The discussion group commences below. Yes, there are spoilers.
This was a (GOOD/BAD) episode of Game of Thrones because…
LEILANI POLK: I’d say it was a good AND bad episode. Good, because there were plenty of chances for classic GoT one-liners, moments of feel-good camaraderie and a little more laying of the table, insofar as setting up where everyone’s going to be during the battle and what’s expected of them; bad, because I spent the latter half of the episode pausing and looking at the amount of time left and trying to figure out if there was enough for some White Walkers to show up, then realizing there was probably going to be no action and those extra minutes at the end were because of the post-ep wrap from the directors.
SUZETTE SMITH: This was a GOOD and bigtime boo hoo hoo episode. I teared up at least twice. 1) When the unnamed little girl declared to Davos Seaworth that she wanted to fight like her brothers, but accepted going into the crypt because Gilly asked for her protection. 2) Brienne’s knighting.
NED LANNAMANN: It was a BAD but necessary episode, setting the table for next week’s big battle. This just felt super fan-service-y to me, although evidently fans like being serviced because I saw multiple people on Twitter call this their favorite episode ever. For me, not enough actually happened, and the things that did move the pieces forward—i.e., Bran saying what the Night King’s actually trying to do, Sansa and Dany almost reaching an important accord, Jon telling Dany about his blood parents—were either cut short or just barely glanced at.
SUZETTE SMITH: When Jaime knighted Brienne and everyone cried.
LEILANI POLK: Tormund Giantsbane and anyone else around him.
NED LANNAMANN: Hard to pick, especially in a week where there’s a drunken fireside party featuring a bunch of our favorite characters, and that Dany/Sansa scene was excellent. But I’m picking Jaime and Bran in the Weirwood, even though it makes no sense that Jaime, even after his name is cleared, is allowed to wander freely around the castle and sneak up behind the immobilized person he tried to murder back in Episode 1.
NED LANNAMANN: Anyone making plans for after the war. They might as well be saying, “I have one week left until retirement.” Stop doing that! You just signed your own death warrant. Looking at you specifically, Grey Worm and Missandei.
SUZETTE SMITH: Tormund Giantsbane with that jump scare!
LEILANI POLK: Daenerys Targaryen. All the warm, positive feelings I had about her are freezing up in the North with her rather poor attempts at making peace with the Northerners and “ruling.” She has all these high expectations, and she’s so… entitled about them and pissy when things don’t go her way. I don’t get to kill the Kingslayer, I can’t make Sansa like me, I’m not the firstborn heir to the Iron Throne?—wah wah fucking wah.
The scene that deserves to be turned into a million memes is...
SUZETTE SMITH: Probably something to do with Tormund Giantsbane. Although his creepy behavior towards Brienne is making her workplace harassment-filled, he still provides the most comic relief.
LEILANI POLK: Arya, after she takes her top off and Gendry is staring up at her, still clothed? And she says something like, “I'm not the Red Woman, take your own bloody pants off.” I mean, them having sex at all, how old is she supposed to be again?
NED LANNAMANN: Tormund guzzling his horn, obvs.
This episode could’ve really used more of…
LEILANI POLK: Stories about the life and times of Tormund Giantsbane. Seriously, if they kill this guy off, this show will lose all of its comic relief and crazy-eyed ginger entertainment.
But seriously, maybe a little action? A little more of the conversation between Dani and Jon about who he really is? They sort of just dropped it in like a bombshell in the last few minutes. I feel like it deserved a bit more of a depthy discussion than that, a few more minutes of screen time at least.
NED LANNAMANN: Bran’s secret plan to sit in the Weirwood and lie in wait for the Night King. We need a few more details. Maybe Arya’s assassin/face-switching skills will be involved?
SUZETTE SMITH: GHOST the DIRE WOLF, but he was in the background of Sam and Jon talking so I WILL WAIT PATIENTLY UNTIL NEXT EPISODE. CARRY ON. DON’T MIND ME.
LEILANI POLK: I think it was all pretty cut and dry here, no real surprises. But, there did seem to be foreshadowing of who will likely die—i.e., Grey Worm, because he's already planning for life with Missendei after they get off of these foreign lands, which means one or both of them will probably not make it off these foreign lands; Jorah or Sam, because after Sam gives him the Tarly family Valyrian steel sword, he bids farewell to Jorah with an "I'll see you when it's through," which obviously means one of them isn’t gonna make it through; and Theon Greyjoy, just because he seems expendable, but also because he is prolly gonna have to sacrifice himself to the Night King to save Bran/the Three Eyed Raven.
SUZETTE SMITH: JaiBranBowl (Jaime vs. Bran comeuppance) fizzled out with a surprising lack of force, despite all the memes and excitement. It’s almost as if Bran knows we’ve only got four (80-minute) episodes left.
NED LANNAMANN: Davos’ soup making skills! Is there anything this guy can’t do?
NED LANNAMANN: I guess Brienne—excuse me, Ser Brienne—although I think this definitely means she’s becoming White Walker kibble.
SUZETTE SMITH: Samwell Tarly for chiding Jon about not telling Daenerys about his newly discovered heritage: “Biding your time. Waiting for the perfect [moment].”
LEILANI POLK: Gendry. Dude displayed some righteous blacksmithery and busted out a shit-ton of weaponry in a very short amount of time, and that weaponry is gonna kill a lot of White Walkers. Oh, and he got laid at the end of it. Props, dude.
My outrageous prediction for the rest of the season is…
NED LANNAMANN: Ninety percent of Winterfell is killed and zombified, and it’s up to Cersei to turn the tide and actually defeat the Night King.
SUZETTE SMITH: Next-episode death predictions aside, my main prediction for the series is that whoever is on the Iron Throne at the end of this show will have to marry someone they hate or at the very least someone they do not love. This whole show is about how you don’t get to marry the person you like when you’re highborn.
Read our earlier discussions of Game of Thrones' eighth and final season!
• Episode 1: "Winterfell"