The “Dragon and the Wolf,” the season 7 finale of Game of Thrones, proved itself a fitting end to GoT’s penultimate season.
No season produced more thrilling moments in such a condensed window. Fans who’ve complained in the past of storylines moving too slowly or characters remaining stagnant for too long should have neither of those complaints this season.
But the same break neck pace that has cost us valuable character moments and story development time reared its ugly head again Sunday night, particularly in the build-up to the meeting in the Dragon Pit.
So many characters with a history reunited in the show’s opening scene. Tyrion, Bronn, and Pod (the “Heroes of Blackwater Bay”) were given an all too short reunion considering how important the three characters used to be to each other in the show’s early seasons. The Hound and Brienne nearly fought to the death at the end of Season 5. But a few seconds is all we got to settle any remaining animosity.
And speaking of the Hound and reunions, Sandor Clegane came face to face for the first time with the undead Mountain (Clegane Bowl preview???), albeit for only 10 seconds.
None of these truncated reunions took anything away from all the incredible moments the finale produced. But not giving these awkward reunions the time they deserved was an unfortunate side effect of Season 7’s shortened length.
That’s enough bellyaching from me. Because when it comes to the answer of the question “Are you entertained?,” “The Dragon and the Wolf” (and the entire season, for that matter) was an emphatic yes!
Let’s start the final recap of the season with that meeting in the Dragon Pit when we all thought an alliance uniting all of Westeros was formed.
Daenarys sure knows how to make an entrance. First, the Unsullied (who, I guess, didn’t have too difficult a time marching from Casterly Rock) approach and surround the rarely seen land side of King’s Landing. Then, she makes everybody wait for her arrival before Drogon drops her off.
This is the first time Cersei and Dany have met, and the Mother of Dragons wants a truce. As we’d expect, Cersei is skeptical until the Hounds opens that box with the Wight inside.
The zombie runs out charging at Cersei only to have a chain hold it back. The Hound chops it into three pieces so Jon can illustrate the ways in which to defeat it.
Euron Greyjoy (who reappears after being absent the last three episodes) gets up and walks off. He says he’s so terrified that he intends to take his fleet back to the Iron Islands to wait things out (wink, wink).
Cersei, however, wants a truce under one condition: that Jon stays neutral when Dany and Cersei resume their fight for the Iron Thorne.
But Jon, who is just terrible at playing “The Great Game,” says he’s already pledged loyalty to Daeanrys and refuses Cersei’s offer.
Cersei walks away with no deal in place. This forces Tyrion to walk into the most awkward and dangerous of all the reunions in the episode.
In the Red Keep
A couple of important observations from this meeting include:
-Tyrion accepting responsibility for all the dead Lannisters,
-Cersei taking blame for none of them (even though Tommen’s death was clearly her fault),
-Cersei will not order her brother killed,
-Tyrion figures out Cersei is pregnant.
The meeting was enough to convince Cersei to join Jon and Dany in defeating the army of the dead (wink, wink).
Meanwhile, back up North, Sansa is confiding in Littlefinger all the frustrations she’s been having with Jon and her sister. Her “brother” just sent a raven with news that he pledged his loyalty to Dany. And there’s also the whole “my sister is an assassin and I’m afraid she might murder me” problem.
Now, I still hated the scene last week where Arya threatens Sansa after the latter discovers Arya’s masks, which existed only to troll us, not Littlefinger. But the resolution of the season’s events in Winterfell was otherwise perfect.
Sansa calls for her sister to appear before her for a trial. But Arya is not the one on trial. Sansa reads the charges of murder and treason and asks Lord Baelish how he responds to them.
Littlefinger is shocked. But considering Bran can now see everything that’s ever happened in history, he really shouldn’t be. I mean, did he not think Bran, who can now see all of history, would tell his sisters all Littlefinger was responsible for?
Also, Bran, please forgive me. I thought you were being a real douche for not telling your sisters all this information you had. But you were doing just that off camera this whole time.
Baelish is found guilty of murdering Lysa Arryn, Jon Arryn, and starting the conflict between the Starks and the Lannisters. It was cruel irony for Littlefinger that all those lessons he taught Sansa were used against him while she and her siblings conned the most conniving man in Westeros.
Arya carries out the death sentence, slashing Littlefingers throat. In a great moment between the two characters, Sansa and Arya finally give each other credit for the women they’ve become. The two sisters are finally on the same page. And it appears they’ve been that way for awhile now.
Plans for Battle
After the all Westerosi alliance was made, Jon and Dany agree to sail together to White Harbor (a port city in the North). The decision displeases Jorah, and we all know why.
In King’s Landing, Jamie is preparing his fellow military leaders for battle when Cersei asks to speak with him alone.
Now, I was really glad Cersei didn’t suddenly become a team player because she saw one wight. Cersei has no intention of joining Jon and Dany in the North. She’s keeping her forces in King’s Landing while Euron secretly picks up the Golden Company: a group of 20,000 sell swords Cersei is paying to join her side.
Cersei’s logic is sound. The Lannister force will do little to stop the army of the dead, the Dothraki, the Unsullied, or the dragons (which Cersei noticed only two are now with Dany). So she says “let the monsters fight” it out instead of joining with Jon and Dany only to have the two of them turn against her once the great war is over.
But Jamie made a vow to fight, and he’s clearly had it with his sister/lover’s shit. He’s riding north anyway, but the undead Mountain steps in front of him, preventing him from leaving.
It looked like this would be the end of Jamie Lannister. But Cersei once again showed her weak spot: she can’t bring herself to order the death of either of her brothers.
As Jamie rides away, he notices a snowflake falling on his glove. Winter is finally here for all of Westeros.
Back in Winterfell
Sam’s journey from Oldtown finally ends as he and Gilly arrive in Winterfell. And for some reason, Sam goes to talk to Bran. After seeing these two interact, I want them together in every scene they are in next season.
Sam wants to help Jon in fighting the Whitewalkers, but Bran points out his name is not really Jon Snow.
The two characters take turns trying to one up the other as Bran reveals Jon was born in Dorne and should not be Jon Snow, but Jon Sand. Then Sam (who was apparently paying attention when Gilly read this out loud a couple of weeks ago after all) reveals that Rhaegar and Lyanna were in fact married, so Jon is not a bastard at all.
Bran sees the vision of the two married and makes two key observations:
-Robert’s Rebellion was built on a lie (Rhaegar did not kidnap Lyanna)
-Jon Snow (or should we say Aegon Targaryen) is the true heir to the Iron Throne.
As the revelation is coming out, Jon and Dany are making sweet Aunt/Nephew love on her ship.
Tyrion sees Jon enter Dany’s room, and he is clearly concerned what the ramifications of those actions could be.
Now, I thought the major lineage reveals and love making would be the end of the season. But Bran, sitting by his favorite Weirwood tree, has another vision.
We go to Eastwatch, where Tormund and Beric are on lookout when the Army of the Dead comes marching through the trees. And for the first time, the living sees what became of Dany’s dead dragon.
The Ice Dragon blows an icy substance of some sort at the Wall and takes down the part holding up Eastwatch. Tormund and Beric run for the lives. Since we didn’t see them die, I assume they will escape and get word to everybody else.
As for the Army of the Dead, they cross the open section of the Wall and march into Westeros.
-With Jamie heading north, a reunion with him and Bran is coming. And if you thought Bran’s reunions with everybody else were awkward, just wait for that one.
-The Dragon Pit was where Targaryens started keeping their dragons as fear of the beasts ran rampant throughout Westeros. Daenarys made reference to how the dragons who lived in the pit were ruined because they never grew to the size of those who flew freely. Also, the Dragon Pit had a roof that was destroyed by dragon fire.
-Dany’s fertility came up again in season 7 in her talk with Jon. I’d be surprised if the black witch’s theory on Dany’s ability to have children doesn’t get tested in season 8.
-We have the setup for a Greyjoy fued in season 8 (yay????). Theon, after some encouraging words from Jon, takes back his crew from the captain. He now intends to go and save his sister from Euron.
-Bronn and Pod went to have a drink before disappearing for the rest of the episode. Will this meeting over “drinks” come up again next season or be forgotten?
-“Have you considered learning how to lie?” One of the lines of the night by Tyrion.
-Cersei once again mentioned the services of the Golden Company, the most prominent sellsword company in all of Essos. The group has been mentioned several times in the show’s history, but we’ve yet to see them make a physical appearance.
-So Jon was really named “Aegon Targaryen,” the same name of the first Targaryen king, Aegon the Conquerer.
Be on the lookout for a couple of items to wrap-up season 7.
On Wednesday, I will have my season obituaries. Then on Friday, I will have a top ten list of the best episodes in show history through seven seasons.
Thank you for checking out my recaps every week. Be on the lookout for updates on shooting, casting, and overall hype pieces as we prepare for the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones.