I really, really liked Episode 2.
Now that the customary sketch is up, I can really get into what I liked about Episode 2, suitably called A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. Firstly, and most of all, that song. Podrick’s song, the full version by Florence Welch, and HBO’s official video to go along with it on YouTube- just gorgeous. It gave me goosebumps. Whoever put together the video montage to go along with this beautiful, eerie, haunting song has an incredible sense of artistry. The fireside scene was by far my favourite, bringing together some of my favourite characters as they pour one out on the eve of impending doom.
I love how Jaime knighted Brienne, and how her attitude slowly changes- from cynical and crisp and defiant to actually opening up and feeling joy at receiving this status that she, more than any other character on the show, deserves. My personal reading of the scene is that it’s doubly significant because Brienne has always been the knight Jaime always wanted to be, and in knighting her, Jaime also completes his redemption arc and becomes a true knight himself. So although he’s technically knighting her on a ceremonial, official level, on a deeper thematic level, Brienne is the one who has transformed Jaime into a knight worthy of the name. It is after meeting her and traveling with her that he begins to return to the ideals he was forced to abandon when he made the decision to (literally) back stab the Mad King.
As touching as the scene is, it’s also laced with pathos because it comes on what may very well be the last night of Brienne’s life, and that something so wholeheartedly deserved and desired should come so late because of stupid traditions. Yet you can’t help but tear up a little as Tormund cheers and claps sportingly. Was it possible to like Tormund even more? I didn’t think so, until he showed just how much he’s willing to support and root for the woman he fancies, even if the guy she fancies is the one doing her the honour.