HOLY SHIT GAME OF THRONES.
WARNING: FULL SPOILERS AHEAD (OBVIOUSLY)
For the record, whether I have stated it in past articles and insights of what could come from the Night King or not, I FREAKING CALLED IT! But, we will get to that giant game changer shortly.
Beyond the Wall was an episode that primarily focused on happenings, well.. beyond the wall. However, we did see some minor things unfold elsewhere that mandate recognition.
First, Tyrion tries yet again to get Dany to listen to his advice. I mean, we know as the audience, that Tyrion has her best interests in mind. We also can see Dany’s perspective as well though. The Lannister threat is something that needs to be addressed but in a way where Dany doesn’t think Tyrion is trying to double cross her. Sadly, Dany’s hot headedness gets the best of her again and Tyrion gets shut down, again.
Meanwhile, in Winterfell, Arya confronts Sansa about the message she conveniently found in LittleFinger’s room. Sansa now is concerned that if word gets out that she will lose her support in the north. The way Arya approached it is what really made this moment great. “Father used to watch me shoot arrows and clapped when I got a bullseye. Also he’d be ashamed with what you’ve done.” Her nonchalant way of confronting her sister about it was perfect. Then later we see Sansa snooping through Arya’s room trying to find said note and instead stumbles upon Arya’s faces.
Here we get to see Sansa truly see her little sister in a new light, and it’s unsettling for her to say the least. She suffered Geoffrey and Ramsay, but to know that her own sister could be a completely different type of monster, if provoked, caught her off guard. Up to this point we’ve seen Sansa brush off the abilities and type of person Arya has become. To see it really settle in and hit home was great to finally see. A perfect “oh shit” moment if you will.
As I previously stated, the majority of this episode took place north of the wall. To start, they really took their time building up to the climax of this one. It was in a great way though. Seeing this “Avengers”-like group of characters interacting with one another is one of the best pay-offs of this series yet. So many badasses on the screen at the same time. From Gendry confronting Beric and Thoros about selling him to the red witch to the Hound and Tormund discussing his love interest in Brienne of Tarth, these subtle interactions were fun to watch.
Things kick up a notch when they stumble across a White Walker Polar Bear. This was interesting for a number of reasons. To this point we haven’t seen the extent of what the Night King’s powers really are. Yes we saw him raise thousands of dead wildlings back from the dead, but it was never made clear if that power extended to things other than humans. Here it was made abundantly clear that yes, in fact he can turn other things. It’s important to note too, that this was imminent foreshadowing for what happened later in the episode! (Again, I will get to that shortly.)
Now, it was pretty apparent that this expedition would incur some casualties. This is Game of Thrones after all, killing off fan favorites is this show’s favorite pastime. Sadly, that doesn’t make it any easier. Thoros is the victim of the White Walker Polar Bear, but the dude walks it off, initially. Beric rushes to his side after the bear is felled, Thoros chugs some ale, and Beric ignites his blade and cauterizes the wounds. The guy gets up and continues on and we think things are ok.
The group stumbles upon a White Walker scouting party, lays a trap and we find out another interesting thing about the walkers. Apparently, killing the one that turned the rest will in fact kill them all. Of course, conveniently, it doesn’t kill the one they captured out of the group though. Again, this is Game of Thrones! Shame on any of you who thought it’d be that easy. The walker lets out a screech and before they know what to do, the group is running for their lives from the rest of the undead horde.
Here we see that Gendry is apparently a track star. Jon sends him on his way to get a message to Eastwatch and let Dany know they’re in trouble. Timeline wise I’m not sure how any of this really worked out, unless that raven sent to Dany was on steroids. Dragonstone is quite a ways south and eastwatch is, well, the opposite.
Regardless, our heroes are trapped on a rocky outcrop in the middle of a frozen lake, surrounded by the frozen undead. The only thing sparing them for the mean time is the fact that the ice broke away after they sprinted across. It is here that we sadly see the passing of Thoros of Myr. Taken from the wounds he suffered earlier, the mystical drunk dies quietly during the night.
Meanwhile, that ‘roided out raven delivers it’s message to Dany and we see her impulsively take action yet again. Tyrion tries to get her to reconsider but it is too late. Her and her dragons are off to save the day. Due to how this episode ends, Tyrion has every right to say “I told you so” though.
Back beyond the wall, the Hound gets restless and decides to throw rocks at the hundreds of undead surrounding them. You know, because why not? Unfortunately, his one throw comes up short and the rock slides across the ice. This tips off the white walkers that the water has in fact frozen over again and they’re free to cross it safely. While this fight might not have been as badass, or action packed as some of the others we have been treated to in the past couple seasons, it’s an important one.
Quick side note, thank god Tormund didn’t die, because I would’ve stopped watching.
Anyway, we see our heroes fighting for their lives and holding their own against an overwhelming number of enemies. Statistically speaking, they all should have died already. Just as things are starting to look bleak, Dany and her dragons fly in to save the day, obviously.
OK, so this is where I say again that I freaking called this seasons ago!! What could make the army of the undead anymore terrifying?! How about a fucking undead dragon on their side! In a roller coaster of emotions, we see the Night King launch an ice spear into the side of one of Dany’s dragons and it crashes into the frozen lake and sinks to the bottom.
However, once everyone is safely out of harms way, and on their way to bring their undead trophy to Cersei, we see the Night King show us a new trick. That undead polar bear solidified that the Night King’s power extended to more than just people and we see that in full force when he touches the dead dragon and its eyes open and show their blue glory.
This is HUGE. Game changing almost. Yes, Dany lost one of her babies, but she still has two full-grown dragons. The fact that the White Walker army has a dragon on their side now makes this war between the living and the dead even more of an uncertainty. Dany’s dragons proved that they can be a detrimental force against the frozen undead, BUT now they have to worry about a dragon on the enemy’s side as well. I wonder if it will breathe fire still or if it will breathe ice now??
Aside from all this, we also see Dany and Jon’s relationship get more intimate, seriously when will they learn they’re related?! And Uncle Benjin saves the day and gets killed off as well, so that sucks. I know some may think it was random, but it was a completely appropriate send off. There is still a lot of things to tie up and cover. We all knew Benjin was out there and in a purgatorial state, caught between life and death.
Him being the one to save his favourite nephew by sacrificing himself was just a quick, fitting way to close out that character. I’m sure once the books catch up to the show we will see a more in-depth look into the hows and whys of him ending up in the right place at the right time.
Next week sees the conclusion of this season, and the stakes are higher than ever!