Let the debate continue: Who will sit on the Iron Throne? We may never know after last week’s premiere episode and the slow pacing of the episode. Like so many episodes before it “Winterfell” dragged along at a snail’s pace. Jon rode a dragon, Euron had sex with Cersei, and Bran stared down Jamie. Jon learned he was related to the woman he’s currently having sex with whenever they can slip between the animal skins. A lot happened with nothing happening at all, but we could have had all that in five minutes. The clock is running down for anyone to be able to claim the Iron Throne.
“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” may not have given us any more clues who would be sitting on the Iron Throne when the dust, or in this case snow, settles. In fact, like many episodes that have come before, it was slow and didn’t offer anything new to the question. However, this episode was a little different than those other episodes.
“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” was homecoming week part two on Game of Thrones. Jamie stands in front of Jon, Sansa, and Daenerys as they judge what should happen to him. Theon Greyjoy returns to fight for Winterfell and is embraced by Sansa. Tormund Giantsbane, Beric, and Eddison Tollet make their way to Winterfell where they’re hugged and greeted by Jon. It was a bittersweet homecoming because each of them knows very well their days may be numbered.
All the battle preparations aside, Sunday’s episode felt like the scene in the war movie where the characters reminiscence about their lives before the final battle scene where they’re all going to die. No one, with one notable exception, was concerned with who was going to sit on the Iron Throne.
In one single episode we learn more about the characters than we learned in the past seven seasons. Jamie, Tyrion, Brienne, Davos Seaworth, Podrick, and Tormund contemplate their possible deaths over drinks. There are some funny elements to the scenes with a dark cloud hanging over all them. We also learn Podrick has some vocal chops on him. However, we also learn more about Tormund than we probably ever wanted to know. How long is it going to take you to get the image of Tormund suckling on a giant’s teat?
Game of Thrones has flaunted incest for seven seasons. The series can now add under age sex to its resume. When we first meet Arya she’s a child who’s trying to prove she’s just as good as her brother with the bow. It may be difficult to say how much time has passed since the first episode, and without knowing the age of consent in the Seven Kingdoms, its a safe bet Gendry committed statutory rape.
But for all the feel good moments in the episode the final scene calls everything into question. Jon drops a truth bomb on Danerys. Of course she takes this as Jon wanting the Iron Throne. Jon is saved by the bell before he can say anything one way or the other.
Here’s the sticky issue showrunners can get themselves into: Do they go the sitcom route and have Danerys answer her own question? If this is the case, then there will be a war on three fronts. As Sansa told her in Sunday’s episode the North wants to be ruled by the North. Do the screenwriters come up with a sappy solution and have Jon and Danerys rule the Seven Kingdoms together? Sure, this could happen. It would be cheesy to say the least, but it’s a possibility. The other possibility is nothing happens between Jon and Danerys and they go on to fight both the Night King and Cersei. I’m not even considering the possibility either one of them dying before the final credits role.
We may have to wait for the fourth episode to see the battle against the Night King and his undead army. The end credits make it seem like the battle will be next week, but Game of Thrones has never aired in set pattern. Next Sunday’s episode will be, has to be, centered on Cersei and her new man Euron. Episode five can’t air soon enough.