Welcome back to my weekly write up of Game of Thrones, where we get overexcited at possible love interests and point out all practical flaws in the show. Last episode was quite a bit more focused, but man it was still jammed packed. It was one long episode, clocking in over an hour. It almost felt like a movie with an ending that made you feel kind of shitty, like at the end of Empire Strikes Back. I loved that they took the same to show of things properly. Although there were small things here and there that bugged me, I still enjoyed it. Let’s get right to it!
This episode was a lot more focused, and there were three primary areas that were looked at, with the bulk of it being centered around what went on in Jon’s company. Because of that, I’m going to run through the events of the episode by region, or character interactions instead of chronological order. It’ll look a lot cleaner and be easier to follow… I hope.
Arya calls out Sansa
This scene starts out with the two simply talking. At first it seems they have let bygones be bygones. Arya starts talking about that scene in the first episode of Game of Thrones, where she lands a bull eyes over Bran’s attempts at archery. She recalls how as a girl, she was breaking the rules and was doing things men would typically do. She also fondly mentions how their father, Ned Stark, instead of scolding her, applauds her marksmanship.
At first as she’s talking, I did feel that the letter was going to be brought up, and that’s exactly what happened. Arya shows the letter to Sansa. Sansa defends herself saying that Cersei forced her to write it. Arya really doesn’t buy any of this.
As much as I hate the drama here, I do like how believable they’ve started making it. I especially love Arya’s remark as she shows the letter, saying that she recognizes Sansa’s pretty little hand writing, and that their teacher would crack her knuckles because she could never write as good as Sansa. Talk about opening old wounds, but it clearly shows there’s too much history between the two to just ignore. Forget your typical sibling rivalry that sisters go through, if you recall in season 1, Arya’s friend, the butcher boy was killed because Sansa lied about what happened. She also got her own wolf killed. So it may seem like they may be focused on the present, I think with what’s piled up from the past, this stuff is unavoidable. In the end, they are still children and not mature enough to properly cope with such things yet.
In any case, Arya says Sansa was useless. She tells her how she witnessed Ned’s execution, and how Sansa was up their with them in her pretty dress and done up hair and let it all happen. I do agree, early on Sansa was pretty useless, but she was also a prisoner and really wasn’t equipped to deal with the situation. She wasn’t a fighter like Arya. Sansa turns things around on Arya and asks if she was there, how come she didn’t do anything herself to help their father.
Sansa does bring up some good points after this, stating that because of her, Winterfell was saved and only because she called for the aid of the Eyrie. In the end, the two bicker about what each went through, and keep trying to say as if each went through something worse than the other. Although Sansa didn’t have to put up with having to fight for her life, she went through some mental torture in a way, especially with Ramsay, and essentially being raped. I don’t think either can really understand what the other went through at this point, but it’s a shame to see them this way. This should be a time when the Stark’s should be overjoyed to have re-united and claimed their house again. Sansa does bring up that them fighting amongst themselves is exactly what Cersei wants.
The scene concludes with a threat from Arya. she eludes to showing the note to Jon, who would probably just shrug it off and see Sansa as a scared child. But Arya hints at what could happen if the other Lords of Winterfell were to know about this. I really hope things don’t come to this. With faith being lost in Jon by the North, the last thing they need is to have reason to hate one of the few Stark’s remaining that clearly has a good mind for how to run things. I personally think Arya is being very unreasonable about all this. What’s equally as frustrating is Bran knows everything. Why hasn’t Bran just jumped in to point the finger at the true enemy, Littlefinger.
Speaking of rubbish, Littlefinger later on has a talk with Sansa. Sansa expresses her doubt on her men’s loyalty. She also speaks to him about the letter, and Littlefinger appears to be sympathetic and assures Sanda that Arya would never do such things to harm her. However he’s clearly playing them, and reminds Sansa that Brienne is sworn to protect them both. Brienne would eventually have to pick a side should the feud between the sisters escalate to something far worse.
We later see Sansa receive an invitation from Cersei. Sansa says she doesn’t want to go and instead orders Brienne to go on her behalf. Brienne is opposed to this, because she doesn’t trust Littlefinger, and fears he may be playing all of Winterfell’s Lords for all we know and that they cannot be entirely trusted. Sansa refuses to listen and orders Brienne in a cold manner to bugger off. I think this is a big mistake, and Sansa is very stupid for doing this. It’s pretty much a scientific fact that Littlefinger can’t be trusted, yet Sansa heeds his council, and not only that, seeked him out to get advise. Sansa should know Littlefinger is a back stabber, especially because she was given to Ramsay Bolton because of him. I simply don’t get her logic.
Last but not least, we close our time in Winterfell with Sansa finding one of Arya’s masks. Arya catches her in the act, and reveals all about the mystery of the masks. Sansa doesn’t quite understand but she’s disturbed by this. Arya then says she can be anyone she wants, even Sansa. She then hands her the Valeryian steel dagger and she exits.
This scene begs many questions and speculation. Is Arya going to kill Sansa, and use her face? Probably not, I don’t see Arya doing something that foolish. It is quite uncharacteristic for her to say such things. I at one point thought, maybe Arya isn’t Aryra, and thought back to season 6, where Waif almost killed Arya. I thought for a second, maybe Waif did kill Arya and took her face! But that can’t be, this Arya knows about her home and the people there, and we also saw Waif’s dead face at the end of that episode.
Again, whatever the reasoning is, I really hope Arya stops this madness she is on. She seems to be pinning lots of doubt towards Sansa’a loyalty toward the Stark’s, which I simply don’t buy. I really hope Bran makes some use out of his new found powers and gets these girls to snap out of it, and everyone turns on Littlefinger.
Daenerys does not approve of Tyrion’s tactics
Tyrion and Daenerys have a chat. Tyrion casually brings up handsome Jon and hints he might be falling for Dany, but she doesn’t think much of it… for now. She does say Jon is too little, at first I thought she was somehow referring to his manhood, but I think literally she thinks as a man he’s too small. I only figured this out when she felt she offended Tyrion with that comment.
They quickly move onto strategic talks, where Tyrion tells Dany he suspects Cersei will lay a trap for them. He advises Dany not to stoop to this level and play the game Cersei is trying to. Dany doesn’t seem to agree, and Tyrion says she’s starting to lose her temper, AKA MAD QUEEN! He says it was wrong for Dany to burn the Tarly’s and expresses his concern for putting herself at risk on the battle field. Daenerys takes this as Tyrion wanting to see her overthrown and taking his families side, but Tyrion sticks up for himself. He says everything he is doing is for the right reasons and for tactical advantages so that Daenerys doesn’t end up being a tyrant like all the rulers before her.
The conclude by talking about her succession, as she cannot bare any children. Daenerys doesn’t seem concerned with this for the time being, and brushes it off. Tyrion says he’s thinking of the long term, but Daenerys ends the scene by telling Tyrion to stop thinking long term and worry about the short term.
Later on in the episode, in the midst of Jon’s battle which we’ll touch upon later, Dany decides to heed to Jon’s aid. Tyrion pleads with her not to go, but Daenerys doesn’t listen to his advise, as she hops aboard Drogon and the three dragons take flight to head North. As we find out later, Tyrion may have been right about this one.
Beyond the Wall
Where the bulk of this episode spent it’s time was North of the wall. We join our misfit band of seven as hear in on all the banter. Tormund talks to Jon about Daenerys, and his refusal to bend the knee. He teases Jon that he’s spent too much time with the free folk and now refuses to bend the knee. But also says to not let his pride get in the way, as Mance Rayder thought the same, yet look at how many died following him.
On a side note, Beric Dondarrion is pretty open about dying and coming back to life, unlike someone else we know.
Jon and Jorah has a neat talk about their dad’s. Jon talks about how honorable Jeor Mormant, the Lord Commander was. Jon didn’t like the way he had to die, but ensured to Jorah that justice was served. Jorah talks about how Ned wanted to cut his head off.
Jon tries to hand down Long Claw to Jorah, seeing as it was his father’s sword and belongs to his house. But Jorah refuses, saying he shamed his house long ago and turns down the gift. Thank god! Jon has a pretty kick ass sword, I thought he’d be stupid to give it away when they are about to face probably their most trying battle yet.
One of the more hilarious bits of banter, between the Hound and Tormund. Hound expresses his dislike of red heads, where Tormund says they rock because they have been kissed by fire and are super sexy. He starts probing the Hound after observing his burn and remarks he was also kissed by fire. The Hound tells him to suck a dick, Tormund says huh? Hound says cock, and Tormund apparently likes that…
Tormund then starts telling the Hound of this big woman he knows. He finds out the Hound and her have met, after talking about some details of her strength, know they are talking about the same big woman. Tormund pretty much the professes his love for Brienne by saying he wants to have great big monster babies with her that will take over the world. Fuckin’ awesome, I wish we could see a happily ever after of this…
Beric and Jon also have a chat. Beric talks about Ned and how he sent him off to take down the Mountain. A lot of talks about dads these days. They talk about Jon’s resurrection. Jon express his annoyance of constantly hearing about the Lord of Light (LoL), and says how everyone keeps saying that they don’t know what the LoL wants them to do. Beric tries convincing him there is a purpose to all his work and essentially say he works in mysterious ways.
In another scene, the winds starting picking up, and something is seen in the distance. I at first thought and hoped it was Ghost, but…
Nope… it’s a zombie bear. The bear snatches up Random Guy #1 and disappears into the snowy wind. The group huddle closely together forming a perimeter. Zombie bear comes out and takes out Random Guy #2. Who the hell kept referencing the Magnificent 7? There’s clearly a bunch of random extras tagging along here. Anywho, they manage to light the zombie bear on fire, and it instantly turns to The Hound, as if it knows his fear of fire. Talk about a zombie bear being bad enough, it’s not on fire and heading towards him. He freezes, but Thoros steps in between and wrestles with the bear. The bear eventually take a bite into Thoros’s chest and flails him around, while the Hound just watches. Jorah comes around and stabs the bear which seems to take him down.
This was a tough scene to watch. As cool as it was to see them take on the zombie bear in the misty snowy winds, it was very hard to keep track of everything happening. When random guys were dying, I couldn’t tell who it was, and kept thinking it was a main character. Let alone the fact up until then, I don’t think it was apparent there were random dudes with them. So it was easy to think one of our beloved characters was taken out.
Also, The Hound has to get over this fear of fire. Because of it, they have pretty much guaranteed the death of their healer. RPG Party Tactics 101, don’t let your healer die!
Later, Beric is telling Jorah a story about being drunk and waving a flaming sword around, can’t remember who is telling it, and honestly don’t care, but then…
Zombies! They run into a small group. They question where the others are, but quickly move into position either way and flank them. In the middle of the fight, Jon takes on the one who is clearly the leader. Upon striking him, he shatters, and so do all the zombies around them, except for one. How convenient! Looks like they got their guy.
They quickly take it down, tie it up and bag it’s head. I really don’t know how they’ll do this, the things just so damn wriggly… and ugly. I think we should name him, since it, or he will probably have a big part to play. Also, Sir Captive Zombie just won’t cut it. Let’s call him… Jonathan!
After Jonathan is restrained, the group hears some thundering sound in the distance, where they then spot the army of the undead… more zombies! Looks like it’s time for one of those big battle sequences!
First thing Jon does is order Gendry to run back to Eastwatch and send a raven calling for Dany’s aid. Gendry refuses at first, but Jon convinces he’s the fastest and has to go. Before he goes, Tormund wisely tells him to leave his hammer, since it’ll just slow him down. Nice move Tormund! Scoring the fancy hammer.
Gendry is off and the rest of the group heads the other way luring the zombie army in the other direction. They come across ice, and at first are hesitant, but with the army behind them, they quickly make a run for it. They come to an island in the middle, much like what Bran saw when he took the ravens North. Random Guy #3 falls behind and the zombies jump him, and as they fall, the ice conveniently breaks all around our friends, separating them from the army.
Way too convenient yet again. Perhaps it was LoL intervening in mysterious ways? What I don’t get, is the gap doesn’t seem to big for the zombies to cross. I could see them easily jumping over it. Even if they miss, or the ice breaks more, what’s a bit of cold water going to do to the zombies? They are already dead. Perhaps because they are dead they’ll just sink to the bottom, since they have no air and aren’t buoyant? I don’t know. But then couldn’t they just climb up the island in the middle?
I digress, back the the situation at hand, our group has bought themselves some time, but are surrounded. We cut to Gendry running his ass off, and he actually makes it to Eastwatch, talk about fast! Great cardio! He orders to fast travel a raven to Dany. Thoros dies at this point, it was inevitable given his encounter with the zombie bear. They burn the body.
One of them points across to the Knight King, backing up what we saw before. If they take him out, all that he has summons and turned will fall as well. Beric says the LoL didn’t bring Jon back just to freeze to death.
Elsewhere, we know Dany has received her raven and is on it’s way. All there is left to do is wait. The Hound becomes impatient and decides to fuck with the zombies. He throws a rock which slides to their feet, which reveals the ice has frozen again. The army realizes this and start advancing once again.
The team gets into battle mode once again, and the action begins. A lot of fighting happens. The odds seem quite against their favour. At one point, it appears Tormund was about to meet his end as he took a big blow to the head, and almost got pulled into the water. But The Hound this time didn’t just sit around, and saved Tormund from a horrible end.
All hope seems to be lost, especially when Random Guy #4 falls to his death. Time slows down and Jon is suspended in disbelief surveying the madness around him, much like in Battle of the Bastards. But just in the nick of time, Dany shows up with her dragons and start roasting the zombies.
As it seems that luck is in the favour of the good guys, we see the Knight King retrieve a lance made of ice. It’s not clear yet what his target is yet. First you think Jon, then Dany… but no. He slowly aims up as Viserion, lets the lance loose and it hits it’s mark. Viserion is wounded greatly, and almost seems to combust internally as was hit while letting loose fire. He crashes to the ground lifeless. Dany and everyone is struck with disbelief.
Jon foolishly decides to farm for more EXP by taking out more zombies instead of getting ready to flee. The Knight King gets another lance ready, and Jon turns around and screams for Dany to flee. The zombies take Jon down and he falls into the water. Dany is forced to retreat with the rest of the company, with Jonathan intact.
After they flee, some random ass shit happens, that I wasn’t sure was quite needed. Jon emerges from the water, but the zombie army is still nearby. They take notice, and he takes his fighting stance. Suddenly, before he can be overwhelmed, Benjen Stark shows up, fending off the zombies. He gives Jon his horse so he can flee, and stays behind to ultimately be consume by the zombies. After going through the climax of seeing Viserion fall, I don’t know why this was needed. It just felt like too much, especially consider Benjen showed up for a second and then just died right away.
Back at Eastwatch, the crew are preparing to take the zombie out to Kings Landing. Daenerys is up top the walls, waiting for Jon it seems. Jorah urges her that it’s time to leave, and as she turns, a horn is sounded, and Jon is back. They get Jon aboard their ship and get him ready for recovery. While topless, Daenerys notices the stab wounds, but doesn’t say anything of it. I’m sure she didn’t mind seeing him with his shirt off.
Daenerys tells Jon she believes him now, and that she will help him get revenge and kill the Knight King. Jon calls her Dany, which tells him no one ever called her but her brother. Coincidence that Jon is saying it? Jon calls her his Queen and says he will bend the knee. It’s a shame, too bad it took a dragon dying to make them realize this all along. Clearly, sparks are flying and these two are guaranteed to hook up now! Only question is, will they hook up before or after they find out their blood relationship.
The show finally comes to it’s close, and we are treated to one last scene, which I think was obviously going to happen the moment Viserion died. The zombies are pulling huge chains out of the ice. Stop right there, let’s point out the last practical flaws of this episode. One, are zombies now welders? How did they fasten together such big and impressive chains? Okay, let’s assume they found it, then two, how the hell did they attach it to Viserion’s corpse in the water? Yes, the same water that miraculously stopped them from taking out Jon and company earlier in the battle. Anyways, that’s not important, they pulled up Viserion’s corpse, and the Knight King turned him into…
Zombie dragon! Who will probably breath ice.
With that, the episode is over. Although I liked the focus we didn’t see from the previous episode, the things that are happening just feel like they are happening to get characters in certain places or situations to set up the finale and what’s to come in the final season. That’s fine and all, but the show doesn’t care how they get the characters there. With stupid ideas like Tyrion’s master plan, and things like all Sansa’s and Arya’s being oblivious to Littlefinger clearly playing them, it’s getting quite frustrating seeing how things play out. Again, given the amount of time they have to wrap things up, I think the creators are facing a huge challenge, but it’s still not hard to ignore these flaws.
Check back in next week for the season finale!
What did you think of ‘Beyond the Wall’? Did anything surprise you? Do you mourn for Viserion? How do you think the season will end? Let’s discuss using fast travelling ravens in the comments below!