The second episode of Game of Thrones season 8 was an emotional rollercoaster — a calm before the storm that is to come. Aptly named, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, the episode’s most wholesome moment was Brienne finally receiving her much-deserved knighthood.
Other than Jon Snow, the only truly selfless character with a moral compass more solid than others has been Lady Brienne of Tarth.
Despite Westeros’ ‘tradition’ that doesn’t allow a woman to be bestowed with this high a military honour, Brienne is the closest Westeros has to an actual de facto Knight in its truest sense.
In the heartening third act of the episode, an unlikely group (Tormund, Jaime, Tyrion, Davos, Podrick, and Brienne) sits together by the fire debating about why a woman couldn’t be knighted. One can feel her pain in that moment, when she brushes off the mention of the title by Tyrion.
One can even recall how her life has been a journey from one rejection to another. Right from being the butt of jokes at her own matchmaking ceremony to her being mockingly called ‘Brienne the Beauty’ by supposed suitors.
Brienne, unlike others who’ve been scarred by their experiences, has moved on, finding comfort in the few who have respected her — offering the same respect and loyalty in return.
Her inability to be knighted makes us question if her service was indeed for nothing and was she being unduly reprimanded for rejecting traditional feminity.
However, soon enough, in fierce support of her is Tormund, who prophetically says, “fuck tradition”, immediately followed by Jaime volunteering to bestow the honour upon her, and in a way, himself.
In that moment, Brienne finally becomes an official knight — something she has dreamt of her entire life.
From her time as Renly Baratheon’s kingsguard, to her selfless service to Catelyn Stark and eventually, the Stark sisters, Brienne has gone above and beyond her call of duty on her journey to knighthood.
While this moment is the most fitting closure to her character arc, it also means a lot more in the show’s universe.
Brienne, with her unwavering moral code and fierce loyalty is one of the only deserving candidates for knighthood.
And her finally getting a payoff for what was long overdue is a salute to her duty and a way for the show to finally recognise a truly honourable character who has made it so far.
Tormund’s ‘eloquent’ words serve as foreboding, that in the larger scheme of things, traditions, titles, and petty squabbles really mean nothing anymore in front of the impending doom looming over them. Even the fact that there are several women in positions of power now gets a nod from Tormund’s words about how traditional gender roles have no place in this world which is going to change forever.
This, along with many other climactic sequences, gestures how we’re sprinting towards the end, one closure after another. This one, for ‘Ser Brienne’, being one of the most exhilarating and conclusively fair endings in a highly unfair world.
In the words of Ser Jaime,