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The ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 2 Exit Survey

Discussing the night before an apocalyptic battle, from Lady Brienne becoming Ser Brienne to Dany growing madder to Arya and Gendry’s steamy scene

HBO/Ringer illustration

After every episode of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, staff members at The Ringer will gather at the nearest weirwood to discuss the most interesting moments, developments, and theories. Without further ado, here’s the exit survey for the second episode, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”

1. What is your tweet-length review of “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms?”

Julie Phayer:

Screenshots via HBO

Michael Baumann: Sleep/sing/drink/chat with me tonight, for tomorrow we may die.

Shaker Samman: Winter is coming (no like, literally. It’s at the gates).

Miles Surrey: I’m thrilled that the 69th episode of Game of Thrones got a little horny.

Tyler Tynes: Hell yeah to all the lusty eyes.


2. What was the best moment of the episode?

Tynes: The Night King ruining everyone’s fun.

Phayer: Brienne being knighted by Jaime is the most emotional I’ve felt watching this show in a long time. I’m definitely going to cry like a baby when they die together. Runner-up: Dany and Sansa poking fun at Jon’s height was an extremely relatable moment for every tall girl. I can already predict I’ll use that screengrab three times this week.

Baumann: In my heart I know it’s supposed to be when Jaime comes over all Kingdom of Heaven on Brienne, but mostly I’m relieved that they have a battle plan this time. I remember when Jon went into the Battle of the Bastards trying to do a double envelopment with a force that was not only outnumbered but largely untrained. Way to learn from your mistakes, post-punk Alexander Samsonov.

Samman: Bran very casually dropping “the things we do for love” in the middle of Jaime’s trial. The look Jaime shoots the young Raven is some of the best acting in the episode.

Surrey: All of the compelling conversations between characters who earnestly believe they’re about to die. Thrones has higher production value in single scenes than most TV shows have in a season, but its best moments are often just people talking in a room. I was worried Season 8 would lean far too much into the CGI spectacle; it’s nice to get an entire hour that reminds people why we fell in love with these characters in the first place.

Halliwell: The transition from Arya and Gendry gettin’ down into Jaime knighting Brienne was designed to destroy me specifically, and WHEW DID IT WORK. Maybe just end the series right now? Please?

3. What was the most frustrating part of the episode?

Samman: The Arya-Gendry sex scene. Nobody needed that. Except Arya, I guess. Good for her.

Tynes: Dany existing.

Baumann: They cut off the Sansa-Daenerys confab right when they were getting down to brass tacks. I feel like an agreement could’ve been hammered out if they’d had like 10 more minutes before Theon—and I’m sick at the sight of Theon, I hope he dies next week—popped up.

Halliwell: I hate everything happening with Dany right now, and every moment we spend on her frown-smiling and lecturing people feels like a waste of precious Thrones minutes.

Surrey: A couple of things. First off, the fastidious work of my colleagues at this website made it clear that Winterfell’s crypts were important, but given that this episode featured several characters saying, “The crypts are safe,” the crypts are obviously not safe. Second, with no Cersei Lannister this week—and seeing as next week might be fully dedicated to the Battle of Winterfell—are we not checking in on her until the fourth episode? Seems a little weird, pacing-wise.


4. How did Jaime acquit himself in the North?

Samman: About as well as I expected? The Kingslayer is a prideful man, and he stood by his convictions. If Bran had decided to tell everyone that Jaime was the one who pushed him from the Broken Tower, rather than just make a passing reference and shoot mad side-eye, Jaime’s head would likely already be on a spike. But he didn’t, and so Jaime lives. Shouts to Brienne.

Surrey: Like all successful interviews, he had a solid reference.

Baumann: About as well as he could possibly have hoped. He made it out of the great hall not only alive, but free; he apologized to Bran, he got into the best pre-Armageddon party, and he had big emotional moments with Tyrion and Brienne. Not sure what else he could’ve asked for.

Phayer: Um, have you looked at him recently?

Halliwell: Thank god Bran doesn’t give a damn about revenge (or literally anything else). Jaime went from imperiled to thriving in the span of a few minutes, and we got that fabulous Brienne-Jaime scene out of it. Also, can we just talk about that hand flex on his sword before he knights her? The feelings are SO REAL.

5. Arya and Gendry?!


Halliwell: Fan service at its finest! I’m truly thrilled—and so was Gendry, which made this so fun to watch. He is utterly awed by her BDE, as are we all. Get after it, Arya. Those abs are FINALLY ALL YOURS.

Surrey: My thoughts on the scene are a bit mixed, but I do know this boning will sustain Tumblr until the turn of the century.

Phayer: I’m just happy my girl had a “human” moment after a rough Season 7. Also, when is the last time there was a consensual sex scene on Game of Thrones that didn’t involve incest?

Baumann: Look. I am a fanatical Arya-Gendry shipper, and have been for years. But also, that was contingent on Arya being a grown-up when they got together. I would really have liked the show to have made it more clear that Arya is just short and not still a minor.

Samman: I am unwell. Do not speak to me in these trying times.

6. What is your read on the conversation when Jon told Daenerys who he really is?

Halliwell: Extremely tough timing here, Jon. I get it, but there’s a time and a place to tell your girlfriend that she’s your aunt and also that she’s irrelevant to the history of the Seven Kingdoms, and minutes before the horde of zombies comes knocking is maybe not it.

Samman: Dany figures Jon a new competitor for the only job she’s ever wanted, while Jon … just seems like he wants to get the information out there. He’s never sought power; it’s been given to him. I don’t think this is any different. If Jon—erm, Aegon—ends up on the Iron Throne, it will be because the people demanded it. Not because he did.

Tynes: Dany, the fun police, is gonna try to change him like those white people tried to change Howard.

Surrey: It seems like the show is committing to a late heel turn on Dany’s part. The White Walkers’ conveniently timed march on Winterfell prevented Dany from expressing her full opinion, but between that and an icy exchange with Sansa, she’s heading down a disconcerting path.

Phayer: If Jon didn’t want the Iron Throne, he would’ve said that immediately … right? Maybe he’s changed his mind and wants this promotion after all. The show seems to be leaning in the Dany–Mad Queen direction, and it looks like this might be what finally pushes her over the edge.

Baumann: I’m frankly shocked she didn’t stick a dagger between his ribs on the spot. She has had one solitary goal the whole time, remember, and now Jon is standing in the way. If only someone could’ve foreseen that Daenerys wasn’t 100 percent trustworthy.

7. Take a shot in the dark: How will the next episode go down?

Tynes: I hope everyone dies.

Phayer: After we’ve finally accepted and mourned the loss of our favorite Avengers in Endgame, we’ll be forced to say goodbye to some of the best Thrones characters—Jaime, Brienne, Podrick, Jorah, Varys, Gendry—and Theon. It’s going to be an emotionally draining weekend. Prepare accordingly.

Halliwell: I am very afraid for many, many people. This episode was far too happy for all of our faves to make it out alive. I think mostly the fringe characters will go—the mains have to make it out to go get Cersei—but I’ll be sending up various prayers nonetheless.

Baumann: I was going to list the people who were going to die but there are so many it might just be a series of vignettes in which everyone you’ve come to love perishes one by one in lovingly close focus. It’ll be the last 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan followed by the last 20 minutes of Rogue One followed by 20 minutes of people crying and hugging.

Surrey: With the White Walkers defeated, and our heroes realizing they still have enemies—some of whom could be standing right next to them among the survivors. Also, Ser Davos will survive, because if he doesn’t, I will be a complete wreck.

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.