Tonight’s Game of Thrones episode was better than just about every movie that will be released in 2017. And it would have been better than all of them if Cersei had ordered The Mountain to kill Jaime instead of allowing him to walk out of her throne room.
I know it would have been painful for viewers to watch, but it would have perfectly echoed the way season one ended and it would have reinforced the lesson we learned in Season 1 when Ned Stark was decapitated, that no one is safe on this show.
As is, when was the last time a beloved character died on this show? (And stayed dead). It has been years since Robb and Catelynn Stark died unexpectedly in The Red Wedding. Sure, lots of characters have died on the show in the ensuing years, but most of them have been unlikable or ancillary characters.
Did you really feel much pain when Myrcella was poisoned? Sure, Grandma Tyrell dying and Cersei blowing up the Sept and killing Margaery were disappointing — especially because we didn’t get to see Margaery’s perfect boobs again — but those weren’t characters we’ve been with since season one. This scene was set up for Cersei to demonstrate her descent to pure evil. Tell Jaime she’s marrying Euron and then kill him for being a traitor.
Imagine if Cersei had ordered The Mountain to strike down Jaime and then he’d died on the map as the snow began falling on King’s Landing?
It would have been incredibly poignant to see the season end that way, even more powerful than seeing the wall come tumbling down. In fact, it would have tied in even more perfectly. Instead, Jaime walked out of the palace and rode off alone into the falling snow. He still has both his honor and his life.
It used to be on Game of Thrones that you didn’t get to keep both.
Game of Thrones finale — WOW! https://t.co/ewsmjKesf2
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 28, 2017
Okay, enough with my preferred ending to tonight’s episode, let’s discuss what actually happened.
1. We open with the Unsullied and Dothraki lined up outside King’s Landing.
Inside the castle Bronn and Jaime are discussing the armies arrayed against them.
“Men without cocks…what’s there to fight for?” Bronn asks.
“Family,” Jaime responds.
“Not without a cock you don’t,” Bronn shoots back.
This is just fabulous.
I love Bronn.
2. Tyrion and Jon are in ships approaching King’s Landing for the big meeting with Cersei.
The Hound taps the crate holding the white walker.
Meanwhile back in King’s Landing, Cersei says to the Mountain: “If anything goes wrong, kill the silver haired bitch first.”
3. At the official meeting of the two groups Lady Brienne and the Hound stare at each other.
Lady Brienne: “I thought you were dead.”
The Hound: “Not yet.”
The Hound says he doesn’t plan on crossing Arya and Bronn makes a joke about Podrick’s magic dick.
Meanwhile Tyrion and Bronn walk along beside each other: “Whatever they’re paying, I’ll double it,” Tyrion says.
Bronn refuses the offer, but we have to wonder where his loyalties will lie with Jaime’s decision at the end of the episode.
4. There’s an ancient coliseum like setting for the meeting, the place where the dragons used to live.
Is it an ambush?
Jon Snow, Tyrion and their crew are all arrayed for the meeting, but where is Daenerys? She’s coming on a dragon, right?
In comes Cersei with Euron, Jaime and The Mountain.
This is a powerful scene because it’s the first time we’ve seen all of these characters together in one setting.
5. Daenerys arrives on Drogon.
I’m sorry to keep mentioning the timeline, but did Daenerys just stay at Dragonstone for months waiting on the boats to arrive in King’s Landing? What army was left behind with her since the Dothraki and the Unsullied and her navy was all en route to King’s Landing?
Sure, she has the dragons to protect her, but the traveling in this season has been way too complex and hasn’t fit the story well.
Cersei bitches about the wait when Daenerys arrives, which is perfect. Cersei’s been sitting there for like three minutes and somehow Daenerys has timed her arrival this closely and it still isn’t good enough?
The only thing we didn’t see here? The reason in King’s Landing to the dragons. Can you imagine the people seeing the dragons flying above the kingdom?
Euron tries to hijack the meeting and gets bitch slapped.
6. The Hound carries up the white walker and unpacks him.
The white walker’s on a chain and charges Cersei, terrifying everyone.
“There is only one war that matters, the great war and it is here,” Jon Snow says.
Euron asks whether the white walkers can swim. Told they cannot, he leaves saying, “This is the only thing I’ve ever seen that terrifies me.”
Cersei says, “The Crown accepts your truce. Until the dead are defeated, they are the true enemy.” Then she asks Jon Snow to remain neutral in the war between Cersei and Daenerys. He refuses, “I cannot serve two queens and I have already pledged myself to Queen Daenerys of House Targaryen.”
Cersei rejects the deal since Jon won’t pledge neutrality, saying the dead will come to the north first. Then she exist the meeting.
7. Everyone is mad at Jon for not lying.
“The more immediate problem is that we’re fucked,” Tyrion says.
Tyrion then says he will see his sister alone.
8. The scene between Cersei and Tyrion is absolutely electric.
It begins with Cersei bitterly saying of Daenerys, “She’s your kind of a woman, a foreign whore.”
How many actors alive right now could pull off this scene as well as these two? This is a master class in acting showmanship.
Tyrion says he killed her mom, her daughter and her two kids and tells Cersei to have The Mountain kill him. “Say the word, do it!”
Cersei doesn’t so Tyrion pours himself a full glass of wine and drains it. Then he pours another and hands it to her.
“You’re pregnant,” Tyrion says.
Then we cut away from their conversation.
In the next scene with Cersei she returns to the dragon coliseum and pledges her allegiance to the group.
So what really makes Cersei change her mind? Could it be that Tyrion tells her Daenerys can’t have children and he swears to ensure that the Lannister child she’s bearing will one day sit on the Iron Throne? Could Tyrion be a double agent, doing what Jon Snow wouldn’t? Working to both get Daenerys on the Iron Throne and simultaneously ensure that a Lannister is the heir?
I think there’s a good possibility that’s his goal here.
Or at least he’s claiming that’s his goal to try and get Cersei to cooperate.
9. Jon and Daenerys discuss her family’s history and whether she can have children.
Does Jon Snow have magic sperm? Because right now, if my thesis about Tyrion’s gambit is true, the show boils down to this question — can Daenerys get pregnant? If she can, there’s no compromise with Cersei, if she can’t then a compromise is possible.
Was it wrong of me to expect Cersei to return and immediately have her crazy physician, Qyburn, conduct a medical exam of Cersei to see if she’s capable of getting pregnant? This is like the Game of Thrones version of the Cavs-Celtics deal, everything relies on passing a physical.
Tyrion returns followed by Cersei.
She agrees to fighton their side.
“Tyrion needs to go to North Korea,” my wife says.
10. Sansa and Little Finger are back in Winterfell discussing Jon’s political alliance with Daenerys.
Little Finger is trying to convince Sansa that Arya wants to kill her.
Is Sansa really this dumb? To believe that Arya wants to be Lady of Winterfell?
I’ve found this entire plotline involving Little Finger to be fairly unsatisfying. It’s just not very smart and too basic for the typical Thrones political plotting. Because it requires multiple people to be dumb, particularly Little Finger, and we’ve learned over the years that he’s anything but dumb.
11. Daenerys and Jon Snow will sail together to Winterfell.
Back in the Dragon Stone throne room Theon and Jon talk about the mistakes Theon has made, especially betraying Ned Stark. “It’s not my place to forgive you for all of it, but what I can forgive, I do. You don’t have to choose, you’re a Greyjoy and you’re a Stark,” Jon says.
Theon decides to try and go save Yara because she’s the only one who tried to save him when he was Ramsay’s prisoner.
Immediately he runs out to the beach and finds the Iron Islands men — just hanging out on the beach, of course — and tells them they’re going to save Yara.
Which leads to a fight between Theon and a random guy. They fight to the death and Theon gets kicked in the dick, but the kick has no impact because he has no dick and he rises up to kill the stunned man.
Theon then bathes in ocean water, redemption has arrived. “It’s not for me, it’s for Yara,” he says.
Honestly, I think it would have been better if Theon, freshly charged up with a halftime speech from Jon Snow about how he’s a Stark and a Greyjoy, runs straight out to try and save Yara and gets killed by the random guy he fights on the beach.
Instead the Theon character arc remains in play.
Which seems to be the only reason Euron kept Yara alive. Otherwise it makes no logical sense.
I’m over the Theon story and find it uninteresting given everything else at stake now.
12. Back at Winterfell: Has Sansa turned evil and dumb?
Standing there in the evil Jedi cloak, she looks like Anakin poised to turn into Darth Vader.
Arya is brought to the Great Hall and we believe she’s being accused of murder and treason, but instead we get a plot twist — Sansa accuses Lord Baelish of both crimes.
“My sister asked you a question,” Arya says, in a perfect mic drop line that echoes the way this season opened, with her killing all the Freys.
As Lord Baelish attempts to defend himself even Bran steps in to call him a liar.
Sansa asks: “What’s the worst reason you have for turning me against my sister?”
Lord Baelish drops to his knees and begs for forgiveness.
Arya steps up and slices his throat with the dagger that was used to try and kill Bran.
At long last Baelish is out of words.
13. “Our child will rule Westeros,” Cersei tells Jaime.
Cersei won’t allow the Lannister army to assist Jon and Daenerys even though she’s pledged to do so.
Jaime argues they are going to die either way, at the hands of the White Walkers or for betraying Daenerys and Jon.
Cersei informs Jaime that Euron is bringing a mercenary army that she’s buying to King’s Landing — he hasn’t fled after all — and that she intends to marry him.
Jaime says he won’t betray his oath and Cersei says, “I told you no one walks away from me.”
This, then, was the perfect time for Cersei to kill Jaime.
But instead she lets him walk away. (Leaving me confident that Jaime will be the one to kill his sister next season. He’s already killed the mad king, I suspect he’s going to end up having to kill the mad Queen too. In fact, could Jaime kill Cersei and give her baby to Jon and Daenerys to raise as their own heir, replicating the scene that may have happened in the Tower of Joy? This seems far too happy of an ending for Game of Thrones, but it ties together well.)
At long last, snow arrives in King’s Landing, landing on Jaime’s golden hand as he puts on a leather glove.
14. Samwell arrives in Winterfell.
Bran says he’s the 3 eyed raven and Sam says he has no idea what that means.
Join the club, Sam.
We finally get official confirmation of what we’ve been piecing together for multiple seasons: Jon Snow is Rhaegar and Lyanna’s son.
Samwell arrives to provide his information together with Bran’s. Then Bran witnesses the marriage between Rhaegar and Lyanna. “Robert’s Rebellion was built on a lie. He loved her and she loved him,” Bran says.
Jon Snow’s name is actually Aegon Targaryen.
(I’m going to return to this again, is it possible that Ned killed Lyanna? It’s just the kind of revelation that would stun viewers. What if the honest Ned Stark, in an effort to preserve the lie that Robert Baratheon’s rise to power wasn’t built on a lie, killed his sister to keep her from surviving and creating an heir to the Targaryen throne?)
In an incredible cut away, we see Jon/Aegon sleeping with his aunt, Daenerys.
Bran speaks: “He’s never been a bastard, he’s the heir to the Iron Throne…he needs to know. We need to tell him.”
Unfortunately they can’t tell him before a nephew is having hot sex with his aunt.
We know Jon is heading to Winterfell, but will they tell him via raven who his mom and dad were? Will he find out lying in bed beside his naked aunt? Talk about a buzzkill.
15. Since Jon is a Targaryen, this means Sansa is now in charge of Winterfell.
“You’re the strongest person I know,” Sansa says to Arya.
“I miss him,” says Arya of Ned Stark.
“Me too,” says Sansa.
16. Bran’s vision takes us beyond the wall and leaves us with this question: Is Bran the Night King?
It seems crazy that he would be, but certainly Bran is able to see what’s going on via the ravens. Regardless, this has become a popular theory.
Tormund and Beric are up on top of the wall when the Ice Dragon attacks the wall with the Night King riding him.
Down comes the wall.
After seven seasons, the White Walkers are officially in Westeros.
Again, not to be too picky with the story line, but this is another plot flaw — the only reason Jon and his crew needed to go north of the wall was so Daenerys would come try and rescue them, which allowed the Night King to get a dragon. Without the dragon could the Night King have ever gotten past the wall?
It doesn’t appear so.
Which means if Jon had never cared about the white walkers at all the entire kingdom of Westeros would be better off.
As good as season seven of Game of Thrones was, it could have been better with just a few plot changes. Maybe this is what happens when the TV show is this far ahead of the book.
The plot just isn’t as tightly constructed as it was in prior seasons.
Having said all that, I can’t wait for season eight.