Winter has come and it’s not waiting to negotiate
There was a shorter episode format, larger production value per episode, no books for the writers to acquire their information on. Did it all work out? The season finale of season 7 proves that Game of Thrones still prevails. Although fans might have expected longer episodes, more fleshed out sequences being built up, season 7 was still a highly entertaining season, and the quality of Game of Thrones remains an outstanding high.
Season 7 was easily built upon the framework of prior seasons, with no outstanding shocks and twists happening this season, there was almost no need for it. To watch six seasons of many different houses slowly developing, to all finally converge to this one point. The season 7 finale delivers on all accounts, with long drawn out scenes of sharp dialogue, very reminiscent of earlier seasons. It was more than satisfying to see the beloved and complex characters, that so many people have followed from the very beginning, to simply negotiate and discuss the imminent threat of winter.
Warning: spoilers throughout this review
The season finale starts with Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) full fledged army, Unsullied and Dothraki, showing their unwavering discipline and their chaotic nature respectively. A more than simple scene, but a simple reminder of how powerful Daenerys is, even without her dragons by her side.
It is not often that you see almost every single major character in the same setting, and that was exactly what fans got to see for almost the entirety of the episode. With the exception of the true Stark siblings, Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) and now Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) at Winterfell, every other character stood either side by side, of opposite of one another inside the dragon pit of King’s Landing. Its a momentous occasion when fans get to see major characters meet up, especially through frustration and story lines coming so close, but never aligning in prior seasons. Through the magic of Tyrion, he manages to convince a family reunion to turn into a business sell.
Daenerys’ fortitude is once again introduced with her dragons, screeching in the skies and landing in the dragon pit. However, noticed by Cersei (Lena Headey), there are only two and not three dragons. There is probably no harder sell than selling myths to Cersei, and as expected, words mean nothing to her. That’s when the Hound (Rory McCann) comes out with the wight, for Jon Snow (Kit Harington) to finally show his greatest enemy his latest science project. Like any good science project, Jon reveals his findings, burning the wight with fire and stabbing it with dragon glass, showcasing the severity and danger of the undead. Even crazy Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk), is seemingly terrified and retreats back to the Iron Islands, discovering the fact that they cannot swim. And at first Cersei is willing to fight with the living, but of course there is one condition. Jon Snow must extend his truce and pledge loyalty to the Lannisters. Unlikely for everyone else, like not-father and son, Jon Snow can not lie, even when faced with a hundred thousand army of dead, Night Walkers improbably to die, and an ice dragon they are yet to find out about.
It is now where Tyrion has to resort to something he wished he never had to do, a one on one conversation with his sister. In an intense and emotional battle of words, the conversation between Tyrion and Cersei was heated, yet eye opening. A great scene that finally opens up their characters to one another, and a great resolve between the family conflict. While they both still will continue to have their differences and will not be switching sides anytime soon, they are both still Lannisters, and whether Cersei likes it or not, she can’t kill her own. Tyrion may also have the underhand when it comes to future information, knowing that Cersei is now pregnant.
Cersei now agrees to wage war with the dead, and wishes that she be remembered for her actions to help. However, it was obviously all a lie. Believing that whilst the war in the north happens, she is free to pick up the pieces and take back Westeros. Cersei has never relied on allies, so why should she start now. Euron’s terrifying act was nothing but a ruse, revealing to Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) that she has gained money from The Iron Bank, securing her an army of mercenaries from Essos. In another emotional argument between brother and sister, Jaime is quick to dismiss her plan, wanting to fulfill his pledge by marching north. Perhaps it was Jon’s must-be-honest nature, but Cersei reminds Jaime that he is nothing but a knight. Jaime proves this to her, that he is a man of his word. Both Lannisters boys definitely have their similarities, and can be seen, after Jamie similarly dares Cersei to give the order to kill him right there, after Tyrion had just done as well. Perhaps it was a life Jaime knew he never wanted and finally hit his turning point, or even seeing the wight, knowing the perils everyone has to face. Lena Headey’s performance this episode was jaw dropping, resilient in nature, strong willed and stubborn, she proved that Cersei continues to be a force never to be reckoned with. Cersei argues for a future with emotion, Jaime also argues for a future but with logic. Jaime finally leaves, in darkened robes, abandoning his lover and his home, he rides north for Winterfell.
Greeted by an increasingly intense snowstorm outside, reflective of the continuing family fued inside. It is apparent that the last few episodes, either the writers have forgotten the amount of struggle Sansa (Sophie Turner) has been through and has become the bratty girl from season one, or she is being played like a fiddle by Littlefinger. And apparently, it is neither. Introduced by a scene where Littlefinger tries to get into Sansa’s head once more, he thinks he finally has the better of her.
A meeting is called in the great hall, where Sansa and Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) are sat at the table. Grinning on the side, Littlefinger stands, as Arya (Maisie Williams) is summoned. It is here that a resolution, built upon the foundation of the entire Game of Thrones season finally comes to an end, the execution of Littlefinger. After what might have been Arya’s trial for treason and murder, Sansa exclaims the words Littlefinger at the end of her justice filled statement. Like the manipulative man he is, he not only denies it, but he begs for mercy bending on his knees. However, pity isn’t something Sansa or Arya know very much about. Bran, being the all seer, reveals what Littlefinger has done, when he kiled Jon Arryn, then writing a letter to Catelyn Stark saying the Lannisters did it.
Family is a big theme of the season finale, and Arya and Sansa showed tremendous fortitude. Realizing that he had been pulling strings from the very beginning, and especially due to his relationship between Sansa, the entire scene was not only well deserved and fitting, but a great show of resolution by her. Littlefinger has always been a worthy threat to everybody, scheming behind everybody’s back, with no apparent weakness, but it was his blindness to his love that ruined it all. It wasn’t any man that could simply force him down, but the daughters of Winterfell that conspired against him. At Sansa’s hand, she gave the order, where Arya quickly decapitates him in one swift swing.
Meanwhile, Sam’s return to the north reunites him with Bran, who tells Sam he is now the three-eyed raven. Without any moment of reminiscing, Bran tells Sam that they must tell Jon the truth. It is now that the two men, never destined to fight, but bring information to the world know the real truth. Jon is no bastard, never has been and never will be. In a scene where Sam scoffs Gilly’s (Hannah Murray) information, he is quick to remember that Rhaegar Targaryen (Wilf Scolding) and Lyanna Stark (Aisling Franciosi) had a secret wedding ceremony, who was not kidnapped and raped. A scene a lot more fitting if Gilly had been there to tell the fact, but Bran realizes that this ceremony makes him a legitimate son, a rightful heir to the crown and the iron throne, and that his real name is Aegon Targaryen.
Even after all Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) has done, his redemption story finally starts here. After an entire day of corporate meetings, Theon meets Jon alone, in front of the Dragonstone throne. Theon proclaims that he wants to be a better man, but doesn’t know how, being split between the Starks and the Greyjoys. Jon tells him that he is both, and Ned Stark (Sean Bean) was a great father to the both of them, more than his paternal father ever will be. More family talk, a great exposition when Jon Snow will find out about his paternal parents. Giving words of wisdom to Theon now, will need to be applied later, when he is literally and figuratively the son of both a Targaryen and a Stark. After a much needed pep talk, Theon convinces his very few men to try and save Yara (Gemma Whelan). After a traditional brawl between two men, where he gets kicked in his missing balls, Theon refuses to stand down and regains the loyalty of his men.
When Jon finally gets some time to himself, he decides to share the intimate moment with Daenerys. A scene that has been built up for a very long time, and got fans confused whether they want this or not. They seem like a match made in heaven, powerful, dynamic, pets, bloodline, they have it all. Daenerys says she can’t have children, Jon wants to prove her otherwise. Maybe another science project for him, but whatever intimate moment they have now will soon come to an end when all of Westeros is about to crumble down.
The season finale ends at the wall. Through a raging snowstorm, out of the depths of the frozen forests, the army of the dead make their move and march right towards Westeros. It is here where the free folk and the night’s watch hear the cries of an icy dragon of destruction. Screeching through the skies, in a matter of seconds, the dragon who used to be known as Viserion breathes flames of ice, burning the wall down. Through an army of thousands of undead men, giants, animals and a dragon, the last season of Game of Thrones will have to deliver and top off an exciting, fast-paced and wonderfully produced seventh season. It took six seasons for winter to come, one season to arrive at our doorsteps, and only one season more to take over.
There is no doubt that many story lines have been resolved in the season finale, but there are always crucial questions that fans can ponder until the ultimate season arrive.
Will Tyrion reveal to the others that Cersei is pregnant?
Will Jaime reach Daenerys and Jon in time, and will he warn them about Cersei?
Gendry is still alive and known now, will he try to claim the Iron Throne?
Does the prophecy Melisandre spoke off entail Jon or Daenerys?
Did Jon use Davos’ fermented crab?