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The season 7 finale of Game of Thrones was one of the most important, insane, and ultimately satisfying episodes HBO has given us to date. Between major reveals and the falling of the Wall, this was the perfect episode to wrap up a too-brief season, and to usher in the final stretch.
I won’t say it was a perfect episode. It suffered from some of the same issues the rest of the season has suffered from, namely a feeling that things have been rushed along too much, to the detriment of the show. But still, I can’t help but feel excited by what transpired. Let’s briefly go over each of the Very Big Reveals And Events that just transpired, before taking a deeper dive.
Okay, so those are the big reveals/scenes/moments. Now let’s have a closer look at each respectively. We’ll begin with the Jon/Aegon reveal as, other than the Wall, it’s by far the most essential.
So hop aboard your magical raven. This time around, we’re not flying somewhere but rather flying somewhen…
We’ll make a quick pit-stop on the way. Sam shows up at Winterfell and goes to speak with Bran. It’s a reunion of sorts. Years ago, Sam helped Bran make his way beyond the Wall where he could grow into the Three-Eyed Raven.
Bran tells Sam that Jon needs to know the truth about himself. He’s not Ned Stark’s son after all, he’s the bastard of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. But Sam, bless the guy, one-ups our oracular Stark, telling him that no…Jon’s parents were secretly married after Rhaegar quitted his previous marriage. This means that Jon isn’t a ‘Snow’ or a ‘Sand’ or a bastard at all, but the rightful heir to Iron Throne. I love the tag-teaming here. While many of us saw this coming…having had the novels and the show both suggest (in subtle and not-so-subtle manners) Jon’s true identity, it’s still nice to hear it being said explicitly.
Jon’s true name is Aegon Targaryen. He’s named after the first Targaryen king, Aegon the Conqueror. Rhaegar also had an older son with Elia Martell named Aegon, so that’s odd. Anyhow, he’ll always be Jon Snow to us, and I doubt the name “Aegon” will fit him well. A bigger question, of course, is how the name “Targaryen” will sit with him. I love how we’re given this reveal at the exact same time as Jon and Dany finally start doing this:
I was less fond of our first glimpse of Rhaegar. Did the showrunners really need to make him the spitting image of his younger brother, Viserys? The creep who told Dany he would let 40,000 Dothraki and their horses rape her if it would earn him his crown? I mean, they’re brothers and all, but I always imagined Rhaegar looking different than his insane little brother. While it’s not the biggest deal in the world, this really bothered me. They weren’t twins. The show could have given us a Rhaegar that didn’t instantly remind us of one of the most despiteful characters in the whole seven seasons.
Ah well. What’s done is done. We have confirmation of Jon’s true parentage and birthright, and we have Bran claiming very firmly that Jon has to know. So in 18 months, or however long it takes for Season 8 to be released, I guess Jon will eventually learn the truth. I’m eager to see what will follows next.
Let’s leave this secret wedding behind us, and return to Bran. He sits now beneath the Weirdwood tree in Winterfell. Red leaves like blood against white snow. One more time, he’s sent his ravens, thus we’ll hitch a ride with them, east and north, hundreds of miles to…
Eastwatch by the Sea
As we all predicted, the Wall has finally come crashing down, thanks to the Night King’s clever (if inexplicable) plot to kill and turn a dragon and then use its blue fire to destroy it.
I don’t think Tormund and Beric are dead if only as we didn’t directly see them die, but it’s anyone’s assumption until Game Of Thrones Season 8.
This entire segment was riveting and glorious. The dragon cutting through the Wall like a blowtorch; the massive army of the dead sprawled out below; the hulking giants lumbering through the wreckage.
Meanwhile, it’s kind of irritating how the Night King actually came by his dragon. On the one hand, we can see clearly that the reason the undead hadn’t marched on the Wall yet was because they lacked the means to tear it down and move south. On another hand, they only got a dragon due to a convoluted, stupid plan schemed by Tyrion.
I’m sure I’ll have many readers telling me how I was fooled by the cleverness of this twist, how all my gripes about last week’s episode have been undone (both concerning this plot and the Winterfell storyline, which we’ll get to shortly.) I remain that the events leading up to this very fantastic finale were all preposterous and poorly made.
Tyrion’s plan was terrible. Anyone with half a brain could see that capturing a wight and showing it to Cersei was a waste of time. She was always going to betray them, and it’s no surprise that she did. Even worse, it still baffles me what they hoped to gain out of this in the first place. Cersei tells Jaime they can “reclaim all the lands they lost.” But those lands are of little to zero significance, at least strategically. And compared to the value of a flying, fire-breathing dragon nothing Dany and Jon and Tyrion hoped to gain from Cersei even compared.
I mean, just stop and briefly think about this: What good would a truce or an alliance with Cersei really do for Jon and Dany? At the very best, an army of Lannisters would go fight alongside them. More likely, yet, they’d just not battle each other for a while…which would be the result of not making a truce also. Neither of these possible outcomes make up for a lost dragon or even a lost Jon Snow (had Dany not gone to rescue him.)
So it’s all well and good that the Night King had his ways and had his dragon and toppled the Wall, yet the whole series of events building up to that remain preposterous and absurd. I can’t wash that taste out of my mouth no matter how much I enjoyed the season finale.
So the dead are marching, and now it’s just a matter of who has the best fast travel devices. We’ll leave the fancy marching to the armies and take to the cloudy skies. Let’s fly back to Winterfell, but not to spy on Bran and Sam. We have other Stark kids in mind.
The Fall of Littlefinger
I haven’t had many kind words regarding the Winterfell storyline. I’ve also discussed the possibility that it was all a ruse, that the Starks were playing Littlefinger at his own game. I stick with that both these things remain true, even after tonight’s big reveal.
It was extremely frustrating to watch as Sansa was apparently manipulated even more by Littlefinger. She even had Arya brought before her and Bran (that Bran was there was the first giveaway that it was, indeed, a trap for Baelish.)
It was wonderful and satisfying, or at least a huge relief, to realize that it was all Arya’s plot to reveal Littlefinger as a traitor. Sansa reveals his crimes. Bran throws Littlefinger’s own words to their father at him. Littlefinger cries like a baby and Arya slashes his throat. What a relief that that’s all done with.
Except, I can’t help but feel like it was all done for our sake, rather than for Littelfinger’s. After all, why even bother with the charade if they could just accuse him at any time? If they knew he had turned his back on Ned and Catelyn, why go to all this trouble to fool him? Why not just accuse him and execute him immediately?
I know! I have the answer!
It wasn’t done because it made sense. Nothing about the past few episodes between Arya and Sansa were done to cleverly fool Littlefinger. The Stark girls learned nothing and gained nothing from this deception. The entire thing was done to fool us, dear reader. It was done to mess with us and to toy with our emotions.
So again, as much as I love the fact that Littlefinger was finally unveiled as the mastermind behind most of the things that transpired over the past few seasons, in the end it was all a huge farce that never needed to take place. Filler, and worse than that, the kind of filler designed to screw with viewers in the most hamfisted of ways. I maintain that, in spite of it all, this was a dirty trick and nothing more. If there were some greater ‘game of thrones’ behind it all, I’d eat my hat. Alas, it was all a cheap mummer’s play with no substance.
To make things worse, Littlefinger hasn’t made sense in some seasons now. There was no reason for him to part the Vale, to sell off Sansa to the Boltons, to break faith with the Lannisters, or to stay in the North after all was said and done. Whatever brilliant scheming Baelish succeeded early on, he lost his gift some years ago now. He was going to be checked off Arya’s list eventually.
Alas, I think the great schemer deserved more. I’m not sad he’s dead, I’m just sad this is how it all played out.
Let’s leave his body rotting on the cobblestones. Let’s turn south, hundreds upon hundreds of leagues, to the gradually chilling walls of….
It was nice to see some old faces either reunite or come into contact for the first time. Brienne telling the Hound that Arya was alive was nice, especially as she thought he was dead to start with. (Why didn’t she tell Jon his sister was alive, though? Edit: I mean before, when they were both in the North together, why didn’t she ever tell him she’d seen his sister alive and well?)
Bronn and Tyrion’s banter was also nice, and I could keep checking off boxes. Pod and Bronn off to have drinks! Everyone telling Euron to sit the hell down and stop taunting Tyrion! Cersei nearly ordering zombie Gregor to kill off both of her brothers!
Tons of great moments, though (without any surprise) all of it was for naught. Cersei was never intended to help them nor keep her word. The major, important moments did happen, though.
The first was Sandor confronting his brother. He tells him it’s not a matter of how or when he dies, the only thing that matters is that he’s coming for him. That’s as good as confirming that Cleganebowl is going to happen. Just not until Season 8. Sigh.
Jaime finally spitting “to hell with you” to Cersei’s face was also a pretty big deal. Finally he’s left her to do the right thing, baby or no. He’s headed north to fight alongside the good guys. I did think, for a moment, that Cersei would have him killed. I breathed an audible sigh of relief when he said “I don’t believe you” and walked away, unscathed.
The Dragonpit was amazing, and the sequence with the wight charging Cersei was so intense. I also like how Euron lied about taking his fleet back home as well. Dany and Jon just aren’t as good at this whole deception thing as Cersei and her allies. That Cersei and Euron planned all this behind Jaime’s back is even more intriguing.
What I liked less were the two meetings…the fact that Cersei and company all took off and walked all the way back to the Red Keep and then Tyrion followed them and “convinced” Cersei and so they all marched right on back. It was kind of weird. That’s a lot of walking.
Also, everybody wore black to this meeting. Was it a funeral?
In any case, let’s take a quick break on the pristine shores of one of Westeros’s most coveted vacation destinations….
Here we find Theon, first talking to Jon who gives him what absolution he can, then confronting his dozen or so Ironborn. He wants to save Yara; they’re typically awful and macho and won’t help him. He wins out by beating his greatest detractor in a battle because he isn’t hurt when the guy knees him in the groin.
I guess this is all a bit of a sideshow for me. I don’t really care about Theon that much anymore, and prove Yara (Asha in the books) just doesn’t catch my eyes much.
Oh well, at least Theon found his stones in the most ironic way possible. I guess it will be nice if he kills his uncle and saves his sister. I guess I just feel apathy for the most part at this point to that whole storyline.
Verdict and final, scattered thoughts.
Overall, I think this was a good Game Of Thrones episode. It was a Big Deal sort of episode and it tied up nicely all the disparate strands leading up to this point. Some stunning CGI, tasty music, and fun meetings between long-separated characters made it a blissful thing to watch. What I liked less was how preposterous so many of the things leading up to it were, and how rushed this entire season felt. I mean what I say when I say that two or three more episodes would have helped make this entire season seem less chaotic and janky. Oh, and a better reason to get those dragons beyond the Wall. Even if it had just been Daenerys going up there to see for herself (minus the capture-a-wight silliness) and the Night King had nabbed Viserion, that would have been fine.