‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 2 Recap: That’s Ser Brienne to You

When we checked in with Winterfell last week for the Game of Thrones season eight premiere, Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) were figuring out their power dynamic, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) learned he’s actually a Targaryen and Cersei (Lena Headey) and Euron (Pilou Asbaek) made their tryst official.  

This week, Jon, Dany and friends are preparing for the Battle of Winterfell, and spirits aren’t exactly high.

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We open on Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) breaking the news to Daenerys, Sansa and Jon that Cersei lied about sending her troops. She never had any intention of helping the North, but Jaime wants to help. Daenerys and Sansa, however, aren’t quite convinced. They both hold him responsible for their fathers’ deaths and he could potentially flip-flop like his sister.

Jaime justifies his actions by saying they were at war when that all went down. Bran, who’s also in attendance, chimes in and says, “The things we do for love.” It’s creepy because Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) says it, and everything Bran says is creepy. But it’s even creepier because that’s exactly what Jaime said when he pushed Bran out of the window in the season one premiere. In the end, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) vouches for Jaime and Jon admits that they need all the help they can get. So, Jaime gets his sword, Widow’s Wail, back and is welcomed to the team.

As they all stand to leave, Jon rushes past Dany. She takes her frustration out on Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and calls him out for not anticipating his sister’s lie. Daenerys storms away from him and Tyrion tells Varys (Conleth Hill) and Jorah (Iain Glen) that it’s likely one of them will become hand of the queen before all of this is through.  

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Afterward, Arya (Maisie Williams) checks in on Gendry (Jim Dempsie) and asks how her weapon is coming along. The sexual tension is palpable. He says he’s pretty busy making thousands of dragonglass daggers and tries to mansplain war to her. She responds saying that she knows death and that it has many faces…then throws three daggers at the wall to show off a bit and tells Gendry to hurry up on her weapon. His jaw is basically on the floor.

Later, Jaime finds Bran by the weirwood tree and asks why he didn’t tell his family that Jaime was the one who caused him to become paralyzed. Bran says he’s honestly not upset about it and points out that causing Jaime to get murdered before he can assist them in battle would be a waste of a decent fighter. Also, if Jaime hadn’t pushed him out that window, he’d still be just Brandon Stark and not the Three-Eyed Raven. It appears Bran is many things, but petty isn’t one of them.

After his heart-to-heart with Bran, Jaime visits Brienne to ask if he can serve in her army. She’s deeply weirded out by his niceness and, honestly, we’re surprised at his humility. Maybe people can change.

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Speaking of humility, Ser Jorah approaches Khaleesi to tell her that she shouldn’t lash out at Tyrion for trusting his family. So, she seeks out the Lady of the North and tells her that she wants to ease the tension between them.

Dany says she knows Sansa is being protective over her brother, Jon, but that she loves him and has his best interest at heart. Sansa says she worries that Dany may have manipulated him, and Dany points out that she’s in Jon’s home fighting Jon’s battle. If anyone has been manipulated it’s her. And just when they’re getting somewhere, Dany reminds Sansa that she intends to take the Iron Throne. There’s some disagreement about what that means for the North, but before they can settle their differences, they’re interrupted. Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) arrives and he tells Dany his sister, Yara (Gemma Whelan), is sailing her ship to take back the Iron Islands in Khaleesi’s name. He also asks Sansa if he can fight for Winterfell. She of course agrees, and they embrace.

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Meanwhile, Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) is running the soup line for soldiers and their families. They express their concern, saying they’re not real soldiers and don’t know how to fight. He assures them they’ll find the power from within. Then a brave little girl comes to get her soup and tells him she’d like to face off with the White Walkers and protect the North. Gilly (Hannah Murray) and Davos suggest she should protect the women and children in the crypts and that seems to appease her.

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Just then, Tormund (Kristofer Hivju), Beric (Richard Dormer) and the rest of the gang arrive and tell Jon et al. that the Night King (Vladmir Furdik), White Walkers and wights will arrive in a night. They must prepare for battle at an even more accelerated rate. So, the Starks, team Targaryen, Jaime Lannister, Brienne, Tormund, Lady Mormont (Bella Ramsay) and Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) strategize together.

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One by one, they offer opinions until Bran tells them the Night King will come for him first. He offers to act as bait and tells them all, “He’s tried before with many Three-Eyed Ravens…he wants to erase this world and I am its memory.” Theon offers to stay with him. He took the Starks’ castle once and he feels that he owes it to them. So, it’s agreed. They all disperse, except Bran and Tyrion. It seems Tyrion wants to learn Bran’s life story and there’s no time like the present.

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Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) are also carpe-ing that diem. He asks her if there’s anywhere she’d like to go after the war and when she says she’d like to see the beaches again, he says he’ll take her. His men will protect her, and they’ll live happily ever after…if they make it through the Battle of Winterfell. 

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That evening, Jon, Samwell and Eddison Tollett (Ben Crompton) stand watch at the castle wall. Samwell asks if Jon has told Dany they’re related yet. Somehow, he hasn’t found the time (or maybe courage) to do so yet.

Jaime and Tyrion are also feeling reflective. They contemplate how they’ve both evolved and how shocked their father would be to see them defending the North. Tormund, Brienne, Podrick (Daniel Portman) and Davos walk in and decide to join them by the fire. They drink, contemplate their (potentially) imminent deaths and Tormund hits on Brienne hard, like, harder than usual, with a story about how he killed a giant and drank his wife’s breast milk. It’s a unique technique.

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Tormund’s confidence aside, it’s a bleak evening for them all. No one but Tyrion anticipates that they’ll survive—let’s hope he’s right. On the bright side, Jaime makes Brienne a knight. Historically, women aren’t allowed to be knighted, but if anyone’s earned it, she has. He taps his sword on her shoulder and she officially becomes Ser Brienne of Tarth, Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.

At the same time, Arya comes upon the Hound (Rory McCann) drinking on the castle wall. She asks how he managed to change so fundamentally that he’s fighting for someone other than himself. But he’s not the only one who has changed (*cough* Arya). Beric joins them and apologizes for how he and Arya parted the last time they saw each other. She rolls her eyes and tells them she’s not spending what’s possibly her last night on Earth hanging out with them.

Instead, she goes to visit Gendry and asks him about his dating history. She knows he’s met Melisandre (Carice van Houten) and assumes they slept together. He clarifies that they never got it on, Melisandre just wanted his blood because he’s Robert Baratheon’s bastard child. This is news to Arya.

She stops with her line of questioning and hits him with it straight. She doesn’t want to die without seeing what it feels like to sleep with someone. So, they tap into all that sexual tension and sparks fly.

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Arya and Gendry aren’t the only ones making the most of their time. Samwell approaches Ser Jorah and gives him his family sword, Heartsbane, because Jorah’s dad was like a father to him. Oh, and he can barely pick it up on his own.

Later, as the troops prepare to depart, Daenerys finds Jon in the crypt looking at Lyanna Stark’s (aka his mom) tomb. Dany tells him she knows her brother Rhaegar raped Lyanna and that it was said to be out of character. But Jon tells her that wasn’t the case. Lyanna and Rhaegar loved each other and they had a son. That son is him and his real name is Aegon Targaryen. 

Dany is shocked, but not just because they’re related. This also compromises her path to the Iron Throne, because technically Jon has a greater stake to it than she. But before they can figure out their pecking order, the war horns sound and the troops march forth. It’s time. We see the arrival of the Night King’s army and the screen fades to black.

Next week, the Battle of Winterfell kicks off. Who will make it? Who will perish? And who will be poised to take the Iron Throne? We can’t wait to find out when episode three drops next Sunday, April 28, at 9 p.m. PT/ET on HBO.


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Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.