6:45am PT by Josh Wigler
'Game of Thrones' Final Season, Episode 2: What to Expect
The final season of HBO's Game of Thrones is finally at hand. Every week before a new episode, The Hollywood Reporter's resident Westeros expert Josh Wigler will offer up a guide to the must-see moments of the coming installment. What should you expect from the latest adventure of Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and anyone else who is still lucky enough to be alive? Who will die this week? What monstrous twists have creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss cooked up as Thrones rushes toward the end of the line? Chew on those questions and more in the story ahead.
Season 8, Episode 2: "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms"
Directed by: David Nutter
Written by: Bryan Cogman
Airdate: April 21, 2019
Runtime: 58 minutes
Number in series: 69 out of 73
Where we left off: "Winterfell," the final season premiere. The dragons are officially in the North. Daenerys and her army have arrived in Winterfell, and they have not been welcomed warmly. Sansa (Sophie Turner) is not a big fan, nor is Arya (Maisie Williams), though the young Stark is nonetheless happy to see some other familiar faces in the mix: the Hound (Rory McCann) for one, and Gendry (Joe Dempsie) for another. Before long, Jon is given his own reasons for doubting Daenerys when he learns the truth about his Targaryen roots from Sam (John Bradley). Further south, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) continues conspiring her plot to betray the North, with assistance from the Golden Company as well as Bronn (Jerome Flynn), whom she hopes to enlist in an assassination plot against her siblings. Cersei's new lover, Euron (Pilou Asbaek), takes an unexpected hit when Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) rescues his sister Yara (Gemma Whelan), then decides to set sail for Winterfell; he has yet to arrive. Further north, at Last Hearth, Beric (Richard Dormer) and Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) discover a veritable slaughter house left behind by the Night King and his army, a signal that they are soon to march upon Winterfell. They have not yet landed on the seat of House Stark, but the premiere ends with a new warrior rolling up on Winterfell: Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), greeted there by Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright), the boy he pushed out a window so long ago.
What we expect to see: Reckonings! That's what's on the menu, as per the trailer for the episode. It begins with Jaime standing before Daenerys, who grills him on his history as "Kingslayer." Bygones will be hard to come by, but we expect someone will rise to Jaime's defense before long: Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), Jaime's biggest fan, who knows firsthand about the weight he's carried with him across his life. Whether that's enough to spare Jaime, especially when it comes out that he pushed Bran out the window? Hard to say. Fortunately, there won't be enough time to grill the man for long, considering what we also know from the trailer: Tormund will return to Winterfell with tidings about the Night King's imminent arrival.
What we won't see: Full-blown battle at Winterfell, which is almost certainly coming in the third episode of the season, directed by Miguel Sapochnik of "Hardhome," "Battle of the Bastards" fame. If you're of the mind that Game of Thrones needs to deliver an epic action scene immediately, having been disappointed by the pace of the premiere? Brace yourself for another disappointing evening. We are still in the place where characters must collide and stakes must be set for the vicious battles still to come — and when they do come, you may be wishing for the "slower" pace, considering how much death is likely to follow.
What we're hoping to see: Does it count if the answer is "not Theon," even though he's made it clear he wants to return to Winterfell? If Theon sits this week out, it leaves the door wide open for a much bigger splash in episode three, when he can show up during the Battle for Winterfell's greatest hour of need. The forces of the living are not likely to survive the battle fully (or even mostly) intact, and Winterfell itself will assuredly burn to the ground, if not freeze over as the Night King's new home. Jon and Dany may be able to escape on dragons, with a few additional characters at their side. The rest are going to need some transport support of their own, which is where Theon would come in. The last time he strolled up to Winterfell, Theon was there with conquest in his heart. The result: destruction, both for Winterfell and himself as a man. Now that he's more man than ever before, Theon returning to a ruined Winterfell in order to rescue as many of its people as possible would be a poetic note for his complicated character arc.
Catch up on the past week of THR's Thrones coverage:
• Recap: Final Season Premiere Raises the Iron Throne Stakes
• TV Review: Dan Fienberg on the Final Season Premiere
• Podcast: Breaking Down the Beginning of the End
• Podcast: Everything to Know About "Winterfell"
• Interview: Isaac Hempstead Wright ("Bran Stark")
• Interview: John Bradley ("Samwell Tarly")
• Interview: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau ("Jaime Lannister")
• Deep Dive: Inside the Making of the Dragons
• Deep Dive: How the Opening Credits Raise the Final Season Stakes
• Deep Dive: How "Winterfell" Connects to the Series Premiere
• Deep Dive: Every Season Premiere, Ranked
• Deep Dive: 15 Key Quotes From "Winterfell"
• Deep Dive: Josh Wigler and Dan Fienberg Look Toward Episode 2
• Inside the Episode: David Benioff and Dan Weiss on "Winterfell"
• Trailer: Episode 2 Promises Fire, Blood and Ice Cold War
• Photos: Winterfell Prepares for War in Episode 2
• News: Final Season Premiere Mistakenly Posts Early on DirecTV
• News: Bob Greenblatt, Casey Bloys on Pushing HBO's Boundaries and the Race for More
• News: Game of Thrones Premiere Ratings Surge to New Series High — 17.4 Million Viewers
• News: Game of Thrones Season 8 Launch Ratings Set Record for U.K.'s Sky
• News: Game of Thrones Premiere Tops Nielsen's First Weekly LGBTQ Ratings
• News: Trump Celebrates Mueller Report Press Conference With Game of Thrones Meme
Read all of THR's Final Path series, featuring character-by-character predictions:
1. Jon Snow
2. Daenerys Targaryen
3. Tyrion Lannister
4. Cersei Lannister
5. Jaime Lannister
6. Sansa Stark
7. Arya Stark
8. Bran Stark
9. Samwell Tarly
10. Theon Greyjoy
11. The Hound
12. Brienne of Tarth
15. Davos Seaworth
16. Jorah Mormont
18. Tormund Giantsbane
19. Beric Dondarrion
20. The Dragons
21. The Night King
22. Across the World of Ice and Fire
23. Final Predictions
Follow THR.com/GameOfThrones for continuing coverage all season long.