Winter has come to the Seven Kingdoms, and with it, a war for the survival of the human race — which means that everyone who arrived in Winterfell during last week’s Game of Thrones season premiere needed to hurry up this week and get their affairs in order. In the final night before the Night King’s undead army arrived at the gates, there were old scores to settle, new titles to acquire, and at least one sexual experience to be had in the name of do-or-die.
Here’s everything that happened in the Sunday, April 21, episode as Winterfell prepared for the worst.
Last week, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) had just arrived on the scene as predicted by Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright); this week, a furious Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is immediately consumed by the question of whether or not to kill him on sight. (He murdered her father, remember.)
Jaime doesn’t help his case by refusing to apologize for any of the evil things he did to protect his family. “The things we do for love,” says Bran, invoking Jaime’s last words before pushing him out a window back in the very first episode and making things extra weird, per usual.
After vowing to fight for the living and being vouched for by Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), Jaime is permitted to stay. But the friction surrounding his arrival isn’t over: Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is harshly chastised by Dany for not intuiting his sister’s treachery, and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) remains (rightly!) concerned about the autonomy of the North if Dany takes the Iron Throne.
Meanwhile, the last remaining fighters arrive at Winterfell: Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) gets a warm welcome from Sansa as he shows up to pledge loyalty to the Starks, but Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) and the remaining Night’s Watch brothers come bearing bad news. They have one night left before the Night King arrives at their gates — a night that may be their last on Earth. They’re hopelessly outnumbered: “Whoever’s not here now is with them,” Tormund says.
Jon Snow (Kit Harington) gets busy strategizing for the coming battle, in which he hopes they might kill the Night King and thus destroy the entire army in one blow. With that out of the way, all that’s left to do is wait … and check any available items off your to-do list, whether it’s having an epic party (Tyrion), getting an epic knighthood (Brienne), or having an epic hookup with that dude you’ve been crushing on since Season 2.
Yep, that’s right: the Arya (Maisie Williams) and Gendry (Joe Dempsie) ship has finally sailed, if just for one night. But that’s the kicker: as we watch these characters embracing, or forging friendships, or bravely facing down the coming battle, it’s hard not to remember that some of them — and considering the Game of Thrones track record, maybe even all of them?! — aren’t going to live past the battle in the next episode.
And for the ones that do, things will still be deeply complicated. In the last moments of this long night, Daenerys finds Jon down in the Winterfell crypt. He’s gazing at the statue of his mother, Lyanna, and he tells Dany the truth: he’s a Targaryen. First, she thinks he’s lying; then, she’s terrified he’s not. Her claim to the throne is suddenly in doubt. And while we know that Jon has no interest in ruling the Seven Kingdoms, Daenerys doesn’t — and she doesn’t get to hear about it. Because the horns of war are sounding, and the dead army is at the gates.
Game of Thrones airs on HBO Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.
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