What a finale. What a season. GAME OF THRONES has done it again, creating an awe-inspiring 81 minutes of television that people twenty years ago could never have even fathomed. We got a glimpse at almost every major character still alive at this point over the course of the episode, so there is a lot to cover. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
The episode doesn’t waste any time. We begin with the long anticipated meeting of the minds. We have never seen so many characters from so many different storylines in one place. Jon Snow, Daenerys, Tyrion, The Hound, Theon Greyjoy, Varys, Grey Worm, Jorah, Brienne of Tarth, Bronn, and others all arrive in King’s Landing to meet with Cersei, Jaime, Qyburn, Euron Greyjoy, zombie The Mountain and more. My head was spinning trying to keep track of who all had previously met, who had grudges, etc, but the writers did a good job of taking the time to have characters interact who needed to.
For instance, The Hound spots Brienne of Tarth (who were last together when Brienne basically left him for dead after an epic battle over Arya) and they have a decidedly civil exchange over how Arya has grown to be able to protect herself. The Hound also sees his brother, the zombified Mountain, and in a one-sided exchange, basically tells him that he’s going to fight him one day–just not today. Old friends Bronn and Tyrion get to chat (I forget that they were the original duo before Bronn and Jamie became a thing). Euron antagonizes Theon, telling him to submit to him or else he’ll kill his sister Yara (who is still alive!). For a while getting all these characters caught up with one another seemed like it was going to be the entire episode, but finally, the meeting began. Danaerys flew in late on her dragon because she, of course, has to make a grand entrance.
As planned, our heroes describe to Cersei what they have seen very recently North of the Wall. Cersei believes it all to be made up, that they are lying to her, trying to trick her into sending her armies away while they attack King’s Landing with their armies. That’s when The Hound brings out the wooden crate and releases the undead creature they captured last week. It goes running straight for Cersei (this was terrifying) until a chain snaps it back and The Hound deals with it. Cersei agrees the army of the dead must be faced by a united humanity. But will only send her armies north if Jon Snow pledges to submit to her and stay out of the battle that will ultimately come between her and Danaerys, but he won’t do it, as he’s already bent the knee to Danaerys and accepted her as queen. Tyrion calls him on his inability to lie, even to save the world, but that’s Jon Snow for you. Cersei storms away. Tyrion follows up with her bravely, knowing she wants him dead, but when he realizes she is pregnant (with Jaime’s child) he is able to convince her to put other matters aside and join up with Jon and Danaerys.
Or so it seemed. Later in the episode, she revealed to her brother/lover Jaime that she has no intentions of actually sending her army. She said she’d let those others duke it out in the North and deal with the fallout. This is how badly she wants to hold on to the Throne. Jaime knows this is suicide and in a huge moment decides to leave his sister/lover and King’s Landing and ride out, presumably to join the good guys fighting the dead! God, Jaime has come such a long way.
A lot of people have been perturbed by the Sansa vs. Arya storyline that’s been brewing this season, but I was on board because I saw it for what it was from the beginning: Arya and Sansa manipulating Littlefinger, not the other way around. He’s been trying to drive a wedge between girls, probably in some sort of “divide and conquer” strategy. But right when you think that Sansa is calling Arya into the chamber to be punished, perhaps killed, for “treason” and conspiring against her, it turns out this hearing is for Littlefinger himself. Sansa reads him a list of charges, not the least of which was being directly responsible for their father’s beheading, and Arya slices his throat without hesitation. It was a fitting end to an original cast member, though I have to admit I will miss Aidan Gillen in the role. Just a wonderful actor.
Sam arrives in Winterfell and goes straight for Bran Stark with some news. And finally what so many of us already figured out long ago is confirmed: Jon is actually Aegon Targaryen, his parents were Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark (Ned’s sister). Sam offers that bit of information Gilly read to him a couple weeks ago about Rhaegar and Lyanna actually having been secretly wed. So this means Jon actually was NOT a bastard and actually has a rightful claim to the Iron Throne himself. Also, Rhaegar is Danaerys’ older brother, which now makes Jon and Danaerys family… She’s his aunt. Pretty cool, right?
But then they go and keep this whole incest thing going. Dany and Jon end up having sex on the ship they are traveling on. It’s a beautiful union, really… Besides the whole being family member parts. Will this love last to the end of the series? We’ve never felt like the end was so near before than in the final moments of the show. At Eastwatch, Tormund and Beric watch as the Night King leads his army out of the woods and then… ZOMBIE DRAGON. Yup, Dany’s dead dragon gets some action this week, as it uses its blue fire to freaking MELT down the Wall. The final shot is the army of the undead slowly marching south, finally on the other side of the Wall.
Overall the episode was surprising, satisfying, and just visually stunning from front to back. It was great to see old characters come together and new characters meet. I can’t wait for the final season, coming in 2019.
Season 7, Episode 7 (S07E07)
Game of Thrones airs Sunday at 9PM on HBO
Paul Gulyas | Contributor