There are, once again, no books to work from on Game of Thrones this season (the final season!) and things could get confusing. To help you out, after every new episode, two resident Thrones experts/dragon enthusiasts, Josh Kurp and Ryan Harkness, will answer your eight most pressing questions.
1. Was Daenerys right to let Jaime join the battle against the dead?
Whether she was right or not, she had little choice in the matter. As much as she keeps claiming the Seven Kingdoms as her home and birthright, she’s a long way from home and surrounded by distrustful lords and temporary allies. She still seems offended by the lack of smallfolk with dragon banners coming out of the woodwork to support her, and hasn’t grasped how much damage the Mad King Aerys did to the family brand during his “burn them all” phase.
So what else could Daenerys do at that point? She laid out her issue with Jaime in the strongest terms possible, but the mood of the room quickly turned after Brienne stood for the Kingslayer and won over Sansa Stark, who continues to wear the real pants in Winterfell. Jon Snow sees everyone with a pulse as a potential ally, even after getting Ceasar’d by the last group of obvious enemies he kept around. Dany was stuck, unable to defend the Mad King (her pops) by insisting his killer be punished, lest she seem like the Mad King herself.
The consequences of all this are unclear, what with the army of the dead right outside Winterfell’s walls. But everyone else around Daenerys is clearly still playing the Game of Thrones, so why wouldn’t she? Will all this resentment make the Mother of Dragons a bit less willing to bring Drogon to the rescue when Brienne and Jaime’s left flank runs into trouble? At a certain point, you’d hope humanity would stop dividing everything up into house loyalties, but if that’s not going to happen you better start looking out for your own interests… or someone’s going to put a sword through your back. — Ryan Harkness
2. Why did Sam hand his sword over to Jorah?
During Sunday’s episode, we got to watch Samwell hand over the ancestral Tarly sword Heartsbane to Jorah Mormont. Now sometimes (even on Game of Thrones), a Valyrian steel sword is just a sword, and there is no more secret purpose to it storywise than to arm Jorah with a blade that would let him kill White Walkers during the imminent battle for Winterfell. But Heartsbane did travel an awfully long way — Horn Hill is even further south than Highgarden and Sam stole it from his father’s mantle back in season six, episode six.
As usual, there’s been a lot of speculation about the sword ever since the moment eagle-eyed viewers noticed Jorah wielding Heartsbane during a promo clip for season eight. Still missing from the show is Lightbringer, Azor Ahai’s mythical weapon used to defeat the darkness. Considering darkness is knocking at the front gate, now sure would be a good time for it to appear. But little is known of the blade, other than its propensity to burn hot like fire during battle and the grisly method used to forge it. As the legend goes, Azor Ahai tempered the blade by driving it through the heart of his great love, Nissa Nissa.
At this point, we all understand the magical powers royal blood and great sacrifice brings in Westeros, and it just so happens that Jorah has a beloved handy in Winterfell that would classify both as both: Daenerys Targaryen. Tying the whole thing together is the ancient blade’s conspicuous name, Heartsbane. But hey, maybe it’s just a damn sword that kills Others. — RH