Since Game of Thrones began running, the second to the last episode of the season has always been the massive jaw-dropping, eye-popping, life changing (okay I may be getting carried away) episode. Although this was a big episode with big implications, I don’t think it was as impactful as The Red Wedding, Ned’s beheading, or The Battle of the Bastards to name a few. That being said, there was a game changing moment (one that was heavily rumored) now that the White Walkers have a zombie dragon.
Sansa and Arya Stark
Although for the most part, I like Arya’s character and her ninja skills, and I’m certainly not a fan of Sansa, I think Arya is going off the rails just a bit. A letter written by Sansa under extreme duress when she was about thirteen is certainly excusable. And although Arya has been through some turmoil, Sansa’s journey was the more treacherous. Basically, she should get a pass, and Arya isn’t being remotely reasonable. I get where she’s coming from, but she’s way out of line and she ought to concentrate her fury on more deserving targets.
I thought the conversation with Tyrion in this episode was total filler and didn’t add much to the show. She lost one of her dragons (I’m not sure which) and didn’t seem as broken up about it as I thought she would. The end of the episode definitely seals my ongoing prediction—Jon and Dany are going to wind up a couple. Mark it down
The Dirty Dozen
The grouping of Jon, Tormund, the Hound, Gendry, Beric, etc. is the Game of Thrones version of the Dirty Dozen. They created a motley group of rugged warriors out on a deadly mission where the draw is really the gathering of this group of men. I like the opening where they had a lot of banter before they got onto the fighting. There was some good back and forth between these characters. For me the MVP of this scene, and the MVP in every scene he is in, is Tormund Giantsbane. I especially enjoyed how he was opining to the Hound about Brienne of Tarth.
Although I liked this Dirty Dozen gathering, their commander needs to be fired, because the concept behind the mission was so utterly flawed and ridiculous. They were going to rush into a horde of zombies to steal one as proof of their existence so that Cersei, who doesn’t care about anything other than her own power, in order to convince her to join the fight? As they were swarmed on all sides by wights and White Walkers, I’m sure Jon Snow realized the folly of his plan.
But that was far from what was truly wrong about this. The truly utterly ridiculous part of this was sending Gendry to send a raven to Dany. It’s not like they had a squadron of military helicopters an hour away. Dragonstone is far, far away from beyond the wall. For Gendry to get back to Eastwatch, dispatch a raven, and then have Dany fly back with her dragons would take at least a week. This took like less than twenty-four hours. I’m only willing to suspend my disbelief so much and this stretched my disbelief like an old, ratty rubber band that’s ready to snap. And for me it soured all of the cool fighting scenes and the cool visuals with Dany swooping in with her dragons and laying waste to the wights.
The big climactic action here, the Night King killing Dany’s dragon, was fundamentally flawed. First, the Night King knew absolutely what to do to slay the dragon even though there is no lore in the annals of Westeros of dragons facing White Walkers. I would imagine this was the first time the Night King ever saw one. Second, if it could kill her dragon so easily, and this was about as easy as shooting a single arrow and hitting your mark, then the forces of Westeros are truly screwed. Now the White Walkers have an ice dragon (something that has been long rumored), and realistically they should be able to crush the living based on their numbers, supernatural powers, and their dragon (and maybe a giant).
The whole Uncle Benjen Stark character saving Jon from the wights is a bit shaky as well. They never explained how his works, since Benjen himself is a wight, but he somehow isn’t controlled by the White Walkers. I’m not sure how he’s capable of free thought when the other wights are basically mindless zombies.
The finale brings a gathering of all the relevant forces to Kings Landing, where Cersei will undoubtedly lay a trap to kill her enemies. After all, this is how Cersei rolls. She’s not going to care about White Walkers, zombies, ice dragons, or anything else. She cares about her throne and her power. If her enemies aren’t smart enough to see that, then they certainly aren’t smart enough to defeat the White Walkers.