We begin this week’s episode with a small time jump. Suddenly we are thrown in the middle of what many on the internet have termed “Jaime’s Trial,” but it wasn’t really much of a trial. Daenerys huffed and blustered about the stories she’d heard about the Kingslayer from her brother, Sansa stepped in with her support of Daenerys and accused him of attacking her father (outside the Brothel, remember? When Jaimie stabbed him in the thigh with a spear in season one?), Tyrion steps to his brother’s defense but no one is happy with him right now and it doesn’t go so well. At finally, Brienne vouches for Jaime which persuades Sansa to trust him, causing Daenerys to cave and let him live. The end result is that Dany is pissed at her Hand, Tyrion. Overall, despite the abrupt entry to this scene, I have nothing negative to say about it. It was well acted, used beautiful camera work, and started to change the narrative between Daenerys and Sansa.
Then we have another hot ’n bothered smithy scene with Gendry when Arya comes in and demands her weapon. Gendry hasn’t even started it because he thinks her place is not where the fighting is. There are some sexy shots with steam rising around him, his muscles rippling and Arya gives him a devouring look. They exchange witty banter that easily doubles as flirting. (Note: at this point, I was not happy with where this was going.) Arya then very smartly interrogates Gendry for information about fighting the White Walkers. He doesn’t do very well until he finally breaks and describes them as death. “I know death,” she says, throwing dragon glass spear heads at a wooden post: three landing in the same spot. “Death has many faces. I look forward to seeing this one.” Gendry looks at her in disbelief and promise to make her weapon right away.
I’ll keep this next one brief: there’s another reunion conversation with Bran (involving Jaime this time) about how he is no longer Brandon Stark. The most important thing to come out of this exchange is Jaime asking Bran if he’ll tell the others after the battle about what he did to him in the pilot episode. Bran responds with: “How do you know there is and afterwards?” That was probably one of the most foreboding moments of the otherwise rather lighthearted episode.
The important part about the following scene between Jaime and Tyrion in the courtyard is the former confirming that Cersei is still pregnant, which was one of the major questions that came out of “Winterfell”. At the time when Cersei told Jaime he was going to be a father again, she had no reason to hate him, no reason to lie. That is, Cersei was pregnant at one point in the recent past. Is she still? Well, that still remains to be seen.
Shortly thereafter, Jaime has a pleasant, insult-free conversation with Brienne and pledges to serve under her if she’ll have him. She accepts him into her… command? I apologize, I’m not well versed with military lingo, especially medieval terminology. My biggest concern is that Brienne has sworn to serve and protect Sansa, giving her life if she must. It makes sense that she is helping train the masses but what doesn’t make sense is Brienne leading a charge and potentially leaving Sansa without a personal guard during the big battle. Unless, that’s Arya’s new job? See! So many questions.
Jorah is a very reliable advisor to Daenerys, a protective (albeit mildly sexist) cousin to Lady Lyanna Mormont, and a good friend to Sam. He deserves to wield Heartsbane. I am very glad that his flirty sexy goo-goo eyes at Daenerys are to a minimum now. That got old quickly.
I am ALL for Daenerys and Sansa sitting down and talking like the adults (teenagers?) that they are. None of this petty, catfighting nonsense. I love that Sansa backs Tyrion and sees that he was the best person for her to be forced to marry in King’s Landing. This alliance that is being formed between them is important and good. But Daenerys not respecting a perfectly valid question from Sansa about the North and perceiving the question as a threat is a failing on the Mother of Dragons’ part. This cold, shutting down of emotion response to Sansa is brilliant foreshadowing for how she reacts to Jon telling her about his true identity. Also, Ramin Djawadi’s music in this scene is spot on.
Soon after, Sansa completely welcomes Theon back to Winterfell with literal open arms. It’s a beautiful moment but I’m scared now that Theon will die for Sansa… except that now he’s protecting Bran the Bait with the Ironborn. Davos giving motivational speeches about not being a soldier also worries me about his potential for survival. The moment with little girl with Grey Scale-like scar made me shed a tear for Shireen Baratheon, but Gilly is killing it with her politically and humanely savvy ways of working with people. She has come so far and grown so much.
Jon Snow aka Jaegon Snargaryon is conspicuously absent for much of this episode – absent or silent. He speaks few words at Jaime’s interrogation and continuously avoids prolonged eye contact or being alone with his girlfriend. Because he is rightfully a little confused now #thanksSamwellandBran. When Tormund and Edd announce that the White Walkers will be upon Winterfell in a matter of hours, suddenly we get more than one sentence at a time from Jon. That that makes a lot of sense because it is his purpose to fight the Others. It’s his quest even though Bran makes a good point that he’s the target of the Night King.
There was that beautiful Night’s Watch reunion watch on the battlements. And Sam has some sass and confidence now. I am now rooting for Ghost to protect Sansa since she has long been missing a direwolf.
Arya wants to know what sex is like before she possibly dies. It’s a valid emotion to feel at what feels like the end of the world. But I feel like it is extremely out of character for her. Yes, there was major flirting last episode between the two of them, and even flirting earlier in this episode. But for Arya’s overall arc, it just doesn’t sit well. Like, it happens too fast. Perhaps this is just a remnant of the hyper speed with which the show has been moving since season five. I don’t like it and I’m going to stick to my guns on this one… with one caveat: I like how uncomfortable she makes him.
On a related note, I have never been a huge fan of Tormund’s incessant barrage of borderline harassment when it comes to Brienne. And THEN, Ser Jaime knights Brienne and it makes her tear up – let’s be honest, it made us all tear up too. But who else is a little disappointed that he doesn’t do a speech about all of the Gods and not just the Father, Stranger, and Warrior? Podrick has a beautiful voice and his song is much more appropriate than Ed Sheeran’s cameo last season. Tormund tells the group about how he got his name and the look on Jaime and Brienne’s faces are priceless. They honest have no idea whether or not to believe him. Jaime’s never seen a Giant so I assume he thinks it may be all made up. However, Brienne has seen Wun Wun and realizes that Tormund’s story could be plausible.
Sam was right, Daenerys is not going to easily step aside for Jaegon who has the better claim to the throne. However, she has a valid point when she says that his brother and his best friend are the only two who are claiming that he’s the J in R+L=J equation. I can see this rift turning one of two ways. Either she goes mad-ish and turns on the North after they defeat the the White Walkers. Or, she’ll sacrifice herself to kill the Night King and save Jon and the North. I don’t know which one I would rather have happen. However that nod between them when the horns are announcing the Others’ arrival is so beautiful. They recognize they must work together and ride their dragons to fight the army of the dead.
The White Walkers arrive. ‘Nuff said.
Sidebar: I have really tried not to include the reactions to those around me in these articles. For example, my sister is all about that Arya/Gendry sex scene and completely supports it and as I write this she is blasting my phone with texts about it. I’m not including her thoughts here at all – this is my piece damn it! However, my partner is a very stoic person. He watched Game of Thrones for the first time this spring and finished season 7 around noon on April 14 (Just in the nick of time!). And he hardly had any reactions while he watched, except for the occasional quote prediction moments before it happens. When Arya joined the Hound for drink, he had a good, out loud laugh when he said “The Lord of Light’s gonna wonder why he brought you back nineteen times just for me to chuck you over this wall.” I’m so proud of you love!
I Have Questions
The horns that they are using to announce the arrival of strangers, is it following the Night’s Watch standards? Because I’m pretty sure that they only blew twice at the end of the episode to announce the White Walkers.
Why are they, the Living, worried about Cersei and her 20,000 Golden Company? Didn’t Daenerys bring like 7,000 Unsullied and 40,000 odd Dothraki screamers? Doesn’t that make the odds more in her favour? Granted, many will die in the Battle with the White Walkers, but am I misremembering the numbers?
Why has no one brought up the fact that the White Walkers have the ability to throw javelins strong enough and with enough accuracy to kill the dragons? How is this not a concern?!
- Ser Lady Brienne of Tarth
- Arya doing Gendry
- Sansa and Daenerys having a much needed conversation
- Grey Worm telling Missandei: “I’ll take you there.”
- The White Walkers arriving at Winterfell
- “I’m not the Red Woman, take your own bloody pants off.” – Arya
- “I guess that’s what death is, isn’t it? Forgetting, or rather, being forgotten.” – Samwell Tarly
- Jon/Aegon tells Daenerys about his parentage and she rejects it as a possibility because that would mean he has a claim over her
- Jon still leading the war council
- “We’re all going to die – at least we’re going to die together.” – Tormund
- Tyrion’s sudden hope that they will win the Battle
- Podrick singing – is this what he did for the whores?
- GHOST RETURNS… for a few seconds only because there are no Dragons in this episode
- “King Killer”
- Sam has humor and it’s great.
I really appreciate that this episode takes place entirely at Winterfell. It would feel weird and choppy – like it did last episode but more so – if they cut away to King’s Landing. The music was beautiful, as it usually is, and the cinematography and facial expressions said nearly as much as the dialogue did. I am more optimistic that Sansa and Daenerys’ plot will steer clear of a petty cat fight. An argument or even war over the independence of the North is a valid fight between the two ruling women – as if the plot was written for men, it would still make sense.
Like episode one, this episode was more setup for what is to come, but it this week it was concentrated and had a more urgent, less vague threat. It was unsurprising to me that they ended the episode with the impending battle. We shall now all be anxious for the next seven days as we await the results of the battle which reportedly took 55 days to shoot.