Such a good episode! So many heartwarming moments! So many funny moments! So many feels! I think this is one of the few episodes that, once all is said and done and the bodies have been counted, I’ll be going back to so I can just go, ‘Awww!’ over and over again. I just… oh…
Jaime has arrived in Winterfell, but without that Lannister army that was promised. He’s immediately called to the carpet to answer both for that and for the whole killing Dany’s father thing. He can’t really say much for the latter, but as to the former, well, he and Tyrion both own up to having been played by Cersei. Dany is most displeased with them both.
Sansa is all for having Jaime thrown to the wolves (either metaphorical or literal, I’m sure), since he attacked her father in the street and has been an enemy of the Starks. Jaime points out that he was defending his own family, and it was a war. ‘The things we do for love,’ Bran says.
At this point, Brienne speaks up for Jaime, and that’s all it takes for Sansa to go full Team Jaime. As for Jon, well, he points out that they need every body they can possibly get. So Jaime lives, for now.
He makes a little tour of Winterfell and has a chat with Bran, in which he apologises for having thrown him out a window. Bran’s like, ‘Well, guess you did me a favour in the end, since it made me the weirdo I am today.’ Jaime wonders why Bran didn’t tell the others what Jaime did, and Bran says that would hardly do anyone any good just now. ‘And later?’ Jaime wonders. Bran rather darkly says there probably won’t be much of a later. Ok, then!
Jaime then moves on to Brienne, who’s overseeing battle preparations. He offers to serve under her, if she’ll have him. This is a very humble Jaime we’re seeing here. (This means he’s dead after next week, right? I think so. And that makes me sad, guys.)
His humble attitude makes sense, because this is not a time for arrogance. Tormund arrives with Beric and Edd and news of the massacre at Last Hearth. They tell everyone they have mere hours before the army of the dead arrive.
So, it’s all hands on deck. The castle is swarming with people getting things ready for battle. It’s a constant hive of focused, orderly activity. And everyone with a speaking role has a job to do.
Gillie is going around telling the women and children to get themselves to the crypt ASAP once things start up. Gendry and the other blacksmiths are forging weapons at double time. Arya stops by the forge to ask after the weapon she commissioned and Gendry kind of brushes her off. Remember, the Arya he knew was a scared little girl. He has no idea who the hell he’s dealing with now. She shows him, by asking pointed questions about their enemy and performing some very impressive dragonglass knife throwing. He tells her he’ll get right on that weapon of hers.
And he’ll get right on her, as well. That night, as everyone hunkers down and waits for the dead army to arrive, she meets up with him, gets her new spear, and suggests they have sex. She wants to know what it feels like, before she dies. And he obliges, quite enthusiastically.
(I know a lot of people were weirded out by this, but let’s be honest: it’s probably one of the healthiest couplings in the show’s history. They’re not related to one another, no one is being abused or coerced, they’re age appropriate. I’m all for it! Hey, a girl knows what she wants, right?)
Anyway, this is a good time for moving through the bucket list as quickly as possible, because everyone realises the sand is fast running out of the hourglass here. They all meet up and talk strategy, but straight-up admit to one another that they’re screwed. Their only hope is to lure the Night King out by using Bran as bait, and then kill him and hope that disperses the dead army. But there are a lot of ‘ifs’ in that scenario, so basically everyone in Winterfell is expecting to die within the next few hours.
So, we get a long night of waiting and really nice scenes between these people, most of whom, until very recently, were enemies.
On the advice of Jorah, Dany goes to make nice with Sansa, and although I doubt these two’ll be braiding each other’s hair anytime soon, she does make a bit of headway there. It helps that she confesses to Sansa how much she loves Jon. Oh, that’s going to make things aaaaawkward later.
Theon arrives on Jaime’s heels and he and Sansa have a really sweet, huggy reunion. Theon also volunteers to guard Bran in the Godswood as he waits for the Night King, and I cringe because that sounds like a suicide mission if ever I heard one.
Arya has a little drinking time with The Hound, and they’re joined by Beric who starts getting all Beric-y before The Hound threatens to toss him over the ramparts if he doesn’t shut up. Which is when Arya decides to go find Gendry because, frankly, I think most of us would rather be having sex with Gendry than listening to Beric and The Hound out in the freezing cold.
Jorah, hilariously, tries to order Lyanna to hit the crypt when the fighting begins and she puts him in his place right quick. And then wishes him luck. Yeah, seriously, good luck keeping that girl out of the battle.
Sam, Jon, and Edd reminisce about their time on The Wall and all of their now-dead companions up there. Sam also presents Jorah with the Tarly family sword, since Sam’s not much of a fighter and knows it’s better to put the sword in the hands of someone who’ll know how to use it.
Tyrion and Jaime have a few scenes together, remembering those terrible old days when it was still warm and Jaime was sleeping with his sister and Tyrion hadn’t been forced into a marriage with Sansa, been wrongly accused of regicide, murdered his father and his cheating former lover, been spirited away by a eunuch, and become the Hand of a Targaryen princess with dragon children. And, you know, all the other crazy stuff that’s happened since the last time they were both at Winterfell. Man, it’s been an eventful few years, right?
Jaime and Tyrion then join Brienne, Pod (Pod! He’s really come along! I barely recognised him!), Davos, and Tormund around the hearth in the great hall to drink wine and talk. We hear that Tormund is so big because he was suckled by giants’ milk (according to him), and Brienne’s not a knight because of tradition and sexism. Tormund thinks that’s bullshit, and apparently everyone else agrees, because Jaime points out that the king doesn’t have to make someone a knight–any knight can make a knight. That seems like a poor rule if they want to retain any prestige in the title of “Ser”. I mean, any knight could just go around knighting all of his buddies if he was of a mind to, right? You could have knights all over the place! Is there some sort of criteria they’d have to fulfil? There must be, right?
Not that I object to Brienne being knighted, because boy, howdy does she deserve it! She claims that she doesn’t even want to be a knight, but we all know that’s defensive BS. And she certainly doesn’t object when Jaime goes ahead and knights her. It’s a beautiful scene, and she’s clearly so moved that this is really happening and everyone else, drunk as they are, sober up immediately, realising the importance of what they’re witnessing. And then Tyrion solemnly raises a glass to ‘a knight of the Seven Kingdoms’ and I almost burst into tears because we all know not half of these people are still going to be around after next week, right?
Jon has been ducking Dany all episode, and she finally corners him down in the crypt to be all, ‘What’s your damage, man?’ He finally comes clean about his parentage, and the first thing she focuses on is the fact that this makes him the last legitimate male Targaryen heir. Presumably she’s trying not to think about how she’s been screwing her own nephew for however long.
And neither of them get much time to process any of this, or deal with its fallout and the effect on their relationship, because just then the warning is blown.
The army of the dead has arrived.