Well I don’t know about anyone else, but it definitely took me some time to wrap my head around everything that happened this week on ‘Game of Thrones,’ the good the bad, the weird the sad, and logical and the mad. Being the second to last episode of the season, I knew things were about to get real, but still, you never know who is going to die, or just what form the major battle is going to take, and the show certainly did not disappoint in that regard, though how they got to that point kind of left me scratching my head at certain moments.
Let’s start with the quieter moments, so of course, we head to Winterfell. It was weird how much time they spent here this episode, because other than this, they basically focused all of their attention beyond the wall on Jon’s story, so the fact that they took the time to highlight the Sansa and Arya arc during this episode makes me wonder how important this story really is going to be in the coming days. Basically Arya calls out Sansa for that letter she wrote to Rob years ago asking him to bend the knee to Joffrey, ignores Sansa’s explanation of Lannister coercion, and starts a cold war (pun intended) between the two, that ends with Arya threatening to kill Sansa and take her face so she can pretend to be the Lady of Winterfell and rule in her stead. Meanwhile Sansa stupidly goes to Littlefinger for advice, and he suggests having Brienne talk to Arya, but before Brienne can, Sansa is summoned to King’s Landing for the big meeting between Cersei, Dany and everyone in Westeros to discuss the White Walker situation, and Sansa decides to send Brienne in her stead because she will not set foot in King’s Landing while Cersei is ruling (and Brienne is NOT happy to be leaving Winterfell while Littlefinger is still running around). Sadly, the episode actually made me root for Sansa and dislike Arya, as Arya seemed childish and small-minded, unable to listen to her sister or see the good Sansa is doing now, and just let go of the past.
At Dragonstone, Tyrion and Danny have a lively discussion about Jon Snow and his attraction to Dany, which she clearly enjoys even though she claims the man is too short for her, right before they get into the matter of Dany’s succession, which is difficult since she is no longer able to have children. It is weird to see her get angry at Tyrion for thinking about it, but it does make sense, if she keeps riding into battle there is a good chance she will be killed, and her forces left behind need to know who to follow if anything happens to her. I also really enjoyed the almost paternal attitude Tyrion adopts toward her near the end when she is rushing off to save Jon and company, warning her that if she leaves she could be killed and everything they are fighting for could be lost. It is very Obi-Wan warning Luke not to rush off to fight Vader in ‘Empire Strikes Back,’ and had me immensely worried for Dany as she rushed off beyond the wall to save her friends.
Lastly, the main story. First of all, it seemed last week like the entire party was Tormund, The Hound, Beric, Thoros, Jorah, Gendry, and Jon Snow, but that is clearly not the case, because there were a LOT of “red shirts” along for the ride who were convenient deaths during every battle with the White Walkers the group faced, and it made for some confusion for me because I did think it was only the main 7, and it took me a while to figure out there were other members of their party. Also, I just don’t think I ever saw what the hell their plan was. They were searching out the White Walker horde of thousands, hoping to grab one and escape before anyone noticed? I mean, I guess they came close, but come on, the plan needed some work, and I don’t think anyone was surprised when they were spotted by the Wight Army and were chased onto the frozen lake. I was more surprised that Gendry managed to escape and get to Eastwatch so quickly to get help, not to mention how quickly a raven got to Dragonstone and alerted Dany of the need of a dragon rescue. I loved all the character moments though, from Beric and Jon bonding over both of them being brought back from the dead, to the Hound and Tormund speaking of their mutual acquaintance Brienne, to everyone poking fun at Gendry for not handling the cold very well. And while I was sad to see Thoros die, he definitely had to go, with him there the stakes were very low as there was the chance he could bring anyone back to life.
So the big moment of the episode comes, after supposedly 4 days (someone on the internet calculated how long it would take Gendry to run back to the wall, send a raven, and for Dany to ride her dragons North) of being trapped at the Ice Lake, the Hound stupidly throws a rock at the Wights surrounding their group, and everyone realizes the lake has frozen over, and the Wights finally charge at their trapped prey. The group holds them back as best they can, the rest of the red shirt members of Jon’s group die (you know, to clear out the unnecessary characters), and suddenly we are in a moment where our heroes just might die, and of course, Daenerys arrives with all three dragons, in a glorious moment where their fire tears through the White Walker lines, destroying hundreds of Wights with each blast of fire, while Danny lands Drogon next to Jon’s group and beckons everyone aboard. This is where things get a little wonky. Good news, they manage to get their Walker captive onto the dragon, so mission accomplished. Bad news, Jon decides to NOT get aboard Drogon and instead continues fighting Wights while everyone else climbs on board, ignoring everyone yelling at him to climb on, for no apparent reason (unless you think he was either A. Trying to impress Dany, or B. Trying to get to the Night King and kill him). Meanwhile, the Night King grabs an ice spear, which looks about as long as one of the scorpion spears Qyburn designed, and to everyone’s horror, launches it high into the air, where is strikes and kill the dragon Viserion, sending him plummeting down into the icy depths of the lake below, as his mother and her friends look on in abject terror below. Jon spots the Night King grabbing another spear and orders Dany to flee, and while she hesitates, not wanting to leave Jon behind, she sees the spear too, and Drogon takes off, just barely missing the second spear (even Drogon knew to zig-zag, stupid Rickon). Dany and her dragons with her friends aboard flee the scene, believing Jon to be lost.
Jon is knocked into the lake by the Wights and everyone thinks he is dead, until he pulls himself out of the icy water, and the White Walkers turn around to charge him once more, only to be halted by the timely arrival of Uncle Benjen on his horse with a fire mace, who slows them down enough to give Jon time to get on the horse and take off for the wall. Jon tells his uncle to join him, but Benjen says there is no time, and Jon takes off, as Benjen sacrifices himself to the Wights, potentially the last time we’ll see him. At the wall, Jorah and Danny wait to see if perhaps Jon made it out, and are rewarded when they see his unconscious body return on Benjen’s horse. On a boat back to Dragonstone, Davos and company remove Jon’s frozen clothes and put him into a warm bed to cure his hypothermia (I think) while Dany watches, finally seeing his mortal scars. When he awakens, he apologizes to Dany and she explains to him that she lost a child that day, but now knows the true war is with the White Walkers. Jon pledges himself to her, bending the knee, and calls her my queen, and they hold hands, before she leaves him to rest.
Meanwhile, at the Frozen Lake, the Night King is supervising his Wights pulling the body of Viserion the dragon out of the lake. Once the majority of the torso is exposed, the Night King walks over and places his hand on the dragon’s head, and the camera pans over the closed, dead eye of the beast. After a moment or two, it pops open, the vivid blue of a Wight. The Night King has a Wight Dragon. The game has changed again.
GAME OF THEORIES:
- How interesting that the only other dragon left besides Drogon is Rhaegon, who just happens to be named after Jon Snow’s father…
- Will the Wight Dragon spit blue fire to burn, or will his fire freeze people?
- Is Arya capable of actually killing her sister? Could Sansa do the same to Arya? Is there any chance that they are just playing Littlefinger at this point?
- Are we finally going to get the Brienne and Jaime reunion next week? Or a Podrick and Tyrion reunion? Next week’s episode definitely feels like it could be a 6 year reunion between a lot of pairings before the final rager of a season.
- Is there a chance Uncle Benjen was sent by Bran to save Jon? Last time he arrived to save a Stark it was Bran himself, and Benjen had been sent by the former Three-Eyed Raven.
- How pissed off will Sansa and the Northerners be that Jon bent the knee to Daenerys?
- WHERE DID THE WHITE WALKERS GET THE GIANT CHAINS TO PULL VISERION OUT OF THE LAKE!?!
Whatever issues there were with the episode, the spectacle saved everything. Watching the dragons plow through the White Walkers was so satisfying, and made the moment when Viserion died all the more tragic. And the look on Dany’s face when her child died was heartbreaking. Also, very nice to see the Dany and Jon relationship progressing a little bit faster, and I’m hoping for them to be a real united front going into the big meeting in episode 7, especially since they have their proof for Cersei about the White Walkers they should all be facing. I’m hoping they wrap up the Winterfell intrigue soon and get Arya something better to do than bicker with her sister because I was really hoping she would only stay there long enough to kill Littlefinger, and that is clearly not the case. Ah well, see you back here next week for the season finale!