Did you read that like the song? Tell me you read that like the song. That’s about the only thing that’s going to make this shit storm of a season finale of Game of Thrones feel better.
And I mean shit storm in the best possible way. It wasn’t truly a plot-related shit storm, though I still have a hard time believing those people actually walked into the Dragon Pit thinking Cersei Lannister could be made to see sense – or that Tyrion and Jaime, the two people who presumably know her best, were fooled for so long.
But, other than that, the episode had way less eye-roll moments and much more of what feels like the good kind of wish fulfillment (is an Ice Dragon bringing down the wall considered the good kind of wish fulfillment, I wonder?), in the form of some long- awaited reunions (JAIME AND BRIENNE ARE TOGETHER AGAIN AND I CAN SURVIVE THE YEAR LONG HIATUS OFF OF FICS), some much longed for deaths (so long, Littlefinger, absolutely no one will miss you), some consensual sexy times (All aboard the S.S Jonerys – enjoy the happy hiatus) and a pack that is finally, together, and ready to survive. (All hail Sansa Stark and Arya Stark).
So, let’s go into the things that we really wanted to see (yes, Jaime, yes), the things we weren’t sure about (hot incestuous sex) and the one thing we absolutely did not want to happen, even if we know it had to (Bye wall, we shall miss you) and discuss “The Dragon and The Wolf“
THE MEETING TO END ALL MEETINGS
It was impressive, exciting, stupid and nerve-wracking, all it needed to be and more. Because, let’s be honest, from the beginning, from the time they stepped foot on land, you were thinking the same thing Tyrion was thinking: I have a bad feeling about this.
And yet, bad feelings didn’t come to pass – not really. Sure, Cersei threw her fit, but she didn’t give the order to kill Tyrion, or Jaime, for that matter, and she at least pretended for long enough to let everyone go back to the North, though her reasoning is clearly faulty- no matter who wins in the North she’s fucked anyway.
But moving on, the meeting was ill-conceived, yes, but it was fun nonetheless, from Tyrion trying to use common sense to convince people who’d never be convinced by something like common sense, to Euron trying to bait Theon, to Jon doing the absolutely most honorable and stupid thing and not even apologizing for it, because he’s not Ned’s Stark’s son, not really, but boy, IS HE NED STARK’S SON OR WHAT?
In the end, though, as expected, this achieved nothing. If the North gained anything it was one man – Jaime Lannister, who was always more honorable than Cersei allowed him to be.
Funny how we celebrate his honorability just as we decry Jon’s.
As we head into the long hiatus, and season 8, however, we can say this meeting managed to isolate Cersei even more completely, just as it proved that she’s not so far gone that she doesn’t care about family. And, she might be in the South, yes, and she might presumably have the Golden Company, but she also now, for the first time, has no one of her blood to look out for her.
Methinks the lone lion dies even more quickly than the lone wolf. And at this point, who’ll be sad to see her go?
YOU’RE THE STRONGEST WOMAN I’VE EVER MET
Am I happy? Yes – I talked about how out of character this whole thing felt last week, and though I was sure we’d end up here, I wasn’t then – or now – happy about the journey we took to get to this, admittedly, awesome ending for Littlefinger.
Were Sansa and Arya on this together? The show is apparently going for yes, the problem is, for the sake of giving us a surprise revelation, they made this plot so convoluted that it’s truly hard to follow. When did they talk about this? When did they go to Bran? Why did they pretend in private conversations that Littlefinger had no way of knowing about? Were they really pretending?
And – most importantly – why did the show have to play the: women be fighting card to explain that Arya and Sansa are still, so many years later, two completely different people who want different things and who will probably never see eye to eye? We’re not dumb. We get that. We can even appreciate that, because, right now, with the long night coming, that’s not what’s most important.
No, what’s most important is this: The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.
And Arya, Sansa and Mr-I-Feel-Nothing aka Bran are a pack, even if they all have their …eh, let’s call it issues, shall we? Jon is coming back to Winterfell. And, as we always knew it, the fight for Middle Earth (wait, wrong epic saga) – the fight for the future of the Seven Kingdoms will be fought in the North.
But, you’ll say, Jon is a Targaryen. He’s not part of the pack. To which I will kindly point to the Jon/Theon conversation that absolutely did not give me feels cause I have no fucks left to give for Theon Greyjoy (lies, all lies), and Jon’s declaration that Theon is both a Greyjoy, and a Stark.
This holds true for Jon as well. He’s a Targaryen, yes, but he’s a Stark first and foremost. He’s part of that pack. And the pack survives.
JAIME LANNISTER, HONORABLE MAN
“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.”
Ah, Jaime Lannister, one of the most – if not the most – complicated character in this saga. It’s good to finally see you.
We’ve been waiting, for at least a couple of years, to see the Jaime Lannister of the books, the one we discovered in Season 3 of this show, the one that comes out around Brienne of Tarth, and even, sometimes, around Tyrion. The one who wants to do the right things, the one who wants to be an honorable man.
The one who will put honor before self, and even before family.
It took seven full seasons, but the show has finally provided.
To anyone who’s read the books, this comes as no surprise. This is who Jaime has always been, deep down, this is the person he’s buried deep – for love. And yet, for every person, there is a breaking point. Jaime stared at his in that wight. Jaime had his choices thrown in his face by the only woman who’s ever expected him to be better than he always has been, and Jaime got to see his brother, the one he always loved and respected, ready to fight for a thing that he, the fighter, should be fighting for as well.
And Jaime cracked. It was too much for this man who’s sacrificed everything for Cersei, and who’s gotten nothing in return. She might care for him enough to not have him killed, but Cersei has never cared enough for Jaime to allow him to be her partner, which is all he really wanted to be, and she’s certainly never let him be who he wants to be or encouraged him to be better.
Cersei only wanted Jaime to be what she needed. She never cared about what he needed.
But, faced with the choice of forsaking his honor once again, of failing Brienne, Tyrion and, most importantly, himself, of continuing to be a puppet for a woman who never cared for him as much as he cared for her, Jaime Lannister finally made, not just the right choice, but a choice. For himself. For the man he’s always wanted to be.
Can I just say hallelujah? That and it’s about damn time. It truly is.
A SHIP OF ICE AND FIRE
I’ve tried, I have. I have tried to get myself in the Game of Thrones we-don’t-care-about-incest mindset. If I haven’t been able to fully dive in – especially after a scene of two hot actors who exuded chemistry – is because the setup for this whole thing has been questionable, at best.
At this point I’m not even complaining about how rushed it has been – though yeah, rushed. But did we really have to frame “the” ship scene in such a way that reminds us that these two are related? Couldn’t we have just pretended for ten seconds that we were looking at two people who are not related? How hard was that?
No, instead, we get Lyanna and Rhaegar getting married, not to mention Bran looking at that, intercut with Jon and Daenerys having sex, and that just ruins all the good will the show accrued from the earlier scenes in the episode, it really does.
And, it points to one of two things – either this is just another one of those miscalculations that come from men thinking something is romantic when any woman alive would have told them it wasn’t, or this is not the setup for a grand and happy love story.
This is the setup for a tragedy.
Knowing George R.R Martin wrote the books this is based on, the second one sounds more and more likely, though I’m afraid I can’t rule of the first because – well, you know why.
Jon is going to find out sometime, probably soon. Daenerys is going to presumably find out at some point, too. We don’t know how she feels about the Targaryen custom to marry family members, but we do know Jon’s feeling on bastards and honor, so that’s going to make for an interesting dichotomy.
Somehow I don’t see the revelation going well – not with Jon, not with the people in the North. And yet, I don’t think we’ll have much time to dwell on it, not really. There are more important things to worry about. I just can’t shake the feeling that, one way or another, the song of ice and fire we were promised might not be a glorious song, but a sorrowful tale.
It would be just the Game of Thrones way, after all.
A long hiatus, that’s for sure. Maybe a longer one than the one we had to put up with between Seasons 6 and 7. 2018 might be the year where we don’t get new episodes of Game of Thrones.
Plot-wise, though, there are a few certainties. Jon will get to the North, with Daenerys. Bran will tell him about his parentage. The Army of the Dead will march on Winterfell. People are going to die. And Daenerys will get pregnant, somehow. (Maybe because Viserion died and that life paid for this life?)
And this all has to be solved in just six episodes.
So, time to place our bets. Who’s making it to the end alive? Who’s going to sit on the Iron Throne? Will anyone?
We have a long time to think about it.
Other things to note:
- A man wrote this episode, you know how I know? There’s a whole conversation about cocks.
- I love that the Dothraki are like formations, what’s that?
- “If anything goes wrong kill the silver haired bitch first, then our brother, then the bastard who calls himself King. The rest of them you can kill in any order you see fit.”
- Good to know Cersei’s priorities.
- “The only one that needs protecting is the one who gets in her way” is a pretty damn good description of Arya.
- It was kinda nice to see Brienne and The Hound bonding over how awesome she is.
- That first shot of everyone looking like WTF ARE WE DOING HERE is brilliant.
- I care very little for either Clegane, but I hope The Hound gets to kill big brother.
- That tiny moment of Cersei looking at Jaime who’s looking at Brienne who’s looking at Cersei looking at Jaime looking at her is enough to sustain me through an entire hiatus. MY SHIP LIVES.
- Don’t tell me they’re not giving each other eyes. I won’t believe you.
- Everyone’s looking at Cersei when the dragons arrive, it’s hilarious.
- Cersei, meanwhile, is all like, play it cool, play it cool.
- “Do you remember when we discussed dwarf jokes” / “His wasn’t even good.”
- You’re trying to get back into my good graces, Theon. I won’t allow it.
- “I ask it only of Ned Stark’s son. I know Ned Stark’s son will be true to his word.”
- Dude, EVERYONE IN THE SEVEN KINGDOMS KNOWS THE STARKS ARE TOO DAMN HONORABLE TO LIVE.
- And it’s both so stupid and so – good, that it’s hard to root against them even as you shake your head.
- “Fuck loyalty. This goes beyond houses and honor and oaths.”
- Such a good line and wasted because I was thinking SHE TOUCHED HIM!
- And also, his face when she said fuck loyalty. He was basically like who are you and what have you done to Brienne?
- “Have you ever considered learning how to lie, every now and then? Just a bit.”
- We were all thinking it.
- Damn Jon for having such a good answer.
- “I suppose we should say goodbye, one idiot to another.”
- I HAVE FEELS.
- The foreshadowing for a Jon/Daenerys baby is so strong it’s almost like the show is dropping anvils. WE GET IT.
- Also, Kit Harrington was wearing heeled boots. That’s total and complete BS. He doesn’t need them to be a hottie, I promise you.
- LOL No one listens to Jorah.
- Or, more importantly, Daenerys doesn’t.
- “He’s a part of you, like he’s a part of me.” I CAN’T WITH THESE NED STARK FEELS, SOMEONE SAVE ME.
- “You’re a Greyjoy. And you’re a Stark,” is such an important line that means so much – not just for Theon, but for Jon as well, and for what’s coming.
- Also, Alfie Allen and Kit Harrington hit it out of the park in that scene and I’m not ashamed to say that, for the first time in forever, I actually felt for Theon.
- “When you brought me back to Winterfell you told me there’s no justice in the world unless we make it. Thank you for all your many lessons, Lord Baelish. I will never forget them.”
- I might have screamed. And cheered.
- “I always knew you were the stupidest Lannister.”
- And she expects Jaime to stay?
- Dude, Rhaegar, you already had one son named Aegon. Not only did you divorce your wife, you named the OTHER BABY THE SAME AS YOUR FIRSTBORN?
- That’s the height of disrepect.
- And lazy writing.
- Bye bye wall. No one expected you to make it through the season. We will certainly miss you, though.
- Don’t you dare kill Tormund.
- Also, where be Gendry? If he’s still at Eastwatch this applies to him as well.
Game of Thrones aired Sundays at 9/8c on HBO. It’ll be back in 2019 for its last season.