Forget dragons and wolves and mockingbirds and lions. My very immediate reaction is a pained cry at the thought of having to wait until 2019 to find out what happened to the most beautiful ginger in Westeros.
I mean, sure, some earth-shattering things happened in the Game of Thrones finale, but I stand by my feelings, okay?
Spoilers for the currently published George R. R. Martin novels are discussed in the review and fair game in the comments. We highly suggest not discussing early preview chapters, but if you must, white it out. Have courtesy for the patient among us who are waiting and waiting (and waiting) for The Winds of Winter. Play nice. Thanks.
Tormund can’t die offscreen without getting a single date with Brienne. That’s just all kinds of wrong and unless I see his beautiful ginger corpse shambling to Winterfell, I won’t believe he’s really dead. (Oh, please, cruel bastards at Game of Thrones, don’t make Tormund and Brienne reunite on opposite sides of life and death. I’d say that’s too sadistic even of you, and yet…)
But, yeah, things aside from Brienne’s dating prospects got a whole lot worse in this finale.
In the words of a wise man, “We’re fucked.” Yup.
Great job, Tyrion. I’m still pretty mad that his dumbass plan to get a wight (oh, and to send Grey Worm to Casterly Rock) cost Dany so much. Because now an army of the dead and their freaking ice dragon are on the march to Winterfell five minutes after the Stark sisters finally stopped pretending to hate each other.
This is going to be a looooong winter.
The opening summit in the dragon pit of King’s Landing was quite an opener. So many reunions! Not all of them happy, but all of them fun to watch. The best was definitely Brienne and The Hound — really, the Hound is usually the best part of any scene he’s in — as Arya’s one-time would-be protector beamed with pride over how great Arya is at killing and the news that she’s back at Winterfell. Adorable. We got a bit of Tyrion/Bronn banter to make up for what we didn’t see when Tyrion snuck into King’s Landing, but my love for Bronn and his greed is a bit diminished lately.
The real meeting we all waited and waited for was obviously between the two great queens of the Seven Kingdoms. The point goes to Dany, who showed up fashionably late on a dragon, an entrance worthy of Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl Half-Time show. I mean, we’ve seen Dany do this for seven seasons, but props to Cersei for playing it chill. Lena Headey is so damn good at talking through clenched teeth. She gives me chills. I can only imagine how Peter Dinklage must feel when he sees all of that seething hatred turned on him as Tyrion.
Jon Snow (um… more on that in a bit) doesn’t bring his hostess the best gift. Now, if Qyburn was his host, undead corpses would totally be the best gift, but, alas, Cersei wanted a pledge of loyalty on behalf of the North. UGH. Jon, determined to make all of his father’s mistakes, won’t because he pledged to Dany first. When he didn’t even NEED to bend the knee to Dany anymore, mind you. So stupid!
But it doesn’t matter, because even with that great, emotional scene between Cersei and Tyrion and her pointed public agreement to send all of her troops North to fight the White Walkers, Cersei is, just as expected by anyone smarter than a Frey, gonna screw the fellowship over with Euron Greyjoy and the Golden Company. Perfect. Totally worth Viserion’s life.
It was another non-surprise in an episode kind of full of non-surprises. Cersei gonna Cersei and R+L=J has been confirmed with audiences for over a year, though the fact that it’s a legitimate marriage and Jon’s real name is Aegon Targareon is a newer development. Was it not super odd that Bran told Sam that Jon is the real heir to the Iron Throne as Jon had awkward boat sex with his aunt? I mean, it’s not incest if you don’t know, right? Right?! And was Bran, actually, you know, seeing the awkward boat sex, since he can see anyone, anywhere? Not going down that avenue, no siree.
Score another one for Jon being The Prince That Was Promised, given what we know of Rhaegar and from Dany’s vision in the House of the Undying, way back when. Still doesn’t make me think that Jon actually wants to sit on the Iron Throne.
Perhaps the biggest, most satisfying non-surprise was that Arya and Sansa have been playing Littlefinger all along.
Seven Hells, thank the gods, but why couldn’t Arya have just stabbed Littlefinger five episodes ago and let us enjoy Arya and Sansa as friends?! Was it really better to execute him publicly than letting Littlefinger have an “accident?” Perhaps that wouldn’t be as satisfying as a bit of bloodshed, but the missteps in Winterfell are a big reason why I wish we had a full ten episodes for season 7.
I’ll certainly miss Aidan Gillen’s smirking, skeevy performance. He’s really been the true, longest-standing villain on this show and has been responsible for so many of Thrones’ biggest twists. You know we’re heading into the end times now. Can’t wait to see Varys’ reaction.
In a season where we’ve careened from one gorgeous dragon attack to the next, it’s the bombshells among allies and enemies that I’ve missed most this season. Now, with everyone exactly where they need to be for the final six episodes, I’m hoping next season’s shortened episode order and lengthened run times give us more vivid character moments over fire and ice.
- “We’ve been here for some time.” *snorts* Cersei, you ain’t kidding. Some people have been waiting for this summit since 1996!
- There was entirely too much Greyjoy in my Game of Thrones finale. Do. Not. Care.
- Sam’s “Oh, that’s nice” face when Bran said he was the Three-Eyed Raven was priceless. Loved seeing Rhaegar and Lyanna’s wedding; it made me miss Robb and Talisa. Aw. It’s weird to think that Jon’s birth name is Aegon, as there’s an Aegon in the books, too. Will anyone actually call Jon that?
- Viewers have been waiting for CleganeBowl™, but I really didn’t feel that Sandor still harboured a true hatred for Gregor. They never liked each other, to put it mildly, but for Sandor to walk right up to Gregor and say they’ve got beef was a bit disproportionate to what we’ve seen lately. I don’t think these characters have shared a scene since the Hand’s Tourney in season 1 so why would Sandor be so angry at another killer doing his job?
- Meanwhile, I guess Grey Worm and Missandei had their reunion offscreen. Boo.
- Jaime and Cersei have broken up at last, it seems. Only 4 seasons behind schedule!
- Lastly, I want to thank all of the Tor.com commenters for another season of enlightening and largely, impressively polite conversation. You do this every year and keep me on my toes and it adds to my enjoyment of Game of Thrones immensely. I love you more than Bronn loves dick jokes, but maybe not more than how much Cersei loves wine.
Next week: I catch up on Twin Peaks and try to get pumped for all of the other excellent shows that will come and go before Game of Thrones returns.
Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com covering TV, book reviews and sometimes games. She’s also gotten enthusiastic about television for Boing Boing, Wired.com’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast and Den of Geek. Reach her via raven or on Twitter.