After last week’s trip beyond the wall, the focus of the season finale switches to King’s Landing for a meeting that could decide the future of Westeros once and for all, while the Starks in Winterfell deal with a Little problem.
So, my plan was to review every episode of this seventh season of Game of Thrones. The problem – and not my only problem with the season – is that the pace of story telling has meant many episodes have been all-action, and a bit of a nightmare to review without revealing spoilers! Still, that is a small price to pay for what has been an incredibly entertaining six episodes up until now, even if some plot points have been rushed and some favourite characters sidelined. Finally though, the last episode of the season takes its foot off the gas, and that gives me a chance to review one of the best episodes in a long time.
(I try my best to avoid spoilers, so I won’t reveal what happens in the later parts of the episode, even though they are things most of us have expected to happen for a long time)
After capturing a wight last week (in a ridiculous plan that never could have worked without loss of life), Jon Snow and company head to King’s Landing to meet with Cersei, to persuade the current Queen to agree to a truce while they fight off the White Walkers in the North. Daenerys makes a grand entrance into the Dragonpit on her dragon though, and we finally have a face off between Cersei and Daenerys. Jon Snow gives an impassioned speech about protecting the people of Westeros from the living dead who are matching from the North – only to be told by Cersei that to her, he is the threat from the North. Queue the Hound bringing the wight into the arena, and the sight of the risen dead is enough to persuade Cersei it is in her best interests to fight alongside Jon Snow and the rest of the Northern Lords, rather than against them. All he has to do is to renounce Daenerys bend the knee to her – which Ned Stark’s son just cannot do, and the Northerners, adopted Northerners, and Dragon queens all start to leave King’s Landing without the truce they wanted.
That is until Tyrion Lannister decides that only one man can talk to his sister is himself. Their first scene together since Tyrion killed Tywin and fled Westeros, is one of the very best Game of Thrones has given us in a long time. Cersei rages at her brother, but Tyrion remains unsquashed by the Mountain and eventually they do agree to the truce.
Or do they?
Cersei has a meeting with Jaime soon after, and reveals her true intentions to him. This is the last straw for Jaime, and he finally stands up to his Queen and leaves King’s Landing. Where will he end up?
Not all of the action is confined to King’s Landing though. In Jon’s absence, Littlefinger has been spinning his web, turning Sansa and Arya Stark against each other. Last week, Arya seemed to be on the verge of murdering Sansa after finding the note she had written begging the Starks to surrender. At the same time, Sansa was coming under pressure from the Lords of the North to take John’s role as leader. When Jon Snow sends a raven saying he has pledged loyalty to Daenerys as his Queen, Baelish manages to persuade Sansa that Arya needs to be taken care of. Will the Stark sisters fall into Littlefinger’s web? And can Bran Stark harness the power of the Three Eyed Raven to help them? Or reveal any other important information (*nudge, nudge*)?
Jon Snow also has another family issue to deal with (not that one, there are no spoilers here!) as his adopted-step-half brother Theon apologises once again for everything, and although Jon doesn’t absolve or forgive him, he does realise that Theon was a troubled man long before Ramsey Bolton went to work on him. Theon may be named Greyjoy, but he was raised as a Stark, and Theon resolves to rescue his sister. But will he be able to do it on his own?
Oh.. and after last week’s closing scene, just where have the Night King and his newly resurrected dragon been all this time?
There was a tradition that the penultimate episode of each season of GoT was the one where the action took place, while the season finale reflected on the aftermath and set up the story lines going forward. Last year was probably the exception when Cersei got all explode-y and slipped onto the Iron Throne slightly under the radar. Although still a very busy episode, “The Dragon and the Wolf” does allow the characters time to reflect on their new positions, and is all the better for it. The very best thing about the “big meeting” in the Dragon pit wasn’t Daenerys and Cersei, it was seeing all of the b-level characters interact after so long apart. Jaime and Brienne. Brienne and the Hound. And of course, The Hound and the Mountain – “You know who’s coming for you. You’ve always known.”
It also brought back some of the political intrigue of early seasons, although admittedly at a superficial level. Peter Dinklage is always a treat, but Tyrion Lannister has not had the best year. His attack on Casterly Rock was a failure (where is Greyworm exactly?), he was blindsided by the Greyjoy fleet (where is Yare exactly?), and allowing the “capture a wight” suicide mission is a huge failure for him. So even though it didn’t work out for him, it was great to see him and Cersei in the same room again. Similarly, Jaime has had a fantastic journey over the course of Game of Thrones, but his taciturn attitude and implied acceptance of Cersei’s actions since his return to King’s Landing have seemed to be a step back for him this season. I expect better from both Lannister brothers next year!
We are going to have some spoiler filled reaction and prediction articles coming up in the next few days, where I will actually discuss what happened in the latter half of the episode. And like I said, although they weren’t surprises, the fact that they have happened now pretty much shapes what will happen in the last season.
Which can’t come soon enough! Please don’t make us wait too long Misters Weiss and Benioff!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
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