PSA: Next week’s Game of Thrones episode has leaked and there are spoilers everywhere
Game of Thrones continues to deliver the big pay-offs with yet another massive battle … and some severe repercussions.
Episode 6, Beyond the Wall, is the one everyone is going to be talking about, so grab your dragonglass and join your Westerosi correspondents Pete Marsh and Dan Miller in the northern realm for this week’s banter.
Not caught up? Previous chats:
These recaps are dark and full of spoilers, so only continue reading if you’ve caught up on the latest episode of the show.
We won’t be spoiling anything from the books if you haven’t read them or any production leaks that have found their way onto the internet.
PETE: In a season that has been all about cramming as much into 60-odd minutes as possible as it hurtles towards a finale Dan, it’s kind of weird to only have three plotlines to talk about this week.
Let’s start with our brief little stopover at Dragonstone for some interesting discussion between Dany and Tyrion.
This episode was full of ’em but I really enjoyed this back and forth between the pair — even if it was a discussion about one of the dumbest plans we’ve seen on the show.
But all that talk of succession came outta nowhere didn’t it?
We’re literally seven (!!) episodes from this series being over forever, so every single moment, every single plotline *should* have a purpose when it comes to wrapping this whole thing up.
What’s that mean when we get an extended discussion about replacing one of the main characters?
Here’s my hot tip:
We’re getting a baby Targaryen by the end of this thing. Either that or Tyrion suggested the ruler of Westeros be chosen by an Ironborn Kingsmoot. I’d be cool with either.
DAN: I vote we kill off the Winterfell plotline Pete. Just completely wipe it from the map after the Arya/Sansa DRAMA we’ve just seen.
We’ve known since season one that Arya and Sansa don’t get along, but Arya must have lost her wits on the boat ride back from Essos because there’s no reason for her to be warring with her sister.
The note she found last episode has been brought up and there’s absolutely no understanding from Arya that the world isn’t black and white.
PETE: In her defence Dan … she did spend the past two seasons training at the House of Black and White soooo…
DAN: Fair enough, but remember she’s not solely an unfeeling assassin. If she was, why did she return to Winterfell instead of heading south to King’s Landing? I guess the big draw for her is protecting Jon, but Sansa is also family.
For her part, Sansa is speaking sense — she’s not betraying Jon and she’s trying to keep the “weathervane” northern lords busy.
But I feel this whole squabble is just a manufactured feud to give these characters something to do while the main team get up to the big stuff. I’m not buying any of it.
Can Littlefinger please be killed off in next week’s finale and Arya leave Winterfell for King’s Landing? Pretty please!?
PETE: I’m totally with you Dan. Sure there’s the letter, but when Robb read it back in season one he understands the position Sansa was in when she wrote it, so why can’t Arya?
DAN: There was a lot I didn’t like in this episode but the BANTER from the Magnificent Seven north of the Wall was amazing. I think Gendry is suitably freaked out now after Tormund told him, “We have to make do with what we’ve got” because there were no women within 100 miles. Awkward.
Gendry, being the greenest, gets a good hazing from the other six. NOTE: There are actually 13 of them, but the nameless fellows carrying the packs don’t have a very long life after meeting the zombie bear and the undead army.
Tormund was also there to offer a well-aimed remark at Jon that Mance Rayder didn’t bend the knee and ended up dying for his pride. That might have had some effect on Jon’s actions later in the episode.
PETE: Our hopes for a saucy love triangle were dashed pretty quickly with a sweet scene between Jorah and Jon. I really liked that issue of Longclaw came up. Even after losing a few layers of skin, Jorah has still kept his sense of honour.
If anything all these scenes just made me wish we had another season’s worth of stuff getting to this point.
The massive battles are great, but I think the thing I’ve enjoyed most so far this season has been all of these characters coming together and watching them interact.
No time for that though, it’s MASSIVE BATTLE O’CLOCK!
DAN: OK, OK, let me get this out of the way first…
I loved the spectacle of Jon & Co fighting the undead and seeing the dragons swoop in to save the day. The action was fantastic.
I was clutching my seat when we were about to lose Tormund, and Viserion’s death still makes my gut clench due to its bloody and horrifying outcome.
One of the three dragons in all the land, a beautiful creature, has been snuffed out.
Now the corpse of Dany’s dragon baby is being violated and turned into an undead ice dragon, which will surely face off against his human mother next season.
It’s horrifying. As far as deaths go for me it’s: Ned, Oberyn, Red Wedding and Viserion (sorry Thoros!).
PETE: Ohhhh, I can feel a “but” coming along…
DAN: BUT that was all I liked.
There was so much I hated about the set-up of this whole episode, starting with: why is Jon going north himself when any raiding party given dragonglass weapons could do the same job? He didn’t do anything special. And yes, I get that for plot reasons the Night King probably needs a kick-arse dragon of his very own and so Dany’s dragons need to somehow go north of the wall, but really, THIS?!
Why didn’t they just make Dany go on the expedition with Jon to begin with? Instead they have to send Gendry running back to East Watch, which takes God knows how long, to send a raven, which flies ACROSS THE ENTIRE CONTINENT to reach Dany, whereby Dany decides to fly back ACROSS THE ENTIRE CONTINENT to the rescue.
Meanwhile, the water surrounding Jon and his friends has just barely frozen over. With all the raven work they’d have had to be standing there on the ice for DAYS, maybe a week.
If you can’t visualise this, I’ve prepared a map:
The route from the battle, to Eastwatch, to Dragonstone and then all the way back again.
This would have been the biggest stretch of the imagination this episode had we not also seen the javelin-throwing skills of Winter Olympic gold medallist the Night King. And while my hackles are up, what the hell is up with Jon?
Why did he go running off to mow down more undead soldiers when everyone else was already atop Drogon waiting to get the hell out of there? Jon just bails on them for no reason. I lay Viserion’s death at his feet.
And I’m not done yet! Dany flying all that way to the rescue was bad, but UNCLE BENJEN just turns up out of nowhere to give Jon a horse, solely to move the story on and then ‘dies’ a dumb death. Uncle Benjen is the personification of the lazy script writing.
I’ve heard of Deus Ex Machina, but this is ridiculous!
“Uncle Benjen?” Jon asks, with as much incredulity as the audience has when he shows up. And then he’s gone again.
It reminds me of a dumb book-only character called Darkstar for how badly this was written into the plot.
PETE: That’s our second Deus Ex Benjen if you’re keeping count Dan. We’re also seriously overdue for some more Night King plot. How’s his magic work? Is he anything more than a one-dimensional weapon of mass destruction that’s out of control? Just like you, I was left feeling really conflicted about this battle.
My theory is this was one of the major plot points that George RR Martin had laid out to Benioff and Weiss about where the series was going. The checklist was probably:
- Jon + friends in massive battle with Night King
- They get stranded
- Dany saves the day, but loses a dragon
- ZOMBIE ICE DRAGON
Beyond that, the showrunners were probably left to their own devices to figure out how to get there. It all feels reverse engineered because of the wonky motivations we have for all these major characters to be in the one spot.
To me it just makes the whole spectacle feel less earned you know? I remember being *exhausted* after the Battle of the Bastards and Hardhome. At the end of this battle my thought was …”Ok. That was cool.”
And let’s be honest, if writing a way for everyone to be at that battle was an easy thing to do, we’d have read The Winds of Winter by now.
@jowrotethis: Okay fine, you’re right, the episode had some issues but sleepy, chilly Jorah gifs make up for a LOT #brrrrr
If you’re following us on Messenger (and if you’re not … you totally should be) we asked readers last week which two characters weren’t going to make it back. Turns out we were generous, with Thoros the only member of our merry men to lose his life.
Has Game of Thrones become too safe Dan?
DAN: Viserion’s death has been the only shocking and impactful one all season. They’ve been playing it way too safe. I feel we need to lose one or two big players next episode, because we only have one season left.
My money is on Brienne getting offed by Cersei at King’s Landing and either Arya or Littlefinger getting killed.
PETE: Coming full circle here, despite all my grievances I still enjoyed this episode!
I watched that triumphant scene of the dragons arriving about 10 times. The set-up of the battle — a bitter last stand on a frozen lake — was awesome.
And I was jumping on my couch watching the dragons in action, aided along by more beautiful work on the soundtrack by Ramin Djwaldi and some movie-grade CG that gave weight the dragon’s destruction and real emotion to Viserion’s death.
I mean, this is the battle everyone’s been waiting for right?! Dragons vs White Walkers! I just think it goes down a lot better if you don’t think too hard about the pesky plot stuff.
We’ve got some consequences to talk about Dan! I believe you called Jon the “King who Does Not Bend”?
DAN: Well technically he was lying down Pete, so it didn’t count…
Jon might be doing his best to get it on with his aunt by whispering sweet “knee-bendings” in her ears, but he’s going to lose all his northern men. They’ll be gone as soon as Jon gets back and tells him he’s given his crown away.
Maybe we’ll get a second backstabbing mutiny for Jon, or simply all the lords will band behind Sansa as their queen in Winterfell and Jon (a newly minted Targaryen) and Arya will be kicked out to go roam off to Dragonstone/King’s Landing.
PETE: Dan … I’m not talking about consequences for Jon. We saw the Hound get on a boat with the Wight.
He’s in charge of bring that Wight to Cersei for the biggest (dumbest) meeting of the series. You know who is with Cersei? The Mountain.
BUCKLE UP EVERYONE ITS CLEGANEBOWL TIME NEXT WEEK*
*there may or may not be a Cleganebowl next week
DAN: “Your lips are moving and you’re complaining about something, that’s whinging. This one’s been killed six times, you don’t hear him bitching about it.” — The Hound taking Gendry down a peg.
PETE: “Walking’s good. Fighting’s better. F******** best.” — Tormund with some practical survival advice.
DAN: Jon running off instead of climbing onto Drogon’s back. I’m still at a loss as to explain what he was doing aside from giving the Night King more time to prep his magical throwing arm.
PETE: Arya’s creepy bag of faces. It’s got to have a nasty smell to it right?
What you missed
The dragon we lost this week was Viserion, who Dany named after her brother Viserys.
Which leaves us with Drogon (who nobody is riding except Dany) and Rhegal, named after Dany’s *other* brother, Rheghar Targaryen. Yep, that’s the guy who last week was confirmed as Jon’s baby daddy.
After all that dragon love Jon got earlier in the season, there’s a fair chance our boy Snow is saddling up on a dragon named after his father before too long.
What we missed last episode
This isn’t a mind-bending theory or major detail, but instead a nice little call-back to season one. In fact, this season has been stuffed with call-backs to earlier seasons, but this was one of our favourites.
Think back to season one. Now go all the way back to episode one. Robert Baratheon and his crew roll into Winterfell with the Starks and their household all lined up. Then this happens:
Fast-forward to this season and we got a meeting between their (supposed) sons for the first time.
Who we lost
A bunch of no-name Wildlings, zombie bear (RIP), a White Walker commander, and Viserion (but it’s not the last we’ll see of him…)
Best of the Web-steros
Emilia Clarke had everyone giggling with this cute behind-the-scenes Instagram video of Kit Harrington this week.
Then the internet got a hold of it. Pure, dank, meme goodness. Beautiful.
We called ’em the Westeros Avengers, but the internet had a field day coming up with names for the ragged band of adventurers that went beyond the wall.
We got the Fellowship of the Wight:
The Suicide Squad:
Grand Theft Wight:
A parody poster in the style of video game Grand Theft Auto showing the Game of Thrones characters.
And Snowcean’s 7 from The Ringer: