(Warning!!! This review is long and full of Spoilers!!!) 

Game of Thrones

HBO

Season 7 Episode 7

“The Dragon and the Wolf”

I think the easiest way to talk about a season finale episode that clocked in at an hour and a half is to break it up by location like the opening credit sequence.

King’s Landing

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The episode opens on a rather somber and quiet note as all of the opposing forces are gathering in King’s Landing on what (on the surface) is a parlay to discuss the threat of the Army of the Dead. As Jon Snow, Tyrion, Davos, The Hound and Theon make their way from the ship to the meeting area outside the city, they are greeted by Bron and Brienne of Tarth who has the same reaction all of us did when we found out the Hound was alive. As they escort their cargo into the arena, Brienne and Sandor come to an understanding about Arya Stark and how capable she is of taking care of herself.

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As the group make their way to their seats, Cersei, Jaime and her reps make their way to the meeting. Dany, of course, makes her presence felt by riding in on Drogon in a moment that makes Jaime cringe with rememberance of what happened when he tried to take out the Mother of Dragons. Both groups sit down and immediately shit gets real. Sandor confronts his brother, Euron threatens Theon, etc. It literally takes Sandor bringing up a box with the moving, feral body of a dead man to get all sides to finally listen to Jon about the real war that’s coming. Thank goodness Jon Snow has finally stepped up become a pro-active planner in situations rather than reacting to the things around him.

Winterfell

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While the negotiations at King’s Landing were interesting drama, the reckoning at Winterfell was some of the most satisfying drama I’ve seen on the show since the death of Joffrey. Sansa has gone to Littlefinger for advice on what to do about Arya and her fear of her sister. Littlefinger subtley moves the young Lady of Winterfell into a confrontation with her sister surrounded by guards in the great hall. When Sansa calls Arya in, I got giddy as she damn near skipped her way into the room with a smile on her face. When the charges are read, Sansa turns to Littlefinger. Everything that Littlefinger has done throughout the series from the beginning is laid bare for everyone and the evidence is corrobated by Bran himself. When Sansa turns to Arya we get a scene only slightly less satisfying than the death of Joffrey, but more entertaining than the death of Ramsey.

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The lesson in all this is do not f@#$ with the Stark children. After season upon season of betrayal and suffering, they are ready to fight back to protect their house and their family.

King’s Landing

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After the most uncomfortable heart to heart imaginable between Cersei and Tyrion, Cersei agrees to send her armies North to help stop the threat. As the parties depart for their respective corners, Theon finally grows a pair (figuratively speaking) and decides to go after Yara. Jaime is preparing the armies for the march and Cersei takes him into her chambers after chiding him for being so stupid. She had no intention of honoring her promise and instead, has sent Euron Greyjoy to retrieve the Golden Company, an army provided by the Iron Bank. Jaime pleads with her to listen to reason by laying out the odds on either side and she continues to ignore him, causing Jaime to grow a pair (literally) and defy her openly by leaving the city and traveling north as the first flakes of snow begin to fall on King’s Landing.

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Winterfell

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Samwell and Gilly have made it to Winterfell to help Jon and Sam has a private meeting with Bran where all family business gets hashed out. It seems that Lyanna was not a prisoner of Rhaegar, as Robert Baratheon would have everyone believe. His rebellion was based on his love for Lyanna, but it is clear that Lyanna Stark was in love with Rhaegar and married him in secret before she gave birth to her son and legitimate heir to the throne of Westeros, Aegon Targaryen aka Jon Snow. Intercut between Bran’s visit to the past and Sam revealing the information about the wedding, Jon has decided to give into his feelings for Daenerys Targaryen and the two of them make love as they sail back to the North. The reveals left me with mixed emotions. The first; EW. The second; what does this mean for the true ruler of the Iron Throne? The third: how much does Tyrion know?

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Eastwatch

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Finally, Tormund and company continue to monitor the wall at Eastwatch before the army of the dead arrives and the Night King takes out the wall with the resurrected Visyrion. The scene was amazing to look at visually and the whole time I was and continue to be worried about Tormund and want him to be alive so he can reunite with Brienne. The episode ends with the Army of the Dead marching forward into Westeros.

This was a really good season finale. Despite some of the time related issues from previous episodes, everything in this one flowed really well from a pacing perspective. I think the fact that they had 90 minutes to tell the story helped in making it satisfying as well as setting up the final season to come.

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