Thronespotting: The calm before the storm

Game of Thrones season 8, episode 2 recap
Image: HBO

For the next two months, Thronespotting will take a deep dive into every episode of the final season of “Game of Thrones” to find hints on how the epic series will finally wrap up.

Like last week’s premiere, the final season’s second episode did a lot of table setting. However, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” also offered some key teases about the upcoming battle against the Night King’s army and beyond. As such, here are five predictions regarding how the program’s remaining episodes will unfurl.

For anyone who missed the subtle clues in the opening paragraph, this article contains plenty of spoilers.

Jamie will End His Life as a Proper Knight

In “Game of Thrones’’” seven seasons, few characters have changed quite as much as Jamie Lannister. Initially self-centered, vainglorious, and cruel, the Kingslayer gradually grew to become selfless, humble, and kind. Because of that transformation, Brienne asked Daenerys, Jon, and Sansa not to kill him for his many, many crimes. Ultimately, the Lady of Tarth’s words resonated with the royals and Jamie was spared.

Understanding that he’ll likely perish in the forthcoming battle with the Army of Darkness, Jamie got his affairs in order this episode. He apologized to Bran for crippling him, forsook Cersei, made peace with Tyrion, and gave Brienne her long-sought-after knighthood. In doing so, Jamie redeemed a great many of his sins. As he says himself, he’s no longer the fighter he was but he does now have something worth fighting for.

With his character coming full circle, Jamie will likely die in the opening sortie with the Night King’s forces. Narratively, his demise makes sense as there’s really nothing left for the character to do. Though there will be some tragedy in his death after finally becoming a good man, he’ll likely receive what every good knight seeks: an honorable death defending the kingdom.

Tyrion will take on an Important New Role

After “Winterfell” aired, fans began theorizing that Tyrion had a secret master plan. The events of “Seven Kingdoms” suggest that’s not actually the case. Following Jamie’s confirmation that Cersei wasn’t sending her army, the Queen’s Hand finally admitted it was wrong to trust her. Instead of secretly manipulating Dany into heading North, Tyrion’s just been on a cold streak the last few seasons.

Despite the character losing his defining trait, his story isn’t quite over yet. Jorah and Sansa were able to convince Dany not to feed him to her dragons and she even refused to let him fight on the frontlines. But Tyrion’s statement that he’ll lose his position as the Queen’s chief advisor will prove prophetic.

The former master strategist spent most of this episode drinking and reminiscing. However, he also spent time listening to Bran tell his life story. As the young, not quite a man explained the role of the Three-Eyed Raven is to serve as a memory bank for humanity, it seems meaningful that he shared his history with someone.

As Bran will likely die in the Battle of Winterfell, a new Raven will need to take his place. It seems fitting that a man who’s recently lost his foresight would gain a supernatural degree of hindsight.

A Lot of People Are Going to Die Next Week

“Game of Thrones” has been building to war between humans and the White Walkers for the length of its run. Consequently, that conflict can’t end without massive casualties. As it happens, Jamie wasn’t the only character to wrap up his loose threads in “Seven Kingdoms.”

Theon made his way to Winterfell and pledged to defend the stronghold he once conquered. Brienne finally became a real knight. Jorah settled things with Dany and his adorable yet commanding cousin Lyanna. Arya and Gendry finally got together. Podrick revealed he has the voice of an angel. Beric and Tormund reunited with Jon and vowed to stay by Jon’s side. Grey Worm and Missandei sealed their fate by promising to settle down as soon as the war ended.

Based on where this episode left them, the above-listed characters likely won’t make it through the Siege of Winterfell. While it will hurt to say goodbye to so many members of the cast, this is the point in the story where the decks get cleared. Since all of those characters reached natural endpoints in “Seven Kingdoms,” they can be satisfyingly killed off before the finale.

The Game of Thrones Isn’t Over Yet

Although the show’s eighth season has been hyping up the final conflict between ice and fire, it will likely end with the resolution to the game of thrones. Though the Winterfell alliance is likely to prevail in the fight against the undead, it probably won’t endure afterward. Sansa made it clear she and the rest of the North won’t bend the knee to Dany. Conversely, Dany gave the impression she wouldn’t allow the kingdom to retain its autonomy.

Plus, the group will have to deal with the whole Aegon Targaryen thing. When Jon finally told Dany about his true parentage, her reaction was a mixture of disbelief, sadness, and then rage. Notably, when the Mother of Dragons pointed out her nephew should be the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, he didn’t deny it. Though always a reluctant leader, Jon might now believe the only way to bring peace to Westeros is as its leader.

If that’s the case, Dany will view her new lover as an enemy. She’s just endured too much pain, suffering, and devastating setbacks pursuing the Iron Throne to give it up now. Even if it means going to war and burning up her last chance at real happiness.

The Night King has an Unholy Plan

One of the most thrilling and inexplicable moments in “Winterfell” was the Night’s Watch’s discovery of Lord Ned Umber. The Night King killed and reanimated the boy and placed him in the middle of a monstrous sigil made of human limbs.

Fans have debated what the purpose of the gesture was and what the sigil stood for since last week. Many viewers pointed out the sigil had an uncanny resemblance to the symbol of the House Targaryen and wondered if the similarity was intentional.

Last week, the episode’s writer Dave Hill explained the spiral’s significance. Apparently, the Night King used it to reference the Children of the Night, the magical creatures who created him centuries ago. The group viewed the symbol as sacred and shaped their holy places in its image. The White Walker took to forming the spiral out of body parts and corpses to blasphemously mock his creators.

On the one hand, it’s sort of disappointing to learn there’s no deeper meaning behind the death spiral. But on the other hand, it’s very intriguing that the Night King has enough intelligence to wield psychological terror as a weapon. Given that he’s about to launch his big attack on humanity, it’ll be interesting to see if he uses the tactic again. For instance, the master of the undead might deploy the cast’s reanimated loved ones against them.

Twitter Reactions

Here are some of the funniest, sweetest, and most interesting ways twitter reacted to “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”