or not and Jon wants the dragons to protect Bran, not in the field. After everyone leaves Tyrion asks to hear Bran’s story.
Arya find the Hound manning one of the walls. She asks why he’s at Winterfell saying he only ever fought for himself, but he says he fought for her. Beric arrives, prompting Arya to leave. Gendry brings her new weapon, and she is pleased with the work. Arya asks about what Melisandre wanted with him, before asking him about how many women he’s been with before sleeping with him.
Jorah argues with Lyanna Mormont saying she should be in the crypt with those not fighting, but she won’t have it. Sam arrives and give Jorah his families Valyrian Steel sword Heartsbane.
Tyrion and Jaime drink together, and toast to the perils of self betterment in the great hall by the fire. Brienne, Podrick, Tormund, and Davos arrive. Tormund flexes to Jaime about his name Giantsbane in an attempt to impress Brienne. Tyrion says it’s strange that everyone here has fought the Starks at some point, and not they are united in defending the Stark home. As the conversation turns to why Brienne has not been knighted, Jaime makes the decision to knight Brienne. When the wine finishes Tyrion asks them for a song, and Podrick sings as we flash over several of the major characters.
Daenerys finds Jon at the crypt of Lyanna Stark. Daenerys talks about Rhaegar, when Jon tells Daenerys about his parentage, and his true name, Aegon Targaryen. Daenerys says it’s strange that no one but Jon’s brother and best friend knew this secret given that it would give him a strong claim to the throne. Before they can truly get into it the dead arrive lead by the White Walkers.
Much like last week this was a setup episode, but ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’ did it so much better, leading right up until the great battle between the living and the dead begins. The entire episode is focused on this group we have at Winterfell, and their preparations for the battle to come. We got our final arrivals with Jaime, Theon, and Tormund’s group all arriving at some point, but this episode didn’t hang its hat on reunions.
The scenes we had between Tyrion, Jaime, Brienne, Podrick, Davos, and Tormund were honestly some of my favourite in the history of the show. It was the sense of incoming dredd and a calm before the storm that we hadn’t really had since the build up to the Battle of Blackwater way back in Season 2, and Bryan Cogman did an incredible job with the writing of this episode. Having it all culminate with Jaime’s knighting of Brienne was an beautiful moment, and one that genuinely moved me to tears, something that Game of Thrones doesn’t manage too often.
Other than that there was mainly a lot of smaller moments. One was Arya and Gendry hooking up. It’s something that felt like it was coming last week as they flirted together, but it was certainly a shock, that once again shows how much these characters we’ve known since they were children have grown. Sam giving Heartsbane to Jorah was a lovely moment, that reminds you of how Jeor Mormont was one of the few characters who treated Sam with some respect at the Night’s Watch.
Last weeks I said I was looking forward to seeing how Jon and Daenerys would interact after Sam’s revelation last week, and it turns out that Jon’s tactic was avoiding the problem and Daenerys. Eventually they do meet and he tells her the truth. It is clear the Daenerys is distressed by this revelation, but we don’t get into the matter properly because of the arrival of the dead. Given that that massive battle is happening next week and that will leave three episodes to go that will probably help cause a lot of friction between the two that see them as eventual enemies in the finale.
As for the battle, next week we have the longest episode of the series and the promise of not only the biggest battle in the show’s history, but one of the most epic battles in TV and film history. The plan of luring the Night King out by using Bran as bait is almost certainly their best chance as they’re massively outnumbered, and killing the Night King will Phantom Menace the rest of the army of the dead, but holding them off long enough to allow that happen will undoubtedly lead to a huge number of casualties of beloved characters. I’m not going to speculate on who will die, but after such a brilliant job of setting it up in this episode I really hope it doesn’t disappoint.