HBO has released photos for the second episode of “Game of Thrones” Season 8, and they tease another major reveal for several key characters.
In the season’s first episode, the truth came out about Jon Snow (Kit Harington’s) real heritage. The final scene showed Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) arriving at Winterfell, which means more truths are incoming.
In one new photo from the upcoming second episode, Jaime stands in a pose that mirrors his brother Tyrion (Peter Dinklage’s) Season 4 trial. In this photo of Tyrion, he could be contemplating the twist of fate of their reversed positions.
What could Jaime Fookin’ Lannister be on trial for? The short answer is, everything.
To understand what’s happening in this next episode, look at Jaime’s journey. He’s had arguably the most dramatic arc on the series. He began Season 1 as a villain; a smug sister-f—-er with no qualms about shoving children out of windows.
In Season 2 and 3, he was knocked down a peg and went on a journey of redemption with Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), during which both Brienne and the audience learned a tragic fact: everyone hates Jaime for being the ‘Kingslayer’ (killing Daenerys’s dad before the events of the show) because it went against his vows to protect the King. He’s known as a man without honor.
But his most reviled act is actually his most heroic. Nobody knew that the Mad King was planning to roast all of his subjects for fun. (This was revealed in Season 3’s “Kissed By Fire,” as Jaime laid the story out to Brienne in a show-stopping monologue). In slaying the King, Jaime indeed broke his vows to protect him, but he uh, saved the world. Kind of a sound reason.
The problem is, the only people who know this are Brienne and the audience. Now that he’s back at Winterfell for the first time since Season 1, everyone else just knows the smug guy he used to be and his incorrect reputation. Nobody knows the explosive story behind his ‘Kingslayer’ nickname.
Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) knows him as the man who killed her dad, while the Starks know him as the man who crippled their brother Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) in Season 1.
But thanks to Bran’s ability to magically see into the past, Jaime will have another strong ally defending his honor (aside from Brienne). After all, Bran has more reason to hate him than anyone. It’s Jaime’s fault he’s stuck in a wheelchair. With his new zen disposition, he probably carries no ill will, despite the first episode’s ominous ending that spawned a thousand memes.
If Bran vouches for Jaime, that’s powerful indeed. In this photo of Bran, he could be using his mental encyclopedia to review the incident where Jaime killed the Mad King.
And in meeting Jaime for the first time, Daenerys will have to decide if she can work with her father’s killer and accept that he was right to slay him. She often has a dogmatic worldview, so this could prove to be difficult.
Since Sam (John Bradley) dropped the bomb on Jon Snow last episode that he’s secretly a Targaryen, Jaime’s presence will also force Jon to reckon with the fact that the horrible Mad King was his grandfather. In this photo, Jon looks like he’s still coming to terms with that information.
Meanwhile, Jon also has to come to terms with the fact that Arya (Maisie Williams), his sister who’s really his cousin, isn’t the cute kid he remembers. Their reunion in the Season 8 premiere was touching, but when Jon asked if she’d ever used her sword, it highlighted just how little he knows her. He’s in for a shock if she uses her assassin skills to slay the Night King and his dragon.
For her part, Jaime’s presence means that Sansa (Sophie Turner) will have to trust a Lannister, when she spent the first four seasons as their victim. She didn’t have much personal interaction with Jaime, but his love for Cersei (Lena Headey) won’t endear him to her.
However, remember that Brienne is Sansa’s sworn shield. If Brienne tells Sansa about her time with Jaime (remember, he saved her life in Season 3), Sansa could also prove to be an unlikely ally for Jaime.
The show is coming full circle this Sunday, as the truth behind Jaime’s ‘Kingslayer’ nickname — which the audience has known since Season 3– will finally come out to everyone else.
Last episode dropped the truth bomb about Jon Snow’s real parents; this episode will call into question whether a Targaryen should really be in charge at all.
It’s bound to have an explosive reaction.
“Game of Thrones” Season 8 airs Sundays at 9 pm on HBO.
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