An Icy Finale for Game of Thrones in “The Dragon and the Wolf”
One of the main strengths of Game of Thrones has always been it’s willingness to take narrative chances. Game of Thrones has become iconic for it’s boldness in isolating certain story-lines and pairing unlikely characters.
The episode opens with a fan favorite coupling: Jamie and Bronn. They banter about the importance of a cock in their world. “Maybe it really is all cocks in the end,” Jamie surmised as they look upon the army of unsullied and dothraki that await outside Kings Landing. “We’re about to be the downtrodden,” Bronn surmises their fate.
We cut to Dany’s team arriving via ship and then quickly to Cersei. She’s in a precarious position as she welcomes invaders into her city. But Cersei truly believes she will come out on top, she instructs the hound: “If anything goes wrong, kill the silver haired bitch first, then our brother, then the man who calls himself king in the North…”
“If anything goes wrong, kill the silver haired bitch first, then our brother, then the man who calls himself king in the North…”
Dany’s team approaches the Dragonpit, we see our favorite pairings meet again. In other shows, living up to the hype of getting all the heroes together would only result in failure (I’m looking at you Guardians of the Galaxy 2). But the show pulls it off. By reuniting favorite pairings and providing closure for some characters, the show makes it work. It’s fun, it’s scary, it’s funny, and it’s a delight. Some of my favorite encounters:
- Tyrion sees Podrick again and Bronn references Podrick’s magic cock.
- The Hound and Brienne discuss how she nearly killed him.
- Sandor: “It seems every bad idea there’s some Lannister cunt behind it.” Tyrion: “And some Clegane cunt to help them see it through.”
- The Hound talks shit to the Mountain.
- Jamie and Brienne lock eyes.
Then we have Dany’s entrance. It’s appropriately epic as her giant dragons enter the area that forced their ancestors into extinction. Dany’s minuscule form (compared to her dragons) strides up to the meeting. Cersei admonishes her, “We’ve been her for some time.”
Tyrion tries to persuade the group into a truce. Jon helps, the meeting “isn’t about living in harmony, it’s about living.” The million people living in the city are about to become soldiers in the army of the dead.
They show off their fancy ice walker and everyone from the south is fittingly freaked out! Cersei agrees to the truce, but only if Jon will bend the knee. Jon does his noble thing and refuses. Cersei walks on the deal.
While Jon’s noble attitude is frustrating, it serves the episode because we get to watch Tyrion and Cersei spar one on one. The smartest Lannister siblings get in the same room and discuss their past, present, and future. Cersei drops the “I’m prego” bomb to convince Tyrion she’s committed to the truce.
“I’m about to step into a room with the most murderous woman in the world, who’s already tried to kill me twice. Who’s the idiot?” — Tyrion
It’s not until we see her encounter with Jamie that we know she was lying. Like a James Bond villain, Cersei reveals her plan. She will renege on her promise of a truth and take over Westeros as Team Dany marches North. She threatens Jamie and Jamie walks away. It’s a breaking point for the twins and couple: Cersie threatens to have the Mountain kill Jamie and he finally sees her for who she is. So Jamie makes his exit from Kings Landing. As Jamie rides away, they cut to an image of the map of Westeros Cersei had painted at the start of the season; it’s covered with snow.
In the North, we pick up with the monumentally stupid plotline of Arya/Sansa argue about motivations and who gets to be Lady of Winterfell. Sansa consults Littlefinger and asks his opinion. He all but says, “Go murder your sister.” For a moment, Sansa appears to follow his instruction, she has Arya called into the main hall which is lined with soldiers. Sansa begins the trail for murder and treason, just before she can utter Arya’s name she turns to Littlefinger. It’s satisfying to see his shock and awe. The great trickster and manipulator of Westerosi families is finally caught in his own game. The remaining Stark siblings reveal that they know all (thanks to Bran’s Three Eyed Raven powers). Littlefinger begs for his life as Sansa invites him to defend himself. He cannot. And Sansa gives the ruling to execute him; Arya carries it out.
In an earlier review I discussed how Dany had violated one of the guiding principles of Game of Thrones, coined by Ned Stark back in season one: ‘the man who passes the sentence swings the sword.’ Sansa and Arya also violated this rule. This new generation is doing things differently. Since we all know it worked out poorly for Ned (may he and his severed head rest in peace), maybe it is time to try something new.
The most important part of the episode comes with Samwell Tarley’s arrival at Winterfell. He pops in on Bran, who as per usual is staring into the fire. He and Sam swap knowledge about Jon’s parentage and they learn that Jon is actually Aegon Targaryen. Not a Sand or a Snow, not a bastard at all, but the true heir to the Iron Throne. Their narrative falls over Dany and Jon finally getting it on. As they passionately make love on a boat, Bran and Sam figure out the truth. And there’s some accidental incest — oops. What happens next? Will Jon start calling Dany “aunt”?
They made it nearly to the end of the episode before checking in at the wall. We get to see Tormund Giantsbane surveying the landscape North of the Wall and the wights emerge from the trees. We (yea, I’m including myself) all wait expectantantly as we hear the call of the dragon in the distance. The ice dragon, Viseryon, bursts out of the clouds and aims it’s blue fire at the wall. “Run!” Tormund yells and heads down the stairs and the wall collapses. It falls to the ground and the Army of the Dead marches through.
- I’m unclear on who is coming for the Mountain. The Hound?
- I confess, I just don’t care about Theon. Most of the time he is on screen, it feels like wasted time. Now that he’s off on a rescue mission, I have a hard time seeing how it adds to the larger storyline, which needs to be focused going forward.
- “There no justice in the world unless we make it. Thank you for your many lessons Lord Baelish, I will never forget them.”
- I think Jamie’s heartbreak is so believable. Even though Cersie is crazy, Jamie loved her and her threat to murder him is devastating. Well done Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
- I thought Rhaegar was supposed to be the hottest dude in the seven kingdoms???
Predictions for next season:
- Jamie kills Cersei. Jamie kills Cersei. Jamie kills Cersei. He’s a Queenslayer to be.
- We find out Cersie is lying about her pregnancy or Euron is the father. Jamie finds out Euron is the father because it has black hair.
- Jon Snow can ride the ice dragon.
- Jon Snow lights his sword on fire, becomes Azhor Ahai and kills the Night King.
- Tormund Giantsbane is alive and delivers the news about the wall falling to Jon Snow.
- Jon and Dany get married even though they are related and Jon ascends to the Iron Throne.
- Jamie and Brienne become lovers.
- Tyrion rides a dragon.
- Gendry and Arya reunite.
- It’s revealed that Bran is “Bran the Builder” and the “Night King.”
- Theon dies saving Yara. But successfully kills Euron.
- We get to see Ghost again! Where the hell is Ghost???