Note: This review contains spoilers for Game of Thrones.
As far as episode titles go, this one is pretty great. The obvious comparison for “The Dragon and the Wolf” would be between Dany (the dragon), and Jon Snow (the wolf). Their relationship has been building all season, as they continue to work together and try to compromise on their efforts against the White Walkers. Last episode, Dany agreed to help Jon fight the White Walkers, and Jon agreed to bend the knee. We’ll see how that promise holds up with the new information Jon’s about to get, but it sounds like we’ll have to wait more than a year to get answers in season eight.
Additionally, “The Dragon and the Wolf” is a reference to Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, Jon’s true parents that were officially revealed at the close of the episode. Just like season six ended with the implication that Lyanna was his mother, season seven ended with the actual evidence. But let’s talk about the episode itself.
I found it a bit odd that this was the episode they decided to expand into 80 minutes. Sure, it was the season finale, but there is way less going on in Game of Thrones than ever before, with characters finally teaming up in large groups rather than exploring stories of their own. Spectacle aside, there just isn’t much happening on Game of Thrones these days. There’s a surprising amount of sitting around and talking considering what’s a stake, which was evidenced in this episode. There were really like two major stories going on. The good guys meeting the bad guys in King’s Landing, and whatever the hell is going on in Winterfell. There were certainly smaller moments, but those were the large strokes. I think you know what I’m about to say, but I’ll go for it anyway. The longer runtime and fewer stories led to things feeling drawn out, with some truly pointless stuff happening.
I’m not mad about all the pieces when everyone was together in King’s Landing. It was super cool to see these characters in the same place at the same time, especially with some long-awaited reunions, like Brienne and Jaime. These little asides didn’t have quite the impact as the scenes between our boys beyond The Wall last episode, but they were fun. This was also the first meeting between Dany and Cersei, and it did not disappoint. It’s just Cersei’s arc in this episode that makes no damn sense whatsoever.
Euron’s whole “this is too much, I’m out,” bit felt weird and forced when it happened, so I wasn’t too surprised to learn that it was all a ruse. My thing is just that if this was her plan all along — to lie to the good guys and then betray them — why didn’t we as an audience learn it faster? Instead, we got a scene between Tyrion and Cersei where we thought Tyrion convinced her to help. Since he in fact did not, the literal only reason that scene mattered was that Tyrion found out Cersei was pregnant — something that could have happened a million other ways. This also serves as yet another example of Tyrion screwing things up. When Dany finds out that Tyrion didn’t convince Cersei to help, she isn’t likely to be too pleased with her Hand. And I think that’s strike three. Tyrion consistenly screwing up their strategy hasn’t sat well with me all season, and this only makes things worse.
However, I’m mostly upset at this scene because it was very well-acted and written. Sure, Cersei has moved way beyond the realm of realistic sympathy nowadays, but there was that little moment where she and Tyrion connected when talking about her children. It’s disappointing because it actually did humanize her character, if only for a moment. Now we know that she was faking it — or at least didn’t really mean everything she said — it brings her right back down to the mustache-twisting level of villainy she’s been showcasing since late in season six. Game of Thrones has always had phenomenal, multi-dimensional villains. They weren’t always conflicted characters, but they were always interesting. Cersei is no longer interesting.
I’m also annoyed by her being pregnant in the first place. I went into this episode thinking that she was lying to Jaime when she first told him, as a new means of manipulation. It’s still possible that she’s lying, but Tyrion finding out and her later scene where she kicks Jaime out of her life would indicate that she really is pregnant. I take issue with that because prophecy is supposed to mean something in this universe. That witch told a young Cersei that she would have three kids. “Gold will be their crowns… and their shrouds.” Also worth mentioning that this same witch told Cersei she’d be usurped by another queen, “younger and more beautiful.” Everyone, including Cersei, thought that queen was Margaery. But I think it’s pretty obvious now that this referenced queen is actually Dany. More on that in future posts.
Back to the baby, it’s still totally possible that she isn’t pregnant or that she’ll miscarriage, but I think it might be the real deal now, because of another prophecy that it seems like the writers are forsaking.
We’ve had like four different mentions to the fact that Dany can’t have kids other than her dragons. And now, thanks to boat sex, it’s clear Jon and Dany are in love. Whether that changes when they find out they’re related remains to be seen, but I’m going to assume they’ll be together because the writers care more about fan service than they do about interesting storytelling and actual character development.
I think it’s pretty obvious that Dany is going to get pregnant by Jon, going against the prophecy told to Dany by the witch when Drogo died. Death pays for life, and Dany lost her baby to bring back that shadow version of Drogo. She shouldn’t be able to have more kids, according to the prophecy.
All of this to say, magic and prophecy are supposed to mean something on Game of Thrones. Lowercase “g” gods are real in this world — at least some of them are. It just feels like the writers are throwing these super important things out of the window at the last second to justify their crazy bullshit storylines.
Before we get to the big Jon reveal and future implications, let’s talk about the Winterfell stuff. I said in past reviews that Littlefinger’s plan didn’t feel very well thought through this season (which again goes back to the disappointing writing). Well, his plan, in fact, wasn’t very well thought out, because apparently Sansa and Arya have been playing him for a while.
Look, someone needed to die in this episode and this sister vs sister story needed to end before the season wrapped, so I can’t say I’m surprised. I even predicted Littlefinger as being the number one candidate to bite it in this episode. I’m just disappointed with the way it played out. Sansa and Arya didn’t do anything particularly devious to trick him, they just sort of saw through his thinly veiled bullshit. This was more a case of him fucking up than it was them being smart, and I think that diminishes Littlefinger’s abilities. He’s always been the person behind everything, pulling the strings. He just kind of went out like a bitch in this one, and that’s lame.
That said, I’m glad he’s gone, now. There are bigger things the show needs to focus on, and the writers clearly couldn’t think of a better way to keep him interesting this season. Better for him to exit than to stick around with poor characterization. I do have to say that I really enjoyed most of the scenes between Sansa and Arya this season. They’ll never be best friends, but there’s a mutual love and respect there that only comes through family and hard times.
As far as Jon and Dany goes, this was an inevitability. I thought their attraction was a little forced at first, but I’ve actually enjoyed their scenes together in the past couple of episodes. The chemistry is clearly there. I still think it’s freaking gross that he’s banging his aunt, but most other people seem pretty okay with that, for whatever reason.
The Jon parentage reveal was expected, but I’m still glad it happened. Given the other questionable decisions that have been made by the showrunners, I could have seen a world where we didn’t get confirmation about Jon’s ancestry until next season. That would have been lame as hell, so I’m glad it didn’t happen that way. Still, Jon doesn’t know he’s related to Dany, so I’m sure that will happen early on next season.
The big twist here is that Jon isn’t a bastard son of Rhaegar Targaryen. He’s a true-born Targaryen, giving him even more claim to the Iron Throne than Dany. We also now know that his real name is Aegon Targaryen, completely putting the nail in the “Will we ever see Griff and Young Griff?” coffin.
The Night King, White Walkers, and army of the dead are now officially in Westeros. I made a joke about it on Twitter, but considering it took them seven seasons to make it to The Wall, I’m not sure how they’ll make it to King’s Landing in six episodes. Though I guess Gendry ran like 600 miles in a matter of minutes last episode, so whatever. This was some fun spectacle to end the episode, but it didn’t really have a ton of impact for me. This was obviously going to happen at the end of this season, so there was no surprise there.
And no, I don’t think Tormund and Beric are dead. As has been my main rant about this season, the writers care too much about fan service to kill off Tormud without reuniting him with Brienne first. Still, a blue fire-breathing dragon shattering The Wall was pretty badass.
I’ll get more into theorizing in future posts, but there are two big ones I want to talk about briefly.
First, there’s the theory that Bran is actually the Night King. I theorized about this a bit last season when we were getting Bran’s visions of the past, but I think it’s pretty clear that he’ll have some major part to play in the resolution of this story. He can literally change the future by changing the past. There’s that scene where he was touched by the Night King, there’s his odd demeanor this season, and there’s that little thing about how the Night King’s face looks an awful lot like Bran’s. I’ll need to keep thinking about this theory before I can get on board, but it’s definitely interesting.
Then, there’s the theory that Jon isn’t actually the Prince Who Was Promised, but that it’s his son that will be conceived with Dany. This one I can totally get behind. As I’ve been saying this whole review, prophecy is supposed to mean something in Game of Thrones, and the “Prince Who Was Promised” prophecy is one of the biggest. Melisandre thought Stannis was that prince, then she thought it was Jon. I think it’s Jon’s son. I think he’ll be the one to rule on the Iron Throne and truly bring about peace to Westeros. Then again, if the prophecies about Dany and Cersei not having any more kids don’t matter, then maybe “The Prince Who Was Promised” will be swept under the rug, too.
It’s crazy that in the longest episode so far, not that much actually happened. But I guess that’s the Game of Thrones world we live in, now. Spectacle and fighting can only cover up for poor writing and storytelling for so long. When the action is stripped away, you’re just left with some truly pointless scenes and characters saying and doing things that don’t feel right given what we’ve seen thus far. At this point, my hopes are not high for season eight. I’m expecting more fan service and an ending that’s too happy for what it should be. But as always, I’ll happily be wrong.
PS — I forgot to mention Theon’s little side quest to go save his sister because I really could not give two shits and his little fight scene was beyond absurd. It was complete garbage, drama tv show bullshit. I still think he should have died in that fight with Euron, but the writers need to have some way of making him a hero. I think it’s way too late for that. He doesn’t deserve redemption at this point.