Ugh. My heart is so heavy after that episode of closures and goodbyes. There was so much foreshadowing of what’s to come and so much ‘oh great so that confirms they’re gonna die then.’ The episode seriously set us up for the epic battle which will grace our screens next week. The battle that took months to film. The battle that ‘broke the cast,’ the battle that exceeds any other in film and television history. I know it sounds cheap to compare this to the Battle Of Helms Deep all the time (LOTR: The Two Towers) but that is the inspiration the show-runners have used (and apparently furthered) and there were many reflections between this episode and those pre Helms Deep battle scenes; There were the common folk expressing their lack of fighting knowledge, the women and children being ushered to the crypts, the sterner women refusing to let their gender (or age – Hi Lady Mormont) stop them from fighting. It truly was a perfect episode and everything anyone could ever want in a battle prep dedicated episode. In these kinds of situations we usually only get 10/20 minutes of the build up to the battle and it’s always my favourite part of the movie (comparing it to a movie and not a show because lets face it – this truly is Home Box Office.) So for us to be able to have an entire hour purely surrounding the character arcs and inter-personal relationships of those about to pour themselves into battle, it was a real treat (which I will probably take back next week when my heart is torn from my chest as we watch these same beloved characters meet their fate)
The opening scene between Jaime and Daenerys reuniting could have gone badly, and mirrored Littlefingers trial in the same setting. For a series that is so much about division, betrayal and conflict, in the lead up to the biggest conflict of all, we get an episode that is full of reconciliation, love and understanding. Brienne, and thereafter Sansa both vouched for Jaime to join them in the fight for the living in doing so they healed the original male Lannister / Stark conflict. It didn’t set Daenerys in a good light however as the hearth was placed perfectly behind her so that we had a constant reminder of the flames that were used by her father when the two were discussing him. I am so glad Jaime didn’t apologise or try and talk Daenerys around the decision to slay her father. He has always stood by his decision and reflected on it as saving the lives of thousands of people so I was so relieved to see he stood by it when it came down that conversation. From that scene, to our next reconciliation – Jaime and Bran. The iconic ‘the things I do for love’ line really set hard and visibly shook Jaime. Their talk in the Godswood emphasised how little Bran is sharing with other characters and in turn us, as the audience. The things he did share however didn’t muster much hope for the fate of the living characters in Winterfell. There was the somber line Bran delivered to Jaime ‘how do you know there’ll be an afterwards’ and then the insight he gave on the Night Kings motive and goal. The best part of Brans screen time however was when FINALLY someone bothered to ask Bran WTF is going on with you? Of course who better to ask than someone as wise and well read as Tyrion. The only glimmer of hope I feel was that Tyrion was the only character to have some form of optimistic outlook on the battles results, and this came directly after his chat with Bran (which I am GUTTED we weren’t shown.)
Jaime furthered his reunions as he did Brienne the uttermost honour by knighting her as a knight of the god damn seven kingdoms!!! I know I have so much to cover but I just cannot even fathom the scenes between Jaime Brienne and Tormund. This is my actual heaven. Brienne gaining the respect she has deserved for so long. She is one of my absolute favourite characters in both the show and the books so the emotion I felt watching her get everything she’s ever wanted was all too much. I’m still crying about it now. That scene with our heroes waiting out the night before battle was incredible. Everything from Tormunds ‘Giantsbane’ back story, Pods song, Tyrion filling Pods cup up, Tormund beaming at Briennes knighthood – it was perfect and as much as I keep reading how it pretty much seals her fate – and her death to come – I cannot begin to process that until she has a snog with either Jaime or Tormund – I’m honestly not fussy who because they both love her SO MUCH. A line from A Song Of Summer I feel I need to pen here after seeing the knighting
“In this light she could almost be a beauty, he thought. In this light she could almost be a knight.”
Arya and Gendry. Where do I start? Maybe with the steam surrounding him in his first scene giving us a tease of the steaminess to come. It was such a cute full circle moment for them both that it makes me a bit nervous about both of their fates. I’ve seen a lot of people saying that they felt this scene was wrong but’s its one of the few times we have seen a female have first time, consensual, age-appropriate sex on the show so I don’t think it’s a conversation to be had. Maisie Williams discussed how it also shows us a side of Arya that is human. For so long we have seen her disconnected from human emotion, and always with the ‘What do we say to the God of death? Not today.’ For her, this moment was a not today, but maybe tomorrow kind of thing. On a non-romantic note, Arya got her custom made weapon which looks as though it will be used to kill Viserion with the Night King atop of him. Arya seems to be the only person preparing for the arrival of the iced out dragon so i’m glad that at least someone is readying themselves for it, as much of the other war prep we saw was about one on one combat on the ground. Arya had a very good episode in general. She brilliantly told The Hound and Beric that she wasn’t about to spend her final hours ‘listening to you two miserable old shits.’ She questioned Gendry on his former lovers and then told him that he can take his own pants off. We stan a young kween. Despite all this courage and determination, I can’t seem to get the image of her running through Winterfell’s crypts out of my mind (from what we saw in the season trailer.) The same crypts that were mentioned a total of SIX TIMES in reference to them being safe.
Spoiler Alert: They will not be safe.
There was trouble in paradise in our other romantic storyline as Jon told Daenerys the truth about his heritage. I kind of think he should have at least told her that he only found out himself yesterday. I truly think the incest isn’t what will bother her – but the claim to the throne will. Her eyes deeply changed from looking at Jon with adoration to an almost murderous rage that we have seen before when she is confronted with obstacles in the way of her ultimate goal. I was also HOPING he would at least (lie to her if it wasn’t the case) say to her that he doesn’t want the throne but I guess he hasn’t had time to stew on that decision with the impending doom about to hit Winterfell. Daenerys can’t catch a break when having important conversations it seems. She was interrupted with Theons arrival when talking to Sansa (what WILL happen to the North? Yes Sansa get those important questions asked) and then again when having the fateful conversation with Jon (in front of Lyannas grave – *cry*) I think it was a difficult episode for Daenerys because she is realising the difference between being respected as a leader out of love as we see with Sansa, and being respected as a leader out of fear, which is all she really has right now.
It was a lovely moment when the remaining Nights Watch members arrived alongside Beric and Tormund. Again, it was a bleak reminder of what they have been through together especially when Edd, Jon and Sam are atop of the castle looking out – as they did do on the Wall many moons ago. Also Sam trying to defend how hard he has become by stealing books – love.
Despite all the loveliness of the episode – I think we saw a lot of set up for characters to kiss their goodbyes to us:
Greyworm and or Missandei – you’re never seeing those beaches huns.
Gilly – THE CRYPTS ARE THE WORST PLACE YOU COULD POSSIBLY BE THE STARK CORPSES ARE GOING TO KILL YOU ALL STOP TELLING PEOPLE THEY WILL BE SAFE DOWN THERE.
Cute little Northern girl wanting to protect the crypts – I’m so sorry you deserve better – your death and turning will probably result in killing Davos or he will have to kill you (remember the stunning wildling woman who fought alongside Jon at Hardhome – her death was ultimately down to her vulnerability towards children – this scene with Davos kind of reminded me of that. I do hope i’m wrong though and the foreshadowing is just that he will have to kill a dead version of her because I want Davos to stay until the end)
Ser Jorah, it’s a goodbye to you too I’m afraid. Sidenote: I am really curious as to what Ser Jorahs suggestion to Daenerys was before her talk with Sansa – I thought she was going to ask her to be her hand of the queen but then that talk was obviously interrupted?
Theon – you will die oh so honourably redeeming your past sins by standing between Bran and The Night King to no avail.
Beric Dondarrion, as good as dead.
I am reluctant to say Arya or Gendry because if the King Lear style ending is correct that I believe in – they will both survive the battle. However the closure that their characters reached together this episode has me worried for their outcome.
I refuse to put Tormund and or Brienne on this list but they *sobs hysterically* probably should be.
The ending brought us what we have been readying ourselves for for the past hour (well truthfully for the past 7 seasons.) Just that small hint of White Walkers is enough to quite literally freeze over all the warmth, and the love, we have witnessed this episode. As the camera panned out from Tyrion, to the walkers, then back to Winterfell, it was amazing how small and quaint Winterfell looked in comparison. The absence of Melisandre was worth noting – I’m wondering if she will pull a Gandalf and arrive from the horizon with an army of shadows beside her to save the day? This week is going to be VERY long as we wait for the next episode. Can you believe we are almost half way through the season? We won’t see television like this again for a long, long time when the show is done.