I have a countdown, of sorts, for Game of Thrones. I have several, actually, I have one for Book 6, though at this point it feels like I have to give up on it. Book 6 is never coming, is it George? But I also have another countdown, a show-related one. After this episode, that one now reads: 11 more to go.
Eleven more episodes till this is over. Only eleven.
You know what that means? It means the time of the filler episodes (if Game of Thrones could ever be said to have truly filler episodes) is over. Time to get the ball really and truly rolling.
This, apparently, means bye Dorne, bye Yara and Theon going full Reek on us. Joy of Joys.
I mean, I get it – Dorne was always the most boring subplot on this show, Yara has never given the chance to be all that she could have been and Theon is only around these days for that final confrontation with Jon, and so he can die, of course. But, a part of me just figured this would be dragged for longer.
Yeah, I should have known better. Just 11 episodes to go, after all.
So, let’s examine where this episode leaves every family and what is probably coming as we get closer to the inevitable end of Game of Thrones.
Love him or hate him (and honestly, why would you hate him?), Jon looks like the most pragmatic one right now. He’s not worried about Cersei, he’s not worried about power, he’s worried about keeping his people, his family, alive. And if what needs to be done to ensure that the coming war will be won is meet with Daenerys, so be it.
Funny how the Targaryens are the ones being pragmatic this episode.
Not that Jon can ever be entirely pragmatic – Littlefinger makes him (and us) lose his head for a bit at the suggestion that he’s in love with Sansa and that’s why he’d never betray the North. Jon loves Sansa, not just as you love that sister you never talk to, but as you love someone that you’ve seen go through many difficulties and come out stronger for it, better.
That’s why they clash, in a way, because they respect each other. Because they trust each other enough to push the other to be better. Sansa used to be the kind to never express her emotions, not just because she didn’t think they were worth it, but because she was never with someone she trusted to take her word into account. That has changed.
If there was any doubt of my interpretation, Jon leaving Sansa in charge just solidifies my point. Winter is here, and the Starks are ready to face it together – that’s why, right now, they feel like the heroes of the story.
That’s why we root for them. For an actual reunion. That’s why Arya turning North is a highlight. That’s why we wonder where Bran is. The lone wolf dies, after all. Only the pack survives.
The foreshadowing is so strong that I’m almost bowled over by it. Cersei looks like she’s got it all under control, and she seems quite sane, but the signs of her losing it are there, and the signs that Jaime is noticing are just as present.
Why is that important? Well, the Lannister twins have always been tied together – and now, with the third Lannister sibling coming towards them, supporting a different Queen with a very large army, it kinda seems like family drama is inevitable.
Question is – will Jaime take care of his darling sister before Tyrion gets there?
One can only hope.
There’s only two of them – and only one getting attention right now, but this episode makes clear why the Targaryens seem like the contenders to the throne right now – despite the history and despite the past, they are the only ones using this nifty thing called common sense.
Olena Tyrell might think the way through for Daenerys is being just a dragon, but Daenerys knows you can’t rule one way, you have to try compromise in some things. Everyone expected Jon to hole up in the North, but instead he’s leaving to face Daenerys because that is what makes sense. That is what he should do.
The Starks might be a pack – but to win this war, they’re going to need fire as well as ice, and next week, we get the first meeting between Daenerys and Jon, who, together, are literally A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.
Now the question is – how are they going to find out about Jon’s origins and how will Daenerys react when she does?
Bye Dorne. The Tyrells are irrelevant right now. The only Grejoy left is Euron. It seems like the list of families that are important is getting smaller and smaller by the second. We’re getting hyper focused here. The end is near.
I’m both excited and afraid.
Other things to note:
- Daenerys is a pragmatic. I actually appreciate that a whole lot. It makes it sound like she could be a good Queen.
- “You’re not here to be queen of the ashes” is a HELL OF A LINE.
- QUEEN OF THE ASHES IS EXACTLY WHAT CERSEI IS GONNA BE IF SHE CONTINUES.
- The Varys/Daenerys conversation was something I didn’t know I needed.
- “I choose you.” Good speech, Varys. Good speech.
- Well, Melisandre being here makes sense, I guess. Where else is she gonna go? And if she can get Dany to trust her and summon Jon, that’s her way back to Jon, which we all know she wants.
- Book readers like me went ooooh and yeeeees and we figured at the line where Missandei talks about the prophecy and how it could be prince/princess that was promised.
- Tyrion saying good things about Jon felt like payback for the longest setup ever.
- Everyone seems to be inviting Jon to bend the knee these adys.
- Ravens are only fast in Westeros when it suits the show. The one from Sam took ages, the one from Tyrion got there right away.
- Jon asking Sansa for advice: MY HEART.
- Cersei calling Daenerys mad is the height of irony.
- “We’re not oathbreakers,” Lordy Tarly tells Jaime.
- I see the foreshadowing.
- I also, clearly, remember this quote: “So many vows… they make you swear and swear. Defend the king. Obey the king. Keep his secrets. Do his bidding. Your life for his. But obey your father. Love your sister. Protect the innocent. Defend the weak. Respect the gods. Obey the laws. It’s too much. No matter what you do, you’re forsaking one vow or the other.”
- Jorah bores me. I hope he still has something important to do.
- I like Yara. I liked Ellaria better when Oberyn was still alive. Maybe because, back then, I didn’t feel like the whole Dorne plot was a waste of my time.
- Daenerys making the point that Tyrion will be treated with respect is my aesthetic.
- Finally, someone’s attacking Casterly Rock. FINALLY.
- Missandei and Grey Worm gave me many more feelings than I expected.
- Way more.
- It was, without a doubt, the most beautiful love scene Game of Thrones has ever done.
- Fine, Sam, I do care about this thing where you try to save Jorah, for his father.
- Even if it’s disgusting AF.
- The Big Lady aka Lady Night aka Brienne.
- Arya’s face when she hears Jon is King in the North. ARYA’S FACE.
- “A Targaryen cannot be trusted.”
- TO JON. HAAAAAAA.
- Sansa, my love, didn’t we talk about contradicting your brother in public?
- Also, Westeros got woke. I love it.
- Jon trusting Sansa with everything gives me life. She’s not Cersei, she’s not going to go power hungry – and, to be honest, I think she ends up Queen in the North anyway. Jon has bigger things to worry about, not that he knows that yet.
- BRIENNE SMILES!
- “I love Sansa, as I loved her mother,” is probably the most disgusting thing you’ve ever said, Littlefinger. And that’s saying a lot.
- I love how she’s like, yeah, not going back to the North with you. You people like getting killed, and getting your pets killed.
- But she’ll be back, I’m sure of it.
- “Touch my sister and I’ll kill you myself” – Jon had been itching to say that for ages, I bet.
- I cheered.
- Yara/Ellaria was pretty hot while it lasted.
- How long has it been that crazy Euron has these ships?
- Also, dude, Yara, I was promised badassery. WTF was that?
- Byeeeeeeeee Sand Snakes. Not gonna miss you. I mean, I didn’t even remember you were still around.
- Most useless and boring plot ever is synonymous with Dorne.
- All of that for Ellaria, who’s the present to Cersei, I bet.
- Theon, just when I think you can’t get any worse, you rise. Or fall. Whatever.
NEXT, ON GAME OF THRONES
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.