Thursday , 21 September 2017

Jon Snow and the Argonauts go Beyond the Wall on Game of Thrones

It has been quite an eventful season on Game of Thrones, in this seventh and next to last, shortened seven episode journey. Characters have reunited or met for the very first time, those jockeying for the throne have moved into position, and epic battles have ensued, all with a common enemy marching ever forward threatening to annihilate them all. That seemingly insurmountable, relentless threat, the White Walkers with their Night King leading his Army of the Dead, have finally come back into play in the latest episode, “Beyond the Wall”. From zombie polar bears to literally jaw-dropping walkers, this was perhaps the most horror-themed episode (along with season five’s “Hardhome”) in the fantasy series’ history. Let’s take a look at what transpired, who we lost and what to expect in next week’s, alas, final episode of the season.

At the end of episode five’s “Eastwatch”, a Magnificent Seven and then some, consisting of the disparate group of Jon Snow, Jorah, Tormund, the Hound, Beris, Thoros, Gendry and a few others, embarked on a seemingly foolish mission to capture a wight to show to Cersei and get her to enter into a truce in the pursuit of the Iron Throne and join Jon and Daenerys in fighting the real enemy to them all, the White Walkers. Along the way, combining elements of Lost and The Walking Dead, they encounter a zombified giant bear, which serves as a harbinger that other creatures besides humans can be turned into the living dead. Not a good sign. Eventually, they come upon a small group of wights led by a single White Walker. After Jon dispatches him with his sword, Longclaw, the accompanying wights also collapse, except for one (who must have been created by another White Walker), who they bag to bring back for show-and-tell. However, the Night King himself, along with a huge army of resurrected corpses are soon upon our intrepid travelers, who eventually become trapped on a small rocky outcropping in the middle of an icy lake. Gendry, being the fleetest of the bunch, without his hammer, of course, is sent back to get word to Dany that her dragons are needed ASAP.

While the White Walkers and their wights have been marching for what’s seemed like months, and Jon and company have made quite a long trek themselves, Gendry apparently has borrowed Grandpa Rick’s portal gun from another Sunday genre favorite, Rick & Morty, as he makes it back to Eastwatch in no time. Indeed, this season, to keep things moving and to bring characters together more frequently, the time of passage between various points has been rather truncated at times. A quibble for sure, but whether they are minor or major is up to the viewer. Anyway, against Tyrion’s advice, Daenerys takes her dragons to save the day, and her increasingly beloved, Jon Snow. However, it comes at a steep price, as the Night King tosses his spear with an Olympian’s aim and distance, killing Viserion, who falls to his death and sinks into an icy tomb. Jon remains so the others can escape, and he is tackled by wights into the watery depths as well. Managing to drag himself to the surface, he prepares to face certain death once again, similar to the Battle of the Bastards, taking on the Army of the Dead, but is rescued in the nick of time by Uncle Benjean, who had previously done the same in saving Bran and Meera last season. Benjen gives Jon his horse and assumably sacrifices himself so Jon can get away, where he returns to a hopeful Dany and declares he is ready to finally bend the knee to her, once he is well enough to get out of bed and physically bend the knee. After this emotional moment between the two, the episode ends in chilling fashion as Viserion is dragged from the lake in chains and resurrected by the Night King, blue eye and all. Now the White Walkers have a zombie dragon!

So what are some of the most interesting points gleaned from this penultimate episode of Game of Thrones?

— The White Walkers have a zombie dragon! As if having several zombie giants (as we saw marching in this season’s first episode) wasn’t bad enough, now Dany has lost one of her children to the undead. As we’ve seen, dragons can change the tide in any battle, and the Army of the Dead is a formidable enough enemy already. Plus, we’ll get the added insult of Dany and her two remaining dragons having to square off against a former friend turned to foe. As Dany tells Jon, they are her children, and the only children she can ever have.

— On that note, in a conversation between Jon and Jorah, where Jon attempts to return the Valryian steel sword given to him by Jorah’s father, Jorah maintains he isn’t worthy of the weapon and that Jon should keep it and for it to be handed down to his children. Now, though Jon and Dany clearly have googly eyes for each other, we can safely assume by now that they are related, with Rhaegar Targaryean Jon’s actual father, not Ned Stark as he was led to believe. With Rhaegar being Daenerys’ older brother, that makes Jon Dany’s nephew. As the Dragon Queen converses with the King of the North, he calls her Dany, a name which she tellingly says no one has called her since her devilish brother, Viserys. When these two find out they are related is anyone’s guess, but if Jon is to one day have children to which he can leave his sword to, it will have to with someone yet to be revealed.

— While all these battles are waging being heroes, anti-heroes, zombies and dragons, there are some quiet, yet quite unnerving scenes between sisters, Sansa and Arya. Arya confronts Sansa with the traitorous note she was forced to write, and threatens her in her Arya indirect, riddly ways. Now, it should be pointed out that these sisters are on the same side. Sibling rivalry aside, they need to stand together, having a common enemy in Cersei Lannister, and, since he’s the one orchestrating the pitting of the sisters against each other, Littlefinger. Of course, this could all be cleared up if Arya simple told Sansa where she got the letter from. But, no. In addition, with all that Sansa and Arya have been through, with all they’ve learned and how much they’ve matured, they should be wiser to the machinations of the weaselly Littlefinger. Will they realize his deceit before causing irreparable damage to their relationship, perhaps even ending in one’s death at the hand of the other? It sure would be nice to see Arya don a Sansa mask to confront Littlefinger as the real Sansa emerges to join her sister in taking down the evil puppetmaster. We’ll see, perhaps not next week, but the following season.

— With an undead wight at their disposal, and Dany now a firm believer in the White Walkers having seem them for herself, it’s time to convince Cersei to join them. Will they be able to put their differences aside long enough to join forces to eradicate a common enemy? Will the ultimate, final battle be Dany/Jon/Cersei vs. the White Walkers for the existence of mankind, or will that be taken care of first, with the endgame being the battle for the throne between Cersei and Dany, now that Jon has proclaimed his allegiance to the mother of dragons? Or might the devious Cersei let the White Walkers destroy her enemies, leaving the throne to her? Will that giant crossbow come into play again, this time against a walker/flyer? dragon? Chances are most of our questions will be answered in season eight set for 2018. We still have one more episode left this season, next week’s yet-to-be-revealed-title. It is sure to leave fans clamoring for more for which they will have to wait  close to a full year. We will leave you with this shot of Daenerys Targaryean, looking most stylish as she heads off to battle in her dragonscale-inspired garb. Winter is here indeed!

One comment

  1. Sunday’s season finale’s title has been revealed as “The Dragon and the Wolf.” That could refer to Daenerys Targarean and Jon Snow, or perhaps have some other significance. The episode contains the big, long-awaited meeting between various seekers of the Iron Throne as they possibly look to come together to take on the White Walkers and the Army of the Dead. One can assume that tensions will be high. Incidentally, the episode is set to clock in at 79 minutesd and 43 seconds, which makes it the longest episode in Game of Thrones history, beating out the episode discussed above, “Beyond the Wall.” So, even though this season was a shorter seven episodes, the length of those episodes actually got us closer to eight, in terms of total time, so yay.

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