REVIEW: Game of Thrones, S7 Ep7 – The Dragon and the Wolf

Game of Thrones, S7 Ep7 - The Dragon and the Wolf

The Game of Thrones finale was filled to the brim with tense confrontations, fun little reunions, a profoundly satisfying death, and a game-changing action sequence. This was the longest episode of the show and it made the most of its extended run time. And throughout the episode the topic of family, a recurring theme on Game of Thrones, was reinforced, as the various, complicated familial relationships were explored in the span of one long episode. And, of course, there was that HUGE (and long-awaited) revelation at the end, but more on that later.

Game of Thrones S7 finaleThe bulk of the episode was devoted to the huge meeting of rulers in King’s Landing, as Cersei Lannister finally came face to face with Daenerys Targaryen. The air was filled with tension not just because there were two great armies meeting to size each other up, but also because there were several other, smaller but still significant reunions taking place simultaneously: Theon glaring at Euron Greyjoy, Sandor seeing the zombie-fied version of his brother (no Cleganebowl took place, much to fans’ dismay), Tyrion facing his sister, and many others.

Some were not so much tense but even a bit fun, like the reunion of the “heroes of Blackwater – Bronn, Podrick, and Tyrion – and the short conversation between Brienne and Sandor where both of them seemed so proud of Arya Stark. There was also Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth meeting up once again, always exciting, with Cersei glaring at them jealously. And it turns out that Jaime only needs to interact with Brienne for a while for him to see sense, given his leaving King’s Landing at the end of the episode. Game of Thrones can treat its characters in a frustrating way but every now and then, there is a winner.

Game of Thrones S7 finaleThe negotiations went about as well as could be expected with Cersei refusing the truce despite seeing evidence of the undead before her very eyes. She did look genuinely shaken when the wight tried to attack her, and Qyburn even seemed fascinated, as only he would be. Euron stormed off to his island, determined to hide there while the dead took over the earth (something that seemed suspicious at the time and it turned out to be a ruse by Cersei in the end).

Negotiations broke down early because of Jon’s stubbornness and honor, declaring that he had pledged his loyalty to Daenerys. The timing of his allegiance could not have been worse, but he gets credit for not lying about it when that would have been the most convenient solution.

Game of Thrones S7 finaleThis leads to one of the best scenes in the episode, the tense conversation between Tyrion and Cersei, two siblings who hate each other but, in the end, cannot bring themselves to kill the other. Despite everything, Cersei could not kill Tyrion even as he offered himself up. Old wounds are reopened and painful words exchanged and they somehow reach an agreement, at least to Tyrion’s mind. We learn in the end that Cersei was playing them all and actually contracted the Golden Army of mercenaries to fight in their corner. But it was good scene, nonetheless, and reminded me of the conversations they had back in Game of Thrones season two.

The Lannisters fell apart in this episode, with Jaime deciding to honor his word, even if it meant going against his sister. Brienne’s words struck their mark and Jaime finally left King’s Landing just as the snows began to fall. Winter is truly here.

Game of Thrones, S7 Ep7 - The Dragon and the WolfTheon got some good screen time and character development after pretty much sitting out the season. He had a moving conversation with Jon who reminded him that, despite everything, he was both Stark and Greyjoy. He had a bloody confrontation with the remaining Ironborn and his status as a eunuch actually gave him an advantage for once. He convinces him to join him in saving Yara, the only person who tried to save him. Here’s hoping those two defeat their crazy uncle and make it to the last season.

And for the first time this season, the Winterfell arc was my favorite part of the episode. In my last few reviews, I complained about the growing conflict brewing between Sansa and Arya, how unnecessary it was and how contrived it felt. I also hated the fact that Littlefinger was allowed to live and to give advice to Sansa. Earlier in the episode I feared the worst as Sansa seemingly began to believe that Arya was plotting against her. But luckily, I was proven wrong and my faith in the Starks was not unfounded.

Game of Thrones, S7 Ep7 - The Dragon and the WolfTurns out, Sansa, Arya, and Bran were all plotting against Littlefinger this whole time, with Bran probably using his raven powers to give the girls the information and evidence they needed to make their case against the slimy, manipulative sparrow. They probably hatched the plan when they met at the Weirwood. The scene was executed (pun intended) brilliantly as it first seemed like Arya was being put on trial and then Sansa turned her head so subtly and whispered, “Lord Baelish.” Probably the only time Littlefinger was ever caught by surprise. He had grown too smug, convinced that he had the Starks wrapped around his finger when they ended up beating him at his own game.

Game of Thrones, S7 Ep7 - The Dragon and the WolfHis pathetic groveling and begging for mercy was a joy to behold, as was Sansa shooting down every argument and even Bran contributing to his downfall. Arya delivered the killing blow, slashing Littlefinger’s throat with his own dagger. What a glorious moment. As far as satisfying Game of Thrones deaths go, this one trumps even Joffrey’s. Littlefinger’s been around since the first episode and has wrought more than enough havoc. It feels good that the Starks are finally getting their justice.

I am too thrilled about the Starks’ victory that I don’t have much to say about the rest of the episode, but I suppose I should mention some significant points. Sam finally arrived in Winterfell and traded information with Raven!Bran. We got to see the flashback that was mentioned in passing in a previous episode.

Game of Thrones, S7 Ep7 - The Dragon and the WolfSo, we finally get confirmation on Game of Thrones that not only is Jon Snow the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, he isn’t even a bastard, but a legitimate heir to the throne. Of course, this revelation plays out while Jon and Daenerys are in bed together, the culmination of their relationship this season, a relationship now destined for tragedy. How will the uncomfortable conversation play out next season, I wonder?

And we finally have some scenes at the Wall, catching up with Tormund and Beric as they see the army of the dead gather before them. Then, to their horror, the Night King swoops in on his newly-acquired ice dragon and a section of the wall is shattered, leaving room for the undead army to enter Westeros at last. The great war has truly begun.

But now we have to wait, possibly until 2019, when the final season of Game of Thrones will return to conclude the epic saga.