Ok so picture this; I, who have spent the past three years harping on about my love for Brienne / Tormund & Jaime storylines, get home after 6 bottles of Prosecco between two of us, and well, I truly fell apart. However after a great 36 minutes – so did the episode. When Tormund said ‘Clegane – my heart is broken.’ – I felt that.
For me, the episode was split entirely into two. We had the warmth of the fires in the North and we had the cold callous and baron plain of Kings Landing. It’s quite the flip around really. I found the first half of the episode to be excellent. It’s all I could want in an episode. If the episode wasn’t two away from ending a 7 year span that is.
I genuinely didn’t know if I had dream the whole thing the next day. The entire lead up to the highly anticipated sex scene was truly great. The innuendos, the stripping, the Westerosi version of I Have Never, Jaime getting jealous of Tormund. Oh dear God, it was all too much. However it’s hard to still gush about the initial love scenes after watching Jaime leave her without a second thought destroying all of my hopes and dreams as he headed off into the distance to fulfil his character arc. I know that he does love her and it’s not actually him leaving that I’m mad about. It’s the way it was done. How has it been written so poorly that years of building his characters redemption is cheapened by having him act like a fuck boy for 20 seconds? It feels like the years of prolonged gazes, the bath scene, the character developments between the two were all for nothing. He could have EXPLAINED what he was going for. He didn’t have to be so ambiguous. I do believe he called himself hateful because he knew in that moment he had to go and end Cersei. He was after all triggered by hearing how she had captured Missandei and landed a surprise ambush on the Norths armies, before that he hadn’t supposedly given her a second thought. I think it just totally cheapened the relationship the two of them have had over the past few years. The careful and delicate build all for nothing. It’s not the fact that we see a vulnerable Brienne that offended me either. Her character is built on her past insecurities and vulnerabilities (childhood trauma, Renly etc) and it’s made her the strong and incredible woman that she is. It’s just the fact that it’s been reduced to her begging him and not being given a dignified answer. If it was over a few episodes it would have been easier to accept but going from 100 to 0 in the space of 20 minutes felt way too rushed.
Another issue I had with the scatty writing is the exaggerated power of Euron. The surprise ambush was logistically ridiculous. A fleet of that size can not surprise you and why did they emasculate the power of the dragons after spending so long portraying them as weapons of mass destruction? Again, after seven years of building their presence and strength they are taken down by a jumped up pirate? Additionally, what was the point in the ambiguous ‘Is Rheagal still alive after the battle of Winterfell’ for them to kill him off immediately? I think D&D were trying to play on a surprise death but it got totally consumed in the ridiculousness of Eurons presence and in turn it was wasted. Couldn’t Dany have just flown at the ships from the rear (stern?) and destroyed them anyway?
When it comes to Bran I’m at a total loss right now. George RR Martin has always insisted he is one of the most important characters in the stories. So why aren’t we spending more time with him. Are we to assume that his story ended last week when the Night King died? Last week I convinced myself that we will pick back up on him again this week or in future episodes but now im really beginning to lose faith. There’s so much we don’t know about his character still and yet we are spending time watching stupidly placed scenes when we could be exploring the lore behind Brans character; for example where he spent his time in the battle, where he spends ‘most of his time in the past.’ I think for two reasons the show will come back to it. Reason 1. The prologue. Why oh WHY would the shows prologue be white walker related. Something that vital would surely not end in such a way that it did last episode? I by no means was unhappy with how Arya defeated him – I just think there needs to be something else. Even if its a small hint to the power remaining in Bran, just anything to carry on the mythology behind the White Walkers. Reason 2. I genuinely don’t think what little dialogue Bran has would be written in if there wasn’t going to be something more. Him saying he spends his time in the past is a HUGE Easter egg. Or it certainly would have been last season. So I will cling onto this in the hope we get something deeper!
For me, the turning point of the episode was Bronn’s arrival. Bronn who was able to walk into Winterfell, right into Jaime and Tyrion armed with a crossbow, no questions asked. Then he left as if they couldn’t have taken him out with the forces under their control after a pretty wooden confrontation that was so pantomime in comparison to the beautifully subtle scenes that have marked the season so far. I have said countless times over the past month that I don’t doubt that Bronn would carry out Cersei’s asking. But it’s hard to believe that scenes like this are taking precedent over scenes that have been cut or never written in such as Brans conversation with Tyrion the night before the battle. Bran telling Sansa & Arya about R+L=J. Countless opportunities wasted which could have added contextual depth to the show as it comes to it’s end. A true waste.
Talking of waste, in all honesty I don’t find the coffee cup funny in the slightest. It’s an almost representation of what happened in the last half of the episode. Carelessness. I don’t even know how it will have happened. How many people that would have got through? That and the fact that Gendry’s name was changed to Gendry Rivers – despite the fact he isn’t a bastard of the Riverlands? I really don’t understand how mistakes like this were passed by!
I know this post has been largely negative but I won’t be finishing it before I DEMAND JUSTICE FOR GHOST. I don’t need to go into this. The internet has done that. But what a SHAM he was the best boy ever and D&D couldn’t even let Jon say goodbye to him. Not in my Winterfell. Are we to assume we have said our final goodbyes to the likes of Tormund, Ghost, Sam and Gilly now? Is the minimalistic and emotionless goodbye between them and Jon the shows way of telling us we won’t be seeing them again?
So let’s get onto some more positive takes from the episode. Seeing Cersei on screen was as tantalising as ever. Im truly going to miss Lena Headey’s poisonous portrayal of her. I’m wondering if Tyrion referencing her pregnancy will trigger Euron into realising her ~fake~ baby isn’t his. If Euron had impregnanted her that would be after Tyrion last saw Cersei so he would have no knowledge of that. Euron however doesn’t seem to be the sharpest spear on the boat so perhaps this will go over his head.
We said a sweet goodbye to Missandei this episode. She has been an integral part of Daenerys’s character and her relationship with Greyworm has been a pleasure to watch unfold. I think it was amazing to have her last word as Dracarys. She had the choice to either direct something at Dany, or to Greyworm yet she made it count. She basically told Dany to FUCK ! THEM ! UP ! It was the word used the day her chains were broken and Dany freed her, and the rest of her people. It was a tragedy that she died with her arms shackled and I truly hope that in Westerosi heaven, her and Greyworm will reunite on a stunning beach with a stunning Arbor Gold.
The scenes that take place between the Stark children and Jon are always extremely realistic and representative of a normal family dynamic. It was wise of Sansa to turn the secret into ‘information’ as Varys put it. For this will surely be the catalyst that starts the uprising of Jon (even if it is against his will) and as more people root for Jon, Daenerys is going to for lack of better words, lose her shit. All she has ever wanted has been her right to the throne. Each episode this season we are given more reason to expect her to become ‘The Mad Queen’ and to be honest – she has reason to. She has lost almost everything and isn’t any closer to her reign, especially with a brand new obstacle in her way in that Jon has the better claim. It was very refreshing to see Varys acting all ‘Varysy’ once again as he discusses her potential dethroning, but at this point I have no idea which way Tyrion will turn. Whichever way he turns, I’m sure he will land in the hands of Cersei, giving Jaime all the more reason to wrap those hands around her throat.
Arya and The Hound being back together makes me VERY happy of course. After Gendry’s failed proposal the two hopped on their steeds and toddled out of Winterfell (without being questioned on where they were going may I add!) They’re clearly headed to Kings Landing as they both have people on their hitlist. This CONFIRMS Cleganebowl. Get your popcorn ready. Or your tissues as we enter our PENULTIMATE episode of Game Of Thrones.