This is the sixth in a series of recaps of the seventh season of Game of Thrones. We assume you have seen the episodes if you are reading this. - editor
Most of this week’s episode was focused on the insane plan of capturing a White Walker north of the Wall. There was no way this was going to be easy, and somehow I, as a viewer, trusted that Jon would come out of it somehow. Well, he did, but not without some serious repercussions.
The plan was simple. They found a small group of straggling White Walkers and ambushed them, successfully capturing one. But, in the midst of the struggle, the White Walker let out a terrifying scream, and it became immediately clear it was a call, a warning. Knowing what was about to happen, Jon sends Gendry back to the Wall to send a raven to Daenerys, letting her know what is happening. Within minutes, a massive horde of dead men were chasing them down the narrow mountain path, out onto a frozen lake. The ice began to crack underneath them, but quickly formulating a plan, they ran towards a small island in the middle of the lake. As the Walkers chased after them, the ice gave way under their collective weight, and hundreds began falling into the icy water. For now, Jon and his group were safe on the island, with only Lord Beric’s sword of fire to keep them warm as they gazed out at the unending circle of death surrounding them.
Gendry makes it to the Wall, where Ser Davos finds him, and they send the raven. When Daenereys receives it, Tyrion advises her to do nothing; he is afraid of what will happen if she dies. He wants to remain safe. But, tired of heeding Tyrion’s advice, she takes all three of her dragons and leaves for the Wall.
Meanwhile, Littlefinger’s plan to further divide Sansa and Arya is beginning to work. Sansa discovers Arya’s bag filled with masks, and Arya catches her in the middle of her snooping. Arya clearly has the upper hand here, and she confronts Sansa about her desire for power (all while holding a dagger). Sansa is visibly shaken and tries to defend herself and assert what little power she does have, but there is no resolution here. Arya leaves, and it’s difficult to determine if Arya is becoming someone actually untrustworthy, or if she is all talk.
Back on the frozen lake, all the men save one have survived the cold night. The Hound, feeling frustrated and angry, begins throwing rocks at the dead men, and it awakens their attention. Suddenly, they all begin moving in closer, and before the men barely have time to gather themselves, the battle has begun. Just like the battles in the previous three episodes, it is intense. The men are completely surrounded, backed into a tight circle with nowhere to go. While they fight valiantly, the viewer is left to wonder, will Jon be able to make it out of yet another hopeless situation?
Just when it gets almost completely hopeless, guess who comes flying in but Daenerys and her children. The dragons unleash stream after stream of fire on the White Walkers, destroying hundreds of them at a time. Dany glides down and the men scramble onto the dragon’s back as Jon stands guard fighting off the Walkers to buy them some time. They are coming in hard and fast now, but going unnoticed by everyone is the Night King, holding a massive ice dagger, which he throws at Viserion. The wound is immediately fatal, and the dragon falls out of the sky in a shower of fire and blood, and slides into the icy water. Jon looks for a moment as if he wants to fight the Night King, but as he sees him begin to draw a second spear, yells at Dany to take off. As he runs to her, he falls through the ice, and fearing for the life of another dragon, she takes off. The Night King throws the spear, but it misses them (though almost knocking Ser Jorah off in the process).
The Night King leaves, leading his men away, and Jon comes out of the water, but it is only moments before the army of the dead realize he has returned, and they circle back. Jon, frozen, begins fighting them off as best as he can, when suddenly a man comes riding in on a horse from out of nowhere, swinging a burning morning star. Who should it be, but Jon’s Uncle Benjen! He gives him his horse to ride back to the wall, and remains, fighting the White Walkers to his own death.
All of the men are back at the Wall, including Jon, who is recovering. Dany comes to his side, and when he awakes, they are both in tears at the loss of Viserion. Dany, though heartbroken at the loss, is grateful that now she knows the true enemy, and swears to fight them together with Jon. Jon returns the gesture by calling her his Queen. It is quite a touching moment. It’s clear their love is truly growing, and it is growing out of admiration for each other in the ways they each lead their people in times of crisis. Where this will go? We’ll have to wait and see.
The episode ends with perhaps one of the most terrifying and haunting images. Hundreds of White Walkers, all pulling on massive chains, eventually pull up the dead body of Viserion from underneath the frozen ice. The Night King walks over, places his hand on the dragon’s face, and his eyes open to a now brilliant blue. He has been turned into the living dead.
The Night King and his army now have a near-invincible weapon. Fighting against an undead Viserion will be terrible, not just because it will be impossible to defeat him, but for the emotional stakes of it as well. Things are only getting darker and more clouded as the weeks go on; it is difficult to see where each person’s path will lead them. Will Arya and Sansa come to an understanding, or will Littlefinger’s manipulation take him where he wants to go? Will Daenerys and Jon be able to convince Cersei of the dangers that lie north of the Wall, or will Cersei have the final say and trap them all in King’s Landing? The season finale next week is sure to take us further down these roads, but if past finales are any sign, we may not get the answers we are hoping for.
Lindsey Wright lives in Los Angeles with her husband and cat. She never expected to have a cat, let alone love it, but sometimes life is surprising. With BA in vocal performance and a Masters in theology, Lindsey loves pondering the mysteries of life through literature, music, and food. A Midwest girl at heart, she believes that kindness, a warm meal, and a bit of snark can bring anybody back to life. You can find her on Instagram as @mrslindseywright.