The Missionary: Game of Thrones S7E7 Recap
This season has been one of prominent reunions, with the finale offering the highest quantity yet. Leading up to the Dragonpit Accord, The Treaty of Viserion, or whatever you’d like to call it, reconnected friends turned foes find levity in the common ground beneath the looming apocalypse. When they all finally gather, and Daenerys gracefully descends down Drogon’s back, all pleasantries are put aside. This is the moment the show creators have been building towards all season long, working backwards to create.
Before they can get underway Euron speaks out to chastise Theon, forcing attention onto himself. He is the Iron Islands personified; historically isolated, surfacing only to cause trouble and pester everyone else. Tyrion’s face in response summarizes our reaction of “What the fuck’s up with this guy?”
If it isn’t already blatant enough, the sparing before the wight is revealed make it perfectly clear to those not blinded by hope, that there is no reasoning with Cersei.
“So, instead we should settle our differences and live in harmony the rest of our days?”
She mocks. In this exchange she is playing her role, and she is playing it perfectly. The wight is dumped out of the box, sprinting and screaming towards her. She is, truthfully, terrified, but this isn’t her problem. The issues of The North have never bothered those in The South. Whether these creatures are wildlings or wights is no concern for Cersei. What they are is a necessary distraction she desperately needs. So she goes along, requiring Jon to remain neutral, and when he refuses she storms away knowing they care too much to let it end there.
“Talk to the Queen.”
Brienne pleads to Jaime.
“And tell her what?”
He responds, THERE IS NO WAY TO EMPLOY REASON AS AN ENEMY OF CERSEI. But, Tyrion has to try.
Tyrion and Cersei’s emotional bout was a return to the scenes that make Game of Thrones such a compelling story. It’s a moving apology from Tyrion, one of the few people on the show that truly does care about others more than himself. Unfortunately, “Sorry only makes you feel better,” and these emotions blind him to the world Cersei is spinning, baiting him to call out her pregnancy. She even takes a moment to reup on the lie that Euron is sailing home and not, as we find out later, to Esos to pick up her newly purchased army of The Golden Company. It’s one of many political loses for Tyrion this season.
While the others wait, Daenerys reflects on the mistake of her ancestors to chain up their dragons in the pit. This is the same mistake she made in Meereen, stunting Viserion and Rhaegal’s growth, which contributed to the death of the former. As a result of that reality, those words fall on deaf and cemented shut ears. The insight that does resonate is Daenerys’ mention of her questionable infertility, a claim even the overly trusting Jon doesn’t fully believe.
The Lannisters return, and Cersei provides the final monologue to her masterful play. She is loving this lie, as she boldly states
“Call our banners. All of them.”
The bannermen she refers to are as imaginary as her agreement to the truce, and the good guys are too noble and caught up in saving the world to see that.
Safely back on Dragonstone, the protagonists move forward in preparation for their mission, but what gets more time than any one of us cares for is the Theon Greyjoy redemption tour. Well, his talk with Jon is significant because the advice Jon offers about his family loyalties
“You don’t need to choose.”
will in turn apply to himself when he finds out his real heritage. Even more time is spent on Theon’s scrap on the beach, highlighting the only moment someone has smiled at remembering they’ve been castrated. His takeover foreshadows pivotal future scenes where the audience again asks “Why is this guy even still around?”
One area this time could have been better spent is in Winterfell on the moments that led to Littlefinger’s execution. We assume Bran interceded in the quarrel between his two sisters, and also assisted with converting Yohn Royce of the Vale to their side. Complaints aside, Littlefinger’s death was glorious, the Starks using his own words against him to build up his total humiliation. What could be worse for him than realizing that none of them are pawns in his game, but him in theirs? While kneeling, begging, and crying, he learns that his game is over. Always having something to say, his words are cut short with Arya’s quick slash to the throat.
The two sisters have re-sealed their bond, with Arya later saying,
“I’m just the executioner, you passed the sentence. You’re the Lady of Winterfell.”
It’s a warm moment that the season lacked as they look out from the walls of Winterfell. Sansa even provides herself a playful quip,
“You’re still very strange and annoying”
In this moment, we’re thankful they’re back to what we know: sibling bickering that doesn’t carry the excessive weight of the North crumbling at its expense.
As clouds form over King’s Landing, Cersei reveals her plan to Jaime in a manner that may finally break his undying support for her. His defining moment was slaying a king who was going to kill hundreds of thousands of people. He can’t sit by idly next to someone with the means of doing the same. Cersei will pursue her isolationist strategy of gathering strength while the others weaken themselves fighting the dead, Jaime included. It’s not the last time he’ll see his sister, but it may be the last time he sees her with love.
Sam arrives at Winterfell to take on the one role we desperately need him for, to fact check the pompous know-it-all who waited all season to tell his sisters that the man inciting their demise is an evil sociopath who tried to destroy their family. Sam interrupts Bran’s lecture about Jon’s true self to tell him to explore Gilly’s info that he originally paid no mind to. While looking into the past, Bran sees the exact moment Gilly found in the diary, the marriage of Rhaegar and Lyanna. This serves as the verbal confirmation that raises Jon from a statusless bastard to a highborn name with a competing claim for the Iron Throne as Aegon Targaryen.
We’ve prepared two versions for the scene that transpires simultaneously with Bran’s vision.
Ew. Gross. They’re making it undeniably clear that this is incest, and that’s disgusting and wrong. You can skip the next paragraph.
Jon and Daenerys embrace, holding a power only two absolutely gorgeous people maintain, the ability to initiate sex without saying a single word to each other. The show banks on us ignoring the obvious by distracting us with their perfect bodies, and frankly, it works. This scene will spark a cultural revolution, not for incest, that’s still gross, but for the belittled and long downtrodden missionary these two partake in. If Jon (Aegon, this will take some getting used to) is doing it, than all the cool kids will too. We’re treading on thin ice here and may have lost a few readers, but last thing. Daenerys’s fertility has been questioned the past couple episodes, making it very clear that next season we’ll see more developments on that front as this relationship unfolds. For the time being, ignorance is bliss.
With every positive revelation, there must be one equally as troubling. The moment Viserion was raised from the dead, we knew it wouldn’t be long before The Night King would mount him and take flight. That doesn’t mean we were prepared to see him obliterate The Wall, shattering the widely held concrete belief of the Northmen that it will never fall. The purpose of The Wall changed over the years in the minds of those protected by it, but it’s true intent could never be evaded. With it’s crumbling we get a reminder that winter is here, and death is coming.
This finale rang of the legacy that Ned Stark cultivated and left behind. Replace Jon with Ned in the dragonpit, and the same scenario would unfold. Jon has based every difficult decision off of Ned’s teachings, and faced the criticism that comes with it. Arya and Sansa quote him as they bond on the wall in Winterfell. And it’s reluctantly worth noting how Theon’s own struggle was influenced heavily by Ned. He’s the reason Jon is even alive at this point, cultivating him as his own at the expense of the relationship with his wife. Ned’s faults are some of the most widely criticized on the show. With the story coming closer to an end though, it’s his passionately held beliefs that are resurfacing as the characters wonder, what if we’re the ones who are wrong? We only had Ned for one season, but his impact and decisions span the entire series.
As snow falls in King’s Landing, it brings with it a cold darkness, one that no one there can remember. It’s a shared experience amongst ourselves as we enter a period of waiting, unaware of the start date to the final season, that when it comes, will bring us back to an era without Game of Thrones, one an entire generation has never known.