After the epic battles and joyous victories of last week, ‘Game of Thrones’ returns this week with their third-to-last episode, which sadly, was a bit ho-hum. Sure, there were two somewhat major deaths, but the show almost seems to be winding down with lots of goodbyes and characters being sent home, and one could not help but wonder if they truly had already hit the climax of the series with last week’s episode, and dealing with Cersei and her allies was merely the clean-up work.
Anyways, the episode starts with a massive funeral for all those lost in the Battle of Winterfell, highlighting especially Sansa crying over Theon’s body and Daenerys mourning over Jorah’s corpse, both women having lost men who protected and loved them, though they themselves were not romantically tied.
Following the funeral, we get a big celebration feast (where Gendry is named Lord of Storm’s End and a true Baratheon), and we get another big war planning scene where we learn all armies involved in the Battle of Winterfell lost half their forces, meaning their numbers were now about equal with everything Cersei had, which they know (thanks to Varys) includes the Golden Company and Euron’s Iron Fleet. Against the wishes of Sansa who wants to give the northern men time to rest, Dani decides the time to act is now, and plans to march Jon and the main army south to King’s Landing, while she and a good number of her troops take boats to Dragonstone and prepare to hit Cersei from there.
Before leaving, she and Jon finally address the elephant in the room and she basically begs, then demands, that he keep it a secret so they can continue to be a couple and she can retain her power as queen, even though Jon knows he should tell his siblings. Of course, when his siblings want a word with him about how they do not trust Dani and her plans to march right back into battle again, Jon tells them about his heritage after swearing them to secrecy, which we all know won’t last.
Meanwhile, Tyrion is busy saying goodbye to his brother Jamie who has decided to stay in Winterfell with Brienne (who is still bound to protect the Stark sisters) after the pair sleep together after the victory party. While drinking, they are confronted by Bron and a crossbow, though Tyrion quickly negotiates their way out of the assassination agreeing to give Bronn High Garden should they win. Tyrion is also confronted by Sansa before leaving who decides to confide in him Jon’s secret, cause we all know Sansa’s word to Jon does not mean much if she can see an advantage in telling Jon’s secret. Also, Jon says goodbye to Gilly and Sam who are heading out (going home?) following the battle, and it feels like the last we’ll see of those characters in the series. Same goes for Tormund, who is returning North of the wall with his people, along with Ghost, as Jon thinks the direwolf will be better off in the North with the Wildlings than stuck with him.
Meanwhile, Lord Gendry proposes to Arya, inviting her to be with him in Storm’s End, but she turns it down reminding him that she is no Lady and still has business down in King’s Landing. So she ends up joining the Hound on the road as the man is also going South to King’s Landing, which means may yet get to see the Hound Vs the Mountain which fans have been eager to see for years.
On the way to Dragonstone, Euron and his fleet ambush Dani, killing Dragon number 2 Rhaegal (who still appeared injured after his scrap with Wight Viserion last episode) and smashing through Dani’s boats, and in the process capturing Missandei, a heavy blow to both Dani and Greyworm. Dani is furious and wants to act immediately to get revenge, but Varys, Tyrion and her advisers counsel patience, knowing that Jon and the rest of the army will not be at King’s Landing “for a fortnight.”
Of course, Tyrion tells Varys about Jon’s secret, which Varys says is no longer a secret but rather information since so many people know and they discuss the future, especially since Dani has seemingly become a bit unstable and her talk of this all being her destiny making Varys especially uneasy as he says every tyrant thinks ruling is their destiny. Tyrion stays true to Dani, saying they need to have faith and then proceeds to cast doubt on Varys and his ways as the Spider has bounced from one hopeful royal to another for years, never satisfied. Varys reminds Tyrion that his duty is to the realm which will be ruled by the new Queen or King and implies he may have to take out Dani so Jon can rise in her place. He sees Jon as the much better and more stable option, all of which makes Tyrion very unhappy and he begs Varys to reconsider.
Meanwhile, Jamie and Brienne are relatively happy in Winterfell until a raven arrives with news of the ambush of Dani’s ships and the death of her dragon. Jamie begins to worry, especially when Sansa taunts that they are going to kill Cersei now. He leaves Brienne, claiming that he and his sister are hateful monsters who deserve each other. As Brienne weeps in sorrow, Jamie leaves Winterfell to head back down to King’s Landing, though we are not sure what his plan is, i.e. whether he is going to join with Cersei or kill her.
Back at Dragonstone, Dani decides to give Cersei one last chance to surrender and return her captive Missandei, and she and a delegation head to the gates of King’s Landing to discuss the potential surrender. Of course, Cersei has been busy celebrating the death of another dragon by telling Euron her baby is his (to cement their partnership) and setting up King’s Landing as a fortress against Dani, complete with innocent civilians inside the open doors of the Red Keep as a human shield against Dani’s armies. Cersei claims Dani will have to kill thousands of innocents to get to her. On the outer walls of the capital, Cersei waits with her army ready, including the massive dragon killing weapons as Dani’s small delegation approaches, seeing Cersei and Missandei waiting for them on the walls.
As Tyrion and Qyburn meet between the two opposing groups (both being Hands of their Queen), it becomes clear to Tyrion that Cersei will not budge and that surrender was never an option. He moves past Qyburn and approaches the wall directly, imploring his sister to surrender and save both innocent lives and the small child within her, while Cersei seems poised to have her archers butcher her little brother. Instead, she tells Missandei to utter any last words she may have, and the woman yells “Dracarys,” right before the Mountain chops off her head, which falls before the gates of the castle near Tyrion along with her body. Tyrion, dumbfounded, retreats, and Dani is more incensed than ever and ready to fight and murder as many people as needed to get to Cersei (and she would most likely be joined by Greyworm, who just watched Cersei kill his love). And then it goes to black.
GAME OF THEORIES:
- BIG THEORY for the end of the season – Varys is going to put in motion a plan to kill Dani. She is going to come around and be a good Queen, maybe even marry Jon and things will be looking optimistic, but it is too late as Varys’s plan is already in motion, and she will die, tragically, a hero, leaving Jon (or Tyrion) to take over the throne.
- Jon is being set-up too much to be some kind of savior for the throne. If ‘Thrones’ stays true to form, I have a bad feeling he may get killed in the coming episode, similar to what happened to Ned when he went down to King’s Landing.
- Is there a chance there is a traitor in Dani’s camp informing Cersei of their plans? How else could Euron have known to ambush Dani when he did? Or was it just logical that she would return to Dragonstone, which is only accessible by sea?
- So the Hound is going south to kill the Mountain, right? And Arya is going to kill Cersei, which ironically may not be as easy as killing the Night King. It would be amazing to see the two of them team-up to accomplish both their goals in the coming episodes.
For such a long episode, not as much happened as we would have liked, and even the deaths of Missandei and Rhaegal seems relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things . The season so far has been such a roller-coaster of “nothing happens” episodes with massive adrenaline rush of The Battle of Winterfell right in the middle, that I am not sure they really knew what else to do in the final season besides say goodbyes, have funerals, and do big battles. The only character who still seems to be in any kind of interesting story/plot is Tyrion, with everyone else seemingly heading straight for the next battle with no concern for anything else this season.
Let’s hope the final 2 episodes of the series redeem some of the slower outings and make it all worth it.
See you back here next week for our review of the penultimate episode of the series!