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TV Review: Game Of Thrones 7.6 “Beyond The Wall”
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Game Of Thrones 7.6 Beyond the Wall

Game of Thrones
Episode 7.6 “Beyond the Wall”
Directed by Alan Taylor
Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
Starring Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Alfie Allen
HBO
Air date: August 20, 2017

WARNING: Spoilers for HBO’s Game Of Thrones….

Several big reveals were included in last week’s episode of Game Of Thrones: Jaime’s alive!; Gendry is back!; Cersei tells Jaime she’s pregnant with his baby and that she will publicly claim him as the father; and Gilly inadvertently discovers that Rhaegar Targaryen — older brother of Daenerys — had had his marriage to Elia Martell annulled and then immediately married Lyanna Stark, which means that Jon Snow is not a bastard, but a true-born Targaryen. Which means that he’s actually the rightful heir to the throne of Westeros! Unfortunately, Gilly and Sam — who have now left the Citadel — don’t know the significance of this tidbit, since presumably only Bran knows Jon’s true parentage. The episode also had Littlefinger driving a wedge between Arya and Sansa, and Jon Snow and his group zipping around Westeros until they ended up at the title destination, Eastwatch. There, Jon rounded up his posse – Tormund, Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, The Hound, Gendry, and Ser Jorah Mormont – to go BEYOND THE WALL (which is where they are going on this week’s episode). Their ill-conceived, incredibly moronic mission North is to capture one of the wights to bring back to King’s Landing to show to Cersei to prove to her that the undead army exists and they are coming for the living. They hope this will bring about an armistice between Queen Cersei and Queen Daenerys, because if they can’t defeat the undead, then there will be no one left living to rule.

After last week’s episode, I asked, “Why the hell can’t Daenerys just fly one of her dragons over the Wall to where the army of the dead is marching, give a ‘Dracarys,’ and burn those fuckers down? THE END.” Well, guess what happens this week!?!??! But we’ll get to that in a bit.

First up, at Dragonstone, Daenerys tells Tyrion that she likes that he’s not a hero type like the other men she’s dealt with, who’ve done stupid things — Drago, Daario, Jorah, even Jon Snow. Tyrion points out that these are all men who’ve been in love with her. But Jon Snow isn’t in love with me, she says… right? (Twinkle in her eye.) “No,” Tyrion replies, “I guess he stares at you longingly because he wants a successful military alliance.” (Ser Davos had also previously commented on how Jon looks at Daenerys!) “He’s too little for me,” Daenerys says, putting her foot in her mouth to her Hand, who’s a dwarf! She immediately tries to backtrack on that comment, but Tyrion lets it go. They go on to talk about the armistice with Cersei and what their plans will be for Daenerys to win the throne. But when Tyrion brings up the topic of her successor, especially since she had told him that she can’t bare children, she shuts him down. First she must win the crown, then they’ll worry about succession.

Next up: let’s get Winterfell out of the way: Last week, Littlefinger led Arya to find the old message that Sansa had written – under duress – to their brother Robb asking him to give up his claim as King in the North and bend the knee to then-King Joffrey. The note clearly made it seem like Sansa was on Cersei and Joffrey’s side, but at that time, she was really being held captive and did whatever she did out of self-preservation. She tries to explain this to Arya, but her little sister isn’t buying it. Sansa says she won back Winterfell and that Arya has been gone all this time — she didn’t save anyone, but Arya says that at least she hasn’t betrayed anymore. She sees fear in Sansa’s eyes – fear that the Northern lords will turn against her if they find out about the note, and they won’t lift her up as their new leader. Sansa consults Littlefinger about what happened. He, of course, plays dumb about HOW Arya could have gotten her hands on the message. He assures her that if Arya does anything against her, Brienne will be there to intervene, as she swore an oath to their mother to protect both daughters. Obviously, Littlefinger is banking on Brienne taking out Arya, who can be perceived as a physical threat. Later, we see that Sansa had been invited to King’s Landing, but there’s no way in hell she’s setting foot back there if Cersei is still there. She decides to send Brienne there in her stead. Brienne is reluctant to leave Sansa behind because she doesn’t trust that Littlefinger is on the up and up (we know he’s not!), but her Lady is adamant that she go. Why is she so quick to get rid of her protector? Also, I think we’re looking at another reunion – this time Brienne and Jaime. Afterward, Sansa searches Arya’s room and comes upon her bag with the “faces” in it. Arya catches her, and reveals that she got the faces in Braavos when she was training with the Faceless Men and that she can use it to become that person. “I can even become you,” Arya tells Sansa, as she picks up the Valyrian steel dagger Bran had given her. In the end, Arya hands a terrified Sansa the dagger and leaves the room. Yeah, maybe Sansa shouldn’t have been so quick to send Brienne so far away!

Ok, so over to further North, BEYOND THE WALL. We get to see Jon’s posse trudging through the icy north beyond the Wall in their quest to capture a wight. As luck would have it, oh look, here comes a tiny band of wights, just enough for the seven of them to fight and defeat. When Jon cuts down the White Walker that’s leading them with Longclaw, most of the wights crumble down, showing us that if you kill the White Walker who made them, it kills their wights, too. Luckily, there’s one wight left standing, which they capture. But then it’s pretty much all downhill from there.

During this trip, we learn that Gendry has never seen snow before. When the Baratheon bastard asks Tormund how they keep from freezing their balls off, the ginger wildling says they keep moving, fighting, and fucking. When Gendry points out that there’s not a live woman within a 100 miles of them, Tormund says you have to make due with what you’ve got. I think this information was pretty much a given, but it was fun to see Tormund teasing Gendry about it. There’s actually quite a bit of humor in this episode, considering the dangerous mission they’re on and how things go to shit eventually.

Gendry also takes the time to complain about how Beric and Thoros and the Brotherhood Without Banners sold him to the Red Witch, who put leeches on him and was going to sacrifice him. But he got to see her naked, so the other guys don’t know why he’s bitchin’ — or, as the Hound puts it, whinging — so much. Here, the Hound lends his usual sarcastic humor to things.

Jorah and Jon talk about their respective fathers, and Jon offers him Longclaw, the Valyrian steel sword that belonged to the Mormont family. But Jorah says Jon should keep it, since he had brought shame his house, thereby forfeiting the claim to the family heirloom. “May it serve you well and your children after you,” Jorah tells Jon. There it is again, the mentioning of future children, now for Jon. This is 100% foreshadowing for the children to come from Jon and Daenerys. I don’t care that she’s supposedly barren now, gynecology is not all that advanced in Essos or Westeros. I say Targaryen Children Are Coming.

Also during this journey, Jon explains to Tormund that Daenerys will help them if Jon bends the knee to her. That’s when the wildling reminds the King in the North about Mance Ryder, the “King Beyond The Wall,” whose pride prevented him from bending the knee when his people needed help. This says a lot coming from one of the Free Folk. Once Mance was killed, the other Wildlings made an alliance with Jon, which has proven to be beneficial to all.

Some more humor: Tormund and the Hound toss around some humor about sucking each other off, and then the Wildling says he has a woman back in Winterfell who he wants to make babies with – a tall woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. The Hound instantly recognizes that it’s Brienne of Tarth, the woman who bested him in combat and left him for dead. I guess we can look forward to a reunion of Brienne and the Hound too at some point.

Ok, so after all this lovely male bonding, the real danger comes. First, they’re attacked by undead bears, and Thoros is injured (he eventually succumbs to his injures – RIP Thoros). Then the army of the dead, commanded by the White Walkers, spots them. Jon’s group tries to run, but the ice beneath them begins to break up — this at least halts the wights in their tracks, but it also leads to a long standoff. Jon commands Gendry to run back to Eastwatch to get a raven to Daenerys to let her know what’s happened. At this point I’m like, remember what I said about flying the dragons there and torching them all?

While Jon and his men wait it out freezing, surrounded by the undead, Gendry makes it back to Eastwatch to send the raven and then Daenerys in Dragonstone receives it. And guess what Daenerys plans to do? That’s right, she’s gonna don her Hoth attire and fly those dragons beyond the Wall to save Jon and the gang! Tyrion advises her against this plan, because if she dies there, then that’s it for everyone. But she’s tired of doing nothing. (By the way, I don’t care how many IKEA rugs these guys are wearing, Jon and them would have died from exposure by the time the Raven made it to Dragonstone with the message and Daenerys showed up with the dragons.)

Meanwhile, things are looking grim for Jon and company. The wights won’t tire, but eventually the men can succumb to the cold and starvation. The Hound throws a snowball and then a rock towards the wights, but all this does is alert them to the fact that the ice is now strong enough for them to walk on, and onward they charge. OH SHIT!!!!!

Just when it looks like Jon and his men will lose this fight, in comes Daenerys and her dragons!!! The dragons burn up a bunch of wights, while the men climb aboard the Drogon, the dragon Daenerys is riding. But the Night King and his commanders are there. The Night King takes an ice spear and with Olympian strength and agility hurls it at one of the dragons — Viserion — piercing it and downing it into the icy waters.

Guys, one of the fucking dragons dies and it’s possibly the saddest death on Game Of Thrones ever!!!!!!!!

The Night King hurls another ice javelin at Drogon, and misses, but this prevents Jon from climbing aboard with the others. Instead, he’s thrusted into the water. Thinking him lost, the others fly off with Daenerys on Drogon.

But once they are gone, we see Jon emerging from the water! He’s not dead, but he’s also left behind with an army of undead wights. He fights as best as he can against the horde, but it’s a losing battle… until a rider comes to save him. It’s Uncle Benjen!!!! Not-quite-a-wight Benjen gets Jon on his horse and tells him to ride to the pass; Jon, of course, wants his uncle to come too, but Benjen says there’s no time for that, and instead stays behind to buy Jon time to get away. Jon escapes, but Benjen is overwhelmed by the wights. Thanks for showing up out of nowhere to save the day, Uncle B!

Now back at Eastwatch, Daenerys mourns the loss of her dragon child Viserion and is not yet ready to leave. Good thing too, because here comes near-death Jon on a horse. He’s alive!!!

We then see Daenerys and her crew on a boat going back to Dragonstone with Jon Snow aboard being cared for. Daenerys is watching over the sleeping, shirtless Jon and sees the stab wounds on his chest and heart — she knows now that what Ser Davos had said about Jon taking a dagger to the heart for his people was true. Jon awakens to see Daenerys looking over him. He tells her how sorry he is, alluding to the loss of her dragon, and she holds back the tears. He holds her hand…….. people, they are holding hands!!!!!!! And they are looking at each other with more respect and admiration than ever. Is there love there, too? YES, I believe there is now!!!

Jon laments having gone on that foolhardy mission, but she says it was necessary – she had to see this to believe it. “Now I know,” she tells him. She also says that the dragons are her children — the only children she’ll ever have. But, again, I think the writers are driving this one home now so that when these two conceive a child, we’ll know how special that baby is — that child is perhaps the Prince Who Was Promised!

Also, take note, Jon calls her “Dany” here, not Daenerys or my Queen or Your Grace… Dany. He says this after she vows that they will destroy the Night King together. She laughs at hearing that nickname, since the last person to call her that was her brother Viserys — who was not very good company (and who Viserion was named for!). “All right, not Dany then,” he jokes, suggesting, “How about ‘My Queen’?” He adds, “I’d bend the knee, but…” He is ready to bend the knee to Daenerys as the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros! She asks about the people who swore allegiance to him as their king, but he’s sure that in time they will come to see her for who she is. She tears up as we see their hands together, rubbing fingers. After a moment, they realize how intimate they are being with each other and it’s clear that it’s something they both want, but they stop holding hands. She rises to leave, telling him to get some rest. He closes his eyes and she walks out, but he opens them to watch her leave. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

The episode ends on the Night King and his army beyond the Wall. The wights are hauling long, thick chains (umm… where the fuck were they keeping these massive chains?), pulling something out of the icy water. It’s the dead dragon, Viserion. The Night King then lays his hands on Viserion, reviving him. The creature opens its eyes and we see it’s the icy blue color of the zombified undead!

After we saw that the Night King was able to turn creatures like bears and previously the Giants, we knew that if they turned a dragon, they would have an even greater advantage… and now they do. Oh crap!!! That means we’ll undoubtedly be seeing a dragon vs. undead dragon fight before this series ends.

There’s only one more episode left of Season 7 of Game Of Thrones, but will next week bring about some kind of showdown between the Night King and the Daenerys-Jon Snow alliance? Possibly, but they might save that for the shortened Season 8, which will bring an end to the series. Instead, the Season 7 finale will likely be devoted to a new alliance formed between “Jonerys” and Cersei, and hopefully, the reveal to all that Jon is actually the legitimate love child of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. The finale might also see Jon riding on Rhaegal, the dragon named for Jon’s biological father.

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