'Game of Thrones' season 8, episode 2 shows the women of Winterfell rising above the chaos and taking control
This article contains spoilers for 'Game of Thrones' season 8, episode 2.
Game of Thrones has once again established that there's no underestimating the characters of the show even in the face of a war against the undefeatable. But in episode 2 of its final season 8, it was the women at Winterfell who emerged all high and mighty with momentous developments in their individual character arcs - something that the men couldn't even come close to in this particular installment.
In the initial stages of the episode, we saw the meek and naive Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) truly embrace her fierceness as Lady of Winterfell. Over the last eight years, Sansa has been tortured, traumatized, abducted, deceived, and even raped too many times, and finally, in the final season of the show, Sansa isn't taking sh*t from anyone, even if it is the all-powerful Khaleesi aka Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) for that matter.
In what looks like a sweet bonding moment between the two, Daenerys tries telling Sansa that she is on their side. Sansa's concern, however, is the independence of the power once Daenerys takes over the Iron Throne. In her stern demeanor, she not only denounced the rule of any king or queen sitting on the throne but also made it very clear that the North will never be anybody else's but the Starks to rule. And it takes guts to stand up to the Khaleesi, as we all know, so clearly, at that moment, we were all team Sansa.
But speaking of the Khaleesi, her ever so mighty aura was humanized a lot in this episode. For the first time in a long time, we saw her fumbling as Lady Sansa denounced her rule Winterfell, and it didn't stop at just that. Later in the episode, Daenerys also finds out about her new love - Jon Snow (Kit Harington) - being the true heir to the Iron Throne, as he is the last living Targaryen male - something that made her feel insecure for the first time ever because according to Westerosi law, she couldn't have both the man and the throne. In the night before the great battle, the all-powerful queen was shown to be a mere human trying to keep her calm as she is afflicted by a bitter realization, something she must ignore to put on a brave face for the impending the war.
On the other hand, we have Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) pulling the most non-Arya move ever, as she decides to spend what could be her last night on the planet, by losing her virginity. Over the last seven years, Arya has been through more than what most kids her age go through. As an early teen, she submitted her fate at the hands of Jaqen H'ghar, the faceless man who trained her over the years to become a faceless assassin and avenge the death of her parents. Yet now, standing on the brink of the battle she had been trained to fight in, Arya decides to give in to her innermost desires to find out what it feels like to make love before she dies. In that, she is directly looking at death in the face and chooses to while away time having sex. More power to you, girl!
Yet the most wholesome development on the show was seeing Lady Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) being knighted by the man she is quite possibly in love with - Ser Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.) The reason we are rooting for her so hard is that if there's one person in all of the seven kingdoms who deserves being knighted the night before they all probably die, it is her. It was Brienne's childhood dream to be recognized for her battle skills and to become a knight - none of which was stemmed from hunger for power. The only thing holding her back was the law of the land that stated women couldn't be made knights. So to see Jaime chuck the law and go ahead and fulfill her biggest dream at such a crucial point of the show was both touching and poetic in equal parts.
Speaking of touching moments on the show, the women at Winterfell once again came through as the perfect concoction between spirited and compassionate. In a chance encounter between Ser Davos and a little girl with a scar on her cheek, we are reminded of Shireen Baratheon. In those final moments before the war, we have the fearless little girl insisting on how she wants to fight alongside her brothers who are soldiers - sort of providing moral support for the men and women in the North about to march against the White Walkers.
This coming right after a grown man telling Davos "they are not soldiers", and expressing hesitation to fight is all the more momentous, because the little child doesn't want to hide in the crypt with the other women and children of Winterfell; she wants to stay and fight. Then on the other hand, there's Gilly - Samwell Tarly's wife - who offers matriarchal support and protection to the girl in her own way, by saying she can defend the crypt and thus put up her own fight.
So as the men at Winterfell gathered to discuss war strategy and warn each other about the little time they have remaining before the army of the dead strike, it was truly the women at Winterfell who came through with their own subtle character arcs. They showed us strength and compassion, dauntless spirit and vulnerability, and most importantly established an air of hope throughout the episode - something that the tense expressions of the male characters couldn't even come close to. Take a bow, ladies at Winterfell. You have truly earned it this time!