Bran Stark was always going to be the crucial for the battle between the living and the dead, given his existing range of powers and the ones inherited by reason of being the new Three-Eyed Raven, but Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2 “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” — the last episode to run under an hour in the final season, with all upcoming ones about 80 minutes — confirmed that the youngest surviving Stark would have an even bigger role to play in the upcoming war. As the biggest players of the Stark-Targaryen alliance gathered around a table to prepare for the White Walkers and the Army of the Dead, Bran revealed the Night King’s plans and what he wants.
Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”.
While much of the latest Game of Thrones episode was focused on providing emotional moments for the principal characters involved in the upcoming battle, it also gave us a peek at how the third episode of the final season — the one with the Battle of Winterfell, which will also be the longest episode of season 8 — would unfold.
After Tormund & Co. found their way back to Winterfell and told Jon that the Night King would be there “before the sun comes up tomorrow”, the Warden of the North prepared their battle plans. Jon confessed that they can’t beat the Army of the Dead in open ground, because they simply don’t have the numbers. Instead, they should try to go for the Night King, since he raised all the wights. If we can get him, we can end this war. Sitting in his wheelchair behind them, Bran then revealed that the Night King would come for him.
Everyone gathered in the room naturally did a pivot, wondering what the hell he meant. The White Walkers always go for the Three-Eyed Raven, because they are the ‘memory’ of the human world. And since the Night King wants to erase their presence from Westeros, he’ll come for Bran. It’s a bit of an awkward explanation but thankfully, Sam is there to help clarify things up for him. The Citadel book-thief adds that Bran’s memories are more than just what’s in the books, and so if anyone wanted to ‘erase’ someone’s existence, Bran is clearly a great place to start.
Since the Night King can always find Bran because of the mark on his arm, the latter says that they should draw the Night King towards the Godswood, that giant tree in the middle of Winterfell. This is another hint that the Godswood has a special role to play in the upcoming war and further fuels the fan theory that to defeat the White Walkers, humanity might have to get rid of all ‘magic’. Theoretically, it would take out the Night King but also potentially anyone touched by magic: Bran himself, the dragons, and even the likes of Jon and Beric, who have been brought back from the dead by the Lord of Light — or magic.
Of course, everyone is opposed to Bran’s idea because it would leave him out in the open, but then Theon Greyjoy interrupts to add that he will guard Bran, along with the Ironborn. There’s more than a tinge of emotional irony in the moment, as Theon once captured Winterfell and killed a fake Bran, but it also sets up a redemptive moment for the beleaguered Greyjoy in the upcoming episode. Theon’s assurance is enough and using Bran as bait becomes the plan for the living.
As the scene closes, Arya wonders if dragonfire will stop the Night King, and Bran says he doesn’t know because no one has ever tried it. This is clearly an intentional set-up from the Game of Thrones writers, which will likely come into play in season 8 episode 3. We’ve seen White Walkers walk through ‘regular’ fire — if we can call it that — previously, for what it’s worth. But the fact that dragonglass does work suggests dragonfire should? Even if it does, Dany will likely want to keep her dragons away, given what happened last time.
We will find out how things pan out in the subsequent episodes to come.