Full disclosure: I watched the leak. On the same day that it was announced, a Facebook friend posted a very specific spoiler as his status, involving the Night King, a spear, and a dragon. At that point, I thought, “F*ck it.” But given that what makes Game of Thrones so different from any other is its cinematic quality and an overall grand approach to the tiniest of details, any fan would know that watching a low-resolution video on a tiny screen is not enough. In this sense, HBO still wins, because fans really do still wait for it to officially air on television, as I did.
Seeing it for the seventh time, and this time on TV, provided answers on the one thing that really bothered me about the episode: who was that guy that was killed by the Wights? Not Thoros — the other guy. In low-resolution, even after watching it over and over again, I couldn’t tell that there were more than seven men marching on that suicide mission. They had two anonymous Wildlings dragging a sort of stretcher, for them to put the Walker in upon capturing one. The two ended up dying: first one was dragged off by a reanimated bear, and the second one fell into the ice as he was jumped by a bunch of Walkers.
My second concern was, WHERE THE HECK DID BENJEN COME FROM? In an “Inside the Episode” exposition by D.B. Weiss, he calls Uncle Benjen “Coldhands,” a lurker — and often, savior — beyond the wall that was never introduced in the show. While there was never an explicit reveal, not even in episode 6, we find out that this half-undead wanderer (the Children of the Forest prevented him from turning full-Wight by driving a piece of dragonglass into his chest, as he himself explained to Bran in season 6) and Uncle Benjen are the same person. So that explains why he “just happened to be there.” He’s been there all along, since he can’t get past the Wall’s magic being part-undead, and judging by how loud wights can get and how otherwise deafeningly quiet it is beyond the wall, I guess we can assume he just heard the ruckus Jon’s team made and followed it. What it doesn’t explain is why everyone in Game of Thrones is so darn fast. (Looking at you, Gendry and ravens.)
ARYA, SANSA AND THE MIDDLE FINGER
In episode 5, we see Littlefinger back to his old tricks again, leaving a scroll containing damning evidence against Sansa under his bed, for Arya to find. At this point, we’re still rooting for Arya, hoping that in the end, she’ll snap out of her bloodlust and paranoia. But in episode 6, we get the confrontation we never wanted between her and Sansa, and it doesn’t go well.
What’s odd is how, after Littlefinger reminds Sansa that Brienne of Tarth swore to protect both Starks, even against each other — perhaps insinuating that she could use Brienne to keep Arya from harming her — she sends Brienne off to King’s Landing to attend to an invitation from Cersei.
Questions: 1) Is the invitation even real, or is it a ruse to get Brienne away from Winterfell, so Sansa could execute a plot against Arya, assuming she has one, without Arya’s protector and newfound sparring partner getting in the way? We all know how Littlefinger likes planting evidence — could the scroll be another one of his tricks? 2) In the teaser for episode 7, we see Sansa alone on a bridge — is she contemplating on leaving Winterfell? Or is she sneaking up on Arya? 3) What is Arya planning? We all know that in Game of Thrones, every scene and dialogue, no matter how throw-away (hello, Sam, Gilly and that guy “Raggar”) all ties well to a larger plot. So what’s the significance of Arya explaining her masks and time in Braavos to Sansa? What if Sansa was actually talking to Arya wearing Littlefinger’s face? If so, he’d have been dead — and that would be great, but highly anticlimactic.
THIS… JON SNOW
We’ve been getting hints at flirtation since Jon and Dany met, but it’s in season 6 that we really get a glimpse of what they’ve come to mean to each other. Whether it’s a romantic thing, or just a case of immense mutual respect, we’ll find out soon enough. “He’s too little for me,” she tells Tyrion, in reference to Jon, perhaps not talking about his height. That’s her concern? If only they knew.
Which brings me to the next question: When will R+L=J be finally confirmed? Or will they even? If this is, in fact, what Bran witnessed at the Tower of Joy, why is he not telling anyone? Sure, telling the North that Jon is a Targaryen — basically saying that the Northern lords made a foreigner their king — may not be wise. But why couldn’t he tell Jon? Like, through a raven. So much conflict could have been avoided if only Bran had said something: Sansa and Arya fighting, Team Jon going on that ridiculous journey to take a home a Wight, and a freaking dragon getting ice-javelined to death.
We’re working on the assumption that Bran, being Arya, Sansa and Jon’s family, actually wants to do this. But as he has repeatedly said rather uncharmingly, Bran is dead. Ang the Three-Eyed Raven might not have the same motivations. He was clearly shook when the Night King saw the ravens he warged into, quickly alerting Jon via raven mail (Hey Jon, the Army of the Dead is coming. By the way, I’m alive, sort of. I can see everything. I can see you. You look beautiful. Xoxo, the Three-Eyed Raven, formerly known as Bran). But we still don’t know what his endgame is.
HOW TO KILL A DRAGON
Game of Thrones writers have become experts at distracting us with tiny details, hushed dialogues, and wayward scrolls, that we forget it’s a show where HUGE things can happen. Daenerys has always been feared because of her dragons, her magical, enormous, fire-breathing children. Nothing could defeat them — expect maybe another dragon. Let’s say, one that’s been reanimated to serve an evil ice lord.
Just when we thought we’ve seen the biggest blow of the episode after the Night King throws a large magical icepick with olympian-like aim and stabs Viserion in the throat, causing him to catch fire and die, the final scene revealed the Army of the Dead dragging the dragon from under the ice, so mister too-cool-for-school could turn him into a zombie. We knew it was coming, but we didn’t quite see it coming. Now Dany and her dragons have a worthy opponent — her middle child, named after her evil older brother.
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The penultimate season of the world-wide TV phenomenon GAME OF THRONES will culminate with Episode 7, titled “The Dragon and the Wolf”, premiering same time as the U.S. on Monday, August 28 at 9 a.m., with a same day primetime encore at 9 p.m. on HBO.The season finale will boast the longest runtime in the entire series, clocking in at 79 minutes and 43 seconds. The entire award-winning series will also be streaming on HBO GO.
Photos courtesy of HBO Asia.