Game of Thrones Season 8 spoilers ahead!
Game of Thrones Season 8 is now underway. For Episode 2, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, start with our review, then get a look at how the show just fulfilled two major fan character ships, how Jaime and Brienne made history, where Jon's direwolf Ghost has been, what Arya asked Gendry to make, the meaning behind the crossbow Qyburn gave to Bronn in Episode 1, and a theory about the Winterfell crypts.
There are only four episode of Game of Thrones left, and Season 8, Episode 2, titled "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," didn't pull any punches. The episode fulfilled a couple of long-awaited fan favorite 'ships, though in one case, not necessarily in the way you might have hoped. It marked the overdue return of Jon's direwolf Ghost, though again, not in the way fans probably would have preferred.
On the more fulfilling side, this episode debuted a new song--well, new to the show at least, as Jenny's Song is an important one in the books. And overall, it just was a great episode of Game of Thrones (here's our full review).
As such, there were plenty of Easter eggs, references, and callbacks to the books, earlier seasons, and more that even the most raven-eyed viewers might have missed. Here's every little nugget we picked up on in the episode--we know you'll let us know in the comments if we missed any.
Photo: HBO/Helen Sloan
1. Tormund's Weird Story
Tormund Giantsbane is a man of many myths, not least among them the story that he allegedly had sex with a bear once. This week he added a new tale to his growing legend: That he suckled at a giant's "teat" for three months as a boy, which is why he's so big and strong.
Whether or not it's true, a version of this story actually appeared in the books as well, during a Jon chapter in book 5, A Dance with Dragons. So yeah, I guess that's canon.
2. A Bran Of Few Words
This one is probably obvious, but in case you need reminding: "The things we do for love," which Bran says to Jaime in the episode's opening scene, was the same thing Jaime said to Cersei back in the pilot just before pushing young Bran out the tower window. Bran was reminding Jaime that he remembered what happened, while also somehow communicating that he's totally over it.
3. Jenny's Song
The song Pod sang toward the episode's end wasn't just to show off actor Daniel Portman's impressive vocal talents. It's actually a version of Jenny's Song, a tune the books alluded to more than once, though this is the most we've ever heard of the lyrics. The song concerns a common girl from Westerosi history who married into the Targaryen family, and who had a surprising role in shaping the series' current events. We have a full explainer on the song and its relevance right here.
4. Arya's Scars
Arya has some pretty massive scars on her back--understandable, as she's been through quite a lot. There are two lacerations in particular that are heavily featured during her intimate scene with Gendry. Are they from any particular moment in the series, such as her fight with the Waif or her time as a servant at Harrenhal? Let us know your theories in the comments.
5. A Reunion of Bears
Attentive viewers have been waiting for Jorah and Lyanna Mormont to have a moment now that they're both at Winterfell. The two have likely met before, although she wouldn't remember--Lyanna was three years old when Jorah was exiled to Essos for engaging in slave trading to impress his snobby wife. No doubt Jorah was impressed with his cousin's ferocity.
6. The Night King's Goals
Bran revealed some new information about the Night King this episode: the White Walkers' leader wants to "erase this world," according to the weirdo formerly known as Brandon Stark. "He'll come for me," Bran says. "He's tried before many times, with many Three-Eyed Ravens." That information is new to us, and we're wondering how it will come into play as the final episodes approach.
7. Marching South
Eagle-eyed viewers have picked up on a little Easter egg in the opening credits--the tiles on the map of Westeros are flipping over and turning blue to mark the progress of the army of the dead as they march south. This week, the tiles extended past Last Hearth. Next week, they'll move to encompass Winterfell.
8. Female Knights
Jaime's knighting of Brienne didn't just break "tradition"--it made history. In the entire long history of Westeros, there is not a single recorded example of a female knight. There are plenty of female warriors, but even over in the books, a woman has never been knighted, as far as author George R.R. Martin has revealed.
9. Arya's Staff
The staff Arya had Gendry make doesn't just look cool. It's Arya's perfect weapon, considering her training. Although the water dancing lessons were formative for her, fighting with her bite-sized sword Needle really isn't practical--as other characters have pointed out time and time again. Her Faceless Men training, on the other hand, granted her ample skill with a staff. Throw two dragonglass blades on the ends, and you have a weapon even the Night King should fear.
10. The Dwindling List
When Arya and the Hound encountered Beric Dondarrion on the battlement, Sandor asked his young protege whether Beric is still on her list. Apparently, she's decided to take him off--the anger that stemmed from Beric selling Gendry to Melisandre has apparently abated. What about Mel herself, though? Arya hasn't uttered her list out loud in a while, but you know she's still keeping track. Hopefully she gets to Cersei before Jaime, Tyrion, Dany, Jon, or the Night King do.
11. History Lesson
Tyrion makes a strange remark this episode about Northerners mistrusting Dany because of what happened "the last time Targaryens brought dragons north." However, it's unclear what he's talking about. Dany's foray north of the Wall last season doesn't seem to fit. For the show's purposes, he may be talking about Aegon's original conquest 300 years earlier, when the first Targaryen king conquered Westeros in a long and bloody war using dragons. Or, if you want to get into books history, Tyrion could be referring to the stories of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, who visited the North with his dragons around 250 years before the events of the series.
Why anyone in the North would remember any of these events is a mystery, so it's most likely that this is just sloppy writing.
12. A Warm Reunion
Sansa's warm, emotional embrace of Theon might seem weird at first, until you remember the last time they saw one another: in Season 6, after Theon helped Sansa escape the Boltons, and he attempted to sacrifice himself to hold off Ramsay's men long enough for her to escape. No wonder she's so glad to see him still kicking.
13. Cersei's Pregnancy: Still Not Confirmed
As Tyrion learns of Cersei's latest lies, he begins to (finally) question everything--including whether Cersei's pregnancy is just another lie. Viewers have been wondering the exact same thing, and frankly, Jaime's reassurances that his sister/lover really is knocked up aren't good enough. How would he know, anyway? There are no ultrasounds or pee tests in Westeros. I won't buy it until Cersei literally gives birth onscreen.
14. Tyrion's Death
Tyrion reminded his brother how he'd prefer to die--"in my own bed, at the age of 80, with a belly full of wine and a girl's mouth around my c***"--and Jaime, of course, finished his sentence, because this isn't the first time Tyrion has envisioned his perfect demise out loud. That was back in Season 1, when Tyrion told Shagga, son of Dolf, of the Stone Crows the exact same thing.
15. Oh hai, Ghost
Jon's Direwolf, Ghost, has been conspicuously absent from every episode of the show since Jon's resurrection at the start of Season 6. You might have even though Ghost had somehow died offscreen and was never going to be acknowledged again if they hadn't slipped him into the background of this shot. Hopefully he's actually present for the battle in Episode 3.
The sword Sam gives to Jorah is Heartsbane--the Valyrian steel sword passed down in the Tarly family for generations. Sam stole it from his father's house before heading to the Citadel. He gave it to Jorah because Jorah's father, Jeor "Old Bear" Mormont--the Night Watch's Lord Commander during the first few seasons--was more of a father to Sam than his own dad ever was. It was a nice moment.
17. The Night King's Mark
The mark on Bran's arm is the Night King's mark--as Bran reminded us this episode, the Night King reached out and touched him during a vision, leaving those burn-like scars and breaking through the magic protecting Bran in the Three-Eyed Raven's cave. Apparently it now allows the Night King to track Bran, which is why Bran thinks he can lure the villain to the Godswood.