Welcome to the penultimate recap of the penultimate episode of the penultimate season of a boring show called Game of Fucking Thrones!!! The ‘I Have So Many Questions’ edition. I can’t believe we’re almost finished! As ever: gigantic, scaly, ice cold re-animated spoilers ahead. Obvious foreshadowing in bold.
The Boy Scouts Annual Ice Camping Trip Into Hell
We open just north of The Wall – but really Iceland, which is why the cinematography is so unreal – with our favorite ragtag group of mismatched misfit saviors and survivors. There is much humor, camaraderie, intimate conversation and grudging respect between these men – Jon Snow, Tormund, Gendry, Thoros, Beric, The Hound, Sir Jorah – in so many combinations, that it really does feel like a reluctant buddy film. The Hangover: A Wolfpack Adventure starring Tormund Giantsbane, the Zach Galifianakis of The North.
Gendry: I’ve never seen snow before
Jon: Snow has no knees
Tormund: Y’all are both dumb
Thoros: You mad bro
The Hound: STFU
Jorah: Dad issues
Jon Snow: Same
Jon Snow: Here’s Longclaw
Jon Snow: Take it
Jorah: Give it to the children you don’t have yet
Back at Winterfell, Arya and Sansa finally throw down.
Arya takes the longest route (in real life: five minutes) to “J’accuse!” at Sansa during a trip down Monologue Memory Lane. Sansa lays some truth on Arya about the things she’s survived (namely the Lannisters and Boltons), but still leaves the conversation worried. Are they really fighting or are they laying a trap for the littlest of fingers?
Tormund: Let’s be friends!
The Hound: Nope
Tormund: Let’s be friends anyway!
The Hound: NO
Tormund: I heart Brienne!
The Hound: OH MY GOD
If there’s not a North of The Wall sitcom starring these two chums by the end of this series, I will write the damn thing myself.
Beric: You don’t look like your father
Jon Snow: Okay
Beric: Let’s talk about Jesus Christ
Jon Snow: I’m…busy
At Dragonstone, Dany and Tyrion have a Teen Vogue fireside chat about silly, danger-loving boys. Dany doodles “Mrs. Snow-Khaleesi” on her Trapper Keeper with glitter pens while Tyrion tries to help her with a genealogy test.
Tyrion: You say you can’t have children…
Dany: AND I’LL PROBABLY SAY IT AGAIN BEFORE THIS EPISODE IS OVER TO REALLY HAMMER HOME THAT POINT *looks directly at camera*
Cool. I always hated subtlety.
Back in the Icelandic tundra…
Now is the time for the coolest bear in the history of TV bears, and I don’t just mean the animation or its design (which is also quite mighty) but cool as in White Walker cool — it’s a WHITE WALKER BEAR.
This bear is the size of my apartment building. It is not a Care Bear. It is zombified, hollowed out, covered in ice, and scary as all fuck. I screamed when it finally attacked one of the nobodies – you could fit five heads in that mouth – and kept screaming for the next two days. The men give it their best effort but get thrown around like bear kibble anyway. The Lord of Light fellas just casually pull out swords aflame with righteousness, THEN SET THE BEAR ON FIRE. Now we have an angry undead polar bear with teeth the size of my thighs and flames shooting out of his ribcage — NBD, guys.
Jorah finally stabs the bear with a dragonglass knife but an already-fragile Thoros gets bear-mangled in the process. Much like I would do, Thoros takes a swig of something strong and then Beric cauterizes his chest wounds with a fiery sword in a blizzard. Again, no big deal. Beric is like “Hey, you ok?” and Thoros is all WELL I JUST GOT MAULED BY A BEAR and then they chuckle because all of them will probably die on this dumb expedition.
Cut to Sansa and Littlefinger whispering their whispers in The Whispery about honor and loyalty and Arya’s “resourcefulness” (read: creeping creepiness). He feigns innocence and concern and stares thoughtfully at Sansa. What’s this smirky asshole up to?
Jorah: I’m your biggest fan
Thoros: Sorry, no autographs
And now we transition to a bunch of WTF, as seen here in Jon Snow’s reaction to facing four million fuckers from The Walking Dead:
Why is there a similar ragtag group of wights just chilling outside of the larger group with their own Undead Scout Leader? When the scout leader is killed and the rest go down, why doesn’t the remaining wight (let’s call him Terry) go down with them? If Terry wasn’t turned by that scout leader, then I assume he’s a plant from Team Night King? And if that’s true, to what end?
Here, welcome to a battle that makes no sense:
Jon: Run back 30 miles in 10 seconds of screentime and send a raven to Daenerys!
Gendry: What should I say?
Jon: That we should’ve just ridden the dragons here in 15 minutes and vanquished the White Walkers from above! And also that I’m her nephew!
That’s what he should have said, anyway. Look, a whole lot of shit went down during The Unfortunate Battle That Was – ice naps, near-deaths, sexy swordfighting, dragon death – but I’m not going to give it much energy because the whole thing was bullshit to begin with. Also, I’m double creeped out by the White Walkers because some of them are Craster’s incest kids and that’s just an icy yuckfest I can’t wrap my head around.
I guess they’re lucky that the undead army comes at them one at a time. Slowly. Politely. With restraint. Something manageable and good for camera angles. I mean, I know it’s an epic fantasy series but none of this is believable, damn it.
Thoros dies before the big show begins. I don’t know why they had to patch him up after the bear attack – he’s been steadily worsening like Steve Bannon since the start of the trip – if he was just going to die in his sleep. I assume there’s some bigger reason for his death but pour one out for King Top Knot, anyway.
Back at Winterfell, Sansa gets a party invite from Cersei but sends a reluctant Brienne in her place. Is this a ruse for Littlefinger? Is it to get her out of the way so Sansa can take care of Arya? Is it the chance Arya needs to get to King’s Landing? Can she impersonate Sansa without her face? Oh my god, did I just write that?
Viserion dies…or does he? While the Night King re-loads his ice javelin, everyone takes a thoughtful 10-minute moment of silence for Viserion, which is the exact moment Jon Snow should’ve ran his stupid ass back to Dany and hopped onto Drogon. Instead, he decides to drown…
…like Jaime. How many men in armor and wrapped in heavy furs, floating towards the bottom of a lake, will live on this show? Speaking of, at least two of the men in this group should’ve died in this episode – and I mean real beloved characters. Maybe Tormund, maybe Sir Jorah — you cannot retain every good man on this show. I don’t want these guys to die, either, but LIVING IS NOT GAME OF THRONES. With a battle that big and unnecessary, there should have been some consequences. Jon could always use more brooding material.
Hey, Uncle Benjen is back! Oh — bye, Uncle Benjen.
Uncle Benji dies for the cause even though he could’ve fit on that horse with Jon. Feels a bit like Rose and Leo at the end of Titanic. Just scoot over, for fuck’s sake. It can’t be that hard.
Sansa goes a-snooping in Arya’s chambers and finds a bag of faces, as one does. They hash it out and Arya manages to out-creep Bran. She threatens to cut off Sansa’s face (classic sister stuff) and my overall feeling is they’re laying all of this on really thick, so I hope it’s some kind of ruse and not just sisters waging war.
After Daenerys predictably saves The Hangover crew from certain death, she broods on The Wall, awaiting her beloved
nephew. He shows up and now we’re on a boat! Hey T-Pain, what’s good?
As they strip the frozen clothes from an unconscious Jon, Dany sees the scars from his resurrection but all I see is an amazing six pack. Excellent work, Kit Harington! A grateful nation thanks you.
Jon sighs shirtlessly in bed while wrapped in furs; Dany glows with eternal blondeness by his side. Her braid game has been seriously on point this season, if leaning a little in the ‘precious elf’ direction. Sometimes she reminds me of Kira the Gelfling from The Dark Crystal.
Jon: I have regrets
Dany: I will never have children
Jon: That’s a little off topic
Dany: The untrustworthy vengeful bitch who killed my husband told me that, so you see, it must be true
Or whatever. That whole scene where they make moony sex eyes at each other while handfasting among the furs should’ve ended with something fiery. How will they ever have a baby together – which seems pretty obvious now – if they don’t get naked and get their freaky direwolf-dragon/dragon-dragon on? When he said “How about I call you My Queen?” I thought he meant like, in a marital sense — an alliance. And I got unreasonably excited about Say Yes To The Dress: Targaryan Edition. It makes sense for both of them, and for us, the viewers. EVERYONE LIKES A WEDDING EPISODE.
The Night King works his icy magic on Viserion, turning him into a White Walker dragon. Yawngasp. When he javelined the hell out of Viserion, I assumed this was the goal – though perhaps he had bigger dreams since there were three ice javelins, presumably for all three dragons – but he really came prepared for a win. Who has that many gigantic chains on hand to drag a hypothermic lake for a 757? The Night King, that’s who. Or Bran, depending on your Night King theories.
This is already 1600+ words and I didn’t even recap the battle, but a few (hundred) questions remain: I love Tyrion, but why does Daenerys listen to anything he says anymore? His decisions as her Hand have led to nothing but failure. I think he means well (or does he?) but she doesn’t even listen to him — “You told me to do nothing last time and you were wrong, so I’m going against your advice now, thanks” (which is fine by me because she saved Jon Snow).
Who the hell is going to be the one to tell Jon who his parents are? We are now beyond shipping Jon and Dany and have leapt into baby-having territory — why else make so many foreshadowing comments throughout the entire episode about how she couldn’t have children? The prophecy she so wildly clings to about being barren can be interpreted in more than one way. Why couldn’t The Stallion Who Mounts The World also be The Prince That Was Promised? WHERE THE FUCK IS BRAN?!! SEND SOME RAVENS, BRAN. THAT’S SO RAVEN.
I decided last night that I’m going to start over and watch from the beginning of the show, and take my time watching the whole thing again until the next season. I’ve managed to keep from seeing any Season 8 spoilers, and for that I am grateful. To the finale!