Spoiler Note: This post is intended for those who have read the books in the Song of Ice and Fire series. As such, the post itself and the comments will contain spoilers. If you haven’t read the books yet, you can discuss this episode in our non-book reader (Unsullied) recap. Thanks!
Welcome to the season 7 finale, wherein characters give each other side-eye before the Wall comes down. Let’s get into it, for one final time this year!
Jeremy Podeswa directed this one. He has a reputation for maintaining a rich, moody tone, and he does so here, particularly in the opening sequence. The Unsullied, who’ve marched back from Casterly Rock sometime over the past three episodes, have gathered outside King’s Landing in a show of force. Composer Ramin Djawadi gets things off to a good start with a slowed down, creepy version of Daenerys’ war theme. Over that, we see shots of Lannister flags being marched over battlements, soldiers preparing buckets of pitch, and shots of King’s Landing from outside the walls, with the spears of the Unsullied dominating the frame. Right from the start, the episode feels momentous, which is to its credit.
Bronn and Jaime survey Dany’s armies from on high, and Jaime gets in an early contender for line of the episode after Bronn contemplates the existence of the Unsullied eunuchs. “Maybe it really is all cocks in the end.” Maybe, Jaime. Maybe.
As if the Unsullied weren’t intimidating enough, Dany’s Dothraki then ride out in front of them, hooting and hollering and making sure everyone inside the city knows what’ll go down if anything should happen to their queen. She knows her way around a show, this Daenerys.
Not that Cersei’s any different. She has Euron’s fleet splayed across Blackwater Bay. Jon, Davos, Tyrion, Missandei, Jorah, Varys, and Theon are arriving with only a small escort of ships. “How many people live here?” Jon asks Tyrion. “A million, give or take,” he replies. Jaime told Qyburn there were half a million people there back in season 3, but he always was the stupidest Lannister.
It’s a lot of people in one place, though, more than a country boy like Jon can comprehend. Below deck, the Hound makes sure that Biff the wight (that’s what I’ll be calling him the sake of convenience) is still in his cage. He knocks on the roof of the crate like he’s asking to come in, and Biff freaks out. It’s a fun, creepy moment, and I like that they’re taking their time with the build-up.
Up in the Red Keep, Cersei wonders — reasonably — why Daenerys doesn’t seem to be among everyone making their way to the Dragonpit for this pow-wow, which is what we’ve been wondering for the past seven days, given that HBO has scrubbed her from its promotional material for the episode. Cersei has a plan, though: if anything goes wrong, Ser Gregor is to kill everyone. Jaime looks like he drank a gallon of sour milk.
On the way to the Dragonpit, we get a series of conversations between several of the players who have come together for this very special occasion. It’s similar to how we got to hear members of Jon’s SEAL Team Six talk as they made their way beyond the Wall last week, only these talks feel like they have more weight, whether because the episode is better-directed or because the situation isn’t as contrived.
In any case, first we get a little history on the Dragonpit, once a grand structure where the Targaryens kept their dragons, and now a ruin. Then Bronn comes round a bend escorting Brienne and Pod, lately arrived from Winterfell. There’s a great moment where Brienne and the Hound stare at each other for a second — there are so many characters involved in this sequence, and so many have complicated histories, and it’s great that the show takes the time to give them these little asides. Also terrific is the brief, heartfelt reunion between Tyrion and Podrick Payne, which is made even better when Bronn stamps on the sentiment and urges everybody onward. Let’s hope these three come out the other end of this show intact.
As if the look wasn’t enough, the Hound and Brienne even get a little conversation. “I was only trying to protect her,” Brienne says of Arya. “You and me both,” the Hound answers. He’s very interested to hear that Arya is alive and at Winterfell, and reaffirms, in a weird way, that there’s no hard feelings about the time Brienne beat him to within an inch of his life and Arya left him for dead. I am possessed by a powerful urge to see him and Arya reunited.
Because the episode loves us, it picks up again with Bronn, Podrick, and Tyrion — I love how Pod falls immediately back into the habit of calling Tyrion “my lord.” Is Bronn thinking about changing sides again, Tyrion wonders? After all, Bronn put himself at risk by arranging the meeting between Jaime and Tyrion. But Bronn has a wonderfully cynical answer for Tyrion: he may have done that just so Cersei could lob the heads off a few traitors. And that, of course, only endears Bronn to Tyrion further. So far, “The Dragon and the Wolf” is coming through.
And we’re there: the Dragonpit, filmed in the ruins of italica outside Seville, Spain. Podeswa does a great job of capturing the huge scale of the place while also catching the little moments: Brinne letting Podrick leave with Bronn for a drink, Jorah surveying the place and probably looking for Daenerys, the Hound and Tyrion getting nervous about a potential trap. It’s a great mix of macro and micro, which in a way is what Game of Thrones is all about.
And then comes the enemy. Cersei and Euron march in with their entourage, the great majority of whom are dressed in midnight black, because Cersei is, depending on who you ask, not subtle at all or good as misdirection. Naturally, Podeswa catches a nice little moment between Brienne and Jaime as they pass each other. Theon and Euron glare at each other, Jon Snow studies Cersei — there are so many wonderful grace notes here!
And now for an unexpected treat: the Hound confronts the Mountain, who’s basically a pair of horror movie eyes behind a thick mask. I suspect that’s because Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson isn’t really a performer, so the production lets Rory McCann shoulder the weight of the scene. He’s more than up to it. “It’s not how it ends for you brother,” the Hound says. “You know who’s coming for you. You’ve always known.” Better than Cleganebowl.
Now all but one important party is present: the Dragon Queen. Cersei asks after her, and right on cue, we hear a dragon’s roar rip through the sky. Daenerys, still mindful of the power of showmanship, is airlifting herself in on Drogon. “Just remember,” the gesture says. “If you don’t give me terms I like, I can have all of you eaten.” Try not being impressed by that, Cersei.
Cersei, hilariously, is not all that impressed by the dragons, and instead grills Dany for arriving late. I love that she can be petty in the face of an awe-inspiring wonder of nature.
Predictably, it’s hard to get things rolling at this meeting of people who have good reasons to hate each other (again, it’s like Jon’s trip north, but satisfying), and while Tyrion tries to go wide, it’s Euron who breaks the ice by demanding that Theon submit to him or doom Yara to death. Watching this knowing that it’s all a trick, it’s clear that Euron is building up to a reason to leave the conclave, but it’s also possible to believe he’s just being a douche, which is a nice bit of writing. He calls Tyrion “the smallest concern here” and generally causes a ruckus until Cersei tells him to “sit down or leave.” Again, she’s clearly working up to his exit — these two much have gotten closer in the three episodes since Euron was last onscreen.
That little dustup settled, Tyrion launches into his sales pitch: We all hate each other, but there’s a bigger concern facing us. Jon, do your grave brooding fur-lined White Walkers speech. “This isn’t about living in harmony,” Jon says. “It’s just about living.” Do you think any of them prepared remarks beforehand?
Cersei isn’t buying what the group is selling, even after Daenerys takes the usual step of calling for a truce without asking for any particular terms. That’s where Biff the wight comes in. The Hound, carry Biff’s carrying case on his back for dramatic effect, sets it down where all can see. Again, the show takes its sweet time with the build-up — there’s even a fun moment where the Hound opens the box and nothing happens, and it looks for a second like they may have taken this trip for nothing. Cersei’s look says it all. “Wow, an empty box. I guess we have to have peace now.”
But then he kicks over the box and out comes Biff, snarling and raging and lacking flesh where flesh should be. The Hound cuts him in half, but he still goes about their merry business of trying to kill everybody present. The display seems to have the desired effect, as Cersei, who before was leaning back like she was watching the lamest puppet show she never asked to see, is now leaning forward and gaping.
Jon Snow, who now has everyone’s full attention, demonstrates how to kill a wight: with fire (cool) or dragonglass (bull added for the show, but we’re stuck with it) and advises that every person in the world will end up like Biff if the lot of them don’t band together. “There is only one war that matters. The great war. And it is here.”
Euron, taking an unusual tack, asks Jon if the wights can swim. “No,” he replies, thanking every god he can think of for that. That suits Euron just fine: he plans to hightail it back to the Iron Islands and let the wights have the mainland, since Biff is the only thing that really “terrifies” him, despite him having sailed around the world and seen all kinds of crazy stuff.
It’s hard to tell exactly how much of this is play-acting. We know that he’s not really going back to the Iron Islands (although I wonder if that’s where Theon, who doesn’t know about the trick, will be headed), but I wonder if his terror is real. Frankly, I wonder if he has seen worse, if he shared some of those insights with Cersei before the meeting, and if any part of her was prepared for this, because when she picks up the thread of conversation again, she’s very coherent.
Cersei says, very matter-of-factly, that the army of the dead presents a real danger, and accepts Dany’s offer of truce, with one condition: she wants Jon to pledge not to take up arms against the Lannisters after the Great War is over, betting that Ned Stark’s son will be as honorable as he was. But Jon has already pledged himself to Daenerys, and so turns Cersei down, whereupon Cersei picks up her entourage and storms out of the meeting.
How to decode Cersei’s exact play here? Was she just looking for an excuse to leave the meeting and lure an emissary to talk to her so her final acquiescence would be more believable? That’s my bet. Otherwise, I’m not sure why Jon Snow’s refusal to abstain from fighting the Lannisters would be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
But only Cersei — and maybe Euron — know for sure. Everyone else is fooled, and think negotiations really have broken down. That includes Jaime and Brienne, the latter of whom makes an impact when she says, emphatically, “Fuck loyalty!” That’s an extremely un-Brienne-like thing to say, and I’m not sure I like it, but the point is that the threat of the army of the dead is so huge that she’s willing to step outside of character for a minute and advise Jaime to sway the queen’s opinion on behalf of the human race. Jaime, perhaps disappointed that his good heart is taking a break from her values, brushes her off.
Meanwhile, the rest of Teams Daenerys and Jon Snow chew Jon out for not meeting Cersei’s condition, even if it meant lying. It’s odd. First of all, why wouldn’t the likes of Tyrion have known about Jon bending the knee? Why did Jon and Dany keep it between them until just now? It mostly seems like an excuse to pay lip service to one of the themes of the series — that being honest to a fault is a liability in this world — and to set up a short, dramatic sequence where Tyrion goes to speak to Cersei alone. They pump up the strings and moodiness for this sequence, as if trying to trick us into believing that Tyrion could die, which of course he can’t. Not yet.
Thankfully, the actual scene between Tyrion and Cersei is pretty good. Cersei, ever reliable, accuses Tyrion of wanting to destroy the Lannister family, to which he responds that he actually talked Daenerys out of burning the whole city to the ground. But that doesn’t change the fact that when he killed Tywin, he made the Lannisters vulnerable. “You may not have killed Joffrey,” Cersei says, “but you killed Myrcella. You killed Tommen. No one would have touched them if father was here. No one would have dared.”
It’s a good point, and Lena Headey absolutely slays the delivery, getting angrier and angrier as Cersei looks at the man she blames for her family’s woes. She brings out the best in Dinklage, too, particularly when Tyrion gives Cersei the chance to kill him, and she doesn’t.
After that, the wind goes out of her sails a bit, and Tyrion reaches across the isle by indulging in the one thing he and his sister have in common: functional alcoholism. The two of them sharing a cup of wine has been a long time coming.
With the question of murder off the table, Tyrion gets down to the business of convincing Cersei to abide by Daenerys’ truce, and to send her armies north to fight the White Walkers. True to form, she admits to not caring much about the dead beyond what they might do to the people she loves. “When [the wight] came at me, I didn’t think about the world, not at all. As soon as it opened its mouth, the world disappeared for me, right down its black throat.” Headey’s getting some good lines to play with this episode.
During this exchange, Tyrion figures out that she’s pregnant. We don’t see what happens after that, but we can assume that Tyrion uses that angle to talk her in to fighting for Westeros.
But of course she doesn’t. Cersei is playing him the whole time, and has no intention of helping fight the Great War. But as with all great manipulators, I think she mixes in true emotion to sell her con.
Back in the Dragonpit, Jon Snow plays with old dragon bones, which I’m sure sounded like a fun idea for the prop department but which kind of goes against the Targaryen ethos — no matter how small the dragon, I don’t believe they would have just left bones lying around in the sand. Maybe Jon has a cat jawbone and just thinks it’s a dragon — that’d be funny.
Daenerys recaps Targaryen history for our benefit, reminding us that the Dragonpit is the reason the dragons started to shrink, and why the Targaryen family diminished. It’s basically a lead-up to Jon saying the Targaryen family isn’t gone, which prompts Daenerys to say that she can’t have children. Jon actually brings up a very good point when he says that just because Mirri Maz Duur said that Dany’s womb is cursed (via a string of flowery metaphors, no less) doesn’t actually mean it’s true — Mirri’s prophecy comes up more often in the books, and I’ve sometimes wondered why Dany puts so much stock in it.
But really, the point of this conversation is to once again remind us of Dany’s alleged barrenness. And if they’re making this much of a point to talk about it, I’d say there’s about a 95% chance she’ll be pregnant with Jon Snow’s baby by early in season 8.
Around this time, Tyrion reenters the Dragonpit, followed by Cersei and her entourage. Tyrion was “successful”: Cersei will order her armies to march north and fight the White Walkers. “And when the Great War is over, perhaps you’ll remember I chose to help, with no promises or assurances from any of you.” Because to sell reluctant agreement, you have to include just a touch of disgruntlement. Well done, Cersei.
We’re over 40 minutes in at this point. Usually, the episode is heading into the home stretch by now. But “The Dragon and the Wolf” is atypical. We get our first location change of the episode as we see what’s happening at Winterfell. Sansa has received word from Jon that he’s bent the knee to Daenerys, so I’m guessing he sent the raven after that news came out at the Dragonpit, which does make it a bit late in coming.
Sansa is sharing her council with Littlefinger, who suggests that Jon may aim to marry Daenerys and that…somehow…that’s good reason for “unnaming” him as King in the North. Trying to find a logical throughline in this plot is a nightmare…
Anyway, they start discussing Arya’s recent attack of crazy for no particular reason, and Littlefinger gets Sansa talking about whether Arya is capable of killing her own sister, asking her to assume the worst of Arya’s motives. Sansa crawls down that rabbit hole until she comes to the conclusion that Arya may have come back to Winterfell to kill her and rule the North in her stead, which is as ridiculous an idea as everything else in this storyline.
And yes, I know that Arya and Sansa were plotting against Littlefinger together. But were they by this point? The episode gives us no clues. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense for them to have been plotting this entire time — why have a go at each other in private, then, as they did last week? A generous explanation would be that Sansa, right here in this scene, was figuring out that Littlefinger was trying to drive a wedge between her and Arya, and was stating the worst about Arya for Littlefinger’s benefit while actually thinking through the worst motivations Littlefinger could have. It’s all very vague, though. It’s the motivational equivalent of not telling us how long Jon Snow’s northern raiding party was waiting on that frozen lake last week — leave it vague, and you can’t technically be wrong.
I don’t like it. The original plot depended on Sansa and Arya acting stupid, and this one depends on withholding information from the audience. Either way, this whole thing needed a few rewrites.
Back on Dragonstone, Team Daenerys is deciding how to get her armies north. Jorah recommends having her fly to Witnerfell, reasoning that a lot of people from the North hold a grudge against her family and might want to kill her if she arrives on foot or by ship. Jon disagrees, arguing that arriving alongside him on a ship into White Harbor will send “a better message.” Look at Jon, thinking about PR.
Anyway, Daenerys sides with Jon over Jorah. Big shocker.
And now: a dark horse contender for best scene of the episode!
Theon stops Jon in the Dragonstone throne room (I wonder if we’ll see it again) for a little soul-searching. This scene was great, and drew parallels between these two characters that have always been there but are little remarked-upon. Theon and Jon both grew up at Winterfell, but neither were Starks. But where Jon seemed to absorb Ned’s always-do-the-right-thing ethos, Theon struggled with it, and made choices that cost him everything. “I always wanted to do the right thing,” he says. “Be the right kind of person. But I never knew what that meant. It always seemed like there was an impossible choice I had to make: Stark or Greyjoy.”
Theon owns up to betraying the Stark family, which allows Jon to forgive him what he can forgive. Having seen Theon suffer all he’s suffered, the self-loathing and hard-won weariness feel very genuine, and are helped along considerably by Alfie Allen’s terrific, textured, emotive acting. I’ve been watching these actors for seven years, and at least right now, Allen and Headey are sitting at the top of the pile. God, they’re good.
“You don’t need to choose,” Jon tells Theon. “You’re a Greyjoy, and you’re a Stark.” Another tear-jerker of a line. Buoyed by Jon’s absolution, Theon resolves to man up and rescue Yara, who tried to save him from Ramsay back in season 4 — it’s the least he can do. He finds Yara’s Ironborn crew preparing to shove off on the shore, and makes his intentions known. It’s another Theon speech, his first as a leader since he tried to rally his men at Winterfell back in season 2. But the speeches couldn’t be more different. That Theon was brash and angry and had no hope but to die well, his incompetence having robbed him of other options. This one is dour and wise, and actually has a purpose to be proud of: saving his sister, a better and truer leader than he.
As during that past speech, one of Theon’s men (the same one who pulled him out of the water back in “The Queen’s Justice”) tries to knock him out of commission, but this time Theon’s ready. Or, at the least, he doesn’t go down with the first blow. He fights, taking punch after punch after punch until he’s bloody and wobbling. But he always gets back up, and it’s ennobling rather than posturing, because he’s fighting he keep Yara’s pledge to Daenerys alive, to preserve her vision of what the Iron Islands can be. And maybe he’s taking a bit of a cathartic beating to help him deal with his guilt for leaving Yara behind back in “Stormborn,” but mostly that other stuff.
Eventually, the Ironborn dude makes the mistake of kneeing Theon in the crotch, which obviously doesn’t work on a man of his abilities. Theon seizes on the opportunity and pounds the guy into the sand. Having proven he’s tough enough to lead these dudes, he makes a final rallying cry. “Not for me,” he says. “For Yara!” Everyone cheers! More Theon! This scene was freaking great.
Back at Winterfell, we have the climax of the Arya-Sansa drama, such as it is. Sansa, looking imposing in a sweeping hood, orders Arya brought to Winterfell’s Great Hall, where there are also assembled a cadre of what looks mostly like men from the Vale. Yohn Royce is definitely there.
Bran is there as well, sitting at the high table with Sansa. Sansa brings up Arya on charges of murder and treason. But her accusations aren’t actually aimed at Arya — they’re aimed at Littlefinger, who assumed he was here to see the creepy Stark girl get strung up by a kangaroo court but is actually here for his own execution. Twist!
Sansa reads out Littlefinger’s rap sheet: killing Lysa Arryn, having Lysa poison Jon Arryn, and betraying Ned Stark. He denies what Sansa wasn’t personally there to see, but Bran is there to back up the rest. For a man known for talking his way out of sticky situations, Littlefinger resorts to begging very quickly, even blubbering a little. He tries to order Yohn Royce into escorting him back to the Vale, but Royce is entirely unwilling. Finally, Arya steps forward and slashes his throat with the Valyrian steel dagger Bran gave Arya a few episodes back.
It’s satisfying to see Littlefinger go, and for the Stark kids to do it, but this plotline needed to be bulked up if it was going to work. Littlefinger at least had an inkling of Bran’s powers — why didn’t he plan for them? Furthermore, why are the other men in that room perfectly willing to believe witness testimony from a boy who claims to see through trees? Were the veracity of Bran’s visions proved to them in a scene we didn’t see? When did Arya and Sansa bring Bran into this, anyway? There are times when leaving out some information can create a hole that’s later filled to good effect (like Cersei’s reveal about Euron in a couple minutes) and there’s other times it’s just a hole. This is one of those times.
It’s hard, keeping all that in mind, to warm up fully to the Stark sisters’ resolution scene on the Winterfell battlements (it clearly mirrors Jon and Sansa’s talk from the season 6 finale, by the way), but I’ll try. Sansa and Arya have the kind of talk I wish they’d been having (and for all we know, they were) all season. They acknowledge each other’s differences, admit that they’re both strong for having survived what they survived, and even engage in a little sisterly ribbing. Arya: “I believe that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.” Sansa: “Well, don’g get used to it. You’re still very strange and annoying.” It’s cathartic, but does it absolve the show of the silliness that preceded it? That’s the question.
The girls wrap it up with a Ned Stark quote from A Game of Thrones. “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” Perhaps even more affecting is Arya’s simple reply. “I miss him.” Aw, okay, they get another chance.
Down in the Red Keep map room, Cersei has changed into yet another new outfit, this one resplendent with black feathers on the shoulders. Jaime is preparing to march their armies north, but Cersei, calling him “the stupidest Lannister” (I think she may be salty from a moment during the meeting where she watched Brienne watch him) reveals that she never had any intention of following through on her promise. She intends to “let the monsters kill each other” in the North while she takes back the rest of Westeros. It’s not a terrible plan for a horribly selfish person — she even intuits that Daenerys must have lost one of her dragons, since only two showed up to the Dragonpit meeting. Should Daenerys and Jon Snow defeat the dead, she’s banking on them being too weak from the battle to deal with her.
Jaime’s not buying it. He thinks that, as human beings, they have an obligation to defend humanity, and doesn’t think they’ll be able to defeat Dany after she defeats the dead, dragons or no. But he doesn’t know about the Golden Company. Euron Greyjoy didn’t leave the summit meeting to return to the Iron siIslands — he left to ferry the Golden Company across the Narrow Sea, a clever move that should keep him in the mix come season 8. Jaime is surprised that she hatched a scheme without him, to which she replies that he met with Tyrion without her knowledge, which isn’t really fair because he had nothing to do with setting up the meeting and came to her after it was over, but her paranoia runs legendarily deep.
Jaime has had enough and turns to leave, only to be met with an eight-foot wall named Gregor Clegane. “I told you no one walks away from me,” Cersei says, which is very Dynasty of her. Like Tyrion, Jaime calls her bluff and tells her to kill him, but as with Tyrion, she can’t bring herself to do it…although I suspect that this time it’s out of actual affection rather than strategic necessity.
Jaime has changed clothes and left the city. He hides his golden hand under a glove, and looks up to find that snow is falling. North he rides, and we get lovely atmospheric shots of winter having finally come to King’s Landing.
Way further north, Sam and Gilly arrives at Winterfell and immediately visits Bran, for some reason — I imagine he talked to the lady of the house first. As always, John Bradley cracks me up with his reactions. Sam: “What happened to you beyond the Wall?” Bran: “I became the Three-Eyed Raven.” Sam: “Ooooh!” Ha!
“I can see things that happened in the past,” Bran says by way of explanation. “I can see things happening now all over the world.” And then he asks why Sam came to Winterfell. I mean…wouldn’t he know? I feel like Bran’s powers — or the limitations on his powers — aren’t well-defined, and it’s bugging me.
Case in point: Bran brings up Jon’s true parentage, that his real parents are Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. But it takes Sam, who apparently was paying closer attention to Gilly than we thought back in “Eastwatch,” to point out that Jon wasn’t Rhaegar’s bastard — he was his natural-born son, something Sam can put together because he knows that Rhaegar’s marriage to Elia Martell was annulled and that a secret marriage ceremony was performed. All signs point to Lyanna. But why didn’t Bran know that already? “Is this something you can see?” Sam asks. And bam! Bran’s in a flashback watching Wilf Scolding (Rhaegar) and Aisling Franciosi (Lyanna) getting married by a placid river somewhere. What the hell, Bran? Define the parameters of your magic powers!
While Bran is narrating the love story of Rhaegar and Lyanna, we see Jon Snow knocking on Daenerys’ door. She answers it. They both know what’s happening. They know what’s going down. The lighting is soft. The candles are lit. It’s time to bone, and to bone well. The door closes.
In the past, we flash back to the Tower of Joy scene from season 6, and hear exactly what Lyanna whispered to Ned: Jon’s real name is Aegon Targaryen, like Rhaegar’s other son, who was dead by the point Jon was born. (Accepting the new Aegon Targaryen from the books, who I think we can all agree is not going to turn up on the show.) This makes Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen nephew and aunt, which is hilarious, because we’re given this information at the exact same moment we see Jon and Dany rolling around naked. Way to give with one hand and take away with the other, show.
Oh, and that also makes Jon the heir to the Targaryen dynasty, ahead of Daenerys. I think it’s great that we get the information that could tear these two apart at the same time we see them really get together. More curious is Tyrion’s reaction — he sees Jon enter Dany’s room, and looks…regretful? Concerned? He doesn’t look happy. I’d hate for that look to be jealousy. The jury is out on that one…for a year.
For our final sequence, Bran possesses a conspiracy of ravens and sends them to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, where Tormund Giantsbane and Beric Dondarrion are looking out beyond the Wall. The Night King and his army, after marching for literally years, finally arrive at the Wall in all their vastness. But will the Wall be enough to hold them?
Maybe in a normal time it would have been. But no — Jon Snow had to go north to get a wight, and Daenerys had to go save him with her three dragons. Really, I wonder if anyone will ever point that out: that by being concerned about the army of the dead, Jon and Dany inadvertently gave the Night King a way to bring it to Westeros. If they hadn’t meddled, who’s to say the Night King would ever have been able to get past the Wall? Oh, the irony!
The Night King is mounted on zombie Viserion, who is breathing blue fire all along the north side of the Wall as Tormund, Beric, and the other folks at Eastwatch try and scramble down the side. We don’t actually see them die, but their chances look absolutely horrible.
The army of the dead look on, and a huge chunk of the Wall comes down. They advance. Onward to Westeros! Onward to death! We’ve finally got the showdown promised by the very first scene of the show. We just have to wait for an indeterminate amount of time to see it.
Odds and Ends
- There were lots of delightful little moments at the top of the episode when people were marching towards the Dragonpit. Naturally, one involved the Hound. Lannister soldier about the wight carrying case: “What’s in there?” The Hound: “Fuck off.”
- Not that I’m eager for the Dornish characters to show up again, but might anyone have asked after Ellaria and Tyene at the meeting?
- So if Littlefinger is Lord Protecter of the Vale, his death means that command transfers to Robin Arryn, who was technically calling the shots anyway, although not really, because he’s infirm. And he’s not at Winterfell in any case. Why commands the Vale armies now? I feel like Sansa is the person the writers want, but that doesn’t make sense in the context of the story. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen…
- Kudos to the sound designers for making Zombie Viserion’s shrill cry.
- This is going to be an interesting season to pick apart in the coming weeks. Hope to see you around!