Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2, ‘The Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’.
Reunions, couplings, and final goodbyes before the seemingly inevitable permanent separation, best summed up by Bran Stark’s loaded line “The things we do for love” – the second episode of the final season of Game of Thrones worked hard to endear its numerous characters to fans before the much-touted Battle of Winterfell. Telecast in India on Hotstar and Star World, the HBO adaptation of George RR Martin’s A Song of ice and Fire novels will conclude on May 19 (May 20 in India).
In a video on the making of the episode titled A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, the show’s creators and executive producers, DB Weiss and David Benioff, revisited some of the key moments. Among them was the frustration experienced by Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) over having to welcome Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) into House Stark’s Winterfell castle despite knowing that he murdered her father. Daenerys’s ire is targetted at Jaime’s brother, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), whom she sees as being misled and misinformed.
“Tyrion has made a number of mistakes now, and Dany is really at the end of her patience because she had a lot of fondness and respect for Tyrion, but many of his plans have really gone awry,” Benioff said in the video.
Jaime featured heavily in an episode dedicated to giving every one of its characters a moment. His track with Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) yielded one of the most romantic scenes in the episode. “For Brienne, I think she is love with someone who doesn’t realise that she has, because that kind of experience hasn’t been a part of her life,” Weiss said.
The big moment between Brienne and Jaime is a testament to how Brienne has been “more knightly” than any of the knights in the series, Benioff said. “She’s a paragon of strength and honour, and being true to your word,” Weiss added.
Among the highlights was a typically charged conversation between Daenerys and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) over the future of Winterfell if the invasion of the zombie White Walkers army is thwarted. “It’s very much coming from the point of view of a monarch trying to make peace with her subject,” Benioff observed. Sansa sees Daenerys as “possibly a tyrant, as someone who has a lot of power and seeking to get even more”, Benioff added – a hint that there is a bigger battle ahead of the war against the White Walkers.
A plan to lure the Night King was hatched during a war room scene that brought all the key characters together. “Things may not go entirely according to plan, so we thought it was very important for people to know what everyone in the room expected to happen, was worried would happen, hoped would happen,” Weiss said.
And what about that Gendrya scene, which has set off a flurry of memes across cyberspace? “Everyone, I think, would face the end in different ways,” Benioff said.
The first verse of the song Jenny of Oldstones, sung by Podrick (Daniel Portman), which wafts over the closing moments, is from George RR Martin’s books, Benioff said. The song comments on a fire at the Targaryen castle, which causes the death of Duncan Targaryen and puts an end to his marriage with Jenny of Oldstones – events that are not included in the series.
A version by the rock band Florence + the Machine, composed by Ramin Djawadi, is used over the end credits.
Another video explainer on the production design of Winterfell reveals how the courtyard seen in the early episodes was expanded to a castle. The North Gate and embattlements were added for the season, as were a brewery and a soup kitchen. “We made spoons and ladles and bowls and things you kind of take for granted, but actually require quite a lot of work,” props master Gordon Fitzgerald said in the video. The loaves of bread were freshly made in an on-set bakery so that they would not disintegrate during the shoot, Fitzgerald added.
The world of Winterfell was so real that you had to “remind yourself by knocking on the walls and then you can hear that it’s fake”, Sophie Turner said. The furnace and forges actually work, Daniel Portman added.
The first two episodes have been directed by David Nutter. Miguel Sapochnik, who was behind the Emmy-winning Battle of the Bastards, is at the helm of the third episode, which will be “the longest consecutive battle sequence ever committed to film”.