The opening scene of this episode house what is possibly one of the most subtly brilliant lines that have surfaced so far. Whilst Daenerys and Sansa are both verbally reprimanding Jaimie Lanister, he defends himself, responding “We were at war. Everything I did, I did for my house and my family and I’d do it all again.” Bran then, chillingly chides in, in his calm voice, betraying not a hint of emotion, “The things we do for love.” Citing Jaimie’s own words back to him, the words Jaimie uttered in the very first episode of the entire show, when he pushed Bran off of the tower to cover up his incestuous affairs. This is followed by a touching defense by Lady Brienne of Tarth, who unearths some truths about Sir Jaimie that sways the room. She also not just metaphorically puts herself in between Sir Jaimie and his opponents, she physically and literally standing between them, creating a barrier.
Sir Jorah Mormont and Daenerys have a touching moment, in which he impressively and selflessly advises her to forgive the man who stole his position, as Dany puts it. Following this, she and Lady Sansa have their first proper conversation, which goes from heartwarming to chilling quite quickly. Dany asking her why she feels that they’re at odds with one another, even though they’re on the same side and have more then a few significant things in common. Sansa’s statement about John being in love with her, her issue being that men do stupid things for women they love, they’re easily manipulated.
One moving moment in particular that was difficult to not adore, was the knighting of Lady Brienne, not only was this moment what the episode was titled after, it also was difficult not to draw out a lot of cultural commentary from the conversation hat leads to Sir Jaimie knighting Brienne. Tyrion said Sir Brienna before correcting himself to say Lady Brienne, Tormund Giantsbane asks why she can’t be a Sir (a Knight*)..
Brienne: “Women can’t be knights.”
Tormund: “Why not?”
Tormund: “Fuck tradition.”
This speaks levels about the remnants of sexism that are still occurring in our own, tragically-non-supernatural world today. And also tackles the societal/cultural practice of keeping things the way they are simply because of tradition/ solely because that’s the way that things have been done in the past.
And now, for the coup de gras of the episode, Jenny’s Song. Jenny of Oldstones is part of a story that was told in the book series, Jenny was the wife of Prince Duncan Targaryen. (known as The Prince of Dragonflies) According to GOT lore, Prince Duncan loved Jenny so much that he married her against the wishes of his father, and broke his betrothal to the daughter of Lord Lyonal Baratheon. Duncan refused to give up his wife, despite the efforts of King Aegon to break up the pair – crucially, he gave up his claim to the throne. The prince, Jenny and King Aegon later died in the Tragedy at Summerhall. (When King Aegon tried to hatch dragon eggs with sorcery and burned down the castle.) Does this point to the potential for John to continue this loop and give up his claim to the throne for the woman he loves? Surprisingly sung by Brienne’s squire, Podrick, to the pre-battle group huddled around the fire:
“High in the halls of the kinds who are gone. Jenny would dance with her ghosts. The ones she had lost and the ones she had found. And the ones who had loved her the most. The ones who’d been gone for so very long she couldn’t remember their names. They spun her around on the damp cold stone, spun away all her sorrow and pain. And she never wanted to leave, never wanted to leave.”
We end on a bittersweet moment when Jon finally tells Dany about his lineage. Not too surprisingly, she’s more concerned with his now-rightful-claim to the throne then she is with the fact that she is his aunt by blood.. But they put this aside when they her the bells, the warning that the White Walkers have been spotted and are within sight of Winterfell. The battle commences, and leaves the viewer on the tantalizing moment just before the chaos begins.
- Is the song Jenny of Oldstones, bringing back nods to past occurrences that have happened and telling us that history might repeat itself, as we know that George R.R Martin enjoys cyclical tales, bringing to mind the old adage of those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
- The Dire wolf Theories – There has long been thoughts and speculations that the Dire wolf’s names and fates have been a kind of foreshadowing and subtle tells about the fate of the Stark children to whom they belonged. (a few examples include: ‘Lady’, Sansa’s wolf, was beheaded, killed, it appeared as though that moment begun the loss/ death of Sansa’s ambitions to be a pretty thing on the arm of some powerful man. The death of her innocence and childlike fancies about the world. ‘Summer’, Bran’s wolf, Summer is what can end a winter, and it’s no secret that the Knight King is targeting Bran this season, with his ever-present mark on his skin, he can track him, wanting to destroy Bran, as he could possibly put an end to the ‘endless night’. Lastly, ‘Ghost’, Jon Snow’s dog, John literally came back from the dead…. Enough said.
- The Dragonfly Theories… Sansa Stark who has worn dragonfly necklaces, earrings and other adornments with the creature, has stopped wearing them, but started embodying them instead. Its long been known that Sansa has made a lot of her clothing, being great at embroidery and other skills from the very first season… It’s safe to say its very likely that she still makes her own clothing. In this episode, her amour really seems to resemble a certain insect.. (This is relevant because Jenny of Oldstones was sung by Podrick the Squire and then repeated in the end credits by Florence and the Machine.) Jenny of Oldstones was married to Prince Duncan Targaryen, commonly known as The Prince of Dragonflies. Could these not-so-subtle aesthetic choices be a nod or foreshadowing using the lyrics of Jenny of Oldstones? Anything visual stand out in Sansa’s armour….?