Brienne of Tarth is one of the only characters in Game of Thrones that I can say with full confidence is definitely good. (Spoilers ahead — you’ve been warned.) She’s been nothing if not loyal to those she pledges to protect — sometimes to her own detriment — and she’s led a life that is unexpectedly chivalrous on a show filled with murder, dragons, rape, incest, an army full of dead people, and generally bad behavior.
Brienne — played by the exquisite Gwendoline Christie, who showed up to the show’s season-eight premiere dressed like fire — was born into a noble house, but chose to forgo marriage, children, and other things expected of a woman in her position, to chase her dream of becoming a knight. We first meet her as a member of King Renly Baratheon’s Kingsguard, and after he is murdered by a demon spirit (???) birthed by a witch (I’m serious), and no one believes her, she pledges her loyalty to his ally, Catelyn Stark. She then remains eternally loyal to the Stark children after their mother’s subsequent murder (so many murders!), traveling across the land to try to protect them.
Through it all, she also develops a close friendship with Jaime Lannister, a character who initially does not seem worthy of a friend like Brienne. Then Jaime loses his hand trying to protect her when they’re both captured by a bunch of bandits. Now, seasons later, their friendship seems, to us, to have transformed into genuine love; they understand each other and will do anything to help each other.
And so, in the 69th episode of the series — appropriately entitled “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” — as most of the major characters of the show resign themselves to the fact that they’re more than likely all about to die at the hands of an army of frozen dead people, my heart swelled when Ser Jaime does his dear friend an extreme solid and gives her the title she’s deserved all along: Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.
In one of the most moving GOT scenes of recent memory, the king slayer whips out his sword, tells “Lady Brienne” to kneel, and proceeds to make her a knight. As I mentioned, Brienne is one of the only truly honorable characters of this entire murderous, back-stabbing, incest-loving series, so when she stands, a knight, and the two look into each other’s eyes as if seeing one another clearly for the first time, I felt true joy.
However, this was immediately followed by dread. Next week’s episode will likely bring the epic battle we’ve been waiting for and I can’t help but feel that this important moment also doomed her to what at least will be an honorable death. But in any case … congratulations Ser Brienne of Tarth.