Our penultimate episode of this season of HBO’s Game of Thrones begins, appropriately, beyond the wall with the Brotherhood of the Breathing. There’s nothing to do but march and talk, so there’s a lot of grumbling and reminiscing. (And whingeing, thank you Hound.) We do settle the important question of who keeps Longclaw, thanks to the well-earned humility of old man Jorah.
Back at Winterfell, there’s not much to do except stand around in the snow being manipulated by Littlefinger. If his game is to exploit Arya’s resentment of Sansa and keep them from forming any sort of alliance, he’s winning.
And we get some fan service for the Brienne/Tormund shippers, and some positivist metaphysics from Beric Dondarrion. Marching, talking, marching, talking.
Miles away at Dragonstone, there’s not much to do except drink and chat by the fireside. Dany is in no mood for hard questions, however, and Tyrion’s efforts to be a more effective Hand are just pissing her off. If I didn’t know better, I’d say she was worried about Jon Snow and the terrible horrible no-good plan.
Speaking of which, FUCKING ICE ZOMBIE BEAR. Thoros was at the top of my dead pool for this week, by the by. Funny old life.
Meanwhile back at Winterfell, Littlefinger is playing Sansa like a fiddle. Wasn’t Sansa tough and competent last week?
Back to beyond the wall, thank goodness. The surviving named characters have happened upon an advance party of ice zombies. Not too many of them, only one leader, perfect for the (still terrible) plan. It’s all going well, frankly, and it’s useful to know you can cut the strings on rank & file zombies by dropping a leader. Of course the problem with advance parties is what they are in advance of. Such as a thundering horde of thousands more ice zombies…
I think everyone agrees now that this was a bad plan. So sit on your rock in the middle of a partly frozen lake and think about your decisions, boys. And hope Gendry doesn’t get a cramp.
And back again at Winterfell, Sansa is sending her allies packing. What does she gain from this?
Back at Dragonstone, that was a fast fucking raven, and a faster decision. And we’re going to see what three dragons can do to a few thousand ice zombies, apparently.
That can’t happen soon enough, since the ice has been declared safe and shit is kicking off.
And once again, when all is lost and Jon Snow is looking a well-deserved defeat in the face, the cavalry comes shrieking over the hill and saves his bacon. Dany and her fire-breathing kids are dealing out molten doom, but the Night King is casually weighing that lance like this was the plan all along…
And down goes Viserion. We hardly knew ye.
Death then comes for Jon Snow in the forms of drowning, ice zombies, and hypothermia, and god damn it if the cavalry doesn’t literally come riding over the hill to save his icy bacon AGAIN. This is verging on comical.
Does he make it back to Eastwatch? Yes he does. Is he alive and in possession of all his fingers & toes? Yes again. Does Dany get a gander at his sculpturally perfect abs? Oh yes indeedy. It’s a great day to be Jon Snow, whether he knows it or not.
Back at Winterfell, Sansa is a less skilled cat burglar than Arya, but still manages to find her cache of Mission Impossible masks. This leads to another tense conversation, with Arya managing to find some strange common ground with Sansa, who also wanted to be someone else.
On the boat back to Dragonstone, we get a tender scene between Jon & Dany, both of whom are on board with the other’s plan. Dany’s gonna make sure the Night King gets got, Jon’s going to bend the knee, once he can stand up. This is good because holy, hairy, fucking shit, the balance of power just shifted even harder to the side of the dead. The Night King has air power.