This last day of August, it’s with with a mixture of geeky enthusiasm and poignancy that Petra and I delve into the almost feature-length Game of Thrones season seven finale. We dissect character motivations, resolutions and cliffhangers, Petra nitpicks a bit about chains and we both question the enduring merits of plot twists.
Petra: We should probably start with the obvious: The Dragonpit!
Luka: That was certainly the greatest number, and perhaps highest quality, of character interactions in the long history of this show. And that’s saying something!
Petra: They did a really good job balancing the reunions with important dialogue, without it feeling fan-servicy or inorganic. Except for Grey Worm, who stayed outside the city walls and had no lines; Jacob Anderson deserves better next season!
Luka: Still, the old gang is back together again, with Tyrion, Bronn, Pod, and Varys; proud uncle Sandor and aunt Brienne discussing their murderous little wolf girl; and we witnessed the grand finale to the dwarf jokes, with Tyrion and Theon discussing the merit of Euron’s joke, which gave us a refreshing lighthearted Theon moment.
Petra: He smiled! We got quite a few Theon smiles this episode. And Brienne and Sandor were great. Their interaction was a purely character moment. It didn’t inform the plot; and it didn’t need to. But then we had that balanced out with Brienne’s conversation with Jaime about politics and decision-making, for example. There was no time to talk about the past, but they still got to share screen time.
Luka: It didn’t stop the plot. Once at the Dragonpit summit, the character work was limited to the subtext of all the conversations. They brought forward the purely character-focused scenes to the moments before the big meeting. Any exchange that wasn’t crucial to the plot was placed before the summit, except for Sandor confronting his brother, but that interruption fit the character. By the way: the general consensus seemed to be that Cleganebowl was either going to happen or be denied to us for good in the finale, but instead we got a middle-ground —a prelude to Cleganebowl.
Petra: GET HYPE… for season eight.
Luka: Cersei didn’t even flinch at Drogon and we could see how much effort that took. Meanwhile, Euron appeared to still be keen on Dany and her dragons. That may be a setup. Euron ended the season as well as he began, didn’t he? What a makeover!
Petra: It was undercut later, but the funniest shot of the episode had to be Euron matter-of-factly strolling away after seeing the wight. “Okay, bye-bye, I’m leaving now.” Yes, it was a ruse, but I felt it was a very Euron thing to do.
Luka: Dragons are one thing, especially when you steel yourself to see them, but undead monsters are another. Especially if the undead monster radiates such personality…
Petra: I like to imagine Jon and Sandor measuring the length of the wight’s chain ahead of time, to perfectly figure out how to get the wight as close to Cersei Lannister as possible without actually biting her head off, for maximum effect. That’s my headcanon.
Luka: Oh, man. Another fucking episode with a chain-related nitpick. [Laughs]
Luka: It seemed quite convenient for the chain to be that long. But if you actually look at the next shot, the chain was much, much longer. It was Sandor pulling it!
Petra: Oh, okay, wow!
Luka: I guess I’m just the defender of Game of Thrones chains. Now, about Tyrion’s chain during the Battle of the Blackwater being cut from the show…
Luka: Anyway, Cersei looked truly horrified when she saw the wight. Death stared her in the face, and that truly makes you believe the armistice may work after all.
Petra: I like getting to see Cersei shaken as a zombie snaps at her face, because she’s usually so self-contained. But I’m wondering about something. I’m a bit confused here. My initial reading of Tyrion and Cersei’s conversation was that he got her to reconvene the meeting by playing to her concern for her unborn child, is that right?
Luka: At least that’s the excuse. We later find out it was a ruse.
Petra: Cersei’s and Jaime’s interactions were very interesting, but at first, it seemed that Cersei now defines her worldview around her new child, that it’s all that matters to her. If making peace with her enemies is what’s necessary to make sure her baby comes to term, then that’s what she’ll do. Then she completely went against that later?
Luka: Cersei’s fake turn was much more believable than I expected it would be, honestly. So much so that it was a real shock when she revealed it was all a lie. But it still made sense: it’s not that she doesn’t have a plan for herself and her child, it’s that her plan doesn’t include the North. Either the White Walkers kill the Northerners and Daenerys, or the other way around. Either way, she may face one weakened army instead of two.
Petra: Still, after a season of Cersei focused on “we fight and die or we submit and we die,” when Tyrion realized she’s pregnant and appealed to her familial love, a new element was introduced into her thought process. But it turned out that wasn’t the case.
Luka: Similarly to how I believe that Euron really was afraid for the first time when he saw the wight, I do believe that Cersei’s feelings about her baby weren’t false. She said as much in her argument with Jaime. She can reconcile the protection of their baby with her plan to let the war in the North dispatch one of her enemies.
Luka: Of course, I also appreciated Jaime realizing Cersei is as mad as he feared.
Petra: The thing that finally got him to leave her, really, was her turning against him.
Luka: I’d say it was Cersei turning against his oath, rather than her threatening his life.
Petra: There were a lot of momentous character decisions and developments this episode, but they were all rooted in previously established traits. For Jaime, his final break away from Cersei was two-fold: she broke her oath, and if he continued to follow her he would have to have broken his too; and she turned against him. He was preparing to leave, and she said “I told you no one walks away from me.”
Luka: That was so cold. And the moment Jaime saw her for who she’s been all along.
Petra: I feel like he’s been making that reaction face from The Office all season, but it was really when Gregor unsheathed his sword that Jaime gave up on Cersei (the moment perfectly captured in the picture above.) I don’t believe he was ever really going to be the one to let go first. She had to give up on him for him to be able to leave her.
Luka: Their relationship was the only thing that kept him there, so when she demonstrated something we all knew about her but he didn’t, that he loves her more than she loves him, he was finally able to walk out. She didn’t just threaten his life, though that’s obviously dire, but his oath too. I don’t know about you, but when he was arguing with Cersei, I could see Brienne’s words from earlier echoing in his mind.
Luka: As for Brienne and Jaime, he pointedly tried to ignore her for most of the summit. It’s as if he was trying to ignore his conscience, until it caught up to him in the form of Brienne. She got through to him, even though he resisted at first, especially with Cersei present. All those looks between the three of them were wonderfully awkward.
Petra: Brienne saying “fuck loyalty, fuck oaths, nothing else matters except the battle between the living and the dead” was such a transgressive thing to say for her character, which is why it highlighted the importance of this matter to Jaime, and that’s what he was trying to convey to Cersei later. So yes, Brienne brought out his best self.
Luka: Their relationship has always been slow-going and sporadic, but it’s just so damn beautiful. I’m really curious to see how it will develop now that Jaime’s going North. Aside from Tyrion, I imagine Brienne will be the only one to vouch for him.
Petra: You described Jaime a few episodes ago as being under Cersei’s spell. It felt frustrating to me that apparently nothing Cersei did could ever get him to break away from her, because when it all came down to it he was still so utterly enthralled to her.
Luka: She had to break the spell herself.
Petra: That’s it! So we finally got to see Jaime break away from Cersei. And it was coupled with that montage of snow falling in King’s Landing. Absolutely lovely.
Luka: We should probably talk about Jon, since the entire Dragonpit Summit was his scene, in a way. He’s been talking about this for years, trying to convince everyone, anyone. And now, at long last, Jon got to make his case to the rulers of Westeros, demonstrating his role as a uniter of men. I imagine he’ll get a lot of flack for being honest with Cersei about bending the knee to Daenerys, but he was right: whatever they may say about honor getting Starks killed, lying at this point will only make things worse. Imagine Cersei did bring her armies North. If at some point she realized Jon didn’t intend to stay neutral later, that’d probably destroy the alliance. So he had a point.
Petra: I’m not gonna lie: when he said he couldn’t stay neutral, I yelled at the screen. Popcorn may have been thrown at it, too. But then Tyrion chewed him out about it; Daenerys discussed it with him; and later the value of honesty was Theon’s segue into their conversation about how each of them honored Ned’s memory. And yes, Jon made a good point: if you keep on lying, words stop meaning things, and you just get better and better lies. So, provided that it was the insufferably honest Jon Snow being insufferably honest, it was a decision that was rooted in his character, and it was addressed as the controversial decision that it was. It wasn’t framed as the hero being heroic and fixing everything. He didn’t fix anything. So it was compelling, rather than annoying.
Luka: Surprisingly, except for the later sex scene, Daenerys only got one character-focused scene in the finale, with Jon in the Dragonpit, just before Tyrion returned.
Petra: I like that they brought the Dragonpit into the story and that they addressed its history and symbolic significance for the Targaryens.
Luka: It was certainly exciting for us book nerds. More importantly, aside from being a nice romantic gesture, Jon saying she’s still extraordinary without dragons is something she really needs to start believing herself if she’s going to be the ruler she aspires to be. Dragons are awesome and everything, but they’re used to rule by fear, even if you don’t intend to. The whole point of them is they are very dangerous and awesome in the traditional sense —they inspire “awe” and terror. Dany’s reference to season three, when she said “a dragon is not a slave” in Valyrian, was still quite nice, even though she should probably leave all of that behind if she wants to be a new kind of ruler. It’s a conundrum.
Petra: That dichotomy in Daenerys, which is what makes the character compelling, is really coming to a head. It was best articulated right before she burnt the Tarlys: “Join me and we’ll make the world a better place, or die.” That’s Daenerys in a nutshell. We saw that a little bit here. Like you say, she’s begining to develop a new political system that’s actually going to break the wheel and change Westeros, hopefully for the better.
Luka: But there’s no room for dragons in that new world, is there?
Petra: That’s just it! It’s interesting that even as she embraces a sort of post-feudal, proto-democratic system, she continues to embrace her Targaryen heritage. Daenerys is obviously very upset by the dragons and what happened to them. I don’t think it’s necessarily just because “that was my family, we were great, and then we fell,” I think she finds the indignity of the dragons wasting away very upsetting. In the long run, that’s really going to play against her desire to create a better world.
Luka: During her arduous reign of Meereen in A Dance with Dragons, Daenerys encapsulated this inner conflict as having to choose between being Mhysa and the Mother of Dragons. The show demonstrated this too, though through actions rather than words. Her situation in Westeros is similar but it’s not just a conflict within herself anymore; now that she’s a queen in war, it’s affecting others, for good and ill.
Luka: Before moving on from the Dragonpit, we should talk about Tyrion and Cersei. That was Peter Dinklage’s moment to shine this season, even more so than under the Red Keep with Jaime a few episodes ago. Of course, Lena Headey knocked it out of the park as well (she still deserves an Emmy!). It was such a haunting, harrowing scene. Maybe it’s because Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage are such good friends, but I really felt the connection between them, as I have in all their scenes before.
Petra: I’ve heard actors say that to be really mean to on another you have to trust each other. During that scene, I got that. It would have been very difficult to act this out with someone they didn’t know well, because they’re so bare with one another. That kind of performance can only be borne out of off-screen amicability. I’m not an actor, but it makes sense to me. If you asked me “how would Tyrion and Cersei interact were they to reunite?” that scene would be pretty much what I’d imagine: incredible anger as they get everything out on the table. There was also the nice detail of Tyrion pouring a cup of wine first for himself and then for his sister. It was just one of those beautiful wordless moments Game of Thrones is so good at. It felt reminiscent of Tywin’s small council game of chairs, back in season three. Such a lovely sequence, from beginning to end!
Luka: For a moment you believe Cersei may execute Tyrion. You could see she really wanted to. I knew she wouldn’t, but it would have been a fitting end for Tyrion, in a way, risking his life for the cause, dying at the hands of his vengeful sister.
Petra: I like that Tyrion said he hates himself for killing his father, despite everything.
Luka: Yes, but not because “he’s such a good guy.” He still believes he had valid reasons to kill him. He’d do it again, even though he didn’t say it in so many words.
Petra: It’s a genuinely complicated situation. He killed his father, who was pretty terrible, and now he hates himself as much as he hated Tywin. And, though it’s not his fault, he’s the reason Cersei doesn’t have a mother.
Luka: And, according to Cersei, the deaths of Myrcella and Tommen lay at his feet too.
Petra: I hadn’t considered that before she said it. It may not be logical, but I can see how Cersei would arrive at that conclusion. Tyrion may be a “good guy” while Cersei is framed as an antagonist, but you certainly understand why she hates her brother so much. You don’t necessarily have to follow her logic, but to her he’s the reason she’s lost the people she’s lost, and that’s as good a reason to hate someone as anyone can have.
Luka: What I didn’t expect to get out of this conversation at all was an articulation of why Tyrion supports Daenerys. I imagined such a scene would take place eventually, but I figured it would occur between Tyrion and Dany. She’s always compared to her mad father, so by contrasting her with Cersei, who could easily be considered an actual Mad Queen, Tyrion finally voiced the reason Dany deserves to be the ruler: she has bad impulses, but she wants to keep them at bay with the help of the people around her. By contrast, Cersei is quite happy to give into her own madness.
Petra: I’m so sorry that I couldn’t make it to the Burlington Bar for the finale, as you can’t see my reaction to Littlefinger’s death. I made noises I didn’t know I could make.
Luka: Rewatching the first Sansa and Littlefinger scene knowing that Sansa was playing around a bit with him, shushing out what he wants exactly, was wonderful. That said, Littlefinger played his cards well there, as carefully as he could, considering. He let her reach the conclusions he wanted her to, with little prodding.
Petra: I genuinely thought he was leading her on. I missed most of the dialogue because I was yelling at the screen. I was really angry at Sansa, and I’m so glad I’m not anymore. But it was really well done. As you said, he wasn’t being overtly manipulative: he let her think she was arriving at that conclusion by herself. Well, in fact, she was letting him think that he was letting her think she was arriving at that conclusion.
Luka: Littlefinger scenes, for some reason, always require that sort of complex wording.
Petra: I like how Arya looked over at Litlefinger at the very beginning, as she told Sansa to “get on with it.” That was a little bit of a hint. I read some criticism that Littlefinger’s death lacked the set up of other surprise deaths like Ned or Robb or Viserys or Drogo’s. I can see that, as I’m still not clear when Arya and Sansa sorted things out and brought Bran in to help. But there was also criticism that the death wasn’t thematically satisfying in the way those other iconic deaths were, and I completely disagree with that. As I keep saying, these character turns are rooted in what we already know to be true about these people. It makes complete sense for Arya and Sansa to start fighting again but for Littlefinger’s final fatal mistake to be trying to tear the Stark children apart.
Luka: As Sansa says.
Petra: Exactly. If you’re going to come up with a character like Littlefinger who’s been manipulating and toppling empires, what is the one thing that could satisfactorily cause his downfall? It would be him overplaying his hand, by trying to split the Stark sisters.
Luka: I hadn’t even considered the parallel Sansa pointed out: that Petyr did pretty much the same thing with Lysa and Catelyn (except in the case of the Tully girls he succeeded.) The only part of this storyline that bothered me was last episode, as we discussed in our previous dialogue. I still think that scene’s storytelling was a bit muddy, but I no longer believe that it affected the characters themselves negatively, and certainly not terminally. At most, it was a storytelling issue, not a plot or character issue. I love the story they wanted to tell, even if the telling of it wasn’t perfect.
Petra: Their sisterly bond started to fray and they got themselves together again.
Luka: I must say that reading people’s comments in last week’s dialogue made me appreciate Arya’s point of view, so my feelings have certainly changed in regards to her actions as well, and even more so after the finale. After watching “Beyond the Wall” for the first time, I thought the scene in Arya’s room would contaminate the entire Winterfell storyline for me, but in retrospect it turned out rather well. Except for what ended up as nothing but a niggle, it was all really nicely written and plotted out.
Luka: Baelish went through his entire bag of tricks. First he denied as much as he could, except for the parts he knew Sansa was aware of, like throwing Lady Lysa through the Moon Door. When Bran intervened it became impossible to deny any of it, so in desperation he pulled a Cersei (“power is power”) and appealed to his position as Lord Protector; and when that didn’t work (great job, Lord Royce!) he resorted to his love for Catelyn and Sansa, and pled for his life, reduced to the pitiful man he was. Aidan Gillen did some of his best work this episode, going through a much broader range than usual.
Petra: He tried everything. When he fell to his knees and begged Sansa, I thought “This is a man who is out of options.” It was such an earned character death. It was beautiful.
Luka: Are you getting as tired as I am of some people’s expectation that everything, including this death scene, should be “shocking”? We’ve been following some of these characters for seven years. The story is coming to an end. If everything, or even a lot of things, still were shocking, that would just be shitty storytelling. These moments wouldn’t be exciting and new and compelling anymore. They would be shocks for the sake of shocks. So I’m actually elated they didn’t go in that direction. They sprung a trap on Littlefinger and we may have been fooled for a while, but Littlefinger felt like a dead man walking all season, as I’ve said before, and that’s just as it should have been.
Petra: Many people predicted he would be killed with his Valyrian steel dagger, and he was. But I don’t have a problem with something being predictable as long as it’s satisfying. Because we have a fandom this “obsessive,” statistically every possible outcome has already been predicted. There’s a reddit thread out there for every possible character decision. So no, I’m not gonna be upset that R+L=J has gone according to plan, because it had to happen. I’m sure, when the show is over, some people are going to be upset that they predicted who ends up on the Iron Throne, for example. But that’s because literally every single living character has been predicted to end up on it!
Luka: Unless it’s Hot Pie or something.
Petra: I’m sure there’s a well-thought-out theory with Hot Pie on the Iron Throne.
Petra: So if Hot Pie does end up ruling, there’s gonna be some person out there going “Predictable! I saw it coming!” But I don’t care, so as long as it’s earned.
Petra: For example, that I pretty much guessed Theon’s storyline this episode. I kind of picked up on the fact he wasn’t going to save Yara this season, so I assumed that his big moment would be leaving to go rescue her. I can’t say there were any real twists or shocks. That said, I absolutely loved the way he concluded this season!
Luka: Along with Headey’s scenes, the throne room discussion was an acting standout of the entire season. Especially Alfie Allen, though Harington did a great job too.
Petra: It was a great Jon moment, yes. This very messy concept of forgiveness was explored: it was apparent in the writing and the performance that Jon was still angry at Theon, but he still found a way to forgive what he could. There’s that tricky topic of “how do you move on from the bad things that you’ve done and you can’t undo?” Theon got to articulate the conflict that motivated so many of his mistakes: he always wanted to do the right thing but never had guidance. Upon hearing this, Jon relieved him of some of his turmoil by saying “You know what? You’re a Stark and a Greyjoy.”
Luka: That was heartwarming because it’s been Theon’s conflict since the beginning. Jon helped him get through it, and even encouraged him to go save Yara!
Petra: Even though Theon’s primary conflict has always been internal, as some point he needed external validation from someone else. Is he Stark, or is he a Greyjoy? Someone had to tell him that he was both. He couldn’t obtain that closure himself.
Luka: Not just someone, but someone who truly embodies Ned Stark’s character, someone who can speak on his behalf, someone who has honored his memory.
Petra: I try really hard not to hope for certain lines, because that’s setting yourself up for disappointment, but I really wanted Theon to acknowledge that Yara tried to rescue him in season 4, and that she was the only one who did.
Luka: And he said that exactly!
Petra: He did! So when I got the line that I wanted pretty much verbatim I was like…. [Incoherent, Kraken-loving excited gurgling] All right, man, this feels good!
Luka: And the predictability didn’t make it any less satisfying for you? What a concept!
Petra: It was a crucial character beat. I don’t always want character development to surprise me. I want it to be the natural progression of someone I’ve gotten to know.
Luka: You want pay-off to character development. When a story nears its end, both the characters and the story have fewer places to go. At a certain point, seven years in, if characters’ decisions are still shocking and surprising, it’s just lazy storytelling.
Petra: I’ve got some thoughts on that fight. I’m still deciding whether or not …
Luka: [Starts snickering]
Petra: … whether or not that was the stupidest thing this show’s ever done or one of the most brilliant. Let me just get this out of the way and say that, no matter what you have or don’t have down there, getting kneed in the groin four times in a row is going to hurt. I sort of like how the sound editing played up the humor of the moment. The really intense Greyjoy music cut out at the first kick and Harrag kept kneeing him in silence with this confused look on his face, like, “How?”
Luka: But perhaps for the first time the joke wasn’t played at Theon’s expense. It was at Harrag’s expense. Theon, all bloody and laughing, was in on the joke.
Petra: Theon’s smile made that moment completely worth it. And I do think that there’s something poetic about how his greatest shame turned out to be his greatest strength. There needed to be a coherent reason why Theon – slightly built and mentally unstable as he is – could beat a man four times his size in a fistfight.
Luka: I don’t usually like it when writers present physical or mental illnesses or other afflictions as a superpower – autistic or obsessive compulsive detectives, you know the trope – but in this case it actually made complete sense. I appreciate that physical pain doesn’t seem to bother Theon that much anymore. He still feels pain, of course, but he knows as few of us do that a beating isn’t the height of suffering.
Petra: I think that scene may have included my favorite shot of Theon ever.
Petra: That moment encapsulates one of the reasons why I will always find Theon more compelling to watch than Jon. Theon is allowed to look ridiculous while Jon – God love him – has to look heroic and romantic at all times. Never in a hundred-thousand seasons would the show let Jon appear as undignified as Theon does in that fight but that’s precisely what makes Theon’s victory arresting. This glorious rendition of the Greyjoy theme plays while Theon does this pain waddle to the ocean to wash himself off.
Luka: That shot of Theon washing his face is one of the most beautiful shots in the show. He’s essentially re-baptizing himself. Theon rose again harder and stronger, after all.
Petra: Believe it or not, I think I’ve actually said all I have to say about Theon. Now, it’s time: the Jon Targaryen reveal. Or rather, Aegon Targaryen!
Petra: Rhaegar had run out of Targaryen names, apparently.
Luka: See, there’s been a lot of criticism about Rhaegar naming two of his sons Aegon but I think there’s some confusion, here. Most people, myself included, initially assumed that Rhaegar was the one who named Jon and decided, inexplicably, to give two of his sons the same name. But as far as we’ve seen in the show, Lyanna was the one who named her son Aegon, and she did so only after Rhaegar had died and the other baby Aegon had been killed. In the books, we learn that Rhaegar had prophetic aspirations, which is why he named his first two children Aegon and Rhaenys. So, if Rhaegar shared his beliefs with Lyanna, then it stands to reason she would have chosen to name their first child Aegon in honor of him and of the prophetic significance of that name.
Petra: Okay, you got me. I like that interpretation.
Luka: I also want to give props to Isaac, who rarely gets any credit. That Bran performance is really difficult to pull off. It could so easily come off as dull, but it doesn’t for me, at all. When he says “Robert’s rebellion was built on a lie,” I get goosebumps.
Petra: He was emoting through monotone, which is…
Luka: Exactly! I don’t know how he does it, but he does. It can’t be an easy performance.
Petra: Can you explain to me how Bran didn’t know about the secret wedding?
Luka: He’s not omniscient, that much has been made clear. He can access anything but he’s not all-knowing at all times. He has to know what to search for. He wasn’t aware of the wedding because he didn’t know there was one to look for. Speaking of which…
Petra: I liked how sparse the reveal was. Whereas in the Tower of Joy last season, Jon’s identity was conveyed through beautiful editing and music, here Bran just stated Jon’s parentage outright, like it’s no big deal. To be honest, he sounded an awful lot like me when I’m explaining fan theories to non-Game of Thrones fans. All he had to do was start that sentence with, “Um, actually …” and it would have been uncanny.
Luka: That montage was wonderful, though. Some fans were looking forward to the sex scene and were unhappy that it was intermixed with the reveal and, vise versa, there were people who wanted the R+L=J reveal but didn’t want the incest. But I thought it was a really good idea to pair the scenes together. It made the sex scene feel like a truly fateful moment: that shot of Daenerys, seemingly the last Targaryen, looking at Jon, seemingly a bastard, when Bran said, “He’s the heir to the Iron Throne.” Wow.
Petra: Lovely music cue, there. Lovely other things, too…
Luka: I’ll say it: that was really sexy. I find it strange that in a cast of characters mostly composed of murders and liars, incest is the transgression that crosses the line. I get the repulsion with Jaime and Cersei, not only because they’re related, but because their relationship is so toxic, and they grew up as siblings. But provided that Jon and Daenerys aren’t aware that they’re related and didn’t grow up together as family anyway, what’s the gross part, exactly? The possibility of a genetically malformed offspring, basically?
Petra: Well, sexual norms vary from culture to culture. I know some people who are married to their cousins and are happy to explain why they don’t have a problem with it. Cleopatra married her brother (and then killed him.) But sexual deviancy, however the dominant culture defines it, always disturbs people more than violence does. Also, unlike most of the murders on the show, Jon and Daenerys’ aunt/nephew consummation was framed in a romantic light. Literally, the camera angle and the lighting were lovely.
Luka: There’s a reason they put the two scenes together: it’s lit and framed beautifully but the revelation that they’re related is intended to undercut the passion of the scene.
Petra: Personally, I’m just enjoying how bizarre this storyline is: a mainstream TV show is informing its audience that two people are aunt and nephew just as they’re having sex for the first time. It references Arthurian legend as well, though whether it’s an intentional allusion I neither know nor care. King Arthur remains a very influential literary figure and, consequently, we have a lot of protagonists, particularly in fantasy, whose stories resemble Arthur’s in some way: characters who were sent away as infants and grew up under false pretenses or obtain a weapon that only they can wield …
Luka: Both of which are true of Jon.
Petra: Indeed. But what people very, very rarely bring up is the fact that Arthur had sex with his half sister and had a baby with her. So, I thoroughly appreciate that as Jon goes onto resemble King Arthur more and more, they remembered to include the incest.
Luka: Moving onto that final scene. Any thoughts?
Petra: Truthfully, I found myself feeling sort of bad for Viserion and the Night King. Seeing them both together reminded that they’re really just brainwashed villains. You know, if that poor man the Children of the Forest stabbed with dragonglass and the real Viserion could see themselves they’d both be horrified. It’s really quite sad.
Luka: It’s Leaf’s fault!
Petra: It’s Leaf’s fault. Well, it’s Man’s fault. But then it’s Leaf’s fault. Anyway, I was oddly distracted by pity while the wall was falling down. Still a cool shot, though.
Luka: If there was a single scene that could satisfactorily set up the endgame for the final season, that image of the dead breaching the Wall would be it.
Petra: Yep … I’m out of things to talk about it. I’ve got nothing.
Luka: We have nothing in more ways than one. We’re out of topics for this episode and we’re out of new Game of Thrones episodes for the next year. Maybe more.
Petra: I’m happy where it ended, though. It wasn’t like the end of season five, which just left me overly worried for the characters, with no closure. In this finale we had some beautiful character moments, some plot resolutions but also plenty of set up to look forward to. I feel like I’ve gorged myself on Game of Thrones and I’m excited for the next serving but I’m satisfied to coast until 2025 or whenever we get season eight.
Luka: We’ll be back soon looking back on this season, and later looking forward to the next one. Our dialogues aren’t done. We’re satisfied but we still have a lot to process.
Petra: I don’t smoke but the mental image that best captures how I feel is of someone smoking a cigarette in bed, sweaty but content, you know?
Luka: So what you’re saying is that Game of Thrones is like sex to you.
Petra: I … feel like that could be taken plenty of bad ways. But sure. Let’s go with that.