The second Game of Thrones episode in Season 8 focused on everyone at Winterfell steeling themselves for the huge upcoming battle, but the title “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” referred directly to a real high point for Brienne of Tarth when she was officially knighted by Jaime Lannister. The look of sheer joy on Brienne’s face after her knighting has all of us preparing ourselves emotionally for what feels like her inevitable death, especially when she’s the one screaming “Stand your ground!” at the end of the Episode 3 teaser.
During Episode 2, Jaime Lannister notes that Brienne is commanding the left flank in the upcoming battle. Brienne calls it “good ground” and notes that “the rise” gives them a good advantage, so she hopes that will allow them to beat back the dead if they keep a tight formation. It’s here that Jaime volunteers to serve under her command, but it isn’t until later at the war council that we’re given a better look at what this means exactly.
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It means that once the fighting starts, Jaime and Brienne will be in the thick of it.
A flanking maneuver refers to when one army attempts to come up behind their enemy by going around the side. Based on the above mock-up, the army of the dead is too large for the good guys to ever be able to pull off a flanking maneuver. If anything, it’s the dead that’ll flank the living. We know that Ser Brienne of Tarth is leading a regiment of Stark troops on the left side of the battle map. Based on the mock-up, they’ll be directly behind the Knights of the Vale, who’ll serve as infantry on horseback.
If Brienne is shouting “stand your ground” during the battle, that obviously means the dead are approaching her unit, so that probably means either the Knights of the Vale get completely wiped out or, at the very least, plenty of undead wights have made it around them. (This could mean that Lord Royce is one of the battle’s first named casualties.)
If the dead get through Brienne’s regiment, it’s a straight shot to Winterfell — that, or the dead will simply flank Daenerys’ troops, either the Dothraki or Unsullied.
Will Game of Thrones really kill off Brienne, one of the most endearing and likable heroes on the entire show? Between Ned Stark’s death, the Red Wedding, the death of Oberyn Martell, Jon Snow’s murder, Viserion getting killed, and so much more, we’re all primed to expect the worst from Game of Thrones, even more so because of how happy Brienne was to be knighted.
Amidst all the dread in the episode, her knighting ceremony was a breath of fresh air. It presented a high point for Jaime, a high point for Brienne, and one of the brightest moments of the entire series.
Something dark and dreadful must be right around the corner.
Is this just the start of Brienne’s long career as one of Westeros’ greatest knights? Or will she be a knight for all of two hours before her death at the hands of the undead? There’s no telling how many beloved named characters will die in the next episode, but it definitely seems like there’s be quite a few. Will Brienne be among them? If Game of Thrones remains as emotionally brutal as it always has been, then it sure seems like it.
Game of Thrones airs Sunday nights on HBO at 9 p.m. Eastern.