Arriving near the end of Game of Thrones' nearly decade-long run, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" - the second episode of the climactic season - provides fans a final chance to enjoy some downtime with beloved characters before the Long Night comes for them. Death is inevitably around the corner - plenty of characters wound up on Game of Thrones death pools by the end of the Battle of Winterfell - but they get one last night to drink, be knighted, and get intimate before facing the Night King and his army of wights.
Even if it's mostly a hangout episode, there are still lots of details hidden throughout. Whether it's a throwback to Night's Watch tradition or foreshadowing to the fight that follows the Night King's attack, there's plenty for longtime fans to chew over during this calm before the storm.
"A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" did a lot of work setting up where everyone would be in the upcoming Battle of Winterfell. While the fighters were set up along the walls and in formation between the White Walkers and the castle, it was determined that the women and children who went to Winterfell for refuge would wait in the crypts - the safest place on the castle grounds. How do we know the crypts are safe? Because basically everyone on the show said so. From Gilly to Davos to Jon, every character insists the crypts are the safest place to be in Winterfell... so for fans accustomed to Game of Thrones's reputation for subverting expectations, it basically confirmed the crypts are NOT safe.
According to the books, the crypts go so far below Winterfell that no one truly knows their complete layout. There may even be secret entrances known only to the earliest Starks. If the Night King really is a Stark ancestor, it's possible he knows a secret entrance deep in the crypts by which he could ambush everyone from below. There's also the simple fact that the White Walkers have the ability to bring the dead back to life—and the Winterfell crypts are full of dead bodies. That's a recipe for chaos, as the most vulnerable characters memorably discover during "The Long Night."
After Tormund, Edd, and Beric bring news that the White Walkers are less than a day away from Winterfell, Jon and Dany gather their commanders together to strategize about how they plan to fend off the thousands of wights and Walkers about to reach their gates. While the conversation focuses mostly on how the Night King will come after Bran to erase his knowledge of Westerosi history as the Three-Eyed Raven, the map gives viewers a helpful shorthand for where all the major players start the Battle of Winterfell.
Redditor /u/senor_pras shared a touched-up image that gives a clearer look at where the forces of mankind eventually face the White Walkers. The Dothraki are leading the charge, followed by Daenerys's Unsullied soldiers in front of Winterfell's main gates. The knights of the Vale are manning the left front, presumably led by Ser Brienne after what she said to Jaime earlier in the episode. A company of Stark bannermen reinforce the knights of the Vale on the left, while a larger group of Stark forces is protecting the eastern side of the castle. The southern side of the castle is noticeably undefended.
The squire Podrick Payne gets to show off one of his many unseen gifts in the episode's highlight as he grants Tyrion's request for a song. Gathered around a fire with Brienne, Jaime, Davos, and Tormund, Pod sings a melancholy tune that book readers recognize as "Jenny's Song." The version that Florence + the Machine sings over the episode credits is listed as "Jenny of Oldstones," but those familiar with Westerosi history know that "Jenny's Song" has deep roots that connect to both Jon and Daenerys.
Two generations before Jon and Dany, Prince Duncan Targaryen fell in love with Jenny of Oldstones and married her against his father Aegon V's wishes. As the firstborn son, he was next in line for the Iron Throne, but he gave it all up to be wth her. Due to Duncan's decision to follow love, the path of succession went to his brother Jaehaerys II, whose son Aerys II eventually became the Mad King. Some believed the song about their great-aunt/great-grandaunt hinted at either Jon or Dany forsaking their claim to the Iron Throne in favor of the other, which ... well, yes and no. A somewhat more complicated fate was ultimately in order. The song was also suggested as a clue to the prophecy of Azor Ahai, since Jenny of Oldstones also knew the woods witch who predicted that "the prince that was promised" would come from Aerys II's bloodline.
Two of the greatest minds in Westeros come together when Tyrion and Bran talk after the strategy session in preparation for the White Walker attack. Tyrion cuts through Bran's cryptic feints and presumably gets him to explain how he's taken over the role of Three-Eyed Raven and why he's the Night King's ultimate target. The conversation happens offscreen, and the next time we see Tyrion, he's drinking with Jaime. We don't know what Bran actually revealed, but whatever he said put Tyrion in a mood to drink and sing - which could be interpreted as a sign of optimism, or one of fatalistic resignation.
The private conversation between the two takes on an enigmatic weight in retrospect, given that it's Tyrion who makes the case, in the series finale, for Bran being installed as the new king. Bran's response to the offer - "Why do you think I came all this way?" - as well as his immediate decision to name Tyrion his Hand may simply be coincidence... or it could mean those two were privy to a bit more insight about the fate of the world all along.
At one point in "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," after his and Jaime's gathering grows to include Tormund, Davos, Pod, and Brienne, Tyrion makes a joke about how they all might survive. With Jaime as the lone exception, Tyrion's drunken "prediction" - while coming across as gallows humor in the moment - was remarkably accurate.