It’s officially a wrap on the penultimate season of Game of Thrones! And despite what was an astoundingly bad episode that only exemplified how pointless the entirety of the season was, there was boat sex, shocks, and dragon CGI, so I’m sure the critics will be right back eating out of the shows pockets. If that’s the case, which judging by my twitter timeline it will be, I truly don’t understand. I’m fine with people coming to a later realization than I and many others did, but if they seriously thought last week was especially bad in comparison to this week, the rest of the season, or the last three years of this show, then much like with Jaime, I will never understand their breaking point.
The episode opens with a weird music choice telling us that we should be feeling intense feelings about the Unsullied who have magically escaped their siege at Casterly Rock and walked (?) to King’s Landing. It was hard to even tell this was King’s Landing at first because it looks completely different than any other time we’ve seen it. But I guess that’s the stone walls they were able to shoot at that day. Seriously though, the pure nothingness that resulted from Euron’s attack on the Unsullied is a good small scale representation of this whole season. A lot of contrived plots that amounted to nothing just to get us to the end of this episode and save the ultimate battle for the last season.
Bronn is having the men prep barrels of pitch, hyping this confrontation up as if it were going to be tense and as if both armies would be on the ready should someone pull something. But again, we never really got anything of this nature once the two parties met. It never felt like Dany and co. were actually walking into the lion’s den and it never felt like the Lannister force were one “dracarys” away from dragon fire should anything go wrong. What should have had the stakes of a spaghetti-western stand off with guns locked and loaded ended up feeling like kids playing at war. I imagine this is what the Frey’s “Lord of the Crossing” game looks like.
Bronn talks to Jaime about the army approaching their walls, proceeds to say cock an innumerable amount of times, and makes a few eunuch jokes (god forbid we went an episode without one), and soon the Dothraki approach too. Bronn admits they are unbelievably outnumbered, which is a known fact a few people repeat on the Lannister side a few times. Which begs the question why he’s choosing a losing side as a sell sword and why this entire plot line exits in the first place.
On the boats, however, we’ve got Jon, Davos, Tyrion, Missandei, Sandor, and Theon. Tyrion lays some facts about King’s Landing’s dense population, mentions the sweet brothels, and the Hound goes below deck to check on the wight they are keeping in a box by tapping on it, in case we all forgot what the entire point of this plan and last week’s abysmal episode.
Cersei is getting ready to receive her enemies but questions where the dragon queen is, as she wasn’t with Jon’s crew and she’s not with the army outside either. Qyburn has no idea, but informs us that everyone else is headed to the dragon pit where the meeting is going to take place because they wanted a dramatic venue. Cersei quickly tells Frankengregor that should anything happen, kill Dany first because she’s a bitch (#WOMEONTOP), then Tyrion and Jon and anyone else who is an issue. Jaime seems a bit shocked by this because they’re trying to seed in Jaime’s dissent from Cersei in the course of a single episode several seasons too late, as if he didn’t stick with her through the constant murder and the demolition of the sept and all those inside of it.
The party walk to the pit we’re greeted by so many of those crazy-fun combo walk-and-talks we loved last week! First Tyrion talks to Pod, who arrived with Brienne before them, and Tyrion suggests Pod is surprised to see him supporting the enemy. Bronn then treats us to a callback to Pod’s magic penis and all is well in the world. No seriously, this is the thing they chose to call back to and keep consistent versus characterization and arcs. Pod’s dick arc is certainly worth all that focus.
A donkey pulls the wight in the box along because apparently animals are no longer spooked by them anymore, which would have added a nice touch in introducing this threat and the Lannister guards would have more of a reason to earn those close up reaction shots of curiosity and confusion at the box.
Brienne and Sandor also get a walk and talk where they reminisce about their fight and bond over the fact that Arya is alive. It’s nice that they let them talk about something actually relevant to their characters and a bit more natural to bring up, but overall the conversation itself felt forced and a bit contrived in vein of what we had last week. Brienne in general feels weird in this group because Sansa has been so separate from everything going on with her brother, which only goes to show you how disconnected Jon has been from his people, but it doesn’t help to just throw her in here as if there isn’t a discrepancy of position. Brienne is there to represent Sansa’s interests and she’s thrust into the position of siding with a team she didn’t know she was even on.
Tyrion then, of course, talks to Bronn because I guess their cellphone chats organizing these meetings weren’t enough, but Bronn says he’s not risking himself for Tyrion or joining his side because he won’t put his own head on the line. He insists all of this only endangers Tyrion and his crew and bolsters up Bronn in Cersei’s eyes, but…Cersei already threatened Jaime to have him killed for betrayal and disobedience before, and he’s putting himself once again in the line of dragon fire to secure Lannister interests above his own. They both admit that despite all of it, it’s good to see each other, so maybe we’re supposed to believe Bronn truly has a heart of gold. I guess we’ll forget the time that he was easily bought by the Lannisters and refused to be Tyrion’s champion because the odds did not favor a win. Or maybe Bronn just bonded way harder with Jaime on their bro-ventures than he ever did with Tyrion.
They finally get to the pit and Bronn and Pod go off to hang out and probably discuss cocks as the rest of Dany’s crew, sans Dany, look around at the empty pit, deserted save for some Lannister guards. Tyrion is hesitant and admits to Sandor that they could die there, but again that tension is not felt/is immediately broken. Cersei arrives with her super sleek all black armored Queensguard led by Frankengregor, along with Jaime, Qyburn, and Euron. She’s wearing that sweet cardigan over her dress to show she’s coming into this from a professional place, but her mood and cardigan are quickly brought down when she sees her brother.
In between all this, Sandor goes up to Frankengregor and asks him if he remembers him, to which Frankengregor can’t respond, obviously. Sandor asks him if he knows who is coming for him, implying himself obviously, and walks away. Thus the Clegane Bowl hype shoots up again and I have to stand in my tiny corner saying I don’t want it and Sandor’s arc receding back to vengeance and death—a regression or stagnancy rather than progress. The fact that his hatred towards Gregor is still eating away at him only furthers the fact that this is still the Hound.
Sandor Clegane is simply another victim of flatline characterization and that scene with the Brotherhood everyone was praising in the premiere episode was simply a little bump in that flatline, nothing more. Frankengregor also always looks absolutely hilarious to me. I can’t tell if it’s the helmet, the makeup, his proportions in the armor, or a combination of it all, but every time he’s on screen I can’t help but laugh.
Cersei is pissed that Dany is late, but little did she know Dany just wanted to make a dramatic entrance. She arrives on the back of Drogon with Rhaegal behind her and frankly no one seems that impressed or moved, other than Euron who looks like he finally remembered his desire to marry her was a plot point a season ago. Also, like, shouldn’t we have gotten the small folk reacting to the fact that a FUCKING DRAGON flew over Kings Landing? That’s huge and they certainly couldn’t miss it. Creating a sense of wonder around this event and this meetup, and to start spreading news of Dany’s return to Westeros on a smaller scale, would have been really nice additions to worldbulding, but unfortunately that ship has sailed and it is now the goal to make everything as hollow as could be.
Cersei calls her out on her dramatically late arrival and Dany apologizes…and then nods at Tyrion to start doing what he does best and mansplain the situation to everyone. But Euron interrupts him asking for Theon’s submission to save Yara, to which Tyrion gives Jaime a “what the fuck is this dude doing on your team” look, but Jaime just shrugs. Not his problem.
Euron also makes an incredibly unfunny dwarf joke because we have to tick all the childishly offensive boxes, but Cersei’s annoyed everyone’s allowed to talk except her, and tells the imbecile to sit down and shut up. Tyrion is thus free to continue his mansplaining and Jon joins in, quoting Beric Dondarrion from last week to explain to them that it’s not about fighting for a house or a throne, but for the living. In an episode about the confrontation between the two queens, they hardly speak to one another (and Dany hardly speaks at all) except when Cersei questions her ability to trust Daenerys not to just come down with a larger army and smash their forces during all of this cease-firing.
Emilia Clarke’s deadpan acting is ever more apparent when she’s head to head with Lena Heady, who acts with all of her facial muscles, and as the two are about to get into it Saint Tyrion intercedes to calm down these emotional women.
Finally the main event is starting when Sandor brings in the wight, who immediately runs for Cersei once it’s let out of its box. But lucky for her it’s on a chain that is just short of reaching her from the spot its stood on. Sandor cuts the wight in half, but it still scrambles around so Qyburn immediately goes for the severed hand and has a bit of a reanimation boner.
Jon’s official seminar about the wights start as he demonstrates the TWO WAYS they can be killed. Fire and dragonglass. What about last week when any old weapon or a valyrian steel sword sliced them to death? New week, new rules I guess because now a sword only functions the way it did in season one and the wight pieces keep moving once they are severed.
This wight is also incredibly less intimating than those that pay a visit to Commander Mormont at Castle Black. And even less so than the book where the reanimated hand literally doesn’t stop attacking Jon, forcing it’s fingers down his throat, until it’s burned. The army of the dead have lost all impact or ability to strike fear into the audience at this point, so as our main characters discover this threat for the first time and we see the fear it strikes in them, it’s no longer a fear we too feel. We understand it conceptually, but visually and viscerally these creatures and their overruling race of beings have been on a steady decline of fearsomeness.
Euron digs another plot hole for us as he asks if the wights can swim, to which Jon says “no” (so much for “dead things in the water”), and the never ending questions of how the chains got around Viserion with no swimmers or those wights pulled themselves back out of the ice to grab Tormund are tossed aside because the plot didn’t want to deal with them today.
Euron decides to take his fleet and head out, keeping himself safe from the water intolerant wights on the Iron Islands, propositioning Dany before he goes, and Cersei relents, apparently shaken by the wight encounter. All she asks is that Jon, “Ned Stark’s son” (haha isn’t this joke funny?), agrees to be true to his word and not take up arms against either her or Dany, refusing to take a side in the war. Jon is so good though and can’t lie, so he tells Cersei he can’t agree because he’s already pledged to Dany.
Cersei leaves, affronted, and wishes them luck dealing with this dead army bullshit and Jaime, the true lapdog that he is, follows. Brienne is there though and she’s peeved that Jaime’s forgotten his character arc, hoping that some of out-of-character dialogue will snap him out of it (this is my honeypot as to why Jaime finally snapped), uttering the phrase “fuck loyalty”. She tells him to just talk to the queen and fix the situation and Jaime begrudgingly attempts, only to fail.
After Cersei leaves, everyone yells at Jon to fucking learn to lie for once, and Jon says, “Talk about my father if you like..how that’s the attitude that got him killed,” once again perpetuating that Ned’s honor code is specifically what got his head chopped off rather than the other forces at play. Also Ned specifically chose to lie, something that ate at him, but was necessary. He played along with the admission of treason, a taint on his outward appearance of honor, to do what is truly honorable and save his daughters. He lied to save something greater, just as he lied about Jon’s parentage. Ned wasn’t adverse to lying or some bumbling truth telling fool. He knew how to play the game, he just didn’t want to play their game.
Tyrion tells him that’s all well and good but now they are “fucked,” so he must go and talk to Cersei alone or they’re “right back where we started.” Which sounds like a great place to be in, because they had the tactical advantage before and still have it now. There is literally no reason for them to need Cersei and her already depleted forces, let alone to the extent that they went on this whole stupid mission and lost a dragon for it. This is one of those times where you should just actually “fight with the army you have”.
Tyrion’s walk to talk to Cersei doesn’t feel as dangerous as they want it to because we haven’t had the built up constant paranoia from her, the fear the valonqar prophesy instilled in her in regards to Tyrion that would obsessively cause her to act rashly. Guess that’s what happens when half the prophesy is cut out. When they do talk though, we finally get to see Dinklage act again, and these two really do bring out the best in each other. It’s too bad the actual contents of the scene itself don’t hold the weight that the performances are giving it, but it is so nice to see pure emotion on this show because it feels like it’s been so long since that has happened.
Tyrion admits that he hates himself for killing Tywin, which is a bit rich, but of course Saint Tyrion can’t just be okay with having taken a life. He acts as though it happened to him, rather than it being a specific choice that he made as he was already escaping his fate, but the pure emotion of that moment has always been lacking since the omission of the Tysha reveal. Of course, the weight that comes with the choice to kill his father, something he expressly went there to do, would be lost along with that character motive as well.
Cersei blames Tyrion for Myrcella and Tommen’s death (since she can no longer blame him for Joffrey’s) because he left them vulnerable without Tywin, but Tyrion challenges her hatred, admitting all of her worst fears to her and saying that if she truly hates him she should order him killed. She cannot do it. I find it hard to believe that Cersei would not jump at the chance for this opportunity, but I guess she’s already supposed to be playing the long con here and convincing Tyrion that he’s shaking her. It’s really hard to try and understand what is pure intentional misdirection on this show, and what is uneven characterization.
Cersei does do one thing good by calling Tyrion out on his dream that Dany will make the world a better place, considering he just said she wanted to rain fire and blood down on King’s Landing, forcing Tyrion to admit what he loves most about Dany is that he’s able to control her. #WOMENONTOP
Cersei not-so-subtly touches her stomach and Tyrion thinks he’s got her cornered. Tyrion has truly been awful at reading people the last few seasons but I think it’s also part of the pattern that only one individual can be smart at a time in a scene, so Cersei fools Tyrion into thinking that he’s caught her vulnerability and uses it to get her to agree. Little does he or the audience really understand that she’s lying about it and why other than to possibly delay provoking war.
Back at the dragon pit, everyone’s just hanging around waiting for Tyrion to come back and Jon and Dany have a little moment talking about dragons and the history of the pit. Dany says “a dragon is not a slave,” condemning her ancestors for locking up their dragons, when if we just think back a few seasons ago, she did exactly that. Jon is smitten, I guess (does anyone seriously feel any chemistry from these two because it’s certainly not in the writing), and tells her she’s not like everyone else and will restart the Targaryen line. Dany reminds him she can’t have babies, in case you didn’t get the memo the fifty times they’ve brought it up this season, and Jon asks her who told her that. She says “the witch who murdered my husband,” throwing poor Mirri Maz Duur under the bus when she did absolutely nothing. No, she really didn’t even say that on the show. That part of her “prophesy” was cut, so Dany must have read A Game of Thrones.
Jon also says they are “fucked,” again failing to explain why, because they could decimate Cersei’s forces then and there and happily march north to right the White Walker threat, or they could ignore Cersei’s depleted forces and happily march north to right the White Walker threat. Tyrion comes back though, and he totally fixed everything so Cersei now agrees to send her forces north. Or so we think…dun dun dun! (Aren’t these twists dramatically satisfying?)
Later, Jaime is trying to organize their forces to go north but Cersei stops him, admitting that she lied about helping them. Jaime is angry but Cersei makes a good point, asking what we’ve all been asking. If they have Dothraki, Unsullied, and fucking dragons and can’t stop this army of the dead, how will our armies make a difference? They won’t.
Jaime is angry though, because he still thinks they can make a change and makes another good point that without them on their side, they are the ones who are fucked. Dany’s numbers far exceed theirs and she also has dragons. Cersei says that they do have numbers and that Euron was just bluffing when he said he was going back to the Iron Islands. Instead he’s sailing to Essos to pick up the Golden Company to fight for her. I think she misunderstands the part that with the army of the dead approaching there will be no throne to fight for, but be is she will fight for it as long she she can.
Jaime can’t take this bombshell though, and this is his breaking point. Not the sept explosion with Aerys 2.0, not his entire journey with Brienne, not the fact she slept with Lancel, or the dumb perjury trap, but rather the fact that she plotted with Euron instead of him. Benioff and Weiss literally confirm that it’s out of frustration that Cersei doesn’t trust him as much as he does her that he leaves, rather than anything that would actually indicate or stimulate any internal character growth. Jaime, despite being back on a sort of track several seasons too late towards redemption as he finally leaves Cersei, is still leaving her because his love for her trumps hers for his, and he can’t take that any more rather than it being directly a realization of how toxic she and their relationship is.
Much like Tyrion, he challenges Cersei to let Gregor kill him on her orders for disobeying, but she can’t do it, so he leaves. Several seasons of flatlines and recessive arcs later, and he’s finally broken free from his incestuous love affair, but only because she didn’t love him back as much as he loved her. An internal struggle with honor or want to do good you say? No, that’s too complex. In reality it’s too late for his breakaway moment to feel like anything to me at this point, after all that we’ve seen him stick through with her, but, oh well, at least it eventually came. I was starting to think he would be by her side till the literal moment where he has to fulfill his role as the valonqar.
As Jaime leaves and stops randomly to put his glove on his golden hand, he realizes it’s snowing. Winter has officially come to King’s Landing as Jaime makes his way North, presumably, to fight in the battle that is to come. The fight for “life” as Jon calls it. I like the snowing sequence, but because they’ve failed at seeding in the changing weather in the past, it does feel a little abrupt to go from what looked like summer heat, despite the clothing, to this. It could have also been nice to see more reaction from people, but I’ll take it. It was easily the best sequence in the episode.
Jon and Dany are planning their next move after the good news that Cersei is going to send her troops to join them and how they will move their forces North. They’re sending the Dothraki to ride to Winterfell, which will apparently get them there within the fortnight, but the question is: how does Dany want to get there?
Yes, this is really a discussion about how best to get Dany from point A to point B just to get boat sex. Jorah suggests she ride a dragon because there could be assassins on the King’s Road, forgetting she still doesn’t have any armor or a harness to ride said dragon. Jon, however, proposes they show up as a united front by taking a boat, aka lets go have some boat sex, and Dany agrees. Mr. Friendzone looks sad that he couldn’t prevent boat sex, but the plan is set.
Theon walks up to Jon as he’s starting preparations with Davos for a quick chat and tells him he admires him for being so good that he couldn’t lie. “You’ve always known what was right,” Theon tells Jon. Jon denies that, insisting that he’s done a lot he regrets, but Theon insists “Not compared to me you haven’t,” and Jon agrees. I beg to differ, considering Jon’s first act as a reanimated fire wight was to shirk his duties as commander but execute those who had stabbed him, including a child. Does personal vendettas against children make the killing of them any better than if they are mere strangers?
Theon then says “I always wanted to do the right thing, be the right person but it always seemed like there was an impossible choice I had to make: Stark or Greyjoy” and oh my god is this bad writing. Don’t write what is thematically important about your characters in their actual dialogue. Theon isn’t looking at his life as a book analysis.
Jon, however, gets angry at this because Theon didn’t appreciate Ned as a father. This is what frustrated me. Thrones has weirdly had a really great track record with Theon until the last few seasons. Their additions in the early seasons have been some of their best work, period, and also their best adjustments. They seemed to be perfectly aware of what Theon’s predicament meant in terms of how it related to his fucked up notion of family. He’s lived half his life as a Greyjoy, was taken from his home as a hostage, but told that he he must be grateful to the man who has taken him and accept him and his children as his new family because he is being given all the luxury and respect of a son. However, he’s not a son. He’s not even just a ward. He’s lived his whole life at Winterfell knowing that at any moment his head could be chopped off should his father make a wrong move.
“Yes, my captors were so very kind to me, you love reminding me of that. Everyone in this frozen pile of shit has always loved reminding me of that. You know what it’s like to be told how lucky you are to be someone’s prisoner? To be told how much YOU owe THEM? And then to go back home to your real father… “
That line perfectly encapsulates Theon’s situation, yet they completely recede back here with Jon’s reminder and insistence that Theon should be grateful for the love and care Ned showed Theon, and Theon agrees. The dialogue doesn’t give Theon a chance to ever voice this struggle to Jon or even assert anything at all. For a scene that tells us it’s a character changing moment, the character that is supposedly changing doesn’t get a whole lot of agency within it.
Jon forgives Theon for what he can, telling him he’s both a Greyjoy and a Stark, that he doesn’t have to choose. This is exactly what I’m talking about. There are some interesting parallels between Jon and Theon’s journey as outsiders within their own “family,” albeit incredibly different scenarios, so them paralleling each other or understanding this struggle is nice conceptually. But this reconciliation should have come from the person who was having the identity crisis in the first place. Jon then literally directs him to his next move, telling him to get a jump on rescuing Yara already, and like a good character who no longer knows the concept of forwarding their own plot anymore, he listens.
There’s so much to say about this next scene where Theon “earns” the “respect” of his fellow Ironborn and sets off to go save Yara, but then first word that comes to mind is “repulsive”. Theon goes up to the men with his newfound confidence from Jon and tells them that they need to save Yara. They tell him that she’s dead and that he left her to die, to which he agrees saying “I ran from my uncle, I was a coward.” Remember when we thought D&D did the impossible and remembered trauma exists? Well, we were wrong, because apparently he was just a coward for running away and should have gotten himself killed or captured just for the sole purpose of being able to say he tried to save her in an impossible situation.
Theon was not a coward and having a traumatic PTSD induced panic attack doesn’t make you a coward.
Not to mention that while, in theory, I love the notion of Theon and Yara actually caring about each other, that went out the window on the show when they made her an abusive rapist pirate lesbian last season and I’m not going to quickly forget it. The fact that he’s going through this all and “proving” himself to save his toxic sibling who verbally abused him not too long ago doesn’t strike me as emotionally empowering.
“Run away little Theon, it’s what you do best,” one of the Ironborn jests, but he doesn’t run away. So now I guess he’s toxically masculine enough to earn their respect. Despite being beaten and beaten, Theon doesn’t back down until eventually the man knees him in his crotch, only to find that it doesn’t hurt Theon because he’s without genetilia thanks to Ramsay’s torture and mutilation. It’s literally played as a hokey weaponized disability in the same way that Jaime’s hand has been, but it’s somehow even worse. Theon doesn’t even flinch at these blows, as if he’s somehow indestructible down there, and punches the other man to death.
This toxic masculinity bullshit has been pushed so much in the Ironborn plot line, but without the added lens of condemning it. Yara completely gives into it on the show, where as Asha has to learn to navigate within it while also resisting it in the books. Theon learns to deal with what for him feels like de-masculinization after growing up putting all of his worth in it. Victarion’s toxicity destroys him and those around, and he’s also the victim of Euron’s own release. Aeron is also clearly suffering on many levels at the hands of Euron and the culture the Ironborn have come accept as normalcy, despite the fact that its instability is literally driving them into the ground.
The show, however, emboldens this mentality, and just throws a female as its spokesperson as if that makes it better.
Triumphant music plays as Theon brutally kills this man, the Ironborn finally on his side again, and instead of examining what is wrong with a culture taking pride in said brutality, the narrative cheers for it as well, completely and blissfully unaware of the damage that it has on its character.
Over in Winterfell Sansa is pissed at Jon because he sent her a raven that basically said “Hey I’m sorry I’m not back but while I was away I bent the knee. TTYL.” She’s talking this all over with Littlefinger because for some reason she still takes his council, but he does suggest something that it’s ridiculous no one has suggested before: he thinks that Jon and Dany will marry one another, as he is King in the North and she is declaring herself Queen of a land she does not know. Joining their forces would make them unbeatable. (Wow it’s almost as if there’s no way they should even be worrying about Cersei at this point).
Littlefinger tries to hint that Sansa should take over position as Queen in the North, but Sansa says Arya would kill her (literally kill her, as in murder, not in the peeved sibling sort of way). Littlefinger says Arya would never do that but Sansa, who is probably scared shitless after last week’s run in with her psychopathic murderous sibling, insists that he doesn’t understand. Littlefinger tries to help her and also play her in the most obvious way by walking her through the scenario in a game he likes to play of “assuming the worst”. Essentially he guides her to the point that Arya wants to kill Sansa so she could be Lady of Wintefell (which makes no sense because grabs for power is exactly what is making Arya mad, and so is betraying her family, and I’m pretty sure terrorizing and threatening to kill your sister would fall under that umbrella)
Later in the Great Hall (yeah there are literally no scenes in between, which after typing this up makes it even more illogical), Sansa calls a meeting and orders her men to bring her sister to her. Littlefinger is resting in his wall spot, and Sansa is delivering a speech that seems to sound like she’s condemning Arya for treason. “It’s not what I want, it’s what honor demands.”
This is something they’ve tried to spin so many times in the last few seasons with the Stark kids—this concept that they are following in their father’s footsteps, a la Ned in the pilot episode executing the Night’s Watch deserter. However, I think they severely misunderstand where honor and the law come into play in all of these scenarios. Jon’s killing of a handful of the Night’s Watch men who killed him, including a child, was not an honorable execution. It was personal vendetta, as he hung up his cloak as commander right after it. Sansa’s killing of Ramsay was not in public, or a standardized punishment/method of execution. It was also emotional. It was also vengeance. Never mind the fact that Jon made pals with Jorah last week and said he’s glad Ned never caught him, offering the man who dabbled in slaving a sword he doesn’t deserve rather than the heir it actually belongs to.
But oho—what a switcheroo! Sansa accuses Littlefinger of the crimes we thought she was trying Arya for!
Sansa brings out the receipts that he killed Lysa and Jon Arryn, reminding us that he literally kickstarted the War of Five Kings and in doing so, how crappy of a plot leading to his demise this was. It also reminds us that she had this information for forever and could have done this whenever she wanted to, Royce is clearly happy to do whatever she says here, but that would mean they could have avoided throwing her into Jeyne Poole’s storyline, and I think we know what their priority was with that, certainly not prioritizing Sansa herself.
Littlefinger starts getting defensive, insisting that one was there to know the truth but Robo-Bran sees all (or at least what the plot requires him to) and so his visions apparently count as evidence in this barely-there trial. As he begs for his life, Sansa in her deadpanned voice of empowerment (after Sophie Turner was doing some great acting a few seconds ago, but it seems like when murder happens deadpan is the direction), tells him she’s playing the “assume the worst” game, accusing him of trying to turn her and Arya against each other.
When are we supposed to believe she came to this conclusion? The two were obviously not always colluding because that face flay threat seemed pretty real last week, not to mention they were alone when that conversation happened so it would serve absolutely no purpose in tricking him. This came out of nowhere. Are we supposed to assume Robo-Bran gave them info off screen? Why is any of this happening off screen?
Sansa passes the sentence and has Arya slit his throat, and I can’t wait to read all the articles touting this as empowering and forgiving last week’s bullshit, when in reality this excused nothing and was the most contrived piece of writing I’ve seen. Shocks are not worth anything. If you don’t seed any of this in, especially something as important of an event as this, it has no impact, except for initial shock value, and that is worth nothing.
Overall it’s just lazy and bad writing, and Benioff and Weiss confirmed after the episode that the cattiness was simply done for tension so that you might believe she would kill Arya. That’s not tension. That’s a needless conflict that only exists because you wrote the previous scenes to indicate that with no hint that there would be something underlying going on.
Sam also arrives at Winterfell after all of this went down and he immediately goes in to talk to Robo-Bran, who seems to maybe have more emotion talking to Sam than he has shown for any of his siblings. Bran also explains the Three Eyed Raven thing way better to him. He must really remember that one time they met so fondly. Maybe he was watching it back on his vision tv.
Sam says he came to help Jon fight against the dead and Bran says that Jon needs to know the truth that no one knows except for him, because fuck Howland Reed right? Bran’s selective visions showed that Jon is a Sand born to Lyanna and Rhaegar and Sam, being the asshole he is, takes all credit for transcribing that maester’s diary and remembering that Rhaegar annulled his marriage with Elia and remarried Lyanna, making Jon a true Targaryen and heir to the throne.
We get Bran narrating over a flashback of Rhaegar and Lyanna’s wedding which looks beyond subpar and not like it is in Dorne at all. The guy playing Rhaegar is basically wearing Harry Lloyd’s Viserys wig, which I don’t have a problem because I can see Viserys growing up in Essos and styling his hair after Rhaegar, but it literally looks like they took the same wig. Also, if we were going to get flashbacks of this “whirlwind romance” we couldn’t have at least gotten something more interesting and informative, like anything from the tourney at Harrenhal?
Bran then tells us what a stand-up guy Rhaegar was. “Robert’s Rebellion was built on a lie,” he says. “Rhaegar did not kidnap my aunt or rape her, he loved her and she loved him.” This is such bullshit. Robert’s Rebellion may have initially been kickstarted by her abduction, but it didn’t turn into an actual war until Aerys literally burned and strangled Rickard and Brandon to death and then called for Ned and Robert’s heads too. That’s not a lie, the Mad King was still mad.
All of this was intercut with the boat sex we’ve all been waiting for that was so highly disappointing. There wasn’t even any dialogue. It was so bland.
We also learn that Jon’s real name is Aegon Targaryen, which I read in the spoilers, but didn’t fully believe was true until now because oh my god that is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. If I was Elia Martell I would have Gone Girl’d Rhaegar by now, because what a fucking asshole. You already have a son named Aegon, but you’re going to name your second child with another wife Aegon as well? And delegitimize your other kids while you’re at it? Great. What a good guy.
Speaking of good guys, Sansa tells Arya “In his own horrible way I believed he loved me,” when thinking about Littlefinger. That is not love. He wanted to possess you. The two are standing on the walls of Winterfell and Arya tells Sansa “I never could have survived what you survived,” but Sansa insists she would, ’cause they’re friends now, despite the fact that the whole point of it was no, they would not have survived in each others place but went on similar journeys that played on their opposite strengths.
I like them bonding, and it’s nice to see them be kind to each other, but could we not have had this from the beginning? It could have been awkward at first and been about them rebuilding their relationship, but the catty and abusive bullshit didn’t make this rewarding.
They reminisce about Ned, reciting his quote about the lone wolf dying and the pack surviving. They say that they both miss him as they stare off into the distance, united in their empowering murder because that’s what sister bonding is all about. Fuck their dead brothers and mom though, right? They don’t need to feel feelings about them.
Further up north at Eastwatch, Beric, and Tormund are just walking around when suddenly the army of the dead marches through the tree line and up to the Wall. They seemed shocked that this could have happened so fast, as if they didn’t already know they couldn’t have been more than a day’s ride away. At least they are safeguarded by that magical wall right?
WRONG. The Night King comes out of nowhere riding Wightserion like a pro, and can now breathe blue flame. Why he has new powers I don’t understand, as he’s literally just a zombie of a dead dragon, but new rules every episode! This magic fire is super strong though, and apparently not cold as the concept would have you think. He immediately starts blowing a hole in the Wall, eventually knocking down what looks like the entirety of Eastwatch’s structures and clearing a path for the army to walk through, the dead officially crossing the Wall for the first time.
I guess the Wall in the show isn’t magic or if it is all it takes is some dead dragon fire to break it. And the Night King is surely like a minute away from Winterfell with the travel time we’ve been shown the last few episodes, so next season will open up with that action packed set piece right?
Okay everyone that is it! We got an episode that was 45 minutes longer than it needed to be with it’s fair share of bullshit to close out the season! The penultimate season is officially over and it was somehow even worse than I expected because most of it wasn’t even the ridiculous fun I could laugh at like the other seasons, but rather the boring bad that makes me question how anyone is captivated by this, even on a “guilty pleasure” level.
Wait…what happened to Gendry? I just realized he wasn’t in this entire episode.