Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2 recap: The night is long (and full of sexual tension)
In A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, the war against the dead is upon us, so how are we going to spend this long, lonely night? Cue sexy music.
Claire ReillyFormer Principal Video Producer
Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
ExpertiseSpace, Futurism, Science and Sci-Tech, Robotics, Tech CultureCredentials
Webby Award Winner (Best Video Host, 2021), Webby Nominee (Podcasts, 2021), Gold Telly (Documentary Series, 2021), Silver Telly (Video Writing, 2021), W3 Award (Best Host, 2020), Australian IT Journalism Awards (Best Journalist, Best News Journalist 2017)
Now, sound the spoiler horn and get comfortable, because just like Daenerys' pervy pet dragon, we've got some watching to do!
Watch this: Game of Thrones Season 8: All your questions answered (badly)
Episode 2 recap: Quivering in antici... pation
The season 8 premiere brought everyone back to Winterfell, but episode 2 set the stakes. The battle with the White Walkers is close, but still hasn't begun. The day is about to dawn, but we're still in blackest night. And what's the perfect way to sum up that anticipation?
The episode opened where the premiere left off: Jaime is in Winterfell and everyone kinda remembers him as a jerk. He's rocked up in Winterfell's lunch room to appear before Daenerys and, to be honest, she's kinda TO'd because Jaime's sister promised an army that never came. (Dany will also later chastise Tyrion for not anticipating Cersei's betrayal and being a clueless Hand.)
But back in the lunch room, Jaime reminds us he's not exactly stoked with Cersei right now and that despite those family ties, he'd rather fight for the living than stay shacked up in Kings Landing with a woman who's getting sketchier by the minute. "This goes beyond loyalty," he says. "This is about survival."
Brienne vouches for Jaime, Sansa vouches for Brienne, and because Sansa is wearing a pretty mean leather corset right now, everyone decides the older Stark sis is legit. OK Jaime, you can sit with us. But not before we establish that Brienne might have some complicated feelings toward you.
Sexual tension: 1 out of 10.
Hot stuff, coming through
Oooh here we go! We're down in the forge and Gendry is smithing the life out of that Dragonglass. Winterfell needs weapons, and thankfully Gendry's got two guns ready for the job. After her reunion with Gendry last week, Arya is back and she's thirsty... for knowledge. She wants to know how the White Walkers fight and what they'll need to do to succeed in battle. In another classic "oh, I've done some growing up of my own" move, Arya throws Dragonglass knives at a post and Gendry is here for it.
But we didn't come back to Winterfell for sexy times and there's other tension to be had here. So, having just arrived in the North, Jaime is off to do the rounds.
He reunites with Bran in the godswood to talk about that nasty defenestration business from season 1. Bran's not too fussed because in case you hadn't heard, he got into some pretty heavy raven stuff at tree college, so y'know, he can see through time now.
Speaking of time, is it that late? Sorry Bran, Jaime has to be somewhere else. Off to chat with Tyrion on the battlements in fact (which have now been kitted out with Dragonglass spikes). They have a bit of "sisters, ammiright?" banter before Jaime notices Brienne on the field below. He jogs down to pledge to fight with her in battle, but the reunion he hoped for is a little lost in Brienne's confused cry of "We have never had a conversation last this long without you insulting me. Not once!"
Jaime, you're going to have to do better than that to woo this one.
Sexual tension: 4 out of 10.
Setting up for battle
Despite all these long brooding chats, the White Walkers are still taking their sweet-ass time to get to Winterfell. So Dany decides to pop in to mend bridges with Sansa. Sansa is frankly concerned Jon is a little dragon-crazy and isn't going to make sound decisions with Daenerys around. Dany reiterates she's all about supporting Jon's family (it's easy when it's your family too!) but it's clear her love for Jon clearly won't get in the way of her thirst for the throne.
Meanwhile, around Winterfell we've still got a lot of battle prep going on. Ser Davos is feeding Northerners onion soup and Gilly is gathering the women and children to wait out the war in the crypt. Odds are that one of these kindnesses will be paid off with a brutal death that fans will cry heartily over.
In the war room, it's time to devise a plan to defeat the dead. Bran reveals that while he was in tree college he got a sweet tattoo and turns out it attracts the Night King. So they decide to use Bran as bait to lure the dead, figuring that it'll keep him and his weird crow chat out of their faces for a bit either way.
Sexual tension: 5 onions out of 10.
The night is dark and full of sexy times
The Night King has apparently only just gotten into his Uber and is still, like, at least a few hours away. So Winterfell has time to kill.
It's time for more D&Ms than a grade school slumber party!
The popular kids are sitting fireside trading stories and watching Tormund talk about the time he was breastfed by a giantess for three months (weird flex but OK). Dude can "suckle at her teat" (man that phrase bums me out) but he apparently can't drink from a horn.
If that's Tormund's idea of peacocking, then Jaime decides to go one better, and knights Brienne by the fire. Arise, Ser Brienne... sweet mercy, IS THIS THE FIRST TIME WE'VE SEEN BRIENNE SMILE?! She is a beautiful gem and no one kill her in this battle or so help me!
After a brief chat with the Hound, Arya remembers this could be her last night on Westeros. She meets up with Gendry and, after getting a thorough review of his sexual history (safe sex, kids!) she reveals she'd like to forge his steel. Arya gets nude, but thankfully we don't see too much. That would be like seeing your kid sister getting drunk at a college party.
Speaking of sword exchanges, Sam meets up with Jorah and offers him the Tarly family sword. It's made of Valyrian steel so it's going to be handy in a fight (unlike Sam, bless his heart). But oh no, what's this? Sam just bade farewell with the line "I'll see you when it's through"? Thanks a lot. Now one of you has to die.
Sexual tension: 9 out of 10, definitely shipping Gendya.
One more thing
Jon Snow has been effectively avoiding Daenerys for the whole episode, but it's finally time to hash it out. Dany happens upon him in the crypt and Jon Snow gives us what is one of the most awkward "I'm about to break up with you" smiles ever.
What's this? Just standing here in front of Lyanna Starks tomb? Oh, the optics of this are fine, thinks Dany.
While Daenerys says her brother Rhaegar Targaryen raped Lyanna, Jon insists they were married and in love.
"The last thing as she bled to death on her birthing bed was give the boy to her brother, Ned Stark, to raise as his bastard," he says, in the most convoluted reworking of we-should-see-other-people that was ever uttered. "My name, my real name, is Aegon Targaryen."
Daenerys is shocked, but this isn't her first rodeo. She claps back.
"A secret no one in the world knew except your brother and your best friend, does that seem strange to you?" she says. Very fair.
"If this is true, it would make you the last male heir of house Targaryen. You'd have a claim to the iron throne."
Also true. There's a lot happening here -- from what's said ("We're related!") to what's unsaid ("Who gets the throne when this is over?") -- but there's no time now. The battle horn has sounded, and after a night full of passion and truth, it's time to crush some wight skulls.
Sexual tension: No time for that now! But 10 out of 10, it's on.
If you came for battles, you will have been disappointed. But this week's episode was all about gearing us up for the next four. We're getting the human emotions, the stakes, the tension -- essentially all the reasons the folks of Westeros are fighting. From there, we can go into full dead-slaying battle action. But be warned, that means we're going to see a lot of good people die.
I don't think we'll ever be ready for that.
Game of Thrones stars, from season 1 through today