The Dragon and The Wolf (RECAP) The Penultimate Peril
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Every year, the season finale of Game of Thrones is a bittersweet and often emotional time for Thrones fans across the world. This year was no different. If anything, this year it meant a lot more. In the penultimate season of arguably the best and undoubtedly the biggest television show of all time, many fans, including myself, had started to lose a bit of faith in the showrunners’ ability to close the story that so many people have fallen in love with. There were ups and downs, plot holes and jetpacks, dumb plans and poor character development, but yet and still many remained hopeful that the season finale would right the ship and show the world that Dan and Dave had this all under control. After hours upon hours of panic-filled deliberation, I believe that it did just that. I can’t lie to you, after my first watch I was a little disappointed. I thought the first half dragged a little bit, and I wanted to see a more consequential death than the one we got. The biggest thing I wanted out of this season was to see Arya and Jon reunited, and I never got it. However, after my 2nd, 3rd and 4th watches, I’ve decided that this was a generally good episode of Game of Thrones (especially the back half) and it did enough to restore my hope for the tune of the final notes of A Song of Ice and Fire. (DISCLAIMER: This is gonna be a long one)
More Like Draggin’ Pit, Am I right?
The Targaryen forces finally arrive in King’s Landing. The Unsullied and Dothraki post up at the western wall of the capitol as a show of force rather than an actual threat. We then cut to the important people in Dany’s camp (and Theon??) arriving by ship. In the Red Keep, Cersei gives The Mountain an ordered list of people to kill if the meeting goes awry. This next scene is probably one of my favorites from the episode. The walk to the Dragonpit features some great dialogue between reunited characters, and I’m a sucker for a good reunion scene. Podrick, Tyrion and Bronn sharing the screen once again takes me back to simpler times and better episodes. Brienne and The Hound talking about Arya really warmed my heart and made me wish we saw a little more of her this season. I really want an Arya and The Hound reunion and if I don’t get it next season I’ll throw a fit. Team Targaryen + Bronn, Brienne and Pod arrive at the Dragonpit and Bronn takes Pod for a drink. This moment was pretty tense, because nobody from Team Lannister is there and I thought for a moment that there may be a Red Wedding-style ambush. However, Cersei and the gang show up shortly after. We get a #CleganeBowl (*airhorns*) tease, but I wish it actually would’ve happened. This whole part of the episode dragged a little and I felt like it needed a bit more suspense/action. As a matter of fact, I’m realizing just how long this scene was as I’m writing. Either way, they basically confirmed that we’re definitely getting #CleganeBowl eventually. Danaerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons and Lover of Grand Entrances shows up fashionably late with her two dragons and the parley begins shortly after, but not before Euron gets in his usual dose of dickheadedness, this time aimed at Theon (WHY IS HE HERE?) and Tyrion. After some words from Tyrion and Jon, The Hound presents Exhibit A in the case of The Living v. The Dead, the wight they kidnapped last episode. The demonstration effectively freaks everyone out, but it’s still so hard to get past how dumb that plan was. I loved how Qyburn’s strange ass was the first to jump up to check out that severed hand. I believe the kids are calling that a “Qyboner”. Anyway, Cersei agrees to the truce on the condition that Jon keeps the North out of the war for Westeros, but Jon being the bullheaded son of Ned Stark that he is ruins it by revealing that he’s already bent the knee to Dany. Cersei, pissed, storms off with her buddies leaving everybody else in the Dragonpit sick at Jon’s inability to lie. Tyrion decides that their best bet is for him to go and talk to Cersei alone, so that’s what he does.
This was probably most well-acted scene of the episode. Lena Heady and Peter Dinklage turned in two great, emotional performances as usual and I thought we might see the end of our favorite dwarf. It gets pretty heated in there and Tyrion has to stop and pour some wine for the both of them. Curiously, Cersei doesn’t partake, which made me think that maybe she had poisoned it before Tyrion’s arrival. Tyrion doesn’t seem to think much of it, but he notices her place her hand on her stomach and is able to deduce that Cersei is with child. So I guess she wasn’t lying.
Back at the Dragonpit
Jon and Dany bond over a tiny dragon mandible as Dany tells Jon all about the fall of her house. She says how their power came from their dragons, and when they locked them away in the Dragonpit they wasted away. “A dragon is not a slave,” she says. I just find it funny how she has all this great stuff to say about dragon rights when she literally had two of her dragons in chains under a pyramid just a season ago. It’s cool though Dany, I’m gonna let you cook. Jon, becoming ever the sharpshooter, makes the case for Dany to get back in the procreation game after saying that Mirri Maz Duur may not be the most reliable source in reproductive endocrinology. As Jon lays his mack down, Tyrion comes back followed by Cersei and the rest of her crew. Cersei declares that she will march her armies North to fight alongside Jon and Dany, which I didn’t buy for a damn second. Thus concludes our 40 minutes in the Dragonpit.
Assume the Worst
I’ll talk more about the Littlefinger stuff a little later, but this scene is just continuing to set up the “big plot twist” coming later in the episode. Littlefinger tells Sansa to assume the worst about people and goads Sansa into saying that Arya wants her dead so she can become the Lady of Winterfell. Littlefinger thinks he has her, but at this point, as a watcher you should be pretty skeptical of all this.
We Sail Together
Back in Dragonstone, Jon, Dany and her advisors are standing around the painted table making plans on getting back to Winterfell to prepare for the Great War. Jon suggests that Dany sails with him to White Harbor to send the message of a united front. Jorah sees through this #ShootYourShot attempt and tries to save his Khaleesi’s virtue by suggesting she fly to Winterfell instead. Dany, picking up what Jon is putting down, agrees to sail with Jon.
WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THEON
On the way out, Theon stops Jon in the throne room and Theon gives Jon his elevator pitch about all the bad things he’s done and how he’s never felt like he belonged. Jon gives him a little pep talk and tells him that he doesn’t have to choose between Stark and Greyjoy. He then urges him to go and find his sister. It’s a pointless scene because nobody really cares about Theon or his redemption arc. The crazy thing is, this isn’t even the worst Theon part of the episode. He then proceeds to go out to the beach and try to convince the remaining Ironborn to help him save Yara. They refuse and Theon gets his ass kicked for what seemed like 27 minutes, getting up despite threats of murder from his assailant. This scene was incredibly silly. It was like something out of a comic book where the kid stands up to the bully and earns his respect. It turns out that Theon’s super power is he has no balls, so he hulks up and beats the guy to sleep. I'm pretty sure getting kneed there would still hurt, but hey, what do I know? I just don’t care enough about Theon at this point to watch this. I’d rather give that 10 minutes to someone else who isn’t a “walking sack of human garbage” to quote The Ringer’s Mallory Rubin.
I think my biggest gripe with this scene is that for some reason it felt hollow. Like it didn’t really matter. We knew Littlefinger had to die this season, and I figured that Arya would be the one to do it, but I feel like the setup was clumsily handled. The scene was perfectly executed, but the events leading up to it didn’t make much sense. Arya and Sansa have been through a lot and Sansa especially has probably grown just as much as any character on the show. Though she admits to being a slow learner, I find it hard to believe that a political strategist such as herself and an assassin that has learned to stalk people for days at a time and detect lies just by looking at people’s faces couldn’t figure out what was happening from the beginning. Littlefinger started the War of the Five Kings. He is literally the reason Game of Thrones doesn’t end with Ned Stark resigning as Hand and heading back to Winterfell in Season 1. It seems foolish that he wouldn’t see something like this coming, especially after hearing Bran quote his own mantra to him earlier in the season. I guess it doesn’t really matter though, because it was a great scene and Arya got a chance to shine, which will always make me happy. Can't even lie, I'm gonna miss that devious son of a bitch. RIP to a legend.
Another awesome scene. Jamie is planning the Lannister army’s movement north with a few of his fellow commanders when Cersei drops in for a word with her twin brother. Cersei reveals to Jamie that she lied about sending her armies north, which Jamie, choosing to be honor-bound today, doesn’t like. She also reveals that she sent Euron to Essos to ferry the Golden Company to Westeros to bolster her armies. Jamie doesn’t appreciate Cersei making these moves behind his back, but insists that he made a pledge to ride north, so ride north he will. Cersei threatens him with The Mountain, but Jamie calls her bluff and rides away from King’s Landing as snow starts to fall. Beautiful.
The Dragon and the Wolf For the Wincest
Now, for the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Sam rides into Winterfell and immediately seeks out Bran. Bran calls Sam a good man and tells him that he’s the Three-Eyed Raven, to which Sam replies what we’ve all been thinking, the hell does that mean? Bran explains what it means and tells Sam what he knows about Jon’s parentage. Sam then puts two and two together, remembering what Gilly read about “Prince Ragger” and his annulment. Bran goes under and sees the wedding between Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark happen and deduces that Jon is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. All of this is happening as Jon prepares one final shot as the clock runs down. He knocks on Dany’s door and she already knows what’s up. She lets him in and the dragon and the wolf make the beast with two backs. We also learn that Jon’s real name is Aegon Targaryen, which I didn’t like at all. This would actually make him the 6th of his name, because Rhaegar actually had a son by Elia Martell named Aegon as well. Aegon V was killed by the Mountain along with his mother and his sister. Jon is such a one of a kind character, I don’t like him having a name that’s been shared with other kings before him, especially his own deceased brother. Regardless, this scene was executed perfectly. I loved how they cut back and forth between the flashbacks and the current situation on the love boat, and I thought Bran narrating was a nice touch just in case people hadn’t pieced the puzzle together themselves. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it one last time. If rooting for Dany and Jon to get it on is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.
Bring the Wall Down
We knew it had to happen eventually, right? No way through, no way around, they had to bring it down. For all you people out there that are worried about Tormund and Beric, rest assured that they’re still alive. The more pressing issue is how will they get back to Winterfell and will everyone be ready to throw down. Also of note, we got our answer on what Viserion breathes. It’s antifreeze. But really though, a scary sight for all involved and it doesn’t bode well for the future. I’m not ready.
End of Season Awards
MVP: AeJon Targaryen – He is the song of ice and fire. Jon has made some risky moves this season and they all paid off. Kind of. He also got laid and is the true heir to the Iron Throne. He’ll be reunited with his family and probably get to ride a dragon next season.
LVP: Varys – Literally did nothing all season. All of his intel was trash. Tyrion was second in voting.
Most Improved: Jorah – Literally improved his condition from certain death to uncertain death, but he’s back with his Khaleesi and there’s no place he’d rather be.
Best Moment: The Loot Train Attack – Awful name. Awesome scene. In a season that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, this was unanimously a classic scene in a classic episode.
Worst Moment: The Plan to Capture a Wight and Bring it to King’s Landing – The dumb plan heard round the world was the root of a majority of the problems that people had with Season 7. Episodes 5 and 6 were disappointing to a lot of people, and they were centered around this plan.
I love this show. Probably too much if we’re being honest. That being said, this season was probably my least favorite. Part of that is because of how short it was, but I also feel like there were a lot of shortcuts being taken that could’ve easily been solved by making it a standard 10-episode season. I’m praying to the old gods and the new that Dan and Dave don’t make these same mistakes next season. Thrones fans deserve an ending worthy of the story we’ve all fallen in love with, some over the span of 20 years. But I believe in you guys. When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives. I’m with you Dan and Dave. Please, do not mess this up. Until next time.
PS: Thanks to everyone who read these. Y'all are the best. It's been real fun writing these for y'all.