Do I really have to warn you? This post includes plot details from Sunday’s season finale of Game of Thrones, which no mere review or recap could spoil, anyway. You kinda had to be there.
You came for blood? You got blood.
You came for a zombie dragon? You got your zombie dragon — with breath like a blow torch. (I’d wondered how that would work, what with the undeadness and the ice and all, and it seems to work just fine, if that gaping hole in the Wall is any indication.)
You came for star-crossed romance? You got that, too, along with an eyeful of Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) doing the one thing that on any other show might be considered icky in the extreme now that even the most casual viewer has had it spelled out: She’s his aunt.
But then, as a wise wildling woman once (didn’t exactly) say, “You know nothing, Aegon Targaryen.”
With just six episodes planned for the next, final season, Game of Thrones has gotten its cast down to a size that, again, on any other show might still be considered unmanageable, this week eliminating Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen), lord of the Vale and nonstop schemer.
That a character seemingly incapable of hiding his smirk should have lived this long is an achievement. Only Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), who was still alive when last we saw him, seemed less likely to make it to the final season.
Which takes nothing away from Sansa (Sophie Turner) and her big moment, when she, seemingly goaded by Littlefinger, summoned her recalcitrant sister Arya (Maisie Williams) and began to talk of murder and treason, only to reveal that it was her duplicitous mentor, not her sometimes scary sibling, she had in mind.
That Arya got to cut his throat was a nice touch: Arya likes killing people, and she’s had fewer opportunities this season. She even spared Ed Sheeran.
I’d worried, of course, about the Lannister brothers, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Each at one point Sunday night dared their mass murderer of a sister, Cersei (Lena Headey) to kill him. Jaime, particularly, seemed at risk, if only because the writers don’t often seem to know what to do with him anymore, and it would have been such a shocker after his near-death experience a few weeks ago.
I had, to be honest, worried from the moment all those warring parties walked into the dragon pit. On the face of it, this meeting, in a place it would be hard to escape, felt like a terrible idea — on the scale of, say, going north of the wall to find a wight for show and tell — and I’m not sure why Cersei didn’t just eliminate Team Targaryen once Dany sent the dragons away.
I’m guessing the writers wouldn’t let her.
But without the dragon pit negotiations and their aftermath, we wouldn’t have had all those fun moments.
Tyrion and Podrick (Daniel Portman) had a moment. The Hound (Rory McCann) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) had a moment. Tyrion and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) had a moment. Tyrion and Jaime had a moment. Even those bitter brothers the Hound and the Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) had a kind of moment — although Ser Gregor, now apparently forever the strong, silent type, did none of the talking.
Other thoughts on the season finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf”:
- I’m not disappointed that Cersei double-crossed everyone after promising to fight the army of the undead alongside her rivals, but I’m sorry that Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) didn’t mean it when he said he was heading back to the Iron Islands after learning the dead don’t swim. After Littlefinger, he has my vote for the season’s most annoying character, and even if he’s being kept around so that Theon can reclaim his manhood (figuratively if not literally), I’m not sure it’s enough.
- Jon’s cannot-tell-a-lie speech made it seem more like Ned Stark than ever, but then he is half-Stark. Other than petting a dragon, we haven’t seen much Targaryen. Maybe next season he’ll start playing with matches?
- Who knew that Sam (John Bradley-West) actually heard Gilly (Hannah Murray) when she was reading to him from the maester’s diary about the secret marriage of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark? (And can we just take a moment to appreciate that Lyanna wasn’t raped? Let’s hear it for consensual sex in Westeros.)
- I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Sam gave Gilly no credit whatsoever.
- Male genitalia (or the lack thereof) was both a discussion topic and a minor plot point.
- Points to Cersei for figuring out that Dany was down a dragon.
- I loved Sam admitting to Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) that he didn’t know what a Three-Eyed Raven was. Really, there are no dumb questions on Game of Thrones, only bizarre, maybe too convenient answers.