Hang on a sec! Can I just catch me breath for a minute??
Well, after last week’s fire extravaganza, this week just went into full break neck speed, reuniting characters, finally kicking forward the Night King’s army (Vladimir Furdik) and putting Jon (Kit Harrington) back on his magic carpet to the North. In fact, Season 7 has been progressing at such a speedy rate I’m finally beginning to understand why it’s taking George RR Martin so damn long to finish the series. Books 4 and 5 suffered from being far too slow and if books 6 and 7 kept up that slouchy pace, it would take half the damn novel just to cover the events of this episode!
So where do we possibly begin? Well, may as well pick up right where last week left off.
Inexplicably Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) managed to survive his brush with Drogon after all, despite being in full plate armour and sinking to a watery grave the last time we saw him. You’d think escaping certain death (again) would put a smile on our second favourite Lannister’s face, but no such luck. He’s finally seen what an unleashed dragon can do to an army, and it’s not something they can fight. As Bronn (Jerome Flynn) so tactically put it – he’s fucked.
Meanwhile, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), ever the modest winner, pretty much forces what is left of the Lannister army to bow down before her, roasting alive the refusing Randyll (James Faulkner) and Dickon Tarley (Tom Hopper). Dany is not messing around, and it was telling just how unsettled by the whole situation Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) was. As usual in these type of scenarios on Game of Thrones, you can see this argument from both sides. Tyrion wanted to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, and it’s not easy for him to see big families like the Tarleys get decimated partly by his hand. Dany, however, is here to conquer, and you don’t beat people like Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) by being the morally correct person – as Ned Stark (Sean Bean) found out all those years ago. So, it’s goodnight for the Tarleys. And Dickon was such a nice bloke an all.
In times gone by, this may well have been it for Dany’s story this week. But not in the zippy Season 7. Back over to Dragonstone she goes, facilitating a nice little scene where Jon finally gets to show his Targaryen chops and get truly acquainted with Drogon. Maybe Drogon senses Jon’s connection to his mother. Maybe Jon is just that brave. Dany and Jon seem to be getting on pretty well, despite their earlier differences. Either way, Jon doesn’t have much time to pet Drogon, as news from creepy Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) reaches Dragonstone that the Night King’s army is almost at Eastwatch by the Sea. And this is where things get serious.
Dany and her advisers come up with a plan. If Jon can bring a zombie back to King’s Landing to present to Cersei, maybe she’ll stop this fighting for her life and Throne business and instead pledge all her armies (so, about 10 Lannister soldiers and Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) to the defence of the Wall. Then, everyone can team up to take on the Night King, with Dany ruling victorious over a united Seven Kingdoms. A nice plan and all – except Jon needs to bring back a zombie. Which involves going back up into the North and kidnapping a Walking Dead reject from right under the Night King’s nose. No pressure there then.
At least Jon isn’t going alone. He’s taking Davos (Liam Cunningham), a fully cured Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), Tormund (Kristofer Hivju), Gendry (Joe Dempsie), the Hound (Rory McCann) and the rest of the Brotherhood, including fellow resurrectee Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer). A pretty deadly crew if truth be told. Even if this fails horribly, it will be entertaining as hell.
Indeed, it turns out Gendry did eventually leave that boat he was set out on, way back in Season 4. On Davos’ advice, he went right back to King’s Landing, hiding in plain sight, doing what he used to do. And now, Davos has called him back to arms. This was a nice little episode for Davos, as it’s his skills and knowledge that allow Gendry to return to doing something useful, and helps Tyrion sneak back into King’s Landing.
For part of the plan involves Tyrion convincing Jaime to convince Cersei to let them show her a zombie. And that involves Tyrion doing something even more dangerous than Jon – going back into King’s Landing, literally the lion’s den. Jaime still has some unfinished business with his brother – after all, he did kill their father (Charles Dance) in cold blood, and they were technically at war literally one episode ago. But hey, no time for hard feelings – after all, it wasn’t Tyrion that killed Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), despite the fact he almost got a head shorter for it. Jaime seems to listen to Tyrion – but all it takes is Cersie’s little revelation that she’s “pregnant” for him to swing right back round to her way of thinking. I think she’s lying through her teeth, but Jaime certainly doesn’t.
I have to admit, the Jaime and Tyrion scene is a bit of a let-down here. This should have been given more time than it was, especially in light of the last time these two interacted and everything that has happened since. Unfortunately, this episode just doesn’t have the time. It means we won’t have to wait 15 episodes to see Jon once again face the Night King. But it also means scenes that should be given more time really aren’t. This also includes Jorah’s reunion with Daenerys, that ends so quickly it may as well not have happened.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Dragonstone/King’s Landing stuff was all that happened this week. But, surprisingly, that was just the tip of the iceberg.
It seems things aren’t going great between Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie Williams) up at Winterfell. Lest we forget, these guys didn’t get on at all when they were younger, and it seems some of that old rivalry survived to adulthood. Arya suspects Sansa is after Jon’s throne – that she always loved pretty things and would be willing to betray her brother to get what she wants. To be fair to her, the thought may have crossed Sansa’s mind, but she’s not acting on it. At least, not yet. She’s been left in a difficult situation, having to keep very stubborn Northern and Vale lords happy whilst Jon traipses about on Dragonstone. It’s actually a little mean of Arya to accuse her in such a blunt way.
Unfortunately, this has not be lost on Littlefinger (Aiden Gillan), who rather predictably sets up a little scenario to continue to widen the breach between Arya and Sansa. Arya doesn’t really know how crafty Littlefinger can be, and now she’s gone all Batman probably doesn’t think for a second he can get one over on her. Of course, it’s Littlefinger, and the hell yes he can. Thus Arya stumbles across his planted letter, which just so happens to be the letter Sansa was forced to write way back in Season 1, begging Robb (Richard Madden) to bend the knee to Joffrey and submit to the Lannisters. Sansa doesn’t come across very well in this letter – if anything, she comes across as a Lannister supporter, and all this is going to do is confirm to Arya that she cannot be trusted. Smart move, Littlefinger.
Why the hell haven’t they killed him yet?
In spite of all this, the biggest revelation comes not from Dragonstone, or Winterfell, or even from beyond the Wall. But from Oldtown.
Samwell Tarley has finally had his fill running about after a bunch of old idiots. Despite the fact they get an admittedly dubious letter from creepy Bran, and despite the fact that someone they trusted enough to let be an apprentice has not stopped banging on about the Night King since he got there, they still won’t listen to him. Quite content to sit and talk about absolutely nothing, the so called geniuses of Westeros would probably deny the world was ending even if the Night King came round for tea. Hell, it annoys Samwell so much he completely misses a monumental plot point, being too busy snapping at Gilley (Hannah Murray) about how damn annoying his bosses are.
Whilst Sam is banging on, Gilley stumbles across what is probably the most important news of all. Rhaegar Targaryen, son of the Mad King and heir to the Throne, secretly married someone in Dorne after annulling his previous marriage to Elia Martell. Yet to be fully confirmed, it seems extremely likely that this second wife was none other than Lyanna Stark (Aisling Franciosi), and if this is true, then Jon isn’t just a secret Targaryen. Jon is a legitimate heir to the Throne, with a claim stronger than that of Daenerys. Forget about the Night King. Shit is about to get serious.
It may be going at breakneck speed, but Season 7 of Game of Thrones really has been fantastic so far. Let’s see how next week’s little expedition North goes.