Game Of Thrones Season 8: 7 New Theories From Episode 2, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms"
Here are the best theories for what comes next.
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.
The second episode of Game of Thrones' final season was a slow, but necessary interlude. Next week, we will get the most expensive, most ambitious battle scene ever committed to film. But before that, we got to see Starks, Targaryens, Lannisters, Baratheons, Unsullied, and even a Greyjoy do some much-needed soul searching and reflecting before waging a battle for humanity.
The show tied up loose ends and rounded off plot arcs. They pretty much made it so that anyone and everyone could die next week, and the show could carry on without them. It's difficult to say what will happen next, which is exactly what the show was going for.
Here are some of the most interesting Game of Throne theories headed into Episode 3. Check out our review of Season 8, Episode 2 for additional insights.
1. Podrick and Pippin
Many fans have noticed parallels between Podrick's singing before battle, and Pippin Took's singing in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. In that film, Pippin sang "Edge of the Night" to Denethor as Denethor's son, Faramir, and his men charged into a suicide mission.
This could be foreshadowing to the outcome of the Winterfell battle; it's likely to be a bloodbath, where multiple, beloved characters meet grisly ends. We're not getting a happy neat ending; since when has this show ever given us what we want?
2. Death Flags Everywhere
A Death Flag is a narrative trope that foreshadows a character's death. For example, Grey Worm and Missandei begin making plans for the future, which is a tragic setup; it nearly guarantees that one or both of them will not make it through the upcoming battle, so these plans go unfulfilled.
Another possible Death Flag is when Lyanna Mormont says, "I wish you good fortune," to Jorah Mormont before he rides off to battle. Poor Jorah is doubly doomed a minute later by Samwell, who promises that he'll see him after they win the battle. These moments will be ironic in hindsight; it'll be a shock if Jorah makes it through the battle intact.
3. Completed Plot Arcs?
Another way of meta-predicting the deaths is to look at the characters' growth; anyone with a complete, realized arc, who no longer serves a functional purpose to The Big Plot, will be on the chopping block.
Take Theon Greyjoy, for example. He has redeemed himself and his house; his sister Yara has reclaimed the Iron Islands, and rules as Queen. He has decided to travel to Winterfell and fight for the Starks; he makes peace with Sansa before the battle begins. There is nothing left for his character to do at this point, besides die nobly.
The same is true for Brienne. She's successfully protected Sansa to this point, fulfilling her promise to Catelyn. She's come full circle in her love-hate relationship with Jaime Lannister, by vouching for his character, and by subsequently being knighted by him. She finally has the formal recognition she's wanted. There's nowhere left for her character to grow, so she'll also likely die--heroically, with any luck.
4. The Night King Is Headed To King's Landing
Now, this would be an awful turn of events.
Our heroes plan to draw The Night King into the open by using Bran as bait. But here's a terrifying possibility: What if the Night King isn't even part of the Undead army about to attack Winterfell? What if he's decided to avoid Dany's dragons entirely and attack King's Landing instead?
This Reddit thread uses Bran's and Dany's visions to bolster this theory. Bran's vision shows a dragon's shadow over King's Landing, but we only assumed that it's the shadow of one of Dany's dragons, not the shadow of the reanimated Viserion.
In Dany's visions, we see an Iron Throne room, covered in snow. Perhaps in Season 8's back half, the threat of the White Walkers will be coming from King's Landing itself. And the Night King will be sitting on the Iron Throne, rather than Cersei, by the time our heroes get their bearings straight and realize they've been outplayed.
5. The Missing Conversation
There's an odd cut in the middle of the episode. It comes when Tyrion first sits with Bran, and asks to hear about everything: his experiences beyond the Wall and with the Three-Eyed Raven. In the next scene we see Tyrion, he's drinking by the fireplace. What happened to Bran? How long was that conversation? And what did he tell Tyrion?
This isn't the first time the showrunners have done this. We didn't see the whole conversation where Tyrion and Cersei discussed their army negotiations either. It could be deliberate subterfuge on the show's part. It could also be cut inelegantly for time, the unfortunate result of having a handful of episodes to wrap things up.
6. Daenerys's True Colors
Jon Snow displays some masterfully poor timing when he reveals to Daenerys, in the crypts of Winterfell, that he is actually a Targaryen, with a stronger claim to the Iron Throne than her. Daenerys is at a loss for what to say, as is Jon. And then the horns sound (three blasts for White Walkers), which cuts short any sort of resolution. Will she turn on Jon out of selfishness? Will she defer to his rightful claim? Or will she find some middle ground?
We may not need to hear the answer from her lips. We may get to see the answer in the upcoming battle.
There must be a reason why the showrunners placed Jon's paternity conversation before the battle took place; logically, if it wasn't going to affect the battle's outcome, it would have probably taken place afterward. We'll be keeping a close eye on Daenerys in the next episode, to see if her decision-making betrays her heroism or villainy.
Given the opportunity to save Jon from death during the fight, will Dany hesitate at the moment of truth? Will she show inner turmoil towards doing the right thing? And how will Jon respond to this conflict and inner turmoil, assuming that he survives it?
7. Those Crypts Are Trouble
The decision is final: anyone in Winterfell who is ill-equipped or unable to fight will be hiding out in the crypts. But given what we know about the White Walkers, this could get ugly.
Does anyone in Winterfell remember that the Night King can raise the dead? What if he were to use that power on the crypts, and send long-dead Stark family members chasing after the living? This would explain why in the trailer for Episode 3, Arya is running through the crypts in abject terror. It would also explain Dany's odd turn of phrase in the trailer: "The dead are already here!" That "already" sounds particularly ominous.
Perhaps Ned is safe from becoming a zombie; he got decapitated, after all. But Rickon would be fair game under this theory.