Game of Thrones shifted into high gear this week ahead of the upcoming Battle of Winterfell. The Night King and his undead troops arrived as the “Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms” episode closed, and before that, we saw characters do what one does before certain death in Westeros. Some made googly eyes and got lucky while others made last minute revelations. Several of them hunkered down with wine, and all of this sparks more concern going into the next episode. Who will die, and will anyone live? We’ve all got our opinions, but are you ready to defend yours in a fiery trial by conversational combat? Uproxx’s Kimberly Ricci and Jason Tabrys are very ready to do exactly that, and this week, they’re going to discuss what’s next for your favorite characters and all of Winterfell before turning the discussion over to you in the comments section.
Jason: I almost feel like my prediction for next week can be summed up by the Mr. T GIF from Rocky II. Because my primary prediction, dear reader, is pain. Pain and more pain. But that wouldn’t make for much of a discussion, so I guess we can poke around the remains of last week’s lovefest while looking to the blood bath ahead of us. Kim, big question first: is Game Of Thrones ever going to make us smile again or did they get it all out of their system?
Kimberly: I fear that Brienne’s smile after being knighted might be the last one we’ve seen. Certainly, the past episode was a generous one by Thrones standards. Although everyone was well aware that they were staring down death, and many will die within the (reported) 82-minute battle to come, they truly made the best of what could be their last day. “Lovefest” is a great descriptor here. Although Brienne might never return Tormund’s giants-milk obsessed advances, there was plenty of comic relief there. Arya coupled up with Gendry, Sansa reunited with Theon, and … speaking of which, who do you think will die first next week? It seems like Jaime’s redemption has earned him some staying power, thanks to Bran’s attitude and Brienne vouching for him, but Theon’s days may be numbered, even with that Sansa embrace on his side.
Jason: Was it too much of a lovefest, though? Our colleague, Josh Kurp, made a good observation on Twitter about the difference between the setup to The Red Wedding and this.
This one does, in hindsight and with some distance from ALL my many feels, come off like a YouTube video where someone takes a cancer afflicted dog out for an ice cream party with its dog friends before one last visit to the vet. That’s what comes to mind when you say what you say in your saying way about Jaime and how he bought himself some time. Did he? Or did they give him a nice little moment in the sun before bang/splat/thud? It’s the Walking Dead method, of sorts. I don’t know if they do it anymore, but they used to give characters one big speech or heroic moment and then it was business lunch at the Sizzler, and zombies were eating good in the neighborhood. These are two different casual eatery references. But my point is, I can totally see Jaime going first because they wanted to lull you into a false sense of security with him. The bastards. But a Jaime death gives you everything you want in that he’s been a central character for the run of the show and it’ll impact Brienne, Tyrion, and Cersei (when she eventually finds out), spreading across the show. It’s a gasp-inducing death, and quite a way to set the table. Theon also had this redemptive moment, but does anyone really care about Reek? He’s going to fall way low on the Deaths We Give A Sh*t About Power Rankings next week.
Kimberly: I admit that your dog metaphor sounds plausible (and appropriately bleak!), and it’s an understatement to say that HBO has masterfully made us care about a character that pushed a child out of a tower. Yet here we are, all these seasons later, debating whether Jaime deserves to survive, and kind-of worrying whether Thrones has sets him (and us) up. If he goes first, several characters will feel that pain while at war. All glass-cliff discussions aside, Brienne might feel his loss the most, and if her abilities are compromised during battle, the results could be collateral damage that will resonate. Sure, Cersei still has her supporters within the fandom, but support for Brienne is nearly universal. The way she and Jaime glanced at each other (however you want to read it) throughout the episode probably didn’t receive enough analysis, due to the Tormund diversions, entertaining as they were (my god, that Giantsbane story). Look, Jaime understood Brienne well enough to know that she truly wished to be a knight, despite her protests, and he pushed past her (well-founded) stubborn pride with that ceremony. She’s nothing if not fiercely loyal to a fault, and I fear that she’ll lose it if he dies first. If she can’t keep her left flank together as a result, this could set up a too-easy advantage for the Night King.