My colleague, Kimberly Pierce, and I alternated weeks recapping Game of Thrones this season. I did this final season seven recap, so she’ll “face off” with her take in a separate post. (Get it? Like with FACE MAGIC.)
Daaaaaaaaaang! If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, tonight you got SERVED.
Let me start by apologizing to the writers for my extreme doubt about what they were up to with the Stark sisters last week. It’s true that you’ve disappointed me in the past, but you made all the way up for it tonight.
A few important points in case you don’t have the patience to read this whole recap:
- They named out loud that Jon Snow is actually Aegon Targaryen, and he’s the legit heir to the Iron Throne.
- Theon Greyjoy is redeemed and ready to fight to save his sister.
- Jaime Lannister has broken with Cersei to fight the dead while she plots to conquer Westeros.
- ICE DRAGON.
- The Army of the Dead is south of the Wall.
- Jon + Dany = auntie/nephew dragon boning.
- Stark Pack vs. Littlefinger FTW!
OK! We open with tensions running high all around (except for Cersei (Lena Headey), who is cooler than any cucumber), as the biggest reunion of all the reunions this season is coming together. Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) watch as the guests begin to arrive, then Bronn heads down to play welcoming committee.
The first ones at the party are Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Pod (Daniel Portman), followed by Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), Jon (Kit Harington), Theon (Alfie Allen), Davos (Liam Cunningham), Jorah (Iain Glen), Varys (Conleth Hill), The Hound (Rory McCann) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel). They all make their way to the ruined Dragonpit, where Cersei makes a grand entrance with Jaime, Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk), Qyburn (Anton Lesser) and The Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson). Noticeably absent is Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), but it doesn’t take long for her to swoop in on her dragon and join the party.
As the Lannister armies, the Dothraki Hordes and the Unsullied stand guard outside and the Iron Fleet waits offshore, the reunion gets off to a rocky start as Euron baits Theon and Tyrion before being ordered to sit down and shut up by Cersei. Then the presentation begins in earnest as The Hound brings in their captive Wight in a chest and lets him out (tethered on a long chain).
The dead creature lunges for Cersei before Jon cuts it in half. Then, as its two halves continue to move about, he relieves it of one of its arms and demonstrates how you can burn it with fire or destroy it with dragonglass. Danerys estimates there are 100,000 in the Army of the Dead, and Jaime’s eyes go wide with fear.
Euron Greyjoy jumps out of his seat to examine the now-all-the-way-dead creature, and he asks if the Wights can swim. When assured they can’t, he says he’s terrified and is sailing back to the Iron Islands to wait out the war between living and dead.
Cersei says she accepts the truce her visitors have come seeking… on the condition that the King in the North will extend the truce to never take up arms agains the Lannisters– and that he’ll stay in the North.
This throws our honest-to-a-fault Jon for a loop. Challenged to bend the knee to Cersei, he feels compelled to come out to everyone gathered as having already bent the knee to Danerys. (Am I the only one who thought the cadence of his confession was deliberately similar to when Johnny takes the stage at the end of Dirty Dancing to invite Baby to come up and dance with him? Anyone?)
His declaration gives Cersei the excuse she needs to refuse the truce, and when she leaves, everyone else is like: “Jon! Can’t you ever just lie a little???” And he’s like, “I cannot tell a lie.” And Dany is like, “Did my dragon die for nothing?”
Jon the honest inspires some respect and courage in his frustrated fellows, and Tyrion decides that their best bet is for him to go talk to Cersei alone. When he does, she has every opportunity to kill him, and he even dares her to, but she doesn’t. As they begin talking, she puts her hand on her belly, and he’s instantly sure she’s pregnant. He calls her on it, and whatever happens next seems to lead to her getting on board. They return to the Dragonpit and tell everyone that the Lannister armies are going to ride north and join the fight.
Notable as the crew waits to see if Tyrion will return in one piece: Jon and Dany have some quiet conversation in an alcove of the Dragonpit, playing with tiny dragon bones and reflecting on the downfall of House Targaryen. He assures her that her family hasn’t met its end yet, and she reminds him that a witch told her that she could never have children. He leans in and asks if maybe that lady wasn’t a reliable source. (Ooooooohhhhh…)
Once Cersei has declared her intention to participate in the war of living versus dead, everyone is free to return to the castles from whence they came. Jon, Dany and co. head back to Dragonstone and Brienne, presumably, heads back to Winterfell.
While at Dragonstone, Theon asks Jon for a moment alone. He tries to express his regret for everything he’s ever done wrong, his admiration for Jon’s infallible moral compass and how he struggled his whole life with whether to identify as a Greyjoy or a Stark. Jon tells him that although he cannot forgive everything Theon has ever done, he does forgive what he can. Then he tells him he doesn’t have to choose– he is a Greyjoy and a Stark.
Reek begins to fall away from a reborn Theon in front of us. He says he needs to save his sister, and Jon says, “What are you doing still talking to me, then?”
Theon goes to the shore to tell the remnants of Yara’s men that they need to go save her from Euron, and their leader says that she’s as good as dead and instead they’ll be resuming their raping and pillaging ways and waiting out the war between living and dead. Theon does not accept this, and the Iron Islander begins beating him into submission. What he doesn’t know, though, is that Theon has developed an incredibly high threshold for pain.
His courage is up, and he rises from every smackdown, lumbering towards his foe for more. When the brute goes for Theon’s junk, the tide turns. He knees Theon in the crotch repeatedly, but there’s nothing there to hurt anymore. Theon smiles, and in moments he is straddling the larger man and punching him until he’s either dead or may as well be. The other Iron Islanders accept him as the victor and rally with him to sail away in search of Yara.
Meanwhile, at Winterfell, Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) continues to whisper in Sansa’s (Sophie Turner) ear. He tells her that one of his tricks is to imagine what the worst case scenario behind someone’s actions is and see if that explains things. He leads her through this exercise as relates to Arya (Maisie Williams), reaching the ridiculous conclusion that she’s returned to Winterfell to murder Sansa for her perceived disloyalty to the family and take her place as Lady of Winterfell.
After this, Sansa spends some time brooding on the wall, then instructs her guards to have her sister brought to the Great Hall.
When Arya walks in, Sansa and Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) are seated at the high table, and Littlefinger is lounging against the wall near them. The rest of the room’s perimeter is lined with armored guards and Yohn Royce (Rupert Vansittart). Arya steps cautiously to the center of the room and asks her sister if she’s sure she wants to do this. Sansa says yes, and Arya tells her to get on with it.
Then Sansa says: “You stand accused of murder. You stand accused of treason. How do you answer these charges… LORD BAELISH?”
(This is when I cheered.)
A confused Littlefinger tries to talk his way out of it as Sansa and Arya start giving him the specifics of his crimes against their family… leading up to confirmation that he was the one who hired the catspaw assassin to kill Bran with the dagger Arya now wears. When Bran finally speaks, we discover that the Three-Eyed Raven actually has been doing things at Winterfell. He has filled his sisters in on Littlefinger’s actions and helped them set a trap for him by playing him for the last few episodes.
Sansa sentences him to death as he begs crying on his knees, and Arya steps up to act as executioner, slicing him across the throat mid-plea. As his life gurgles out of him, Sansa watches him with the same fascination and satisfaction she did when she watched Ramsay’s dogs eat him.
Then! As if that weren’t payoff enough for anyone (me) who was hella worried after the last episode, the Stark sisters debrief on a snowy wall. Arya tells Sansa she could never have survived what she did, and Sansa says she knows she could have because Arya is the strongest person she’s ever known. They clarify that Arya has never aspired to being Lady of Winterfell, and Sansa delivers the line we heard in the season preview: “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”
The Wolf Pack is BACK!
While this is going down, Jaime is in King’s Landing making plans for mobilizing his army to fight in the North when Cersei intercepts him and tells him how stupid he is. She was never planning to fight. Euron leaving was a ruse– he’s actually gone to collect the 20,000 members of the Golden Company and bring them to Westeros so she can take over everything left unguarded while her enemies fight the Army of the Dead. She threatens to have The Mountain kill him if he dares leave her to fulfill his promise to fight.
Finally. Finally, a straw has broken the camel’s back in this toxic relationship. Jaime looks at her like he’s seeing all the potential of the Mad King he killed coming to fruition in his sister/lover. He tells her he doesn’t believe she’ll kill him and that he won’t break his promise to fight the Army of the Dead, then he rides north alone as snow begins to fall on King’s Landing. Winter has come.
Also moving north are Jon, Danerys and Tyrion, sailing in the love boat. Jon comes knocking on Dany’s door late at night. No words are exchanged as she lets him in. Before long, they are BUCK NAKED and having some intense, eye contact-filled s.e.x. while Tyrion lurks in the corridor outside looking so fishy that it makes you question everything you think you know about his loyalties. What exactly did happen in the “room where it happened” between him and Cersei earlier?
Would it have slowed Jonerys’s roll if they knew that they were definitely aunt and nephew? Because apparently while they are consummating the chemistry they’ve been sparking all season, Sam (John Bradley) has arrived at Winterfell and heads straight to Bran’s room. This is their first reunion since Sam helped Bran and the Reeds get north of the Wall, and they don’t waste time on small talk. Bran briefly explains that he’s the Three-Eyed Raven now, and then he tells Sam that he needs to let Jon know he’s not a Snow but a Sand– the bastard son of Rhaegar and Lyanna.
Fortunately, Sam WAS paying enough attention to Gilly (Hannah Murray) when she found the tiny mention of Rhaegar’s annulment and subsequent remarriage in Dorne. He tells Bran about it and asks if he can use his powers to see it. Of course he can. He becomes the invisible guest at their sweet wedding, then jumps forward to catch what Lyanna whispered to Ned as she lay dying: “His name is Aegon Targaryen. You have to protect him.”
So Jon is the true heir to the Iron Thone, and he is on his way to marital bliss with his aunt Danerys (not uncommon for the Targaryens). Jaime is riding north. Theon is on his way to rescue Yara from Euron (who is transporting the Golden Company from Essos). Everyone is on their way to Winterfell, where Littlefinger has just been executed. And the Three-Eyed Raven excuses himself to sit under the weirwood and see what’s happening at Eastwatch.
What’s happening is Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) sharing what may be their final conversation while looking out from atop the Wall. While they gaze at the trees far below, the Army of the Dead begins shambling out into the wasteland between the forest and the Wall. This is bad, but it’s nothing compared to what happens a moment later when the Night King arrives on the back of his new ICE DRAGON and makes quick work of the Wall. Tormund and Beric might have fallen to their deaths, along with countless other men, who will likely be the newest members of the Army of the Dead, as the 100,000 and their flying leader move south.
See you in 2018– I hope!