Arise, arise, riders of
We’re not quite at the big battle for Winterfell, but we are one very full hour away from it beginning. How would you spend your last night in Westeros? Some people like a warm fire, good wine, and better conversation. Some people choose to do something even more life-affirming.
And some people are not people, but Bran.
Squick-inducing spoilers after the cut. Be aware that book spoilers are allowed, but we are so far beyond Martin territory now, you’ll probably be fine on that front.
I kinda love that next week’s episode is likely going to be one giant battle sequence, so we get a lot of time dedicated to the characters actually talking. It builds suspense for next week and it makes me even more curious and invested in who will survive.
I have no doubt some of these characters won’t get to talk to one another again. But it was enjoyable to reflect on how much these people have changed since the show began.
We started off right away with Jaime and I’m glad we got it over with fast. Not that it wasn’t interesting, but viewers (and readers) have long come around to Team Jaime, even though he’s done bad things—even more in the show than the book. This storyline is taken at just the right, believable pace for me. I’m glad we reestablished Brienne’s respect for Jaime, and Sansa’s trust of Brienne, too.
Tyrion and Jaime seem pretty bemused by their impending death in Winterfell, of all places. I love their conversations so much.
I was really excited to think for a few minutes that Sansa and Dany would stop acting like Real Housewives of Winterfell, but, alas. “What about the North?” indeed. This is where I diverge from Dany. I love her. I think she’s earned the Iron Throne because she has the best interests of the most people in mind. And while some people think she’s too much of a dictator, a conqueror, perhaps mad, I see an unapologetic leader who has worked really fucking hard and earned all of her myriad titles. And were she a man, more people would certainly go easier on her.
But the North should be the North.
We’ve been seeing the war from their side for so long, how can we not view them a bit differently than the South? They are the first line of defense, they are rebuilding after great betrayals. I think they’re owed their independence. But from Dany’s perspective, I can see that not making sense. It’s a tough situation, but the lack of a clear resolution kinda makes me wonder/hope that Dany will rule in the south and her husband, who I will never call Aegon, can keep on being King of the North. Long-distance relationships are a lot easier when you’ve both got your own private dragon jets.
But with Jon revealing his trueborn name, Dany’s looking real glad she didn’t book a DJ for their wedding just yet.
My main squick was obviously Arya and Gendry’s desperate, sudden shag. I’m not quite opposed to this, in theory, I guess. Arya is eighteen, thankfully, which probably puts her as older than most married girls in Westeros. But it does feel strange to see her with this heretofore unmentioned burning curiosity about sex before she dies. It just seemed kinda random.
And is Gendry getting creeping lessons from Bran? Why was he watching Arya from the shadows like a weirdo? That made the tone seem off from the start. Gendry didn’t seem too into it. I would’ve liked more chemistry in a pairing people have been shipping for a while. Meh.
I still like it more than Sansa and Theon. *shudders* I never thought Sansa could miss Theon so much. I never thought anyone could miss Theon so much, period.
I like it less than Tormund and Brienne.
I thought for sure if anyone was going to spend their final night on earth getting sweaty, it would be the two of them. I felt like Brienne has a Sansa-like heart and once daydreamed of romance, but talked herself out of it because people treated her so shittily. Everyone should see how beautiful Brienne is, inside and out! Tormund wants her physically, but I think Jaime could love her more wholly. Brienne of course doesn’t need to be paired with anyone, but it’d just be an interesting new experience for her to navigate without a sword.
But, her sword will help her a lot more than Tormund’s, ahem… yeah… in the hours ahead.
Please, please don’t kill Brienne right after she gets her knighthood. Or Dolorous Edd when he finally gets some lines. Or Grey Worm and Missandei before they travel to the warm, sandy beaches of Naath.
Game of Thrones doesn’t really have to be synonymous with death, right?
Unlike Arya, this is one face I don’t want to see. Not today. Or ever.
- “Someone taller.” I DIE OF LAUGHTER. Our Queen is hilarious.
- Gwendoline Christie really did a standout job tonight. Between Jaime’s “trial,” Brienne’s knighthood, and her… complex feelings for Tormund, she played a wide variety of emotions with deft skill.
- Sorry to kill any romance, but who else was age-appropriate for Arya to lose her virginity to? Hot Pie, that’s who.
- Bran as bait is…well, he’s literally a plot McGuffin now. Like, he may as well be an inanimate object, given that Bran’s not really doing much in terms of action just yet. I think the Three-Eyed Raven’s going to have to be the key to bringing down the Night King. Brute force will never be enough. There has to be some magic.
- Jorah was pretty chill this week. I liked him defending Tyrion, accepting Samwell’s gifted sword, and getting dressed down by little badass Lyanna Mormont. I feel like he’s pretty doomed.
- Wouldn’t Sansa make a good hand of the Queen? Just saying, if Tyrion and Mormont die…
- Oh, Ser Davos and your little Shireen stand-in. Broke my heart. It feels like everyone’s getting getting their last words in!
- That said, Varys was awful quiet this episode.
- Next week: The Battle of
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. Send her a raven via Twitter.