Previously on Game of Thrones, “Eastwatch”
Whether you thought the plan was a crappy one or not, Game of Thrones took us beyond The Wall, probably for the last time in the series’ run. That wall is totally coming down now, right? The Magnificent Seven, plus a few Red Shirts, headed to the arrowhead mountain in The Hound’s vision to capture a wight; hoping it will convince Cersei to cease the fighting in her war with Daenerys, so that they might all focus on the Night King and his army.
Many thought everything about this was dumb, but not me. Clearly, this had to happen. Could they have come up with a better reason for Jon and crew to travel to the other side? Perhaps. But this is what we got, and it was filled with so much action and excellent exchanges between characters we only dreamed would interact that I can’t pick at how they got there. What might have worked better, for some, was if Tyrion had come up with the idea to approach Cersei so that Daenerys could help the north without sacrificing any of the recent gains she’d made, and then Cersei was the one who demanded the proof before agreeing. Though this matters not anymore; they got their wight and we only had to lose a not-Drogon dragon, Thoros, Benjen, several wildling Red Shirts, and my edges to get it.
Nearly everything we wanted from an outing with this particular group, we got. Jorah and Jon spoke of their mutual respect for Jorah’s father, Commander Mormont, and Jon assured the exiled knight that his father’s death was properly avenged. He even offered to return the family’s ancestral Valyrian steel sword, Longclaw, to Jorah, but Jorah has made peace with his family’s legacy and his place in (or not in) it. No mention of a certain white-haired queen they’re both clearly in love with, though.
Gendry made sure to bring up old shit and wagged his finger at The Brotherhood for selling him to Melisandre. After detailing his naked leeching, The Hound wasn’t impressed with Gendry’s complaints. He basically wanted to know, “But did you die?”
Tormund got all Dr. Phil on The Hound, deciding that his meanness is an act to hide the sadness in his eyes. Unsure of whether or not he’s being hit on, The Hound rejects all of Tormund’s kind advances and marvels at the news that Tormund is in love with Brienne, the woman who left him for dead.
The only two characters to be successfully resurrected (Can we count The Mountain? But did he die, tho?) talked about what it all means. Beric Dondarrion is clearly a believer in the Lord of Light, and feels his life has been spared for a reason. Jon knows nothing of this god and only has an interest in protecting the people in the North. Beric suggests that may be enough. They fight for life.
To Catch a Littlefinger
Meanwhile, at Winterfell, the Stark girls are playing what I hope to be a long con against Littlefinger. Arya confronts Sansa with the letter she wrote to Robb begging him to bend the knee to Joffrey. Despite Sana’s claims that she was a child and under duress, Arya sees it as a betrayal to their family. Even being responsible for getting Winterfell back isn’t enough for Arya to believe that her sister isn’t a duplicitous 53-percenter. Shook, Sansa goes to Littlefinger for advice and he suggests that if Arya has plans to hurt Sansa for betraying their family, then Brienne might be honor bound to intercede. If this is an idea Sansa entertains, she doesn’t do so for very long. When she receives an invitation to the capital from Cersei — presumably to be present at the presentation of the wight — Sansa instructs Brienne to attend in her place. Of course, Brienne doesn’t like this idea because it means leaving Sansa alone with Littlefinger. Sansa insists she doesn’t need protection and that Brienne leave immediately.
Later, Sansa snoops in Arya’s room and finds her sister’s Bag o’ Murder, including faces. She’s busted by Arya, who makes a not-so-veiled threat that she might use her skills as a Faceless Man to see what it would be like to be Sansa. Then she gives Sansa the cutthroat’s (Littlefinger’s) dagger and leaves.
Much like everyone else, I’m not here for Stark in-fighting. And while I still think Sansa should stop questioning Jon in front of the Northern lords, I don’t believe she has plans to stage some sort of coup for control of Winterfell and the North. On top of that, I believe Arya’s first reaction at their reunion to be how she truly felt to see her sister again, and not enough has happened to justify her suddenly wanting to kill Sansa. Just like she confronted Sansa about not defending Jon adamantly enough, I suspect Arya confronted her sister about the note and revealed she was under the impression Littlefinger obtained it for Sansa. Once that was uncovered, I hope they filled Bran in so he could put a rush on downloading his Littlefinger Ain’t Shit file and tell them of Littlefinger’s involvement in… everything.
They have to assume that Littlefinger sees and hears all, so they would put on a very heated argument out in the open. I’m not sure if Brienne is on it, but it’s mighty suspicious that when she expresses concern for Sansa’s safety, she offers to leave Podrick behind to protect her since he’s become a “competent swordsman.” Since when? I think the real purpose of the amazing sparring scene between Brienne and Arya in “The Spoils of War,” was so that we’d buy Brienne being comfortable going along with this plan: she knows Arya can take care of herself and Sansa. And why would Sansa need to send Brienne away for her plan to trap Littlefinger to work? He’s more likely to let his guard down if he thinks Sansa is vulnerable. It also makes little sense that Brienne would argue for Sansa to set foot anywhere near Cersei, much less in her presence at King’s Landing. Finally, what sense does it make to threaten Sansa, and then give her a weapon?
Of course, I could be wrong and the series just blew seven years of character development to have Sansa and Arya act like brats, but I doubt it.
The Queen Shits; The Hand Wipes
Most of what we’ve seen this season is the adjustment period to getting what you want. Everyone was so hyped that characters we liked and who had common interests were finally joining forces, but these past six episodes have shown us that working together takes… work.
Tyrion tries to prep Daenerys for her meeting with Cersei and warns her not to lose her temper. He cites her recent flame broiling of the Tarlys as an example of what not to do. While Tyrion may have had points (Daenerys didn’t give Dickon time to weigh his options properly before she took them away), I’m not sure Daenerys’ actions were impulsive. As she said, they were necessary. There’s this fear that she’ll be like her father, but surely no one thought she’d conquer the seven kingdoms with two armies of the most skilled fighters in the world and three dragons without spilling blood or burning people alive. Tyrion needs to learn how to be Daenerys’ hand just as he learned how to handle Joffrey. His problem with Daenerys isn’t that she doesn’t listen to him. She listens, but she doesn’t always agree and then does what she thinks is best. Perhaps that’s the best any Hand could hope for: a monarch who listens and considers and not one who does whatever the hell they want or doesn’t listen at all.
He didn’t help matters by doing the equivalent of telling a woman who doesn’t agree with you to “calm down,” implying that her disagreement is rooted in “woman emotions.” And maybe save the “Who will wear the crown once you die because you can’t have no babies” discussion for another time, Tyrion.
Back Beyond the Wall
Relatively early into their trip, Jon’s crew runs into an undead polar bear that makes quick work of a few Red Shirts before Beric slices it with his flaming sword, setting it ablaze. This triggers The Hound, who freezes and stands by helplessly as the bear mauls poor Thoros. Once it’s killed, Beric closes Thoros’ wounds with his sword and the party sets off once more.
They ambush a small group of wights being led by a White Walker, which Jon kills. Once he does, the wights dies as well, presumably because they were turned by this particular White Walker. Fortunately for the group, one of the wights wasn’t made by that White Walker and it survives to be their evidence. Unfortunately for the group, he screeches bloody murder before they can subdue it and they’re soon running for their lives. Jon tells Gendry to head back to Eastwatch and send a raven to Daenerys for help. Gendry heads off just in time as the others are chased and forced to seek refuge on a small island of ice surrounded by wights and only separated by a freshly broken lake. Overnight, they wait for rescue or death and the next day Thoros quietly succumbs to his wounds. Beric reasons that they might not have to fight the entire army if they can kill the Night King. Since he’s responsible for all of the White Walkers and wights, killing him may kill them all at one time. Jon tells Beric he don’t want them problems.
The Hound’s boredom and penchant for starting shit reveals to the wights that the lake has frozen once more and they attack. A few more Red Shirts die, Tormund almost dies, and Jon thinks he’s going to die all before Daenerys finally arrives with all three of her dragons. What a time to be alive! I don’t know why Jon didn’t bend the knee immediately.
Before they can all escape, the Night King throws an ice spear and kills Viserion (by the coloring, I thought it was Rhagael, but closed captioning said otherwise). Daenerys is forced to leave Jon behind so Drogon isn’t next. As she takes off with the other survivors and her two dragons, Jon is dragged into the icy water by two wights. He survives, of course, but once again prepares for certain death when a group of wights notice him crawling out of the water. Benjen appears out of nowhere, much like he saved Bran and Meera, and gives Jon his horse to take back to Eastwatch. Jon looks back just once and sees Benjen swarmed by wights.
While Daenerys awaits word of Jon’s fate, The Hound departs by boat to take the wight to Kings Landing. When Jon finally arrives, they set sail for Dragonstone. While he’s being tended to by Davos, Daenerys sees Jon’s chests wounds and realizes “took a knife to the heart” was not just a figure of speech. He awakens, apologizes for Viserion, and swears fealty to her. She vows to help him defeat the Night King.
Speaking of that Olympian javelin throwing motherfucker, he has his wights pull Viserion’s body from the icy water and resurrects him as an ice dragon. That’s right. This is not a drill. We got an ice dragon, y’all.
Send a Raven (And Other Bits of Note)
After going through the different scenarios, the most likely outcome of the meeting with Cersei will be that she agrees to the armistice, but doesn’t mean it. If she says no, there’s nothing stopping Daenerys from burning the capital to the ground and taking the throne so she can then focus on commanding the entire realm to fight the Night King. Cersei has to say yes to buy herself more time — just as she only agreed to the meeting so she can figure out a way to turn it to her advantage since she’s losing – but she won’t mean it because Cersei gonna Cersei.
The fact that The Hound will most definitely see The Mountain next week is just too delicious for words. I doubt we’ll get Cleganebowl in the finale, but just the thought of those two seeing each other again is exciting.
Also going down next week? Targaryen incest. Watch.
That’s about it for my finale predictions. We’ll take a deeper dive into the episode and what it may mean for the finale on tonight’s podcast.