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23rd Apr 2019

Game of Thrones S8E2: The three things we’ll miss the most (and everything else we won’t)

Kyle Picknell

Tormund is one of them. Obviously Tormund is one of them

The best thing that could be said for Season 8 Episode 2 of Game of Thrones:A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’ is that it took the time to put some characters that we rarely see – or haven’t yet seen – together, if only for a scene or two, before everyone meets their presumably sticky end next week.

The worst thing that could be said is that after a glacial opening episode of the final series it did little to quicken the heart rate save for the final shots of the Night King and his four horsemen of the really, really, really, really slow-coming apocalypse assembling a few hundred metres away from Winterfell.

With the deliberate pacing and, truth be told, nothing of significance happening other than a semi-heartwarming moment involving Jaime knighting Brienne of Tarth and an extremely (!) unnecessary (!) Arya Stark sex scene (!), I don’t care that Maisie Williams is 22 when she is in character she still looks 12 years old and I do not need to see her disrobe and jump on top of a visibly sweaty (!) morally uncertain (!) blacksmith (!) thank you (!), it gave me time to think about what we’re (I’m, definitely I’m) actually going to miss about this show.

Here are the three things that we (I) will miss the most and an incomplete list of everything we (I) won’t, once Game of Thrones is over for good.

1. The colossal sexual energy of Tormund Giantsbane

Imagine Tormund in a nightclub. Imagine the damage. The amount of sexual energy he’d be giving off. It’d be like a nuclear blast. Megatons of horniness. Literally anyone over six foot tall would be getting the side-eye/wink/smirk triple threat from him whilst leaning against the bar, a stein of lager in each hand and floral shirt unbuttoned to his abdomen, gently bobbing his head to the music. Is Tormund’s favourite song Club Tropicana by Wham! or is it Club Tropicana by Wham!? Tormund’s favourite song is Club Tropicana by Wham!.

Imagine Tormund Giantsbane in Popworld, sidling up to the bouncer because he is the size of a small lorry and that is all Tormund needs to be sexually attracted to something. For it to be big. For it to just be a bit bigger than him and bang, he is interested, he wants to spend all night spooning it as the little spoon and talking about the time he may or may not have had carnal relations with an actual bear (a bear!) or the time he may or may not have killed a giant (!) when he was ten (!), jumped straight into bed with his wife (!), who was also a giant (!) and spent several months being breastfed (breastfed! ten!) at her presumably monumental teet (!).

Is Tormund Giantsbane a sexual deviant? Yes. Quite clearly. Like clearly he is. But, also, in the same sense, is he not a true and wholesome representation of what it’s like to fall madly in love with someone on public transport for a few fleeting moments for reasons you can’t entirely explain? You know when you’re on the tube looking up from the phone or the Metro crossword you only ever half finish and you see someone who, I don’t know, is wearing nice shoes or, I don’t know, has an interesting piercing or, I don’t know, looks a bit like they have probably killed a person and that is enough to send you spiralling into a powerful, insatiable attraction to them for the remaining seventeen minutes of your commute?

Tormund is that, basically, the ‘imagining the next 30 years of your life spent with a stranger you saw on a bus once who had that, er, green coat (you think)’. He is the manifestation of the most immediate and hormonal of human (and possibly ursine) attraction, of just fancying someone because, well, you do. Maybe it’s because they’re big, maybe it’s because they were literally just two feet away from you. Either way, we’ll miss him and his colossal sexual energy dearly.

It will be the saddest of goodbyes to our ginger-bearded banter warrior from beyond the wall because, above all else, he is us (apart from the extreme fetishisation of big things) and we are him (apart from all the bear shagging).

2. Iain Glen saying ‘Khaleesi’

Iain Glen saying ‘Khaleesi’ in the way that Iain Glen says ‘Khaleesi’ is the one pure thing we have left in this world, the single beacon of hope we can carry into the next 50 or so years of social, political and environmental crises that will likely consume the earth and everyone who inhabits it. We have this. ‘Khaleesi’. Listen to it. Listen to Iain Glen, his voice like the crunch of your feet along the gravel driveway and feel it, like knowing you’re home.

Sink into it, Iain Glen’s voice, sink into it like you would a sip of wine or the deep elongated puff of a cigar or the bit after the bit when you first get into the bath and it really fucking hurts because it is too hot because you always run it too hot because you’re always worried about it being too cold and now you’re a bright, stinging red but then suddenly you’re not and it’s not too hot and it’s perfect and you’re perfect, or as close as you can ever be in a trough full of water.

Sink into it like you would a musty leather armchair. Or a defeat. That’s what Iain Glen saying Khaleesi sounds like. Winning and losing, hope and fear, war and peace; all in his intonation like a long, slow drive along the coast with the sea in full view out of the window. Listen to Iain Glen say ‘Khaleesi’ like its the only word in the only language in the world, which it is, designed to mean everything and nothing all at once.

Let me be clear. Iain Glen says ‘Khaleesi’ better than any person has ever pronounced any word, probably better than any person has ever done anything. Listening to Iain Glen say ‘Khaleesi’ is all the good that we have left and once he stops saying it, well, then we’re doomed. But it will have been worth it. Almost.

3. Goth Bran

A new entry! Welcome, Goth Bran, into the ever-shrinking list of things we (I) care about in Game of Thrones.

Not really sure how to tell you all this but Goth Bran has been an absolute revelation since he turned into the Three-Eyed Raven after an initiation ceremony beyond the wall that involved downing four half-litre cans of Monster and then four almost half-litre cans of Dark Fruits, in sequence, before having his most prized possessions, a faded velcro Slipknot wallet and thick silver chain that he would use to attach it to his jeans, cast into the flames.

Ever since, Bran’s complete and utter obsession with making people uncomfortable has been a joy to behold. He is now exactly the sort of person that gets right up behind you when you’re trying to look at the reduced section in the Big Tesco, almost but crucially not quite pushing genitals against buttocks, breathing heavily on your neck because they’ve spotted some £1.32 salmon and prawn sushi they like the look of and are concerned you might get there ahead of them. He’s now the kind of person to wear sandals. He’s now the kind of person to wear sandals… in public. He’s now the kind of person to sit next to you on a long haul flight and take those sandals off before the wheels have left the ground. And then pick between his toes.

Basically, Bran just doesn’t give a fuck anymore. He has just stopped caring. He doesn’t care that the White Walkers are coming and that everybody is going to die. He doesn’t care that Jaime pushed him out of a five-storey window or that Jon Snow is the real heir to the Iron Throne. All he cares about is his every-male-art-school-student-in-London haircut and freaking people out because he is bored. And I am here for it. I am absolutely here for it.

Things that narrowly missed the cut of good things that will be missed:

  • The Hound calling people cunts
  • How neatly Jon Snow ties his hair back and the immense satisfaction you get from just looking at it
  • Grey Worm and Missandei being adorable
  • Cersei Lannister just looking at things
  • The theme song
  • Absolutely nothing else

Things we won’t miss at all, an incomplete list

Here are the bad things that made the cut for the bad things that will not be missed.

  • Bullshit cliffhangers presented as legitimate storytelling devices instead of what they actually are, which is bullshit cliffhangers
  • Daenerys Targaryen’s entire personality
  • Samwell Tarly’s devastating neckbeard/pencil moustache combo
  • People saying ‘your grace’ far too much
  • Unless it is Iain Glen, who is allowed
  • He usually says ‘Khaleesi’ anyway
  • Brandon Stark before he became Goth Bran
  • The forced, nonsensical sexual tension between Brienne and Jaime that would not happen in real life in a million years
  • Not because she’s big and not conventionally attractive but because he fucks (!) his (!) sister (!)
  • Characters saying things like “what is dead may never die” and “the night is dark and full of terrors” over and over and over again
  • Not knowing what anybody is drinking at any given point because it is all the same vaguely brownish-maroon looking liquid
  • Fan theories. Even though I did a whole article on the different ways everybody is going to die, fan theories
  • All the scenes that involve Tyrion walking through a busy market street and very openly discussing quite obviously sensitive Hand of the King/Queen information
  • All the scenes that involve Tyrion clumsily pouring and sometimes repouring a drink
  • All the scenes involving Bronn that also involve several prostitutes, which is, unfortunately, almost all of the scenes involving Bronn
  • All the scenes involving Theon Greyjoy
  • Theon Greyjoy