We knew this Game of Thrones finale would come quickly with only seven episodes in the penultimate season. But even so, we are left with so many twists, turns, and complex moments to break down over the next year. Yes, there is an ice dragon that’s going to be a giant pain. But that’s not even the moment I keep thinking about. Let’s break down “The Dragon and the Wolf.”
While there is the huge meet up in King’s Landing, we’re getting some resolution in Winterfell. Little Finger continues to lead Sansa along by questioning Arya’s motives. He has her consider the worst case scenario. Sansa concludes that Arya has returned to kill her and become the lady of Winterfell. In the great hall, the walls are lined with the Knights of the Vale. Sansa has Bran by her side and Little Finger among the crowd as Arya enters. It looks like Sansa is done messing around with Arya and her murderous threat. But after reading the charges of murder and treason, she turns them on Little Finger.
He’s understandably shocked by this series of events and tries to talk his way out of them. That is what he does best. But the charges against him are severe and all true. He killed Lysa Arryn and provided the poison that killed Jon Arryn. He also planted the seed that the Lannisters were to blame, which stoked the fire between the Starks and Lannisters. Oh and of course he betrayed dear old Ned. Bran throws a wrench in Little Finger’s defense by quoting the words Baelish whispered to Ned in that season 1 moment. “I told you not to trust me.” He tries appealing to Sansa’s reason and even her emotions by begging on his knees and telling her he loved her. But no dice. Lord Peter Baelish, one of the scheming masterminds of Westeros, has always been one step ahead of everyone around him. But not this time. Arya cuts his throat and we watch him die on the floor of Winterfell’s great hall. Not the throat! That’s where his gruff Batman voice comes from. The Starks and the Knights of the Vale look on silently.
Later Sansa and Arya stand on the castle battlements and chat. Sansa is a bit uneasy about the execution. The scene wraps up this storyline as the tension between the sisters seems to have been magically cut away with Little Finger’s throat. Sansa leaves us with one of the quotes of the year: “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.”
Bran is hanging out by a fire watching old memories (his version of television reruns) when Sam and Gilly show up to Winterfell. Sam goes to visit Bran, who he met briefly years ago. Sam says he came to help Jon fight the army of the dead. Without much of a push, Bran really spills the beans on one of the biggest and most dangerous secrets in Westeros. Jon’s last name is truly Sand because he was a bastard born to Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. No he’s not. Sam remembers the passage he and Gilly read about Rhaegar receiving an annulment and marrying Lyanna in secret. Bran quickly jumps to that scene in a flashback. In our first glimpse of Rhaegar, he looks just like his brother Viserys. I suppose that’s realistic of brothers, but I’m just picturing Viserys whining, “I am the dragon” over and over. Bran also jumps to the Tower of Joy where Lyanna reveals the baby’s name to Ned on her deathbed. Our friend Jon Snow, the bastard of Winterfell, is actually Aegon Targaryen, the heir to the Iron Throne.
In King’s Landing, we get a massive gathering with most of our principal cast members. Jon and Tyrion lead their group with the zombie prisoner into the Dragonpit, the destroyed structure where the dragons used to be held in the Targaryen heyday. Cersei shows up a few minutes later, but her attempt to be fashionably late is upstaged by Daenerys riding in on Drogon even later and more fashionably. There are way too many small, but awesome, interactions between characters with histories to list out here. But first, the Hound confronts the Franken-Mountain. He only talks to him for a moment, but it’s clear their showdown is imminent. Tyrion begins the formal discussions before Euron, the boob, interrupts him. Cersei calls him back. The Hound lugs in the crate with the wight, which has now gone quiet. It looks like it may have de-animated/died again, but nope. It leaps up and lunges toward Cersei. The Hound yanks it back on its leash. They cut it in half and give a demo on how to kill them with fire and dragonglass. The award for best reaction after seeing a wight for the first time goes to Jaime. He had a similar look when Daenerys rode in on Drogon in the fiery battle a few weeks back. It’s the face you make while thinking, “Why did I eat that last taco?”
Euron is totally creeped out and declares that he is leaving to hide on the Iron Islands. Cersei says she will join the cause if Jon agrees to stay out of the Cersei-Daenerys war that will follow the war with the dead. Jon thinks this is a good time to reveal that he has already pledged the North to Queen Daenerys. So that ends these talks. Tyrion goes to the Red Keep alone in an attempt to convince Cersei to change her mind. There are some threats of murder in the meeting, but aside from that it is a nice session of siblings airing things out. It was like “Dr. Phil,” but with a humongous zombie knight in place of the security guard. Back at the Dragonpit, it is an awesome showing of cast members milling about with nothing to do. It’s Brienne, Theon, Jorah, Davos. They’re all there and they’re all literally just pacing around. It may be my favorite part of this season. Tyrion, Cersei, and the other Lannisters return. Cersei announces that she will join the fight.
Later, Jaime is discussing the marching orders with some high-ranking Lannister soldiers. Cersei sends them away and calls Jaime stupid for believing that she was actually joining Daenerys and Jon. She will use her forces to take back Westeros while they are off fighting in the far north. She has actually sent Euron to Essos to pick up the Golden Company, an army of sellswords, who will help in this endeavor. Jaime tries to be reasonable again by pointing out that their prospects aren’t great. If the dead win in the North, they’ll kill them next. If Daenerys wins with her dragons, she’ll kill them next. Cersei isn’t having it. But Jaime is done with breaking oaths. He tells his sister he is going to help in the North. She threatens to have the Mountain kill him if he walks away. But he calls the bluff and leaves. He rides out of the city as snow begins to fall on the capital.
On Dragonstone, Daenerys, Jon and Tyrion are discussing strategy with their people. Theon approaches Jon. He doesn’t really apologize, but says he always struggled with being both a Greyjoy and Stark. Jon doesn’t really forgive him in return. But says that Theon belongs to both those families. Theon approaches the small contingent of Iron Islanders left. He wants to go and rescue Yara. He has to get in a brawl with the group’s captain first. Naturally, Theon is brutally beaten up. But he ends up winning and the men yell a lot. So I guess they’re on board. The vibe of this yelling is seemingly positive. The key to Theon’s victory? Getting kneed in the jewels and not being affected due to his absence of jewels.
On their ship ride up North, Jon knocks on Daenerys’ door and then knocks boots with her. The writers waited to give us this moment until we knew for sure that they were related. Out in the hallway, Tyrion sees Jon enter the room. This is just another chess move he will have to navigate.
Up at Eastwatch, Tormund and Beric are looking out over the Wall. Unfortunately the nice view is corrupted when the White Walkers and thousands of dead people emerge from the tree line. But where is the Night King? He’s noticeably absent. Then he emerges on blue-eyed Viserion. You have to feel good for Viserion. He was just one of the other dragons to Dany. But he’s the Night King’s main boo. It seems this was exactly what the Night King needed. He has no trouble bringing down the Wall with the dragon’s blue flame. Tormund and Beric attempt to flee. Their fates are never revealed, but omission on Game of Thrones doesn’t usually equal death. I imagine they survived since we don’t see them die. Plus we need Brienne + Tormund to happen. So much is left unresolved with them. The army of the dead passes through the debris of the Wall. Death has come to Westeros.
Even with all the complaints about pace, this season of Game of Thrones is by far the most memorable yet. This finale had so much going on that you would need to be the Three-Eyed Raven to take it all in on the first viewing. Jon’s name is actually Aegon. Daenerys and Jon are now a serious power couple. The Wall came crumbling down. It’s really all too much for my mind to accept at this point. Unfortunately we’ll have at least a year (probably more) to think it over and theorize. I appreciate you following along with these recaps all season. They’ve been a lot of fun to write. Bring on season 8!