Warning: This contains spoilers. Not seen Episode 7? Click here to see how to catch up.
Game of Thrones’ Season 7 finale opened with the Unsullied and the Dothraki hordes massed outside King’s Landing and, with the stunningly created ranks, the scene looked set for a very impressive skirmish. But then there they were, in the very next scene – Jaime and Bronn – strolling through the city without an arrow being fired. Frankly, it didn’t matter in the least, because instead of a battle, we were served up some serious deliciousness at the capital, as old friends and old foes got to meet up for the first time in a while and demonstrate that if it wasn’t for Cersei and Dany and their quest for power, perhaps they could all get along, after all.
All gathered at the Dragonpit, in what was easily the biggest collection of major characters in the history of the show. But just like we’re bound to see when the Avengers meet the Guardians of the Galaxy meet Spider-Man next year, more than a few of them would have been as well staying at home – Varys didn’t open his mouth and several more were just well-paid extras.
Even so, it was electrifying stuff. You would have needed Valyrian steel to cut the tension, as the big guns all got together to discuss the coming zompocalypse. And give the Mother of Dragons her due, she knows how to make an entrance. Cersei rebuked her with a “We’ve been here for some time”. She could really have been talking about the watching audience, because we’ve been here for seven years waiting for these two to face off. The show didn’t over-egg the moment, although it’s possible in this instance a little more melodrama and growling at each other might not have gone amiss. They didn’t even stand face to face.
No matter, we were entranced by these people anyway – Euron the wild card, Tyrion the bravest of them all, choosing to confront his sister alone in the knowledge that she’d probably kill him, and Jon the unfailingly honourable one. “Have you ever considered learning how to lie, just a bit?” Tyrion asked him, after he refused to stay neutral between Cersei and Dany.
This was very much an episode for lies, subterfuge and plain old pranks, not for battles or fire. When this show soars, it’s because the characters who populate it are doing what they do best. The result was moments of unbearable tension and resounding… if not quite triumph, then long-awaited payback. Uppance did finally come for the biggest criminal of the piece, Lord Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, after a few weeks of the knives being twisted into us, as he apparently turned the Stark sisters against each other. But once again demonstrating that no one on the show has grown and changed as much as Sansa, the most poetic of justices was dispensed by the most lethal of executioner’s blades. And yet we’ll miss him; no one else offered that level of soap opera slime.
And Jaime, poor Jaime, looked like he was done too. It was one of those moments where you have to pause the show to take on what’s about to happen. Ultimately, amazingly, the mad queen turned down the opportunity to kill both her brothers. Now, as winter reaches the south, she’s left with nothing but her Mountain, to whom she’ll hopefully soon turn and ask: “Do you want to build a snowman?”
Theon, erm, rediscovered his balls, and Jon Snow and his Auntie Dany finally succumbed to each other’s gorgeousness – there’s no way that can end well once they get a look at the family tree, now that the truth is out. This was all set up for us by Sam as we hurtled towards the endgame. Who knew the funniest scene would involved Bran, the most emo three-eyed boy in the Seven Kingdoms? While we’ve been wondering where he’s been hiding for most of the episodes, he’s been away watching the box sets of earlier seasons.
But, much like Westeros may soon, this Season 7 finale belonged to the White Walkers. For all the talk of them and the impending threat they posed – since the very first scene of the very episode, in fact – they still somehow seemed inconsequential, something distant and nebulous, a mere sideshow to the real meat of the politics and incest.
Partly, that was borne of just how long it took them to reach the Wall. But reach it they have, and they are here. It was hardly going to be a monumental cliffhanger, the walkers reaching the Wall – of far more import was surely mad Cersei and her scheming, her double- and triple-dealings, her boundless treachery and Jaime finally cottoning on to her depths. But, as always, Game of Thrones had one more trick up its sleeve for those of us dim enough to have forgotten the White Walkers had a zombie dragon on their team. With a song of ice and fire, it lay waste to the Wall, and the Wall came tumbling down.
This has been a curious season in some ways. Always compelling, frequently breathtaking, occasionally all over the place. At times, it appeared to be in a terrible rush, and more concerned with spectacle than drama. This closing episode was the perfect melding of the two. Seasons past have often ended with either a dragon or the undead. Finally, this was both, and Game of Thrones will never be the same again.
Game of Thrones Season 7 is available to buy and download as a box set on pay-per-view VOD.