Needless to say, as a retrospective on possibly the most divisive and controversial seasons of Game of Thrones, here be spoilers…
Just as we’ve all caught ourselves or others in the office looking at the change in weather and saying, ‘winter is coming’; it’s true that winter has finally reached Westeros.
It’s been a few weeks since Game of Thrones Season 7 ended and so perhaps it seems a little late to do a recap, yet I must confess I have needed this time to let all the events sink in. Despite being three episodes shorter than previous seasons of HBO’s most popular show, it felt like more than ever had happened within this season. The closer we get to the end of the saga, the quicker events are unfolding and questions being answered.
From the reunion of the Starks, to the first meetings of characters such as Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, to the death of Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish and the death and unholy ‘rebirth’ of Viserion, every episode was packed with action, intrigue and twists.
The Highs and Lows
Whilst some of the Season’s biggest reveals were predicted some time ago, the way they were executed were no less impressive.
Here’s a round-up of some of the Season’s most important plot points and twists;
- The reunion of the Starks. If Jon and Sansa’s reunion didn’t nearly break my heart, it was Arya and Bran’s return to Winterfell that pushed me over the edge. That said, Bran as the three-eyed raven is certainly more than a little creepy and the discussions between Sansa and Arya at times were terrifying, though a lot of this was down to Littlefinger trying to play them off one another.
- There was that beautiful moment where Arya came across a pack of direwolves, it appeared one of them was hers, Nymeria, however she said, “ No, that’s not you,”. In case you missed it, that was a direct call back to when she said, “No, that’s not me,” to her father when he was describing imagining her marrying a lord in a beautiful dress. It is likely that this direwolf was Nymeria, but so much has changed, the picture Arya had of both herself and her direwolf is unrecognisable to her.
- Jon traveled against the wishes of the Northern men, with Ser Davos to meet with Daenerys at Dragonstone. This was the first time we have seen Dragonstone since the departure of Stannis Baratheon.
- At Dragonstone we saw Dany’s allies together formulating a plan to beat Cersei. Tyrion and Varys were very honest with Dany and Varys promised to tell her if he thought she was being a bad Queen. It was a great moment of character progression for both.
- The relationship between Dany and Jon seemed to bloom the moment they met. Despite Jon standing his ground and remaining resolute not to the bend the knee, Dany allowed him to mine for Dragonglass that could be used in the fight against the Whitewalkers. There’s undeniably some chemistry between them, although time will tell exactly what kind.
- Dany sent the Ironborne fleet, who bent the knee to her, to Dorne to mobilise their fleet, but this was intercepted by Euron Greyjoy. Two of the Sandsnakes; Obara and Nymeria, were murdered (I felt this a great injustice as the show treated all the sand snakes poorly compared to the books) and Ellaria Sand. Yara Greyjoy and Tyene Sand were taken captive. With his PTSD clearly still having a great hold over him; instead of trying to save his sister, Theon jumped ship.
- Against the advise of her Council, Daenerys took her army and dragons to pay the Lannister army a visit, dealing them a devastating blow. Also against the advise of Tyrion, she murdered Lord Tarly. This event clearly had a devastating mental effect on Jaime who has witnessed the destruction and hell that dragons can cause first hand.
- Jaime paid Olenna Tyrell a visit and (politely) poisoned her. Before her dying moments she revealed that she was reasonable for the death of Joffrey.
- Sam managed to cure Ser Jorah of his greyscale in a rather painful scene, though the make-up was just incredible. He was reunited with Daenerys, whilst Sam returned to Winterfell.
- Ser Davos went in search of Gendry and found him blacksmithing in Flea bottom. Gendry jumped at the chance to head to Dragonstone and accompany the others beyond the wall. Davos warned him not to reveal his true identity, but on meeting Jon he disclosed that Robert Baratheon was his father in quite a touching moment.
- Jon, Jorah, Beric, Sandor, Thoros, Gendry and essentially some ‘canon fodder’ members of the Night’s Watch headed beyond the wall on a mission to bring back a ‘live’ white walker to prove to Cersei that this is a real threat. This episode had me on the edge of my seat, with the ever-impending doom, the death of Thoros of Myr and wondering whether Dany would get there in time (of course she did). However awesome watching the dragons burning the White walkers was, it ended in the death of Viserion, who gave out the most agonising cry as he plummeted into the water after being lanced by the Night King.
- Sandor and Brienne shared a cute ‘parent’ moment when talking about Arya.
- With White Walker in tow, there was an epic summit between the two sides in the Dragonpit to discuss the future of Westeros. Seeing Bronn and Tyrion side by side again and their little ‘I missed you’ despite being on opposing sides was a tear-jerker. Not to mention Sandor Clegane squaring up to his brother and swearing to kill him.
- Both Qyburn and Cersei were shocked when they saw the white walker and Euron left to return to the Iron Islands out of fear / cowarduce. Cersei agreed to call a truce until after the threat is dealt with if Jon bends the knee. Jon refused to bend the knee to Cersei as he admitted that he had already bent the knee to Dany. However, Tyrion then spoke to Cersei alone and she agreed not only to call a truce but to send troops of her own North.
- Jon and Daenary’s finally got it on… That’s what Game of Thrones was missing, more incest!
- This, of course, brings us to the revelation of Jon’s true parentage which Bran sees in a vision. It is finally confirmed that Jon is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, therefore the rightful heir to the Iron throne. We also learned that Rhaegar did not keep Lyanna a prisoner in a tower and did not rape her, rather his previous marriage was annulled and he married Lyanna in secret. This revelation means Robert’s vaunted rebellion was built on a lie.
- Winter finally arrived at King’s Landing and with it Jaime finally decided to leave in order to join the others’ fight against the white walkers (against Cersei’s wishes). Cersei reveals that the promise she made to the others was a lie and that she had no intention of helping them. She also revealed that Euron’s apparently cowardly withdrawal from the summit was planned, and that he was on his way to buy the services of the Golden company to fight for them. Oh, and Cersei also revealed that she was pregnant.
- While many were quick to judge Theon for abandoning Yara, this could, in the long run, be what saves her since Theon showed himself a brave leader when confronting the remaining Greyjoys about rescuing his sister.
- At the end of, “The Dragon and the Wolf”, the white walkers reached the wall, with the Night King riding on the back of an undead Viserion. Beric Dondarrion and Tormund were both at the top of the walk as the Whitewalkers approached and were running for their lives when we last saw them.
My Own Thoughts and Musings
The handling of the White Walkers and characters’ increasingly panicked interactions are starting to remind me more and more of The Walking Dead, not that this is a bad thing necessarily as it’s more early Walking Dead than recent Walking Dead.
For all his wrongdoing, I didn’t enjoy Littlefinger’s death.
I saw many celebrating his demise and whilst I agree his character is manipulative, has done much wrong and deserved to suffer in the end, the execution left me wanting. I felt that such a well crafted character who has been at the heart of the story, putting the cogs in motion from the very beginning, deserved better.
The death was so quick, so unexpected that even though I enjoyed the way Sansa twisted her words and used his games against him… I felt the show did this just to shock us. It was as if the show runners suddenly thought, “ohh we don’t have long left this season and not enough has shocked, what can we do?”.
Given the connections the Starks have with their direwolves, I am sure we will see Nymeria again and that she will have a role to play. I was disappointed by the lack of Ghost in this season, he is such an important part of Jon’s world that this felt like a plot hole, however Weiss and Benioff explained that this was down to the CGI budget.
Considering the Stark blood is meant to allow them to warg (as we see Bran doing) I wonder whether Jon, though only half Stark, will be able to possess and use this gift to warg with Viserion.
Could there be a spy on Dany’s council? Someone must have informed Euron of the fleet sailing to Dorne, but if so, who could it be?
Sadly Game of Thrones fans will have longer than usual to wait for the next and final season of Game of Thrones, season 8 is set to be released in mid 2019.
Predictions for Season 8? Maybe it’s a little too early to tell, after all we all enjoy the leaked on set photos during filming! Whilst it would be incredible to see an unexpected ending such as the White Walkers winning (though maybe a cop-out), or Cersei actually keeping her word, or someone like Gendry ending up on the throne, it is unlikely any of this will happen.
Personally I see Dany and Jon ruling side by side, one ruling the North, the other the South, after all sometimes an audience loves predictability and a happy ending. But this is Game of Thrones, how they get there? Who lives and who dies on the road to victory?
One thing is for certain, in the game of thrones, you win or you die.