Game of Thrones s8e2. Waiting for the dead

Game of Thrones s8e2. Waiting for the dead

We’ve been waiting for so long! And we are still waiting…The dead arrived in Winterfell, but only at the end of S08e02. Next week: The Great Battle. This episode and the whole series are about this: a long long (wonderful) wait.

“If you hadn’t pushed me out of the window I’d still be Brandon Stark,” Bran says to Jamie. But who is Bran now? He says the Night King wants him because he wants to destroy the memory of the world. Death is precisely this, Sam explains: forgetting, oblivion, not having the memory of who we have been. All the characters have changed, but they can say it (and we can confirm it) because they have (and we have) memory of what they were. This past identity coexists with the current one, and this duality emerges at every encounter: Brienne and Jamie, Jamie and Tayron, Theon and Sansa (so moving), Sansa and Daenerys …

Meanwhile, the dead are coming. The characters wait and we wait: the writers torture everyone. It is pleasant torture. This eve lasted for eight seasons and this episode. Each character has its own strategies to pass time. Arya lost her virginity, Brienne became a knight, Jon decided to reveal his true identity to Daenerys…

The paradox of Tv seriality (the weekly episode without binge-watching) is precisely this ability to make “waiting” a narrative element, to prolong stories for years and years, to take us and let us and recover us. We want to see the dead coming because we want the battle and to know how it will end. At the same time, we don’t want to see the dead coming, because we want to stay with the characters and we don’t want all this to end.

Once David Lynch said that TV is a continuous squeak that makes us enter a dream often endless. So I don’t want to wake up. Because when I wake up next week, maybe I see more deaths coming among the living I used to love.