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“Maybe it really is all cocks, in the end,” Jaime mused to Bronn on the walls of King’s Landing at the opening of the Game of Thrones season 7 finale.
The pair may have been talking about the Unsullied army in front of them, but the Lannister’s comment also worked as an analysis for the episode and even the season as a whole, whether taken literally – tonight seeing the Jon and Daenerys sex scene fans had craved, or figuratively – season 7 seeing a woman save men from a foolish escapade and not for the first time in the show’s history.
‘The Dragon and the Wolf‘ started with the Dragonpit wight summit, the treat that the show has been storing up by scattering its main characters to the corners of the world, before finally uniting them again and finding them all in very different positions to when they last rendezvoused. It was fun to see Bronn and Tyrion remember that they’d probably be best friends were it not for the whole ‘being on opposite sides of a war’ thing and The Hound and Brienne of Tarth reunite at a formal diplomatic meeting when they were last seen fighting tooth and nail to try and to kill each other. All of these Game of Thrones characters circled each other as if in a play, a scorpion-like, tense and engrossing scene that culminated in the confrontation we’ve all been waiting for, Cersei vs. Daenerys.
Aside from Cersei finding Dany’s dragon arrival really rather tacky and tedious, the pair didn’t really end up being the heart of the episode, yet, which was really all about family. We had The Hound standing up to his brother, Theon finding a sense of familial identity again, Sansa and Arya remembering that they’re sisters first and foremost and Jon – let’s call it what it is – fucking his aunt. Tyrion and Cersei was the best family encounter of the episode, though, Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey giving stunning performances in a surprisingly emotional scene.
In Winterfell, my faith was restored in the show’s writing a little as Sansa and Arya were revealed to be in cahoots and executed Littlefinger, though this still doesn’t excuse how ridiculously fast their antagonism toward each there ratcheted up in earlier episodes (not all of their scenes could have been for show). Over in King’s Landing, that Cersei not fighting to keep Jaime around also defied belief a bit – her one and only friend in the world now being her unborn child – but I’m just so thankful to see Jaime make it out alive, his redemption arc complete as he certainly heads to join his brother in fighting the good fight.
The Game of Thrones season 7 wrapped up with some piecing together of history, with Sam and Bran realising just how noble Jon – sorry, Aegon Targaryen’s – lineage is, followed by a spectacular piece of VFX as the Night King tore a whole in the Wall with his wighted version of Viserion the dragon.
I repeat: A zombie ice king blasted a gigantic wall with blueflame that came from the reanimated corpse of the dragon he was riding.
This conclusion was a reminder of just how bonkers and Top Trumps-esque Game of Thrones has become in its latest season, but when it seems this stunning, the dialogue exchanges are this pithy and the action is this breathtaking and enthralling, it’s hard to be mad about it.
At some point in season 8, a living dragon is going to fight a dead dragon, jets of blue and red flame meeting in the middle like in a Manga, while dead giants and dead horses do battle with multiple races of men. And I will be there – 2am BST, popcorn spilling from mouth – loving every second.