The season finale of Game of Thrones S7, aptly titled “The Dragon and the Wolf” delivered a full fangasm of epic happenings. Read on to find out a summary of the episode, review of direction and acting, and several secrets you may not have caught!
Disclaimer: this show is clearly a brilliant generational production, so its scoring is relative to itself and not other shows. A 7 for a Game of Thrones episode is easily a 10 for any other show.
Game Of Thrones Season 7 Episode 7 “The Dragon and The Wolf” Recap & Review
The episode begins by setting the stage for the crazy meeting that Jon and Daenerys plotted and sent them Beyond the Wall – to catastrophic consequences. As everything with this season, fast travel and untold plots abound, and we are treated to the reassurance that Greyworm is alive and well as he leads the Unsullied to form ranks around King’s Landing. From atop the battlefields, Jaime and Bronn watch on worriedly as the Dothraki ride in to show their numbers. By sea, the Iron Fleet brings looms over the Targaryen ship bringing Jon, Tyrion and everyone else that matters to shore.
The Dragon Pits
It’s the season for everyone coming back to the people they fought, and Bronn receives Daenerys’ advisors side by side with Brienne and Podrick – sent here by Sansa. Brienne is then reunited with The Hound, and a few words of half-apology are spoken. There are no hard feelings between these veterans, but they are both happy to hear Arya is safe and deadly.
The meeting location has been set up to make Cersei precede over it, with Lannister banners clearly displayed. Before she enters the meeting space, she instructs the Mountain to kill Daenerys should anything go wrong. For book lovers, Ser Gregor is supposed to be dead, and this new “silent” knight of the King’s Guard is a mystery to all in court. During this meeting, The Hound recognizes his brother and fearlessly predicts he will be the one to end him.
Daenerys knows that fear is power, so she traveled by air and lands on the pits by powerful and impressive Drogon; with Rhaegal flying in the background. Cercei notes the tardiness, and Daenerys knows she has won one small battle of one-upiness, as she “apologizes” with a subtle smile.
The Monsters are Real
Once everyone is sitting and ready to shout at one another, Jon begins his now well-practiced speech of “the end is nigh”. The Hound produces a crate with the wight they caught beyond the wall, who immediately aims for Cersei and almost gets her (dammit wight you had one job!) before being jerked back by the Hound and cut in two. A beautifully acted moment by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jamie looks genuinely shocked, his sister repulsed and Qyburn nothing but fascinated. Jon gives a demonstration of the effects of fire and Dragonglass on the wights.
Euron jumps up and asks but one question “Can they swim”. As Jon says no (which is somewhat false as they can walk under water), he announces he is returning to the Iron Islands – suggests Daenerys follow suit, and leaves the gathering. Cersei maintains her composure during this betrayal, and says she will accept the truce offering if the “King in the North”, Jon Snow, promises to not pick sides.
If a Norseman tells a Lie, then Truth is forever Dead
Cersei’s demand lingers in the air as everyone looks at each other. Jon knows what Daenerys gave to save him. Jon feels something for her, even though the show has made a poor explanation of their developing relationship. She is not beyond lying and tricking to achieve her objectives, but Jon is a Stark and a Norseman and was raised by Ned Stark.
He stands in front of the woman who betrayed and decapitated his father (he doesn’t know about Rhaegal yet), and confesses that he has already pledged himself to another queen: Daenerys of House Targaryen. Kit Harington has a monopoly on the honest face market, it seems, and this time it shines through again as he genuinely delivers a compellingly honest character in a rather literal snakepit.
Cersei boils with anger and storms out, leaving Daenerys to ponder what Viserion gave his life for. Jon explains that he cannot lie or give false word, as the day the norsemen lie will be the day all honor is dead.
Tyrion then decides that he can convince Cersei to see reason, we have no clue why! As he sets off to meet with the woman who abhors him, a well-made scene deepens the bond between Daenerys and Jon: she confesses her thoughts of infertility come from the witch who murdered Drogo. Jon is unconvinced, and their subtle sexual tension teases the audience a bit better than before.
The scene at Cersei’s desk is a familiar one, where we have seen all the Lannister children confront their father. Tyrion is taking an immense risk, but he lays his shame, guilt and remorse at the table and attempts to reason with his sister. An excellent job by the actors and well-directed exchange, as the audience is left wondering if she will actually have him killed right then and there. But she’s touching her belly and Tyrion deducts she must be pregnant, which gives him a way to steer the conversation.
Now, the prophecy of the books promised Cersei three children, three golden crowns, three golden shrouds. So there’s high likelihood this child is yet another lie by this master of deception.
Nonetheless, the next scene returns us to the pit, where Cersei has agreed to march North and fight with Wolves and Dragons to end the undead menace. Everyone, including the audience, is shocked by this development, but the banners are called forth and the truce is now agreed. Will Cersei stay true to her word? I immediately knew she would not, because that just is not who she is – but the scene is compelling in making all of us wonder what is going on. Could she have seen sense for once?
Theon Finds His Courage
Fast travel to Dragonstone once again, and the armies are deciding what road to take. Daenerys understands that going by land is too dangerous as her father was still hated by many villagers, but choses not to go by air as she does not want to be seen as a conqueror but as the help she actually brings. She exchanges a look with Jon and they decide they will arrive together by sea… Yep, we all saw that look. We all saw it! Tension increases!!!
As Jon prepares to leave, Theon asks for a word. Kit once again demonstrates he can go from stern righteous anger to heartfelt in the space of two seconds, as Jon encourages Theon to be the Stark and the Ironborn and forgives his past acts.
Theon is revitalized by this and heads over to the Ironborn to rally them to help Yara. Harrag, their leader, has nothing but contempt for Theon’s cowardice and past acts so a one-on-one ensues. This scene, like most this season, seems to resolve a complex problem with a random comfrontation that makes little explanation of the thought process of the people following orders.
Theon wins the fight and the Ironborn around him decide to help him free Yara – but why was this fight the trigger to such a choice? The show’s time-constraints are disappointing as we find we cannot see the true and deep motives of the characters and are limited to black and white choices.
Cersei is a Snake, and Jamie Finally Sees It
Lions hunt and eat their prey in groups, Cersei slithers in the shadows instead. The great chemistry between the lead actors shines in this scene where Jamie is made to understand that Cersei never intended to follow through with her promise, and had set the Iron Fleet to Essos to pick up the Golden Company to fight for their cause with the gold they obtained from the Tyrells.
This is a surprising turn for book readers, as last we heard the Golden Company was attempting to overthrow the Lannisters to install their own Targaryen. It will prove an interesting plot or an interesting difference with the books, but either way Jamie is horrified.
Legions of fans are put on the tensest of moments as Cersei nods to the Mountain, looking as if she’s about to order Jaime executed. He calls her bluff, and walks away… Next to be seen riding by himself north, seeing snow fall in the south, no longer wearing crimson and gold.
This was a touching scene, as the winter of Cersei’s life has arrived together with the real winter – and she brought both upon herself by her own choices. Her brother is the last one to desert her, but he is now gone.
The Lone Wolf Dies but the Pack Lives
Back in Winterfell, Jon has finally sent word of his comings and goings to Sansa. Littlefinger has planted the seeds of discord, and is happy to learn that Jon has pledged allegiance to a Targaryen without consulting anyone. He suggests that he “could be unnamed” King in the North, but Arya stands in the way. Here, his manipulations come to their all-time high as he twists Sansa’s thoughts to make her unravel into a paranoid plot about Arya.
Sophie Turner does a fantastic job of following each sentence through with innocent confusion and revelation, making us see Sansa may believe Littlefinger’s plot.
We have seen the tension between the sisters grow all season and the results are about to play out. Sansa stands in the battlements of Winterfell, observing the spot where she jumped to freedom from the Boltons, and she orders Arya brought to the Great Hall. Within it, Bran and Sansa command the high table as the the Knights of the Vale, Stark soldiers and Lord Royce mount guard. Littlefinger does his typicall shadow-corner wall-leaning smirk, mentally patting himself in the back for other plot well played.
Sansa declares “You stand accused of Murder and Treason. How do you answer to these charges… Lord Baelish”. The shock in Aidan Gillen’s face is perfectly acted. We have grown so accustomed to this character getting away with everything that we have almost forgotten the brilliance of the actor.
Sansa’s expression is ice and vengeance and determination. She points out the murder of her aunt Lysa Arryn, the conspiracy to kill Jon Arryn and blame it on the Lannisters, the betrayal of Ned Stark.
Baelish tries to deny the charges and call the Knights of the Vale to his aid, but Lord Royce says “I think not” and Bran seals the deal by specifying what he’s seen of Ned’s betrayal. Aidan Gillen does a remarkable job of falling to his knees to beg, and Sophie Turner will not be out-acted: much like Daenerys did in Season 2, she thanks him for the lessons taught and orders his death.
Arya, with a spring on her step and a mix of faceless man and Sirio in the shine of her eyes, slits his throat.
This remarkable scene has finally brought an end to one of the most deadly and underplayed characters in Game of Thrones history. Surviving since the first season, and the one to have initiated the War of the Five Kings, he has now been killed by two teenage girls he sought to play against each other.
Robert’s Rebellion was Built on a Lie
In Episode 5, we found out that Jon Snow is not a bastard, as Lyanna and Rhaegar were secretly married. Sam has arrived at Winterfell and talks to Bran, sharing this knowledge that the true heir to the seven kingdoms is not only alive and well, but has been named a Bastard and almost killed by pretty much everyone.
Bran travels back in time to watch the ceremony and revisits the birth, finally revealing to us Jon’s real name: “Aegon Targaryen”
A Song of Fire and Ice
Since Season/Book 1, many fans and book readers predicted that the name of the books betrayed that the story was about Jon and Dany. They were right (me included) and today we finally, after decades of wait, got to see them united and finally giving into their chemistry in her Chamber’s in their ship.
Satisfying as it was to finally see them together, and with the now vague hope that they can have children, the scene felt too soon on the character’s paths. Both actors did a fantastic job, and the cast did their best to support the tension build-up, but they haven’t had the proper air time to get to know each other. The audience hasn’t seen their furtive looks, their admiration for each other, their trust develop. We’ve seen them both do leaps of faith as their surroundings encouraged to, but I really wish more time had been devoted to their relationship.
- For those of you wondering: Targaryens cannot have children with non-targaryens easily, the females birth half-dragons and the men produce abortions and childbirth death for mothers which is why people thought Jon was Rhaegar’s and why Tyrion may be the Mad King’s!
The Night King Marches South
The Night King’s wight army has finally arrived at the wall. They cannot approach it, as the enchantments and ancient magic of its builders keeps the dead at bay – but Jon and Dany made a cardinal mistake when they allowed Viserion to fall to the enemy. The dragon, now spiting blue fire, destroys the wall as Tormund and the wildings watch helplessly. And just like that, the shield that guards the reals of men is no more…
Now we get to wait for a whole year to see Season 8, the final and shortest one. How will the story end? Probably with dragon babies!
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