So here we go. The finale of season seven. And holy shit, hold onto your butts.
Looking out onto a field of Unsullied soldiers has to be disconcerting. Knowing they have dragons as back up? Even more so. This is Daenerys showing her power to the Lannisters in a way that no one can ignore, and in a manner that’s much more direct than attacking a single convoy. There are few ways more impressive to make an entrance than on the back of a dragon, even if you are down to two of them.
There are no better sights on this show than Cersei looking disconcerted, by the way.
It remains strange to see all these characters in one place at the same time, but that’s kind of the whole point. The game has been going on long enough. Now it’s time to see what the score really is.
The wight is revealed after some (admittedly satisfying) conversation, and here we get to see if Tyrion’s idiotic plan will improve the situation. That reveal, and the precise length of the chain, is a pretty good payoff for a silly series of action scenes, at least.
The undead soldier is terrifying, and the Hound hacking off bits that still move was a nice touch. Qyburn was interested, at least. Jon’s science experiment in front of the class was another nice touch. For a moment at least, he was Billy Nye the Science Bastard.
Euron’s sudden departure seems to change the math of things, and Cersei doesn’t mess around. She accepts the truce then and there. No one can quite believe it was that easy, but the appeal to Jon’s honor — while naming him Ned Stark’s son — is a nice bit of thinking on her feet. And yet he turns her down flat. This episode does not mess around: Jon has already bent the knee. The math, once again, changes.
Jon’s speech about lies being a bad idea is laudable, but that kind of earnest, naïve thinking is indeed what got his father killed. Daenerys’ argument that her dragon might have died for nothing is a telling moment: She has too much invested in the meeting to be able to walk away, even if that’s what the situation calls for. It’s a bad position to be in, and a worse one to announce, even to your allies.
Cersei and Tyrion’s verbal showdown shows that she’s not a queen and never will be. Ruthless, sure. But not a queen. She doesn’t care about her people or her kingdom. She cares about her family, and no one else. Power is its own reward, but it’s a reward she’s willing to throw away when it comes down to survival. She isn’t concerned with the responsibility that comes with it.
Or at least that’s how it seems. Her surprise move to fight the Army of the Dead without standing down doesn’t seem like it should be taken at face value. And later it turns out it was all part of a ploy, including Euron’s defection. She’s playing 4D chess, I guess.
Bronn’s joke about cocks was more on point than he knew at the time. Theon earned the respect and fealty of the Ironborn men by being able to withstand an enormous amount of punishment in general, but not reacting to being kneed in the balls specifically.
Which brings us to Littlefinger.
“Lady Sansa, forgive me: I am a bit confused,” he says. But the audience is not confused. We might have seen this coming, but it was still a great moment, as was Arya’s smile at the reveal. It’s the sort of frustrating but fun fan service we’ve been seeing all season long. I’m loving it while it’s happening, but it all seems a bit too pat once you have a moment to think about it.
But now Littlefinger is dead, and thank all the gods. His usefulness to the narrative had long since passed,; the last gift he had to give the viewer was his own death. And what a gift it was.
Sam’s meeting with Bran reveals something very interesting: He may be able to see everything, but he has to know where to look. And he never thought to look for the truth of Jon’s parentage in that particular place.
But let’s hold up. This reveal is everything we all wanted, in our dark hearts. We wanted Jon to know his own past, but it’s revealed that his true name is Aegon Targaryen right before he has sex with Dany. So there it is, in the perfect order. The fan theories and twisted, lustful thoughts have all been paid off. I hope it was worth it, you magnificent perverts. I hope you all enjoyed it.
And just to prove that every fan theory and amazing visual we’ve talked about is going to come true, here’s the undead Viserion, breathing blue fire and destroying the Wall. This is how they do it. This is how they break through. And this is where the stakes change. There will be no more protection from the Night King, and that shot of the Wall falling is just as devastating as we imagined.
Like I’ve said in the past, we weren’t scared enough.
Odds and ends
- “Maybe it really is all cocks in the end.”
- Tyrion is very good at looking worried. He’s had much to be worried about this season.
- “The only one that needs protecting is the one that gets in her way.”
- “Can they swim?” No. “I’m taking the fleet back to the Iron Islands.” Damn, Euron. That’s cold.
- Littlefinger’s game of working out someone’s motivations is a very dark way of looking at the world, but it’s been working all right for him. Until Sansa learns.
- “Every step you take, it’s always the right step.” Theon, we may be watching very different shows.
- “If we could speak alone, I could explain everything!” Never trust anyone who says this.
- “I remember everything.”
- And that’s it for season seven! I hope you had as much fun with these recaps as I did.