The White Walkers just got their most dangerous weapon
After last week’s non heavy oriented episode, Season 7 episode 6 brings our beloved heroes where no one else would dare to go, beyond the wall, as the title suggests. The difficulty with the penultimate episode must be to ensure to start setting up the tone and direction for one of the world’s greatest phenomenon show, and this episode proved to have finally bring fans to a sneak preview of the beloved books, A Song of Ice and Fire.
Warning: spoilers throughout this review
Beyond the Wall – The Kidnapping of the Wight
This week’s episode immediately starts in the heart of the beast, coming straight out of an RPG game, our heroes are trekking through deadly snowstorms and harsh terrains to try and face a deadly foe. Watching the sweeping shots of beautiful scenery, circling group shots of our heroes with their backs together, the camaraderie of these band of brothers, and a showcase of their skills and weapons; Beyond the Wall is easily a love letter to many fantasy games and movies, most notably The Lord of the Rings. In between fiery action and The Hound’s (Rory McCann) hilarious quick whips at any who tries to talk to him, this episode was a world class feature of every child’s imaginative world.
The first encounter with the dead is not of White Walkers, or an undead army, but a polar bear, and as Gendry (Joe Dempsie) points out, bears don’t normally have blue eyes. A massive use of foreshadowing to a crucial point of this episode, that any creature can also be turned. It set up the perils of what our heroes are going to face, and how difficult their circumstances are, having great difficulty with one animal. It is at this point as well that the priest of the group, Thoros (Paul Kaye) gets badly injured, which leads to his ultimate demise.
After spotting a small patrol group of undead and one White Walker, Snow (Kit Harington) and his merry men are quick to pounce. With Gendry as the friendly hammer wielding heavy, Beric (Richard Dormer) as the flame wielding paladin, Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) as the relentless maverick, and of course Snow with his determined knightly qualities, the chemistry of these men are infallible. An important scene happens in the kidnapping of the wight, when Jon Snow cuts a White Walker in half, the rest of the undead immediately crumble before them. And it so happens that just one of these wights was not turned by this particular White Walker, for them to kidnap. It is not before the loud shrieks and cries that a colossal army comes charging at them, for them to be trapped on an icy rock, surrounded by a delicate ice floor and the army of the dead.
Beyond the Wall – The Ice Dragon
Even though Gendry happens to have the heaviest weapon, he also seems to be the fastest out of the group. Jon orders him to ran back to the wall and call for a raven to get Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) help. At a time where this group probably could have used an extra priest, Gendry just had to be a heavy, and Jorah is now a dual wielding dagger rogue. In Stormborn capital, Daenerys and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) get into a heated argument to what to do. There is no doubt from last week’s episode, the chemistry between Daenerys and Jon is apparent, and the story of the Children of the Forest gets Daenerys thinking twice about her motives. However, it is this episode which changes the entire game, possibly for all of Westeros. Against Tyrion’s better judgement, she rides with her three dragons, beyond the wall.
Whether it was fueled by not wanting to stand still, or her personal affection for Jon and Jorah, Beyond the Wall might have changed the entire landscape for the rest of the show, and what will become the ultimate season. What might have started off as a tall tale to Daenerys, has now become her number one task to defeat, putting the claim of the Iron Throne somewhere else down the list. It is one thing to simply listen to the words of a respectable man, but after seeing the threat first hand, her actions might have determined who will claim the Iron Throne.
There is no doubt that the fewer episode season has done wonders for the production of the show. Not only were the scenes mesmerizing, but the visual and special effects put into the dragons and the undead were incredible. Probably the most important scene of this episode, was when one of Daenerys’ dragon was instantly shot down by an ice spear, wailing through the fire and ice, crashing down, sinking into the pits of the icy water. It was more than a beautiful display of effects, but one filled with emotion from a creature which has showed no empathy, yet the sadness could be felt from Emilia’s wonderful facial features.
Viserion, the name of her child, not only weakens her armies dramatically, it not only gives the Night King his most violent weapon, but makes Cersei (Lena Headey) a little more motivated, and Cersei does not need any more motivation. Losing her child ultimately does bring Jon and Daenerys together, but without the cooperation of Cersei as well, what are their chances of winning this fight? Seeing the Night King is one thing, but will one wight be enough to convince Cersei. As the episode ends with an awakening of Viserion with blue eyes, and an emotional scene between Jon and Daenerys, where he pledges his allegiance to her, time is running out for Westeros faster than ever, and the actions of our protagonists has just changed the entire game.
A northern heavy episode, where at Winterfell Arya (Maisie Williams) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) continue their heated sibling bickering. As Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) continues to work behind the scenes and does Littlefinger things, the feud between the sisters grow stronger than ever. What might have started as sibling rivalry, has now grown into something far more sinister, where both characters have dealt with more than any other child could have handled. Besides Jon Snow who actually died and came back to life, there are possibly no two other characters who have survived a great deal, developing their character. Yet, in their essence, they are still the same people in Season 1, who never stopped a bloodline from hating one another.
Sansa might have an army behind her, but Arya simply can be whoever she wants, and possibly kill whoever she wants. Arya has never been scarier and creepy than this episode, in a cold calculated speech, she tells Sansa about her faces, holding a dagger that could wipe out Sansa in one silent move, letting Arya be the leader of Winterfell in a moment. The eerie atmosphere was extremely tense, and caused Sansa to have made one of her stupidest actions, sending Brienne away. Perhaps it is to give Littlefinger relevance once again, after doing nothing for so long in Winterfell, but begins to ask so many more questions. Will the sibling rivalry lead to the downfall of Winterfell when it was just reclaimed, especially when Jon Snow has now figuratively bent the knee to Daenerys? Has Arya been pretending to be anyone else in the northern capital? What does Littlefinger have to gain from all of this?