Spoilers Ahead on Game Of Thrones Season 7 Finale
“The Dragon and The Wolf” is a solid, bonus-sized episode to leave us with while we wait until possibly 2019 for the final run. As a huge fan of the show and books, the Season 7 finale didn’t surprise me with any big reveals. That’s not a knock on the finale, just an observation that all the set up and clues are falling into place as we approach the epic conclusion.
The extended episode afforded time to build up to the King’s Landing meeting. It’s the who’s who in the Game of Thrones, all gathered in one spot, except for of course the Starks. After many character deaths, these are the ultimate survivors who have so far managed to keep their head on their shoulders. Many have had fortunate breaks and good luck on their side. But it’s also their attributes, values and decision making which brought them to where they are now. The heroes, those who conquer the unknown, in these stories tell us something about how to act in the world. Brienne is fiercely loyal; built like a tank, inside and out. Tyrion is morally grounded and as much as his razor sharp wit may get him into trouble, it also saves him a lot. The Hound, who has done more to protect the Stark girls than anyone, is learning to let go his resentment and stop making unnecessary enemies.
The characters show us a mode of being used to navigate a very complex world, each with good and bad consequences. This notion is encapsulated in Jon’s scene with Theon, both of whom have a conflict in their identity. Jon got stabbed to death by the Night’s Watch, so it’s not a clear case of “be a good, honorable person” and you will be justly rewarded in life. In fact, most of the do-gooders get themselves killed. It’s more like, “Truth is a double edged sword to live and die by.” When you lie, you corrupt your intuition, which is your ability to guide yourself. Essentially when your internal compass no longer points towards true north, as in Theon’s case, you can become easily lost. Theon paid a huge price for his betrayal and cowardice. Perhaps it was a little too on the nose, that his lack of balls saved him, but it’s nice to see he’s on the long, hard road towards possible redemption.
Where Jon values telling the truth, Littlefinger’s lies and deceit have finally caught up to him. Karma’s a bitch. The payback is sweeter because of the cyclical nature to it. Littlefinger taught Sansa to play the game, who in turn played him. He also played the two elder Stark sisters (Catelyn and Lysa) and now the younger Starks get their vengeance using the Catspaw dagger. One of the problems with setting up Littlefinger’s demise in this way is that it felt forced in places. For example, Sansa and Littlefinger wouldn’t actually believe Arya wants to become the new Lady of Winterfell, when all Arya ever wanted is to be a warrior. Further, Sansa and Arya’s mock argument in the previous episode would have to be under the pretense that Littlefinger was listening in. I’m looking forward to how the books will dispatch Littlefinger because G.R.R.M. is great in making events flow naturally, like a jigsaw puzzle that locks into place.
“The Dragon and The Wolf” is a strong episode for Cersei. Not because her decisions are all logical and foolproof (they’re not), but that they are exactly what she would do. Cersei is channeling her inner Lady Macbeth. She’s conniving, yet there’s some ambiguity to what she does. Is Cersei really pregnant? For all we know, she deliberately talked about her dead children as a reminder of her one redeeming quality, didn’t drink the wine due to her “fake” unborn child and clutched her belly to manipulate Tyrion. Maybe she spared Tyrion’s life so that she could enact her duplicitous plan to get Dany’s armies out of King’s Landing, something she couldn’t accomplish if her dwarf brother was murdered. She also correctly deduced that one of the dragons is missing and can be killed, which Jamie didn’t notice. What’s also not clear is why she didn’t hold Jamie captive. Perhaps it doesn’t matter at this point if Jamie reveals Cersei’s plans to her enemies. As we see on the show, what you put forth into the world has a way of eventually snapping back at you. Like Littlefinger, it will not end pleasantly for Cersei.
Down: The Wall Pretty spectacular how Viserion destroyed the Wall at Eastwatch.
Down: Littlefinger I’m glad that the Littlefinger and Sansa vs Arya storyline is over. I like how LF went on his knees, pleading for forgiveness, yet still comes across as insincere to the end. A great way how the actor played his death scene.
Up: Jon Snow Aside from actually sitting on the Iron Throne, you can’t really get any further up in the power rankings than being the rightful, true born heir. Aegon Targaryen!
Despite the incredible wight dragon blowing blue flames, I wasn’t completely blown away by “The Dragon and The Wolf” as a finale. This is an episode that might be better regarded as a really good mid-season cliffhanger which serves to raise the stakes to an even higher level. Unlike some of the previous finales, “The Dragon and The Wolf” isn’t designed to provide a wholly, satisfactory conclusion that wraps up the season’s big events. So while there is finality in killing off Littlefinger, there are a new set of questions raised. Will Dany see her nephew/lover as a threat to the Iron Throne when they find out Jon’s lineage? Can Dany become pregnant? How will the Golden Company factor in? Will Theon save Yara and why was Tyrion lurking outside Dany’s bedroom? If a wight dragon is impervious to flame, then is dragon glass the only thing that can kill undead Viserion?
One critique of the shorter Season 7 is that the focus is on hitting the big plot points, which meant less time to focus on developing the characters. Some characters are lost in the mix or are mainly there to service the plot. It’s the character’s journey and growth, while stretched out too long at times, which makes Game of Thrones special. On the flip side, Season 7 didn’t make us wait for things to happen. It knew where it wanted to go, hit its mark and then shifted gears for the next event. From the special effects, cinematography, action scenes and costume designs, Game of Thrones is the most visually impressive show on air. And for me, it’s still a top-notch show that has me completely absorbed into the world and characters. Bring on the battle of the dragons!