Previously on Game of Thrones, “Beyond the Wall”
If anyone tries to tell you this wasn’t the best season of Game of Thrones, cut that person off immediately. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. I bet they’re the same person who complains about how fast ravens arrive, able to stretch their imagination to include dragons and ice zombies, but not enough to accept that time passes between scenes and episodes. Fuck ’em.
This was the best season of Game of Thrones. It is known. Season four was second best; that is also known. So, how did the best season ever end? Glad you asked.
A Show of Force
This season has given us some of the best reunions and first-time meetings of the series, and this episode did not disappoint on that front.
As The Unsullied and Dothraki stand guard outside the capital’s gates, Bronn and Jaime oversee the Lannister army’s preparations, and Tyrion and the rest of Daenerys’ inner circle arrive by sea. Inside, Cersei wonders why Daenerys hasn’t been spotted with them and the audience collectively thinks, “Oh, bitch. Just you wait.” She instructs Ser Gregor to kill Daenerys first, then Tyrion, and then Jon, should anything go wrong.
The interested parties head for the Dragonpit where the meeting will take place. Missandei asks why the structure was built like she didn’t witness the aftermath of Drogon eating someone’s kid and the dragons’ subsequent confinement because of it. It was a bad idea both times, and the first time it played a part in their extinction.
The best high school reunion ever continues as Podrick sees his former boss, Tyrion, and both express gratitude that the other has made it this far. Tyrion reminds Bronn of his offer to double whatever he’s being paid by Tyrion’s enemies, but Bronn insists he’s doing just fine. That man has more faith than he should that Cersei will give him a castle.
Brienne sees that she did not kill The Hound and informs him that Arya is alive and well in Winterfell, probably killing people as they speak. He’s happy to hear it, and says he has no intention of getting back on Arya’s murder list.
The Wight Who Saved Christmas
Once they’re in the Dragonpit, Bronn and Podrick go off to have a drink for no other reason than to fuel those rumors that Jerome and Lena won’t have scenes together.
The possibility of an ambush is not far from anyone’s mind. The Hound makes sure to let Tyrion know he’ll blame him if he dies in the capital after all he did to leave there. Tyrion reminds him that there’s always a Clegane helping a Lannister pull off a scheme, and enters Cersei, Qybrun, Jaime, Euron, and The Mountain. The Hound tells his brother that he will be the one to eventually end him, and just like that: CLEGANEBOWL CONFIRMED!
Cersei pouts because Daenerys isn’t there yet, but the Dragon Queen never disappoints and soon arrives with her dragons, riding Drogon. Everyone looks appropriately impressed and Jaime looks like he hopes Drogon doesn’t recognize him.
Once everyone is seated, Tyrion prepares to explain why they’re all there, but Euron has to frat bro it up first by challenging Theon to rescue Yara or else he’ll kill her. When that fails to get a rise, he makes dwarf jokes and does everything short of making fart noises with his hand and armpit. No one is amused and he only sits his ass down when Cersei says so.
Despite Tyrion’s and Jon’s passionate speeches about the Army of the Dead, Cersei thinks they’re full of it. Enter The Hound, wearing the wight’s crate like it’s a damn backpack. When he removes the lid, nothing happens and it’s just like when toddlers refuse to do that adorable thing they do when no one else is around when mommy asks them to do it in front of company. That child will sit there like they have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about. But Thoros ain’t die for this! The Hound kicks over the crate and the wight goes straight for the most evil motherfucker in the joint: Cersei. Everyone is shook and Qyburn’s dick is hard.
The Hound cuts the wight in half, yet it continues to screech and crawl. He cuts off one of its hands, and it still moves once unattached. Jon demonstrates that only fire or dragonglass will kill it (after making sure to get that hand back from Qyburn’s creepy ass). Euron is happy to learn the wights can’t swim so he heads for Pyke where he will wait out the Great War. Good riddance.
Cersei agrees to the truce, but asks that it extend past the Great War with Jon in the North. Once Daenerys resumes her play for the throne, Cersei wants Jon and the Northern houses to sit it out and not choose a side. But Jon has already privately declared for Daenerys and does so publicly now. Cersei stomps off declaring the deal dead.
Tyrion meets with Cersei alone to get her to change her mind, while Daenerys tells Jon she appreciates his loyalty, but Viserion ain’t die for this! Curiously, when Tyrion challenges Cersei to have him killed by The Mountain, she doesn’t. This could be due to the immediate battle that would start (which she would lose), but I’d like to think some of it was owing to the fact that deep down, Cersei knows her brother is right and doesn’t deserve it.
Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage have always done an outstanding job projecting a history between their two characters that feels genuine, and it’s there every time they share the screen. This is no exception. They rehash her feelings that he’s always wanted to destroy their family, which he denies, and his murder of their father. He expresses true grief over the deaths of Tommen and Myrcella (but not Joffrey, because fuck him; that’s why), even though she doesn’t want to hear it. He figures out that she’s pregnant, and this makes all the difference because the two soon return to the Dragonpit where Cersei not only agrees to the truce, she offers to provide soldiers in the fight without asking for assurances in return.
They all shoulda known this was bullshit.
To Catch a Littlefinger, Part II (a.k.a I Was Right, Bitches)
Many were concerned that Littlefinger was, once again, whisper manipulating friction and chaos. And it certainly appears that way when Sansa receives a raven from Jon announcing that he has declared fealty to Daenerys, and Littlefinger (again) suggests that she usurp her brother. Sansa worries what Arya might do to retaliate, and Littlefinger dismisses Arya’s skills as a Faceless Man. They play a little game where Sansa imagines the worst case scenario for Arya’s motives and actions, and in the end, Sansa has to consider that: Arya wants to kill her, will kill her if she suspects Sansa will go against Jon, and all to become the Lady of Winterfell while wearing Sansa’s face.
She Listens to Jon, I Know That!
Team Daenerys plot their next move in fighting the White Walkers, with Jon suggesting they all meet at the Kingsroad to travel into Winterfell together. Worried about her safety, Jorah thinks Dany should fly in. Jon thinks being seen arriving as allies will go a long way in getting the Northern houses to accept answering to a Targaryen. Daenerys listens to Jon because they’re in love. *giggles*
You’re a Greyjoy and You’re a Stark
Alfie Allen has been so under appreciated for what he brings to Theon Greyjoy. He has been, for me, one of the more complicated characters in the A Song of Ice and Fire saga, and any sympathy mustered for Theon is completely thanks to Allen’s portrayal.
Perhaps because Jon also felt like an outsider within his own family, he seems to understand Theon and why he betrayed the Starks. Important distinction here: he understands it, he doesn’t like or approve of it. But he does forgive the sins he’s able to, and releases the former Stark ward of having to choose between the family he was born into and the family he was placed in with no say from him. Theon is both a Greyjoy and a Stark. We’ve seen this to be the case over the course of seven seasons. Had Theon not been taken as a ward (hostage) at the end of the Greyjoy Rebellion, and had been raised by Balon, would he be capable of the good we’ve seen in him? Probably not. Any good he’s done, any steps he’s taken to right his wrongs, is all due to the influence of Ned Stark. It’s a beautiful scene that ends with Jon giving Theon his blessing to rescue Yara from Euron.
To convince the rest of the Ironborn loyal to Yara to help (they were ready to sail away for some rape and pillage), Theon takes a brutal beating by one of his own. When he wins, broken and bloody, his brethren respect him and vow to help him save his sister.
To Catch a Littlefinger, Part III (What Did I Say?)
Sansa has Arya brought before her in the Great Hall and announces the charges of murder and treason, but they’re not levied at Arya. She’s talking to Littlefinger. Oh, dip! Turns out, Benioff and Weiss weren’t about to let seven seasons of character development get pissed away with a silly sister catfight. It was all a ploy to expose Littlefinger. They got ALL THE RECEIPTS, with Bran providing backup in the form of mental security cam footage of Littlefinger’s treacherous purchases. The Lords of the Vale turn their back on him, and ignoring his pleas for mercy, Sansa sentences Littlefinger to death. Arya quickly, and smoothly, carries out the execution by slitting Littlefinger’s throat with his own dagger.
And I was right.
The Stark children watch him die with no emotions on their faces: Bran because he’s a robot, Arya because this is just another Sunday for her, and Sansa because she is finally, officially, a G.
The Moment Jaime Realizes Just How Ain’t Shit His Sister Is
Jaime is strategizing with his generals and making preparations for their march North to Winterfell. Cersei puts a stop to ALLADAT because she has no intention of honoring the agreement. Not only that, but Euron’s cowardice was all an act. He’s on his way to Essos to purchase the Golden Company and escort them and their elephants to Westeros to fight for her.
Jaime has tried really hard to keep his oaths since that time he killed his King. Plus, he’s not tryna be a golden-hand wight. He’s going to fight. The Mountain prepares to stop him, but Jaime calls Cersei’s bluff and walks out unscathed. As he rides out of the capital and heads North, snow finally falls on Kings Landing.
Gurl, Guess What I Heard? No, Me First; Guess What I Heard?
Sam returns to Winterfell and becomes that guy in the group project who doesn’t do shit, but takes credit for the work. When Bran tells him that Jon is a bastard born in Dorne to Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark; therefore named Jon Sand, Sam says he read about Rhaegar’s annulment with Elia and secret wedding with Lyanna (that was Gilly, Sam!). Bran confirms this by having a vision of the ceremony and Lyanna telling Ned that Jon’s true name is Aegon Targaryen.
This is all going down while Jon and Daenerys have sex as they sail for the North, and Tyrion stands in the hallway like a creeping creeper who creeps.
“When the snow falls and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”
It’s okay, guys. Arya and Sansa are totally BFFs now. A family that kills together, and all that. They each declare each other strong and brave, then quote their father who they both miss. *sniff*
ICE DRAGON! ICE DRAGON! ICE DRAGON!
The Army of the Dead arrive at Eastwatch as Tormund and Beric watch from atop the wall and the alarm horn sounds. Then the Night King swoops in on undead Viserion, whose blue fire brings down a huge chunk of the wall. The army marches through the opening.
All I know is: Tormund bet’ not be dead!
Send a Raven (Other Bits of Notes and Season 8 Predictions)
Bronn is offered double his pay for a chance to join the side with the dragons and says no? Come on! Hopefully he’ll follow Jaime once he learns he’s defected.
I repeat: CLEGANEBOWL OFFICIALLY CONFIRMED!
How amazing was it when Drogon went stalking through the Dragonpit, no doubt keeping an eye out for bitchass scorpions? Very fucking. The answer is very fucking amazing.
Speaking of which, Daenerys should only arrive by dragonback everywhere she goes forever and ever. Amen.
Seriously, one of the best scenes in the finale was the one between Theon and Jon. Great writing delivered by even better acting.
Am I the only one a tad let down by that sex scene? I was expecting a bit more fire than ice and Bran’s narration made it about 48% less sexy than it could have been. I would like a do-over in season eight.
Did you check when Cersei low key admitted that her people in the capital live pretty shitty lives?
Daenerys: “I can’t have children.” Jon: “Who told you that?” Daenerys: “The witch who murdered my husband.” Jon: “Jorah, hold my beer.”
Soooo, season 8… ice elephants, right?
Leave your brief and spoiler-free thoughts on the episode and season 8 below or on our Facebook post for this review, and we’ll read them on tonight’s podcast.