This last season of Game of Thrones has generated some mixed reviews from fans over the last seven episodes. With complaints about the poor writing and time traveling combined with HBO hacks and leaks, it was a difficult season and many fans were nervous about just where the season finale would take us.
For a show that had eight million story lines with hundreds of characters in a dozen cities, we can finally narrow these stories down to really three places: King’s Landing, Winterfell, and the Wall. A lot of that has to do with the impressive body count but even moreso, it has to do with the fact that each of the individual story lines are finally coming together.
The episode opens with what many thought would be the climax of the episode where almost every single power player in the Game of Thrones meets in the dragon pits. Cersei sees Tyrion again for the first time since he killed their father. Brienne is reunited with Jaime and the Hound. Bronn and Podric go off drinking together. And for the first time ever, Cersei, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, Jon, the King of the North, and Daenerys, the Foreign Invader, all stand face to face. The tension in the air is so thick, you could cut it with a Vylerian steel blade.
The preview for this episode made this moment appear as the pivotal moment in the finale and yet, we were seeing it in the first 20 minutes. It was at this point that I found myself getting nervous. Coming off of the last episode that simply felt like a filler episode, I was afraid that it would continue into the finale and nothing would happen in the 80 minutes I’d be sitting on my couch.
But within that first 20 minutes, it seems as if the ridiculously stupid plan from the last episode paid off: the Hound releases the wight the men managed to capture north of the wall, it lunges violently at Cersei, and Jon sets it on fire and stabbed it with a dragon glass dagger, convincing Cersei and everyone else in the dragon pit that the White Walkers are real and that the “great war” is the only war that they should be worrying about right now. Everything seems to be going according to plan…
…until Cersei tells Jon she will help but only if he returns to the North and promises to not fight against the Lannisters in the coming war between herself and Daenerys. Jon being Jon refuses, admitting that he’s already sworn fealty to Daenerys and he can’t go back on his word.
With Tyrion’s impeccable diplomacy skills, he manages to convince Cersei that she needs to help (and doesn’t die in the process). It may or may not have something to do with the fact that Cersei is “pregnant” (I’m still not 100% convinced she is just going off of what the witch told her when she was a girl… but she could be pregnant and then lose the baby or she could even die before giving birth… but I digress…). Cersei returns to Jon and Daenerys and agrees to help, calling her banner men. However, as Jaime and his men prepare to ride North, Cersei informs her brother that she lied and that she has no intention of helping.
Can we talk about the Lannister twins for a minute?
Cersei is so diabolical. Brilliant. And just evil. Leading up to her imprisonment during the High Sparrow’s reign of power, fans hated her and her undying love for Joffrey. Then the walk of shame happened and we actually found ourselves felling bad for her… a woman that has not done a single decent thing in seven seasons now. There is something about Cersei that is so captivating. You hate her yet you feel for her. And you can begin to understand why Jaime is so infatuated with her and always seemingly trapped in her web. Speaking of Jaime…
Can we talk about character development? This man has gone from pushing a child out the window in season one episode one to literally leaving Cersei behind to ride north because he gave his word to help Jon and Daenerys fight the White Walkers. FINALLY. It seems as if he’s finally freed himself from Cersei’s toxic web and I think it has to do with two things: seeing Brienne again (“To hell with Houses…” Thank you, girl!) and Cersei nearly allowing Ser Gregor to kill him. Here’s hoping he makes it North and is able to continue weening himself off of Cersei and the bizarre icky hold she has on him.
And speaking of siblings… in Winterfell, things finally took a turn for the better.
This story line has been the biggest disappointment all season long for many fans. Many awaited the reunion of the Stark siblings and we got it fairly early on… only to then have it followed by a creepy paranoid Arya threatening Sansa left and right. Many fans theorized that the two sisters were playing Littlefinger… and it looked like our patience paid off in the end.
Arya is summoned to the Great Hall where Bran and Sansa sit at the head table and Sansa begins listing off crimes of murder and treason before turning to look at Littlefinger.
Aidan Gillen’s acting in this scene was to die for (pun intended?). The shock on his face as Sansa calls him out by name and then the panic that replaces it as she begins listing the wicked things he’d done was incredible. As he fell to his knees, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that started to laugh maniacally. After all the wicked things he’d done–pushing Aunt Lysa out of the moon door, poisoning Jon Arryn, betraying Ned Stark (which would lead to his execution), beginning a war between the Starks and the Lannisters, and even selling Sansa to the Boltons–Lord Baelish finally gets what he deserves and Arya executes him with his very own catspaw dagger… the same dagger meant to kill little Bran back in season one. Ah… sweet vengeance…
And as if Littlefinger getting exactly what he deserves wasn’t enough to put a smile on fans’ faces, Sam arrives at Winterfell where he meets with Bran. It’s there that they put their knowledge together: Bran knows that Jon is not Ned’s bastard, but Rhaegar’s instead, and Sam knows that Rhaegar was remarried in a secret ceremony… making Jon not a bastard but the heir to the Iron Throne. His true name: Aegon Targaryen.
Of course, all good things must die in Game of Thrones. As Jon’s lineage is finally being spoken out loud, we watch (rather uncomfortably if I might add) as Jon enters Daenerys’s room and they spend a steamy night together, making love. But hey! Incest is practically an acceptable institution in Westeros so I guess that’s okay?
As snow finally falls on all of Westeros, we reunite with Tormund at the Wall as the White Walkers and their army of the dead arrive. The episode ends with the Night King riding on his freaking frost dragon, Viserion, destroying the wall and the dead enter Westeros.
As a whole, I thought the episode was pretty good. It was by no means the worst one but it certainly wasn’t the best. Despite the fact that it was 80 minutes long, not too much seemed to happen. Jaime decided to leave Cersei and head North to help Jon and the others, Lord Baelish was taken care of, someone finally said that Jon was a Targaryen out loud, and the White Walkers arrived at Westeros. However, we did get some priceless reunions, story lines finally converging after seven seasons, and lots awkward manhood jokes (poor Theon).
+Converging story lines
+Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Aidan Gillen impeccable acting when they were threatened with death.
+The terrible Arya VS. Sansa story line being a farce.
+ ICE DRAGON
+Learning Jon’s true name is Aegon Targaryen.
-Jon and Daenerys.
-Lots of talking, no action.
-Jon and Daenerys.
-Very slow moving in the beginning.
-Jon and Daenerys.
Amanda Woomer-Limpert is one of the Geekiverse’s newest writers. She’s praying to the gods-both old and new-that Tyrion survives next season. And Ser Jorah. And Brienne. And Tormund… Seriously, if Tormund is not reunited with his Big Lady, I’m going after GRRM.
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