TV Review: Game of Thrones Season 7 finale "The Dragon and The Wolf"

EPISODE 7: The Dragon and The Wolf


The finale is here! After a rather brisk season (for obvious reasons) that's been no less entertaining, thrilling and shocking, we've arrived at the end of the penultimate season of the show. So, let's dive in and talk about what happened, what lies ahead and open up the floodgates on what could possibly happen when the "Game" finally ends.

Last episode saw Dany rescue Jon Snow and his A-Team from the clutches of The Army of the Dead, losing one of her dragons, Viserion, to The Night King, who took it down with an ice spear, only to recover the body and reanimate it as one of his own. Cersei sent out for Sansa (as well as Daenerys) to come to King's Landing, while Sansa dealt with her own drama at Winterfell, namely the deceit and maneuvering going on between her sister Arya and Lord Baelish (aka Littlefinger). The dominoes were set and the collapse of them was sure to come in this episode, but how many will be left standing for the final season? Let's dig in and see.

We open on The Unsullied, assembled on the field, ready for battle against the Lannister army in King's Landing, overseen by Jaime Lannister and Bronn, who have a brief discussion about what war is all about. Bronn makes it quite clear that war pretty much exists because of cocks, stating that it's the root of what they all fight for. His point is quite valid and Jaime is stymied. "Maybe it really is all cocks in the end," says Jaime. Truly perceptive (and not entirely without merit). Did we just get to the root of Game of Thrones?

Jon, Daenerys, Tyrion, Ser Davos, The Hound, Varys, Theon and Jorah make their way to the meeting ground in King's Landing, the "dragon pit", linking up with Bronn, Podrick and Brienne (who were sent there by Sansa in her stead). There's some more walk-and-talk reunions here; Tyrion and Podrick, The Hound and Brienne, Bronn and Tyrion. The Hound asks about Arya, who Brienne assures is fine and in Winterfell. The Hound cracks a damn smile at this news.

Cersei, Jaimie, Euron Greyjoy and The Mountain arrive to the pit, where they all take seats to square off and discuss...whatever they need to discuss. The Hound, without hesitation, approaches his brother, The Mountain, who also walks to him without hesitation. "Remember me? Yeah, you do. You're even fuckin' uglier than I am now. What'd they do to you? Doesn't matter. It's not how it ends for you, brother. You know who's coming for you. You've always known." Could he mean Arya, who has had him on her list since the beginning or someone else entirely?

Dany, who has shown her penchant for the dramatic throughout the series, is the last to show up, atop her dragon, of course and walks to her place. Cersei sits idly and does her best to look unimpressed. Both Tyrion and Jon make their pleas for a truce, while Daenerys assures Cersei that King's Landing will be safe from her for as long as the fight in the North is happening. Cersei isn't convinced of the threat, nor her enemies motives, as expected. This prompts The Hound to bring out the box containing the wight captured last episode and kicking it open. The wight does what it does, charging at them and proving that it is, indeed, a viable threat. Jon burns a chopped off hand and then stabs it with dragonglass to show how the wights can be defeated, pleading that the bigger threat is real and to the North. "There is only one war that matters. The Great War. And it is here."

Euron Greyjoy, surprisingly, shows both his cowardice and smarts, but telling Cersei he's taking his fleet back to the Iron Islands. "This is the only thing that terrifies me," he says, then making his play for Danys hand, by telling her to head back to her island and wait out winter. This takes her by surprise, but she keeps her cool and in yet another twist, shows that she can be reasoned with. "The crown accepts your truce. Until the dead are defeated, they are the true enemy" Cersai says. But, it's not that easy. She wants Jon to give his word that he'll return to The North and stay there as well. But, Jon, ever the vigilant and unbreakable, won't agree. He makes it plain and clear that he has sworn himself to Daenerys and that he intends to keep his word. This almost seems to make Dany swoon a bit, even if she wishes he just would've lied and agreed. Cersei leaves, angry, letting them know that they can deal with The Army of the Dead on their own and then she'll deal with what's left of them, before storming off.

"I'm pleased you bent the knee to our Queen. I would've advised it, had you asked. But, have you ever considered learning how to lie every now and again? Just a bit?" Tyrion tells Jon. And of course, Jon hits back with the cold hard ice water bucket of truth that no one wants to hear when it comes to doing the right thing. Tyrion, however, has another course of action in mind; let HIM talk to Cersei to try and reason with her. It's a hell of a risk, but they reluctantly let him follow her back to the castle. He is escorted to her by The Mountain, which has to be an eerie as hell experience in itself. Jaime talks to Tyrion just before he walks in to speak to her. The brothers till have a bond, despite all that's happened and Tyrion expresses his reluctance to speak to Cersei alone. Jaime says he's said all he could before leaving him with, "I guess we should say goodbye then. One idiot to another." Is this the last time the brothers speak while both are still alive? One has to wonder.

Once in the room with Cersei, the hate and venom begin to spew. Cersei blames Tyrion for all the Lannister deaths (some righteously so) and says he's responsible for everything that's happened. The tension in the room is intense, especially with The Mountain standing there. Tyrion begs Cersei to kill him, to take action, even taunting her to do so. The Mountain moves forward grabbing his sword and you can see that it takes everything for Cersei to stay his hand. Naturally, Tyrion moves to get a glass of wine, once he sees she isn't killing him. He pours her one as well and hands her the glass, expressing his regret over the death of her kids, his nephews. Cersei doesn't care. She only cares about what his actions cost her. Tyrion asks what she hoped for in taking the meeting and Cersei asks why Tyrion has decided to serve Dany. "Because I think she will make the world a better place," he says. And he really believes it.

Cersei then goes on a rant about how much she only cares about the ones she loves (and certainly not her people), all the while holding her hand to her belly. Tyrion picks up on this. "You're pregnant," he says. And she can't deny it.

Back at the dragon pit, Jon, Dany and the rest wait around for Tyrion, looking over the place and reminiscing about the past and what led them to this place. Dany expresses her regret over what her family had done while ruling over King's Landing, saying that the dragons were what made them special, not themselves. Jon disagrees, at least about her. "You're not like everyone else. And your family hasn't seen its end. You're still here." But, Dany reminds him that she can't have children, prompting him to ask how she knows. She informs him that the witch who killed her husband told her so, to which Jon says what we've all been thinking; Is she the best source of info for that? The romance seems to be building there, but before anything else can happen Tyrion returns, along with Cersei, Jaime and her guards.

Cersei addresses them and it's not what we expected for sure: "My armies will not stand down. I will not pull them back to the capitol. I will march them North to fight alongside you in The Great War. The darkness is coming for us all. We will face it together. And when The Great War is over, perhaps you'll remember I chose to help with no promises or assurances from any of you. I expect not." And, if this doesn't prove that Tyrion is The Hand of the millenia then I don't know what will. He's truly the master negotiator.

Back at Winterfell, a raven arrives, informing Sansa that he has bent the knee to Daenerys and will serve her in this fight. Of course, Littlefinger is there to whisper in her ear, where they discuss Jon's motives. Littlefinger implies that Jon may be trying to secure Daenerys hand in marriage, while bringing up the threat that Arya poses. He walks her through what he calls "imagining the worst" which boils down to Arya trying to murder Sansa in order to become the new Lady of The North. Ah, Littlefinger, always the son of a bitch. Again, I have to wonder if Sansa truly believes this or if there's a greater game at play here...

Back at Dragonstone, Daenerys meets with her councel, including Jon, Tyrion, Davos, Greyworm and Jorah and they decide to sail together to fight the Northern threat. After the meeting, Theon approaches Jon, asking him why he didn't just lie to Cersei about bending the knee to Daenerys. He is genuinely curious why Jon is so steadfast in doing the right thing. "I've always wanted to do the right thing," he says, confessing his heart and regret to Jon. Jon assures Theon that even after all he's done, Ned Stark was still every bit as much his father as he was Jon's. Theon says he's done too much wrong, though. "It's not my place to forgive you for all of it. But what I can forgive, I do," assuring Theon that he's both a Greyjoy and a Stark. It's yet another sign of Jon's unrelenting ability to be the better man in nearly every situation.

Theon then says that he feels he must return to save his captured sister, as she's the only one who ever stood by him. Jon gives his blessing for Theon to pursue. Theon talks to what's left of Yarra's crew and rallies them to his cause in finding and freeing her. He fights with one of the men, who tells him to run away. But this is Theon's moment. He won't give in. After a few worthless kicks to his nonexistent nuts, Theon rallies, beating the shit out of the man and proving that, for once, he won't quit on doing what's right. It's probably his most heroic moment on the show and one that he's earned to this point. It's nice to see Theon overcoming his tortured soul for once, even if his fate almost feels like a foregone conclusion.

Back at Winterfell, Sansa has Arya brought to the court, accused of murder and treason. Or is it really about Arya? "How do you answer these charges...Lord Baelish?" And, oh, shit, the tables have turned. Finally! My hope that both Sansa and Arya were plotting together to bring Littlefinger to justice has been fulfilled and it's really the perfect end to his conniving reign. Sansa brings up how Littlefinger murdered their Aunt Lysa, pushing her through the Moon Door at the Vale, his part in supplying poison to kill Jon Arryn, his part in conspiring with Joffrey to kill Ned Stark and so on and so forth. Even Bran speaks up with what he saw, when Littlefinger put a knife to Ned Stark's throat and told him "not to trust me." Sansa lays it all out, putting Littlefinger's game on the table; how he turns family against family in a bid to secure his own rule. She repeats back his "little game" speech to him even. "I'm a slow learner, it's true. But, I learn." And then Lord Baelish is on his knees, begging Sansa for his life, pleading how much he loved their mother and even her. 

"When you brought me back to Winterfell you told me there's no justice in the world, not unless we make it. Thank you for all your many lessons, Lord Baelish. I will never forget them." And ARYA SLASHES HIS THROAT with his own knife! So comes the end of Littlefinger and his evil ways and man, it couldn't be a more poetic end. You know Sansa truly means what she says about the lessons he's taught her. She's come such a long way from the scared little girl in the first season and it's both frightening and inspiring to see her take her place. It's also great to see Arya and Sansa working as a team and showing their true cunning as rulers, as sisters and as Starks. Such a great moment for them.

Back at King's Landing, Cersei and Jaime stand over the map of the realm and begin discussing their plans to fight. And here, Cersei makes it clear that everything she said was a lie. Her intent is purely to allow The North, Daenerys, her dragons and her army fight The Army of the Dead, while they wait it all out. Jaime, however, pleads with her to keep her word as they'd have to face either victor of The Great War. Cersei, however, reveals that she already had a plan in motion for Euron Greyjoy to secure the armies of Esos to fight on their behalf (so the whole, sailing back to the Iron Islands thing was a ruse), preparing to take out either side that fights in the North and survives. Jaime is insistent, though. He intends to keep his word (has Jon Snow rubbed off on him or what?). Cersei tells him that "no one walks out on me" and motions for The Mountain to stop him from leaving, stating it would be treason for him to go. 

"Are you going to order him to kill me?" He reminds her that he's the only one left for her, while she reminds him that "there's one more left to come" implying her pregnancy. Jaime calls her bluff, though, and storms off, The Mountain stepping out of the way. Cersei walks after him, shocked and hurt that he would actually go. We next see Jaime on horseback, done away with his cloak, covering his golden hand, just as snow begins to fall in King's Landing. Winter has truly come. I feel like Jaime, no matter how much he loves Cersei, loves being a Soldier more than anything and that this drives him North more than anything. A Great War to fight and die in over a crazy woman who won't listen to reason and has lost all of their children? Yeah, I'd head North, too.

We return to Winterfell and see a familiar face; Samwell Tarly, who enters a room where Bran Stark sits by the fireplace. They haven't seen each other since their chance encounter beyond The Wall. Samwell asks what happened to Bran, who replies plainly, "I become the Three-Eyed Raven" as if it were as simple as graduating with a college degree. Samwell sits down and Bran informs him that Jon is on his way back to Winterfell with Daenerys and that it's time for Jon to know the truth about himself; That he's the son of Rhaegar Targaryan and Lyana Stark and that his last name is really Sand, as he was born in Dorne. Sam then informs Bran that the marriage of Rhaegar's marriage to Elia and that he was secretly wed to Lyana, which would make him a Targaryan.

We then see Jon knock on Danerys door on the ship, where she answers and lets him in, with Tyrion watching on, worried. No sooner are they in bed and making love as Bran narrates. He reveals that Jon's real name is Aegon Targaryan. We see this via a flashback of the young Ned Stark promising his dying sister that he'll protect the boy. "He's never been a bastard. He's the heir to the Iron Throne," Bran says. "He needs to know. We need to tell him." So, a major reveal, which we've all suspected and been alluded to for a long time. The mystery of Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryan is now revealed. The only (and biggest) question is; what does he do with that information?

Back at Winterfell, Sansa and Arya stand outside, overlooking the castle, discussing the events of Littlefinger's death. Sansa says that she believed Littlefinger truly loved her in his own horrible way. Arya assures her she did the right thing, while Sansa, smiling, tells Arya that she's the one who did it. "I'm just the executioner. You passed the sentence. You're the Lady of Winterfell." The girls share a nice moment, which is rare for this show, so it's nice to see. It's great to see the Starks rise above the mountain of shit they've been buried in since Robert Baratheon arrived in Winterfell in season one. Arya and Sansa share a quote from their father and, for the first time in a while, express how much they miss him. Ah, Ned's gotta be proud of his girls from wherever he is, no?

Bran, meanwhile, is hanging out at the Weirwood tree, doing the Three-Eyed Raven thing, heading to The Wall and beyond it, where we follow a sweeping shot to the very top where Beric Dondarion and Tormund Giantsbane look out and see The Army of the Dead approaching from the treeline. The moment has come. There's no turning back. The horns sound and we see The Army come to a halt. Everything is still and silent until the expected comes; the resurrected Viserion flying directly to the wall and blashing it with blue flame. Riding atop is none other than The Night King. Shit. This is bad, guys. Real bad. Yeah, you probably saw it coming, but damn, seeing is believing, eh?

The wall begins to crumble under the flame fo Viserion and the door is now open. The Army of The Dead is no longer stopped by a wall. They march, into the North, led by The Night King and his new dragon. The Great War has truly begun.

Wow, what a finish! So many epic moments that left my head spinning. The death of Littlefinger, the confrontation between Tyrion and Cersei, the confrontation between Jaime and Cersei, the reveal of Jon's true heritage, the consumation of the relationship between him and Dany and finally, the door opened for The Army of the Dead. I can't help but think the next season is going to be a giant, epic conclusion, one episide after another. While I'd love to see the show beefed up with the usual 10-episode per season run (which is really my only big drawback to an otherwise stunning season), the events that have unfolded have been no less satisfying; maybe too much so. Certainly, there's been what some may call "fan service" in this show, but I'd argue that sometimes things just work out a bit more poetically than you might think. Not every episode and event from the Red Wedding has to be a horrific downer shock; sometimes the good guys win and sometimes what we consider good is just what we perceive as good, rather than what actually is good. So, even as we may fist pump how some of these events transpire, I think it's still in the eye of the beholder.

All said, it feels like the penultimate season has set us up for one hell of a conclusion, which I can't help but feel will feel rushed no matter how much it may or may not actually be. This is truly one of (if not THE) best shows on television and, sadly, it has to end. While we're all sad to see it go, it's good that we can actually move toward a finale, rather than feel it all cut short too soon or dragged out too long. Still, it will be bittersweet to see this show close out, but man, what a terrific show to revisit someday from start to finish. Is it next year yet?

SEX/NUDITY: Jon and Daenerys roll around naked while having sex.

VIOLENCE: Littlefinger is executed by Arya with a bloody throat slash (some poetic justice for Catelyn Stark after her similar death at the Red Wedding) and an attack on The Wall.

BEST SCENE: I have to give this to Littlefinger's death. He's been a cunning sociopathic villain from the start and my fear was that he'd stick around all the way to the end to continue to disrupt any sense of justice. However, the absolute perfect turning of the tables on him by Sansa and Arya was just too damn perfect and also perfectly fitting. He created his own death and it finally caught up to him. The final reveal of Jon's heritage (and real name) is also a major "event" even if alluded to for a while now. The romantic relationship of he and Daenerys isn't exactly chopped liver either.




Source: JoBlo.com



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