The sixth episode of Game of Thrones Season 7, titled “Beyond the Wall” is full of action and a bit of heartbreak. Read below to find out more! It should go without mention, but spoilers! 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 6 Beyond the Wall Recap & Review
The show opens following the “Fellowship of the Undead” beyond the Wall in the north. Besides the bleak landscape, that makes you wonder where the episode was filmed, there is some humorous and intriguing banter (as humorous as the show gets anyway) between members of the fellowship. Sadly, in what has become par for the course with Season 7, it all seems very rushed and a replacement for things that would have been in the show had the books actually been written up to where we are. Tormund and Jon discuss whether he should bend the knee, to which Tormund replies,”Manse wouldn’t bend the knee either. How many died for his pride?”
Beric and Jon question why they’ve been brought back to life by the Lord of Light. Gendry complains about being sold to the Red Priestess by his companions and Jon attempts to give Jora his sword (Longclaw), which once belonged to Jora’s father.
Shortly thereafter we cut to Daenerys and Tyrion having a discussion about heroes, of which she names Drogo, Jorah, Daario and Jon Snow. Tyrion smugly quips that all those men fell in love with her, and although Daenerys denies Jon loves her, she doesn’t seem unhappy about the prospect.
Daenerys mentions that Cersei is most likely going to attempt to murder her when they reach Queen’s Landing, and Tyrion attempts to reassure her that Jamie has given his word nothing will happen. This leads to another discussion about the fate of the Tarlys, who were roasted alive. Apparently asking someone to follow you or die isn’t in fashion any more. This is a good reminder that Tyrion continues in his quest from last episode to reaffirm Daenerys as a just ruler. He is not doing a great job, however, as the pushing leads to the question of who will succeed Daenerys should she perish in the days ahead or even many years later, which is promptly and ended with “One thing at a time. Let’s win the war first”, as she is probably rightly insulted of the recurring question of her demise.
Cold and Colder
As we return to Jon and his entourage The Hound sees the mountain shaped like an arrowhead that he saw in the fire in one of the Season’s previous episodes. Viewers prepare for the gauntlet to be thrown and are rewarded shortly thereafter, when the party encounters what appears to be a Polar Bear in the storm. As it draws near they realize it is not just a Polar Bear, but also it has blue eyes…and they prepare for the worst. During the skirmish with the undead bear, Thoros is severely wounded so his wound is cauterized and the group carries on.
Shortly after, Tormund hears something, and the group quickly spots a small band of undead below, to which Jon asks, “Where are the rest of them?”. Setting a trap for them, the party ambushes the undead in an attempt to capture one to bring back with them. Jon and one of the White Walkers tango, and Jon slays him, which immediately shatters whatever powers it had over all but 1 undead they ambushed, causing them to drop lifeless to the ground. As the group subdues the one remaining, they see something in the distance…the Army of the Dead…
Jon quickly dispatches Gendry to the wall with instructions to send a raven to Daenerys and let her know what’s happened. As the Army of the Dead is about to descend upon them, the fellowship quickly runs into a problem. They are on a lake of ice, and the ice is about to break. With no other options and nothing to lose, the group fearless sprints for a large rock near the middle of the lake and are soon surrounded by undead. Luckily the ice begins to break from the weight of the horde and the fellowship remains safe for the moment.
We soon realize Gendry has made it to The Wall and his message is promptly relayed (almost too promptly) to Daenerys, or so we assume. Then we cut to Arya and Sansa in Winterfell.
The Starks of Winterfell
Arya recalls a story about how Bran had dropped his bow in the courtyard one day when they were young and she picked it up and practiced. Not being something that young girls were normally allowed to do, she was surprised to see her father clapping when she finally hit the target. The tension mounts shortly after, as Arya reads the letter she found in Littlefinger’s chambers, that was written by Sansa years ago. In the letter we find that she wrote to Rob, inviting him to Queen’s Landing to bend the knee after Ned’s execution. Sansa proclaims that she was young and forced to write it, but Arya does not care. The excellent tension between the two actresses keeps us on our toes during this scene, which reminds us that the show was not built on action set-pieces, but rather fantastic character development.
Sansa asks what she will do with the letter, and Arya probes her to find what she is afraid of. It is revealed that Sansa is afraid to lose the support of the northern lords and thinks they will leave if they hear of the letter. Arya then walks off leaving a confused and angry Sansa to contemplate what to do next…
Sansa goes to Littlefinger to get advice. Littlefinger cleverly defends Arya and suggests she would never betray Sansa. Sansa isn’t convinced. Littlefinger then suggests involving Brienne as she is sworn to protect both of the daughters and might help to resolve the conflict. We then see Sansa sending Brienne away to Queen’s Landing, leaving us to wonder what Sansa is planning to do while she is away. Will she try to kill Arya? If she does, she’ll fulfill our prophecy and turn into a Villain.
Sansa then searches Arya’s living quarters for the letter in attempt to regain control of the situation. She spots a satchel under the bed, and after peering inside, is shocked to find several masks within. At this point Arya appears and an awkward, tension-packed conversation ensues. Arya reveals that she can take on the likeness of anyone she wishes, living inside their skin…even Sansa. Arya approaches Sansa holding Bran’s dagger leaving us all in suspense for well over a minute, as we wondered what might happen. Luckily another Stark wasn’t killed in this scene…
It is entirely possible that Arya and/or Sansa haven’t fallen for the schemes against them, and both actresses do a fantastic job of keeping the intrigue alive
Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Lake
The scene opens as Beric attempts to wake Thoros, but we soon find out that he has perished in the night due to his wounds from the bear. Dondarrion says a prayer as they burn the body to make sure he doesn’t become an undead. Still completely surrounded by the Army of the Dead and nothing to lose, Jorah suggests that if they kill the White Walkers maybe they’d stand a chance. Jon however, decides that the captured undead is too important to risk it, leaving us wondering WTF JON! With Thoros dead, Beric with no means of resurrection left, suggests that they take out the Night King and end this whole thing right now…
Just about that time The Hound, who after waiting the entire sleepless night is now bored, begins throwing rocks at the undead. Subtly humorous, it has a disastrous effect as they undead soon realize the ice has frozen over and they can now attack. A battle ensues as the party fights for its life and protects their prize, still hoping to make it out somehow. Tormund is grabbed by the undead and nearly dragged into the lake, but is saved at the last moment by The Hound (we all thought he was a goner for sure).
As all hope is just about lost and they are about to be overrun by the dead, fire shoots just over their heads as Daenerys arrives with her dragons to save the day. What follows are mass casualties to the undead army, as the dragons wreak fire and brimstone upon them. Unfortunately the Night King didn’t take to kindly to her arrival…
As Daenerys lands to rescue the party, one of the White Walkers hands the Night King an icy spear, and we filled with dread.
We all knew what was going to happen, we just prayed we were wrong…but we weren’t. He looses the spear at Viserion which promptly finds its mark, sending the mighty beast crashing to the lake, where he eventually sinks to his watery grave (tears).
Jon, witnessing this horrible tragedy shouts for Daenerys to leave without him, and you can see she desperately doesn’t want to. As the Night King preps another spear, she sees she has no choice the party barely escapes with their lives. Jon is soon tackled by undead and pulled into the lake…
The suspense of Jon’s probable death is extremely short-lived (a few minutes at most) as he pulls himself out and rides for The Wall. Did I mention that his uncle Benjen shows up out of nowhere, gives him his horse and sacrifices himself to save Jon? Yeah…that happened. This was clumsy and we’ll blame it squarely on the director for setting up situations that just aren’t realistic or climactic.
Daenerys stands at the top of the wall, dragon flying overhead, looking for any sign of Jon’s return. Jorah, believing him to be dead, advises they leave, but just as they turn to go, he spots a horse below. They quickly realize it’s Jon and hurry to his side.
We were both horribly heartbroken and terribly disappointed by the scenes following Viserion’s fall. Why did Daenerys not shout, yell, scream, cry, as the dragon she calls her child was killed? Why was there little to no show of grief? It would be simple to blame Emila Clarke for this, but we think it was rather an artistic choice by the production team: and decidedly a wrong one. Daenerys is dehumanized on a daily basis, doing away with the tender nature and many mistakes and sacrifices she makes in the books. Her lack of absolute love and despair at the loss of a child is simply not believable.
Bending The Knee
As they sail for Dragonstone, Jon is treated for hypothermia and during the treatment Daenerys notices the many scars across his chest. You can see her perplexed and intrigued, wondering if he was actually stabbed in the heart. She sits with him and as Jon awakes he finds her by his side looking both happy and sad. Jon, feeling awful about Viserion, professes his deepest apologies (nothing gets a girl’s attention like killing her dragon).
It’s at this point you can see that the rushed nature of this season is pushing these two together more rapidly than is believable, as Daenerys is more happy he is alive than sad Viserion is dead. Seeing as they hadn’t even touched or had any romantic conversations at all, it’s just not believable and was hard to watch.
Finally having seen the Army of the Dead, Daenerys vows to destroy it and help Jon with all her power. In return Jon bends the knee, even if figuratively since his is bedridden and they embrace hands. The encounter leaves Daenerys a bit shaken as you can tell she is letting her guard down and she knows she shouldn’t. As for Jon, his balls just got a bit bluer…
The final scene of the episode shows the White Walkers directing the undead to pull up Viserion from the depths of the frozen lake with massive chains. As the lifeless slumped body drags across the ice, we all know what is coming and are once again filled with dread. The Night King lays a hand on Viserion and soon after his eye opens, now a deep winter blue. Will he breathe ice? We’ll have to find out next week during Season 7’s Finale…
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