Game of Thrones: Arya Stark’s Sexual Awakening Before the Battle of Winterfell
Game of Thrones’ final hour with characters whose stories we know will soon end is one of the series’ best in years. “Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” is as romantic, reflective, intimate and, yes, as horny as the end of the world should be. It delivers merciful moments of connection and closure, each pitched to a satisfying note of catharsis, not sappiness. Little of it advances the show’s endgame in any major way—we learn Winterfell’s plan of attack against the Night King, and Jon confesses his Targaryen lineage to Dany—but the episode isn’t a swan song either. Instead, “Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” is a kind of victory lap, a muted celebration of what this show does best and the finely-shaded relationships and shared histories of its characters.
The hour delivers on promises I consider more urgent than revealing who’ll sit in a chair or die in the next battle, closing a few of the emotional arcs the series needs for a satisfying end. It gives Arya the room to act on her first crush (and boy does she), grants Brienne the external validation she’d learned to stop craving, allows the Hound a gruff moment to express paternal affection for Arya, and brings Sansa and Theon together, a meaningful reunion between the only two people who come close to understanding the other’s trauma. The episode walks a fine line between gratification and wish fulfillment, and wobbles at points along the way. But in its best moments, it’s electric, underscoring why we care what happens to these people at all.
Jaime Faces a Hostile Winterfell
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