Overall I liked this week’s episode. I wouldn’t call it my favorite, or the unqualified peak of the series, but it is undoubtedly the best episode of the season because of its narrower, sharper focus, its excellent dialogue, and the scale and spectacle of its ambitious battle scene. Here are ten questions and answers concerning this episode and what it means for the future!
- Is Arya going to kill Sansa?
No. I don’t think this will happen at all. The exchanges between Sansa and Arya in the last episode were very well-shot and made me feel a lot more tense and uncomfortable than I expected. But I still think this the natural result of them coming together in the wake of their respective experiences. They never really got along, and I think this conflict needs to happen for Stark “Wolfpack” to emerge as a strong unit.
- What is Littlefinger up to?
This is just Littlefinger’s way of surviving. He depends on making those in power depend on him. I know some fans are upset that this character’s relevance and agency seem to be dwindling, as he has had the greatest single effect on world events of any character in the series. However I still believe that Littlefinger will meet his end in the season finale. His aim is sow the seeds of doubt among the Stark children in order for Sansa to depend on his counsel. I think all will be revealed and he will be added to Arya’s creepy satchel of faces. However I will admit this does sound a little too straightforward and simple for a show that routinely surprises us, so I will be interested to see how they handle it.
- How the hell did Gendry make it back all that way, having never traveled these lands before? And how did Dany get there so quickly and know where to find them?
Usually I’m always banging the realism drum, and nothing makes me more irate than those people that say “Oh so you accept dragons and giants but having characters move around too quick is suddenly unrealistic?” and I’d like nothing better than to slap them across the chops with a disembodied whale fin and tell them that dragons and giants make sense within the context of the show. Every world establishes physical laws, much like our own. However I’ve been feeling more charitable of late. Simply put, having Gendry cover all that ground so quickly was the most convenient thing for the writers to do. I don’t think we should dwell on it too long. I’m fine with the amount of time it takes the raven to reach Dany and for her to fly north, because the passage of time is shown by having the Magnificent Seven sleep through the night. For me the most unbelievable bit was Dany being able to find them, but whatever- we’ll let the writers off the hook I think because other than that it was a good episode. It reminds me a lot of the show 24, and how realistically it is unfeasible for Jack Bauer to be getting as much done as he does in a 24-hour time frame. It’s one of those things you’re not meant to think about.
- Which dragon died?
Viserion, the one named for Dany’s brother Viserys. All of the dragons have different colors so you can identify them that way. Viserion has gold and cream colors, with orange along the line of his wings. In the books Viserion is referred to as “the white dragon” and is described as being the clumsiest hunter of three, but also the friendliest and most obedient. It was always going to be Viserion that died, because there is every indication that in season 8 we will see Jon ride a dragon- and of course it makes sense that he ride Rhaegal (the green one) who was named for his father.
- How did Viserion die so easily?
I think we have to assume that the Night King’s javelin is imbued with magic. Obviously there is no way it could match the speed and weight of the missiles from Qyburn’s Scorpion, and it appeared that Viserion died instantly upon it piercing his flesh. We know that the Night King is a wielder of powerful magic, and in Game of Thrones magic is something subtle, imprecise and mysterious. So my bet is that the frost spear is a magic one.
- What is Viserion now? Is he a wight? A white walker? Or an ice dragon?
He’s a wight. This is something I’ve seen fans arguing over and I’ve seen arguments put forth for all three possibilities. I do think we will see him breathe ice or blue flame, and I know that’s the kind of tiny detail that drives nerds insane and ruins friendships but the real reason will be that it’s simply the show’s way of distinguishing him from the other dragons when they meet up again. He can’t be an ice dragon because they are their own species. He can’t be a white walker because a white walker is strictly a member of a race known in the books as the Others. They’re not zombies, but they were previously human- or so the show is suggesting. Viserion is a wight. Yes, he has blue eyes, but so do the reanimated snow bears and giants- it’s just a neat detail to show that he is under the spell of the Night King. And yeah, shout out to all the nostalgic late-20-something neckbeards who came up with the “Blue Eyes WIGHT Dragon” meme; that made me laugh.
- Did the show cop-out with the Frozen Lake Battle?
It was a great scene and the special effects crew and everyone else at HBO who built that set in the frigid wilderness of Iceland deserve all the credit in the world. I was watching the video of how they made the lake by building a quarry and flattening it with cement. The lengths these people go to in order to entertain us is amazing. However, some fans have taken issue with the scriptwriters for not killing more of the Magnificent Seven. I see their point, and I was expecting their expedition to lose at least half of its members. I’m glad it didn’t because I love Tormund and Jorah and the Hound as characters. It’s interesting that the show left them alive, killing off only some redshirt wildlings and the red priest who’s constantly pissed as a fart. They are clearly saving them for the large set pieces to come in season 8. What is interesting is that they left Beric Dondarrion alive. I figured his mission was for certain to die getting that wight, but clearly the showrunners have something in mind for him. But what, exactly? Overall I’m satisfied with the episode because in keeping alive those characters, it did not therefore detract from the impact of losing Viserion. I don’t know about you folks, but the dragons mean so much more to me than any mere human.
- Will Cleganebowl happen?
I have to admit I used to laugh at this theory. I thought it was pure fantasy, but now I’ve changed my mind. It’s highly significant that at the end of the episode the Hound leaves with Dany on the boat that’s headed south, watching over the captive wight. For certain we will see the Hound and the Mountain cross paths, but as to whether they will fight? My answer now is anything can happen.
- What is going on between Jon and Dany?
It’s difficult in a show to introduce a romance between such prominent characters after many seasons, and it’s made all the more difficult to swallow when that romance is as incestuous as this one. So far I like how they have paced it. What they want to avoid is what the Walking Dead did with Rick and Michonne, where they had two of the main characters with no established chemistry whatsoever start making out, leaving the audience with the uncomfortable feeling that we were watching a brother and sister going at it after an evening of too much moonshine. Game of Thrones promises a much more literal incest with Jon and Dany, and yet it feels much easier to accept- at least for me. The dialogue between the characters has been well-written and they’ve avoided anything corny, and the acting has been good on the part of Kit and Emilia. In a season where everything is being uncharacteristically fast-paced, they have managed to craft a romance between the two heroes of the show that feels slow-burning and organic. There is palpable sexual tension between them and I was definitely rooting for them in that scene at the end. The problem of Jon being her nephew isn’t going to go away though. I think it is certain that Bran will tell Jon of his Targaryan heritage, and I think it will happen next season (or potentially at the end of next week’s episode if he gets back to Winterfell). So either we will see them start screwing anyway, as is Targaryan tradition, or it’ll be the Star Wars thing where they make out only to find out later that the person they spent 7 Minutes in Heaven with in the frat house closet was their MILF aunt.
- Finale predictions?
I still think the plan of capturing a wight was dumb. But here we are, and next episode we’re going to have for the first time a scene where practically every storyline crosses over. They have to negotiate a peace treaty, but it’s going to be strange because Cersei and Dany want each other dead and that isn’t going to change. I don’t see either of them budging in their desire to sit on the Iron Throne, so an alliance is out of the question. We know that the finale episode will be of an extended length, but the word is that we’ve already had our share of battles for the season, so I’m expecting a return to what makes the show great and that’s intrigue. There will definitely be some twists and there is no way both sides are going to march hand in hand up the Kingsroad to fight the army of the dead side by side. One interesting fact to remember is that Cersei is (apparently) up the stick now, and if that’s true, that changes everything. It means she will be less likely to want to see the world burn and she will be much more concerned with securing a safe future for her offspring. The direction she goes in is going to be very interesting, so keep an eye on her every movement!
What do you think will happen in the finale? Did you enjoy this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments! If you enjoyed this post and want to see more content like this, please consider giving me a Like or Subscribe. Thanks for reading!
3 Replies to “Game of Thrones: Beyond the Wall Q&A”
I wonder if the Hound will kill the Mountain, but perhaps as an act of mercy. It’d be an interesting character development.
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Wow!! That hadn’t occurred to me at all. That would definitely provide a very nuanced conclusion to their story. Despite everything, they are still brothers. I like it.
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