All aboard the Hype Train! In preparation of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Kelly is doing a rewatch for the greater good to refresh our memories, catch the things we might have forgotten, pick up the things we might have missed, and maybe make predictions! Hold onto your fur rugs from Ikea and AWAY WE GO.
Rules of this series: We’re deep diving into these episodes and I’m watching them on a per-episode base because I like digesting the episodes. Spoilers lie ahead. As you can tell, I’ve failed at keeping this episode/season specific. Onwards!
7.6 Beyond the Wall
We start the episode in Dragonstone, as the camera pans across Dany’s table of Westeros and up to just about where Eastwatch would be. The party of Jon, Gendry, Jorah, the Hound, Thoros, and Beric, as well as some future casualties, make their way up even more North to get MacGuffin Wight and cue some banter that’s been missing this whole season. Their characters are still consistent and it’s all in line with who they are. Sometimes it’s the scene partner that’s lacking- cough, Dany cough. Jon tells Tormund that Albany isn’t technically upstate and there’s no such thing as central New Jersey. Tormund says sex is the best way to keep warm and they’ll have to make do. Meanwhile, Gendry’s still smarting from being sold to Melisandre and nearly dying and the Hound tells him to get over it- Beric’s died six times after all. Jon and Jorah bond over how great of a man Jeor was and Jorah’s a little jealous- Jon had the affection of his father, has the heart of Dany, has his family sword… man, his head must hurt.
Most importantly, Tormund tells Jon that Mance might have been wrong in not bending the knee to Stannis and as a result lost several hundred men, which makes Jon reconsider how he’s been refusing to bend the knee to Dany in the same fashion.
All that fun back and forth is erased because at Winterfell, Arya and Sansa reminisce about Ned and in the fashion of the Waif, Arya tells Sansa how he watched her try to train with Bran’s bow and a single arrow. When Arya finally hit the target, Ned clapped. He accepted Arya for who she was and knew the rules were wrong for telling Arya what to be as a girl. Arya uses this as a lead in to accuse Sansa of aiding Ned’s murder, revealing the scroll she found in Littlefinger’s room. She blames Sansa for the demise of the Stark family and accuses her of betraying Robb, while Sansa points out that Arya didn’t exactly do anything to save Ned and- again, what’s the point of all this? What’s even more infuriating is that Sansa implies how much she suffered at the hands of Ramsay and Arya glosses over it. No one wants to see this. No one wants to see your titular characters having a petty argument- we want to see them come together and grow stronger. YOU CAN’T WRITE FOR WOMEN, SHOW. Man, they got Arya all wrong this season, didn’t they?
Back North of the Wall, Tormund remains the life of the party as he notices the Hound’s sad eyes, romanticizes gingers, learns the word “dick,” and sings songs about Brienne. Beric notes that Jon doesn’t look like his FATHER (A TARGARYEN if you didn’t know) and must favor his MOTHER (A STARK, if you haven’t caught on by now)- but Beric is talking about Ned. Beric asks Jon about Mel and that he’s been brought back six times but Jon’s being tired of the religion that interfered with his life but provides no purpose or explanation. Beric says that the reason why they were brought back doesn’t matter- but they’re alive and need to fight for that alone.
Left at Dragonstone, Dany serves up a back-handed compliment telling Tyrion he’s not a hero. She lists all the men who are attracted to her- Drogo, Jorah, Daario, Jon- and says they’re all heroic and find stupid ways to die- the conversation ends here because the writers can’t follow through at this point, Dany brushes off the idea that Jon likes her, and the topic changes to Cersei. He teaches her the way Cersei thinks and convinces Dany to not set any traps- since Cersei inspires fear, Dany should inspire something else- how else can she separate herself from the other crazed Targaryens.
He implores her not to lose her temper as she did with the Tarlys and Dany is still convinced that she wasn’t being impulsive and Tyrion’s still under the impression that Dany had multiple options before burning them alive- she needs to respond more effectively and think like her enemies in order to beat them. He asks her to be more patient and think about the sustainability of her reign and its future. Dany zeroes in on what Tyrion is really getting at- succession- but Dany doesn’t want to talk about where the crown goes after her until she is wearing the crown.
Back North of the Wall, one of the extras gets offed by a big bear that also happens to be a wight bear because nothing really dies in the North I guess. There’s a lot of snow and it’s hard to see, but eventually, the whole party circles up with their backs to each other (genius strategy) and most of the extras are offed while Thoros and Beric light their swords. At some point, the bear is set on fire and killed but not before it takes a nice chunk from Thoros as the Hound freezes up and is too scared to do anything.
At Winterfell, Sansa asks Littlefinger about the scroll and he tries to boost her confidence by telling her that the North is ready to support her. Sansa retorts all the problems with the Northern loyalty (we feel ya, sister) and is convinced that Arya would turn against her if Sansa made moves against Jon. Littlefinger asks if Brienne could help- after all, she’s sworn to protect the girls and Sansa’s next step is to send Brienne away, because either she doesn’t want Brienne to get involved or risk killing Arya or she doesn’t want Arya killing Brienne, I haven’t decided yet, this story doesn’t make any sense.
The Fellowship takes a pause in the snow when they hear footsteps and spy a small group of wights making their way in the canyon below. They wipe out the leading White Walker, which shatters most of the wights, except for one because convenience, and take that one captive. As a horde of wights makes their way towards the group, they dispatch Gendry to run back to Eastwatch and send a message to Dany.
They spread themselves over some ice and make their way to a spit of land just as the wights crash down into the lake below and then the rest stand along the edge and just watch. There’s a temporary barrier of freezing water for now and they’re able to nap on the little rock. In the night, Thoros quietly dies- and as a result, Beric’s on his last life. Beric points out the Night King to Jon and says that if that one is killed, the rest of them will die. He’s convinced that Jon’s purpose is to fight the Night King and that Jon doesn’t need to be afraid of the others.
Ugh, back to Winterfell, Sansa gets an invitation to King’s Landing and so she sends Brienne in her stead because there’s no one else she trusts with her best interests since she has work to do in the North and all. Brienne asks if she trusts Littlefinger and the guards he’s hired and let’s at least leave Pod behind so the two of them can finally havenice romantic interests- but Sansa kills my dreams and claims she doesn’t need Pod (she does) because Hogwarts is the safest place for her.
Having received Gendry’s raven, Dany grabs her dragons as Tyrion implores her to stay behind- if Dany dies, then the entire season has been a farce but Dany is tired of listening to Tyrion since all of his advice has been wrong supposedly and she flies away.
Cue the battle on the ice lake, as the wights charge forward and I’m not sure why the Hound didn’t just charge forward to break the ice a la King Arthur. Wights close in on all sides and the party is able to hold them off while climbing backwards on the little rock. Good thing everyone wore their plot armor because no one dies except the extras- and I think we could have used another death here. Maybe Beric or Tormund. You know. Raise the stakes more, jumble up the story.
Meanwhile, in all the chaos, Jon is set on MacGuffin Wight number 1 because he doesn’t want literally any other wight. Dude, you have your pick. You can take any of these. Don’t waste your energy on just one. Just as slow-motion hits and Jon accepts the probability of dying, Dany and her three dragons swoop in- they wipe out at least half of the wight army and everyone hops aboard Drogon but Jon stays behind because he’d rather run forward a few steps to fend of wights then to simply hop on like the rest of them.
As much as I don’t like Dany, I can’t deny that I get hype when the dragons swoop in to stir up some shit.
Then, Javalin Champ Night King shows up and takes down Viserion. It’s pretty impressive- he doesn’t even take a running start. Dany’s a bit heartbroken but let’s face it- Viserion was her least favorite. When everyone recovers from the shock of seeing Viserion die, the Night King winds up for another throw, and Jon gets sent through some ice. With no one left to wait for, Dany flies away with the rest of the party and the Night King’s second spear misses Drogon by inches.
Jon’s plot armor came with a life preserver and he’s able to pull himself out of the freezing cold water and AUncle Benjen and his Magic Flail swoop in and save the day. He pulls a Jon and opts to rush forward to fight off wights (theme of the episode I guess- seriously, they all have plenty of time to ride away) instead of hopping up alongside Jon on his horse and we can say goodbye to Uncle Benjen as he goes down fighting.
At Eastwatch, Dany asks to stay a little longer- just in case Jon shows up- and ONE BLAST FOR RANGERS RETURNING, it’s Jon. They cut away his frozen furs and Dany catches a glimpse of his deep wounds- he really did take a knife to the heart for his people!
At Winterfell (kill me), Sansa sneaks into Arya’s room and finds her bag of faces because apparently, that’s how they are transported. Sure. One is of Walder Frey and that’s fun. Arya asks Sansa if she wants to play the game of faces- she doesn’t but Arya proceeds while Sansa stands there asking what the faces are. Arya wonders aloud what it might be link to wear Sansa’s dresses and be the Lady of Winterfell, but she ends up handing the Valyrian dagger over to Sansa and leaving the room because we have to show the Starks against each other and not plotting together as we should be seeing. OVER IT.
Jon awakens to find Dany tearing up over Viserion and she admits that Jon was right as he grabs her hand- she needed to see what he was talking about to understand. She tells Jon that Viserion was her child and that she won’t have any more children- and she wants to take out the Night King. She promises herself to his cause and in return, Jon promises to call her his queen because… I don’t know. It’s not because she’s a good ruler and he thinks she’s a good leader. It’s apparently because he’s fallen in love with her and he thinks they’ll fall in love with what he’s fallen in love with and I WISH I COULD JUST WISH AWAY MY FEELINGS.
To close out the episode, we get the army of wights worko=ing on some chains and they drag Viserion out of the icy lake. The Night King strolls up and reaches out to touch Viserion- and now he has a dragon, ho ho ho.
We’re at the end of the series until the final season with 7.7 The Dragon and the Wolf!