“The Dragon And The Wolf”
“Maybe it is all about cocks in the end.”
Despite its spectacular visuals, and a handful of memorable sequences, there was a lot to be desired in what was an uneven seventh season of Game of Thrones. The finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” mostly followed suit, balancing out some satisfying moments with some glaring narrative shortcuts.
Opening with the Unsullied army standing in formation outside the walls of King’s Landing, while Lannister troops on the inside frantically prepare for a battle, the Dothraki storm through their ranks. As Daenerys’ allies meet outside the gates to the Dragonpit, it’s her way of showing her power, as well as helping to ensure their talks with Cersei don’t end up going south.
Overrun with awkward reunions — Podrick and Tyrion, Tyrion and Bronn, Jaime and Brienne, Brienne and Sandor, Sandor and zombie Gregor, and the three Lannister siblings — it’s ripe with tension, particularly as Daenerys enters via Drogon, as Rhaegal circles the sky above. It’s the first meeting between the show’s two queens, though only one of them hopes to enact a truce by revealing the true danger, done so by revealing the wight brought back after last week’s “suicide” mission north of The Wall.
The outlandish plan proves successful, insofar as convincing Cersei that the army of the dead is real, but Jon Snow’s ultimate affliction to always tell the truth, even to an enemy, looks to doom the uneasy alliance before it starts. He’s loyal to Daenerys, thus can’t offer the same to Cersei. It isn’t until Tyrion has a private conversation with his sister that she seems to change her tune, though it’s eventually revealed she has ulterior motives after promising to send her army north to aid in the coming war.
Through both of these twists, Cersei’s given the chance to kill both Jaime and Tyrion, and doesn’t act either time. Despite her mercilessness, it seems she has a weakness for family. Possibly because they’re the only two members she has left in the world — her unborn child notwithstanding. While it leaves Tyrion free to return to the north with Daenerys, it prompts Jaime to leave King’s Landing, frustrated at her unwillingness to address the clear threat that’s been presented.
Meanwhile, back in Winterfell, the season’s most ridiculous storyline — the feud between the Stark sisters — proved to be a frivolous, elaborate setup to give Littlefinger his long-overdue comeuppance. In the moment, it was easy enough to overlook, given that he met his much-deserved fate at the hand of Arya (with his own dagger, no less). But any amount of reassessing this scene after the fact just comes back to the fact that it was not only illogical, but unnecessary plot filler to give the narrative something beyond the Jon/Daenerys/Cersei storylines.
Speaking of frivolous storylines, there was Theon and his impervious crotch (yes, I realize he had his junk removed by Ramsay) somehow winning a brawl with an Ironborn soldier. And honestly, the Ironborn seem to be the easiest swayed house in all of Westeros. Most of them deserted Yara last season when Euron showed up and admitted to killing their king, and the small band that remained loyal to her (and survived Euron’s siege) were willing to desert her again in favor of… some island out east. But thanks to Theon’s ironcrotch, and the fact that the Ironborn soldier seemed to tire himself out from punching him too many times, was enough to sway the remainder back into loyalty for Yara once again. So, it was not only ridiculous, but it means we have that to look forward to.
Of course, what everyone will really remember is the end sequence, when the army of the dead finally reach The Wall at Eastwatch. Here, the Night King unleashes his latest acquisition, an undead Viserion who’s blue fire breath brings part of The Wall crumbling down. With the army of the dead finally crossing into the north, the remaining six episodes in Game of Thrones’ final season (two long years away, which… ugh) looks to focus almost entirely on the show’s long promised conflict: the arrival of the long night and the great battle between the living and the dead. Along with a few more new and/or unresolved subplots.
Oh, and Jon’s real name is Aegon, is officially not only a true-born Targaryan, but the heir to the Iron Throne as well. That and he just banged is aunt. Targaryencest lives on.