Glass Candle Dialogue Season 7, Episode 7: “The Dragon and the Wolf”

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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!

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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.

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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…


(GIF by Joanna Robinson for Vanity Fair)

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]

Petra: [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…

Petra: [Laughs]

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Luka: [Laughs]

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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…

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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…

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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.

7x07 Ship Daenerys Jon Sex 2

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?

Wall - Eastwatch 7x07 (2)

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.

Wall - Eastwatch Breach 7x07 (7)

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.

Wall - Eastwatch Breach 7x07 (30)

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.

86 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Hodor!

      More tomorrow after I’ve had time to properly read this. Let me just say how much I’ve enjoyed these dialogues and hope to see you back next year… uhm, whenever the final season airs!

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    2. Enjoyed the post! But 2025? No, please not that long! 🙂 (I know you were teasing.)
      Especially liked your discussion re: Theon and Jon scene and the difficulty of forgiveness. Jon did a good thing there and I hope he remembers his words about being both when Bran and Sam have their chat with him.

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    3. Thanks — great review and great episode.

      I actually thought that Cersei’s plot was generally believable as she knows Danerys went north of the Wall and believes one of her dragons was dead; Danerys could therefore deplete all her forces against the dead, including losing her dragons; and Cersei could mop up with the Golden Company if the Champions of Life prevailed. If the Dead won, well . . . she could always try to escape somewhere.

      The only thing that did not make sense was why she pledged her troops to march north. She will be caught out in her betrayal of Team Targaryen more quickly than if she had said she would have her troops stand down, as it will become obvious quite quickly that the Lannister bannermen are not marching in fulfillment of her commitment. Plotwise, I guess it was necessary to give Jaime the extra push to leave her as he had pledged to ride north.

      The dragonpit scene as a whole was great; the one thing that could have made it even better was giving Danerys more agency. As you point out, she has little to say during the Parley itself. Recognizing that she had delegated this play to Tyrion, there could have still been a moment where she could have pointed out to Cersei that a truce was in Cersei’s interest as well (eg, not facing a seige of KL and saving Lannister forces in the Riverlands from being destroyed piecemeal) and shown she was (more of) an equal.

      Anyway, minor points. Awesome episode and made me feel even better about the whole season.

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    4. 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.

      Was she? Isaac’s interview certainly doesn’t suggest that.

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    5. I guess this isn’t the right post, but the scene of Viserion being dragged out of the lake shows a derelict ship on the frozen lake with large chains. Presumably, that is close to where Stannis landed when he took his army north of the wall and not every ship made it back out. Convenient, but there is probably something to the theory that the Night King did all of that on purpose knowing he’d get a shot at a dragon. Either that, or it’s just one more chapter in the tragedy of Stannis the Mannis, not only failing to be humanity’s savior against the long night, but inadvertently helping the dead.

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    6. This was my second favorite season finale. S6 had the best.

      It’s strange because there wasn’t that much plot development for such a long episode but every moment was great.

      Cersei’s scene with Tyrion was one of the best this show ever had. I liked Sansa’s scene with LF and Arya at the end. And LF’s death ofc.

      Jaime scene with Cersei was great. Dragonpit as well. Jon and Theon. Wall falling.

      Everything was great really. Very strong episode.

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    7. My biggest beef with the shortened season 8 is that we might not have enough time to show off the character development that the series needs. Jaime is now riding north: He probably won’t get the best of welcomes, and will meet the boy that he pushed down a window. We should get scenes of Brienne defending him, where he says the things he is too proud to say himself in public. We should see Bran going back in time and say that yes, Jaime really saved kings landing, and that he forgives him for crippling him. He should fight some wights, and, when Cersei’s teachery is clear for all to see, head back south, maybe with Arya, and do the rightful queenslaying that puts a last note in his entry of the history books.

      But in such a short season, is there time to let Jaime get his due? Doubtful.

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    8. Sean C.: Was she?Isaac’s interview certainly doesn’t suggest that.

      We know that Sansa does not trust LF and I agree with Luka and Petra’s assessment from a previous dialouge that she is practicing the “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” to make sure LF does not overtly plot against House Stark. My interpretation is that she is constantly fencing with LF and trying to tease out as much information from him as she can to understand his motives. (Remember her statement along the lines of “Declaring for a House has never prevented you from serving your own interests.”) Previous to Ep 7 (or the last scene in Ep 6) , she thought it was valuable to keep him around. After the conversation in Ep 7, she decides that he has gotten too bold and dangerous, and she decides to seek out her siblings help to end him.

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    9. I’m willing to bet that “You don’t have to choose. You’re a Greyjoy and you’re a Stark” will be recycled next season and someone (hopefully Theon) will tell Jon the same thing (except replace Greyjoy with Targaryen).

      And I have to disagree about the show never depicting Jon as undignified and ridiculous. The writers love taking shots at him.

      NCW gets more handsome as he ages. rawr *runs away*

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    10. Speaking of the chain… Each time I’ve watched that scene and see how close the wight gets to Cersei I think, “It could have easily reached any one of the people at the side tents, including Daeny.” You know, had they not wanted it to scare the shit out of Cersei in the scene.

      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.

      Not just the episode, but the season. Last year when we heard the spoiler of a Euron ambush and either Theon or Yara being captured, my guess as to what happens after that has been correct so far. The remainder of it of course involves Theon somehow “killing Euron and rescuing Yara to fully redeem himself as a Greyjoy, and as a man.” I believe that’s how I worded it at the time. I did expect it to be resolved by the end of the season though. I didn’t think that side story would be carried over so they’d have to worm it in with all of the major stuff happening. *shrug*

      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.

      I liked the way they did it. I’ve written enough about my annoyance with peoples incest disgust because of an inability to separate modern morals from a common occurrence in fantasy land on a fictional world. It’s the song of ice and fire… it was destined to be. Anyway, I liked the connection with Bran speaking the words, “He loved her… and she loved him,” about Rhaegar and Lyanna while showing Jon and Daenerys. I see them as loving each other or at least realizing they’re beginning to love each other, just as R+L did.

      In my opinion neither of them have had “true love” before. They may have had love for Ygritte and Drogo, respectively, but think of the situations they were in at the time, how young they were and they being ‘first loves.’ Neither of them formed a normal relationship and neither of them lasted very long. Jon & Ygritte were together for what, a handful of weeks at most? Daenerys was afraid of Drogo for a while and couldn’t even speak his language for like half of the nine or so months they were together. So J&D are blood… It still seems like they’d have a better relationship than shacking up with a wild woman from the woods or being forced to marry a horse lord. 🙂

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    11. Great discussion! Thanks so much!

      So many questions for the war to come..

      I feel like it is important that the Night King make it to the south since the people there (and Cersei) don’t really consider it e real threat (climate deniers!). But how can that happen without Winterfell falling (I don’t think it will). I think its quite possible that Winterfell has the same magic protecting its walls as the 3ER Cave and the Wall. But is it ice dragon proof??

      Will the NK army take it’s time and pick off smaller holds building up its army?
      Will they bypass Winterfell initially and take the south first? (I really want to see that)
      Will the NK and undead Viserion destroy the Red Keep as seen in Dany’s vision? I want that to happen.

      I’m so scared for all of them (well not Cersei and the Maesters)

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    12. Bob,

      Maybe, other than Cersei, all of the central characters are heading north right now. They’ll need something to do besides fighting the WWs.
      I understand your desire for more depth though. I want more than the shortened seasons provide for too, even if it meant others would inevitably decry the story was being dragged out! 🙂

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    13. David A: We know that Sansa does not trust LF

      She says she doesn’t, but continues to listen to and later confide in him.

      I agree that you can read their final conversation as her figuring him out, but the only person from the show who has addressed the timeline for how things played out indicates that she wasn’t. Now, Isaac’s interpretation isn’t as useful as a word from the writers or Sophie would be (none of whom have said anything), but it’s all there is.

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    14. Petra and Luka: Can we anticipate GCD sessions during the off-season? It’s a fun format and I think it will work for other topics aside from specific episode discussions.

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    15. Also strongly agree with the predictability versus inevitability thing. When you get close to the end, more and more possibilities get closed off or at least become very implausible. The story should become more predictable and that’s fine. The source of viewing satisfaction will shift from constantly being shocked at twists and surprise deaths to seeing long-running plot threads finally come to fruition. Either Jon or Daenerys or both absolutely should end up on the throne. They deserve it the most, have the strongest claims, and their entire stories have been building to that point. To dodge it and throw someone out of left field just to keep us on our toes is artificial. That was the downfall of Orphan Black. The storylines totally jumped the shark in an attempt to keep adding more and more layers of surprise.

      If we recall what GRRM originally said when explaining how he intended to be different from classic fantasy, he wanted to see Aragorn’s tax policy. What is the aftermath of the prophesied son finally winning the throne? I hope we get at least a little of that, maybe not on the show because there simply isn’t time with only six episodes, but out of Dream of Spring if it ever gets published. We’ve seen Jon and Daenerys both in command and it wasn’t all roses. Just because the good guy wins doesn’t mean everything is right with the world forever and always.

      That is the bittersweet. As much as Dany and Tyrion talk about breaking the wheel, the wheel is bigger than one person. An enlightened benevolent ruler and apocalypse survival won’t stop houses feuding with one another and trampling on commoners in the process. Adding in the Dothraki and whatever is left of the Free Folk won’t help, either. They aren’t just going to integrate into Westerosi society seamlessly. That is the difference between Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire. In Lord of the Rings, Sauron was the source of all evil. Defeat him and live happily ever after. In A Song of Ice and Fire, defeating the Night King simply means you’re back to being oppressed by the same lords and ladies who have been oppressing you from time immemorial.

      Plus, as the Children learned, using magic to win a war has consequences. However the Night King is finally defeated, it will almost certainly have to involve magic of some sort, something powerful that won’t bring nothing but good to the world. Bran, Melisandre, or both still have a role to play, and it will have some cost to use their powers.

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    16. tiny direwolf,

      I think that Winterfell will fall, there is no indication that there is anything magical there. In the show at least.

      The conflict with the WW will end at KL, together with conflict with Cersei and Euron.

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    17. –Watching the episode as it first aired, I was annoyed with the Jon/Theon and Theon/fight scene. I thought it was taking too much precious time in a finale. As much as I respect Alfie’s performance overall, I just can’t muster any fucks to give to the Greyjoy storyline.

      However, upon subsequent viewings, I appreciate the Jon/Theon scene much more and feel good about Theon getting some closure/validation/redemption from someone he’s come to admire. And, as has been pointed out already, those words will come back to Jon just as his kneel/pride convo with Mance did. I still don’t care about the fight scene, though.

      –I respected Dany’s demeanor during the dragon pit scene. Tyrion told her that Cersei will try to provoke her and Dany didn’t give her the satisfaction.

      –I hope we don’t get too many scenes or episodes that use the lighting/filter or whatever that was during the wall scene. That’s some depressing shit. It may be the point–to show despair, but that will be tough on my constitution.

      –Looking forward, I hope we see some epic aerial dragon dog fights.
      I think Melisandre will play the role of Nissa Nissa.
      I think Euron will either use the Golden Company against Sansa…or….perhaps Daario gets to them first, they kill Euron, and either stay put or join Dany/Jon.

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    18. Cersei needs a fully-living Queensguard to handle the quick reaction stuff. Zombie-Gregor is intimidating, but can’t seem to process an immediate threat or a nodded order.

      I’ll need to see the deleted scene myself to understand whether Sansa was playing with, or being played by, Littlefinger.

      Speaking of chains.. when was Sam going to get his first link? And.. how do you wear one link?

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    19. I really hope Winterfell doesn’t fall. I’d always expected the final showdown with the army of the dead to take place there. Win there or it’s over. If the dead reach King’s Landing, they’ll be millions strong by then. Would much rather see King’s Landing as the site of a final showdown between Cersei and everyone else. As it seems like The Winds of Winter is likely to see King’s Landing fall to some combo of Dornish forces and the Golden Company, the show could even merge the storylines and have that happen instead. Though the way they’ve set everything up, Ser Gregor pretty much needs to fall to the Hound and Cersei either falls to Jaime or Arya.

      If they really want to piss everyone off, Jaime is tried and convicted at Winterfell, and Arya takes his face and kills Cersei while impersonating him.

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    20. Adam: Adding in the Dothraki and whatever is left of the Free Folk won’t help, either. They aren’t just going to integrate into Westerosi society seamlessly.

      I can’t see any reason why the Dothraki would hang around in Westeros. Wouldn’t they just go home? Presumably all their women are there.

      As for the Free Folk, are there even many left?

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    21. This dialogue was great! Loved the Theon-Jon discussion in particular. I used to believe Theon’s best ending would be to die saving someone he’s let down… as a form of redemption. But watching him this season, especially his vulnerability in the scene with Jon, I’ve modified my hopes for his character. Now I want him to survive it all. I want him to find some measure of peace. I want him to kill Euron and to save Yara. I want them to show up on the battlefield to be heroes in the final battle with their allies Dany and Jon. And then I want brother and sister to return to the Iron Islands to rule together for the rest of their days. Is that asking for too much?

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    22. Adam:
      I really hope Winterfell doesn’t fall. I’d always expected the final showdown with the army of the dead to take place there. Win there or it’s over. If the dead reach King’s Landing, they’ll be millions strong by then. Would much rather see King’s Landing as the site of a final showdown between Cersei and everyone else. As it seems like The Winds of Winter is likely to see King’s Landing fall to some combo of Dornish forces and the Golden Company, the show could even merge the storylines and have that happen instead. Though the way they’ve set everything up, Ser Gregor pretty much needs to fall to the Hound and Cersei either falls to Jaime or Arya.

      If they really want to piss everyone off, Jaime is tried and convicted at Winterfell, and Arya takes his face and kills Cersei while impersonating him.

      Now that I think about it, I think the Golden Company will stay put in Essos.

      Why? The Iron Bank is watching Westeros closely; they always have and they will want to protect whatever is in their interest. I think they’ll notice all the movement to the North and they’ll want to know why. When they find out, I don’t think they’ll “bet” on Cersei anymore. They’ll either order or pay the Golden Company to stay put because that’s who they use when they need to collect serious debts. The GC may be free agents by and large but when the Iron Bank calls, I’m sure they listen.

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    23. Adam:
      I really hope Winterfell doesn’t fall. I’d always expected the final showdown with the army of the dead to take place there.

      I’ve always imagined an epic siege at Winterfell but not the final final battle. I pictured the siege of Winterfell taking place midway through the final season. At some point the White Walkers overwhelm the defenses and some combination of main characters sacrifice themselves in order for the others to escape. The survivors retreat south on the run from the ever-growing relentless tide of White Walkers. Until they are able to regroup and turn for a final stand against the army of the dead along the banks of the frozen Trident.

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    24. defender of Game of Thrones chains

      thanks man, missed that chain in my first viewing(E706). wonderful recap Luka and Petra. love reading candle dialogue and hearing your opinions. As Mau said, second best season finale, says alot for a setup season for the main event

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    25. Sunfyre,

      I want that outcome for them too! But, yeah, I think the audience’s evolving aspirations for Theon are really interesting. He’s always been a difficult character to pin down & so our expectations & hopes for him have continued to change.

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    26. tiny direwolf,

      In fact the Ningt King can easily leave the siege of Winterfell to his leuthenants and fly directly to KL. There he can simply raise the dead or kill some people with the help of his dragon, raise them, and kill more (not sure, whether he can raise anyone or someone killed by the WW or wights). One way or another, now when he is ariborn the Night King can raise an army anywhere (sorry, Euron, the Iron Islands won’t be safe too).

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    27. This was my favorite weekly feature on the site this season. Thank you guys for the insightful and fun discussions. I look forward to more in the future!

      I enjoyed your discussion about LF and Sansa, although I’m not sure I agree that she was “playing” him in their first scene. Or at least, not at first. I think she really was confiding in him, sharing her fears that Arya is a death-worshiping assassin now and is concerned that she has become a monster (a belief, btw, I think is fair). I’m not sure if it is during the scene or sometime later, but Sansa eventually plays that “game” concerning Littlefinger and suspects that he is the one stoking division between them. Perhaps this could have been more clear, but I’m not too bugged by not knowing which moment exactly she started putting the pieces together. Maybe it was during that scene itself, maybe it was during an off-camera moment alone when thinking about it, whatever. What I am sure of is that she wasn’t “playing” LF these last several episodes – putting on a show for him by pretending to have a beef with Arya. Until this episode, Sansa was feeling, thinking, and doing what LF wanted. Like any good villain, victory was in his grasp, before it wasn’t.

      Btw, I think some people are being a bit simplistic in their views of Sansa’s relationship with LF. Some discuss this issue as if Sansa either distrusts LF, and therefore must suspect him of the problems she’s confronting, or she trusts LF, and therefore confides in him. I think the relationship has almost always been more complicated.

      Sansa knows that LF is a master manipulator who is out for his own interest, so she would never “trust” LF the way that she trusts Brienne, whose only interest the welfare and protection of the sisters. But she also knows that he is intelligent and can be a powerful ally, at least when they have common interests. So, when she doesn’t know what to do, and has no one else to confide in (Brienne is loyal to both sisters so she can’t talk to her), she confides in him. She knows he wants to rule the Seven Kingdoms with her (and, in fact, she is his best ticket to gaining more power), so she thinks any advice he gives will not only help himself but also help her. What she realized this season, however, is that his interest in seeing her become more powerful in the political realm would cost the relationships she had with her family. Once she pieced together that a divided Stark family was in his interest, she began to see him as possibly culpable for the division in the first place.

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    28. I liked what you said about the Arya/Sansa story being a good story, but that there were issues with the storytelling. I’ve come around to thinking the same thing. I think the story they were trying to tell was one in which the Stark siblings are reunited, and yet their years worth of experiences have created walls between them, walls they must overcome to discover the machinations of Littlefinger, who is ultimately the author of so much of their suffering. That, to me, is a compelling, believable story!

      And I think that this story was well-told at first. Bran’s lack of humanity and interest in his family was well-established, I think. Meanwhile, Arya’s black-and-white mentality, her impulsiveness, the trust issues she’s picked up over the traumatizing years, and her long-held mistrust of Sansa all seemed to be coming back to haunt their scenes this year. She doesn’t see the need for the diplomacy that Sansa engages in, and assigns the worst motive to it. The letter confirms all of her worst suspicions about Sansa caring more about power than her family. I still like her first scene confronting Sansa about the letter. She was holding her to an unfair standard, but that felt authentic to the character. But I have come around to thinking that the scene in which she basically threatens Sansa went too far, especially given how quick their reconciliation was.

      Since I thought the sibling divisions were believable, though, I think they needed more in this episode to show their resolving of their conflict. I wanted some version of the scene that IHW said was cut – not an exposition dump that gives away the twist with Littlefinger, but a moment where Sansa confronts him and asks him to be her brother again, at least a little bit, and help her. And then leave most of the actual conversation offscreen. You can even end the scene with her asking about what Arya went through, so that it flows nicely into her asking Arya to come to the Hall. I also would have liked a somewhat longer scene between Arya and Sansa at the end, where more of their issues were addressed. LF may have stoked the divisions, but they were based on real feelings they had that still hang over them. The story was good, but it felt incomplete by the end of this episode.

      That’s the only significant problem I had with the finale though. Overall a great episode. I agree with everything Luka and Petra said about the Dragonpit and especially the Theon/Jon scene, which was really beautiful.

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    29. Bob,

      Jaime, along with every other main character, will get more screen time in season eight than in any previous season, just as most characters did in season seven. There’s much talk about the pacing in season seven, sure, and certain plot developments were rushed, but not character development. We saw more of most characters than in previous years, because there are much fewer people left in the story and the episodes are longer in average. Season eight will only double down on this: fewer characters, probably all six of the episodes of an extended runtime. You’ll get plenty of Jaime.

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    30. mau,

      Winterfell falling would also have a lot of symbolic significance for Jon. Being forced to focus on the whole Seven Kingdoms, instead of just the North, will fit nicely into his recognizing and struggling with his birthright and responsibility as the rightful King.

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    31. Sean C.
      Hodor Targaryen,

      Guys, you’re blowing the deleted scene out of proportion. It was literally Sansa going in Bran’s room with the dagger. That’s it. Not a word shared, even.

      Sansa didn’t trust Littlefinger, and that’s not the same thing as confiding in him, no matter how much anyone insists it is. He’s useful, and she does know what he wants; he just has no idea about what his machinations are to arrive at that goal, so she keeps him close, and confides in him. No, she wasn’t acting about her fear with Arya, but she WAS noticing how Littlefinger responded and took advantage of it. As scripted, the moment she realizes Littlefinger must be dealt with immediately, the moment she realizes he must be discredited and then executed, is when he essentially tells her she should kill Arya so Arya doesn’t kill her first, as it’s made evident later when she repeats his words back to him: “imagine the worst thing your enemies could possibly want and what they might do to get it.” He intends that to apply to Arya, but with it he seals his own fate instead. And no, this isn’t messy or ambiguous. She literally spits these words back at him as a “gotcha” later.

      So: she never trusted him. But if you really want to pinpoint the second she definitively decided to get rid of him, it’s when Littlefinger gives his last grand life lesson, and it gets applied to himself.

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    32. I have to echo the sentiment that several other commenters have already expressed and say thank you again, Petra and Luka, for doing these Glass Candle Dialogues throughout Season 7. They were a fantastic new feature here at the Wall and a highlight of the week as we waited for each new episode. I’m glad to hear that there will be at least one more looking back at Season 7 and looking ahead to Season 8 before we head off into the Long Night for the next year or so. 🙂

      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.

      I completely agree with this. One of my favorite quotes about Cersei is what Tyrion tells Oberyn about her during the dungeon scene in Season 4: “Making honest feelings do dishonest work is one of her many gifts.” That idea proved to be very true in this case.

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    33. Jared: One of my favorite quotes about Cersei is what Tyrion tells Oberyn about her during the dungeon scene in Season 4: “Making honest feelings do dishonest work is one of her many gifts.” That idea proved to be very true in this case.

      Huh. I hadn’t made this connection but it couldn’t fit her act this finale any better! Damn, I now wish I had remembered that quote and mentioned it in the dialogue. But that’s what these wonderful comments are for! I shouldn’t play favorites, but I enjoy the comments for these dialogues the most. Reviews tend to attract many comments in the form of nitpicks and complaints. Since these Glass Candle features are all about establishing a dialogue, the comments follow through with the premise, and it’s wonderful. So thank YOU guys!

      Yes, we’ll be back next week, and the next, and then we’ll see about a schedule, but we’ll definitely continue the feature 🙂

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    34. Inga,

      That’s a very good point I’d never really considered before. He always seems so linked to the hive-mind of his army I sometimes forget he’s an individual. The added mobility with Wight-Viserion makes him even more dangerous. He can engage in sneak attacks and ambushes just like Dany can.

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    35. mau,
      Hodor Targaryen,

      Actually, from the point of view of storytelling, it would be better to have Winterfell under siege. Sieges are dull, so the main cast could have a lot of interactions during the siege. Also from the military perspective, it would be better to block Jon and Dany and most of the forces of the living in WF and go ful tilt on the unprepared and densely populated South. The Nigh King doesn’t need to waddle with his slowly moving anymore – he is airborn and he can raise an army anywhere in situ. Besides that, his army was not that big. He has some 100 thousand wights, but KL has like 1 million living. 1 wight vs 10 living doesen’t sound that impressive. So, the only thing the NK can do is to use a surprice factor and turn the living into the walkig dead.
      I minght be over-specultating, but I always had a feeling that a dragon over KL from Bran’s visions was not what it looked like – not Dany. So, the only other option now is the Night King.

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    36. Probably one of the best episodes in the series. It was a very future-centric episode where the running theme was ‘what kind of world is going to be leftover after the Great War’. The Jon/Dany scenes continue to be excellent.

      I think you both summarized the Littlefinger stuff really well. Ultimately, they wanted LF to finally encounter a scenario where the outcome was almost completely out of his control. And its only fitting that he was brought down by some plotting that took place behind his back.

      Favorite line: “You’re a Stark, and a Greyjoy.”

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    37. Inga:
      Hodor Targaryen,

      I minght be over-specultating, but I always had a feeling that a dragon over KL from Bran’s visions was not what it looked like – not Dany. So, the only other option now is the Night King.

      Damn! For me it was always just a given that the dragon silhouette over KL was Drogon, or at least one of Dany’s dragons. It did not occur to me that it could be wight Viserion! That’s very interesting, indeed! I like it.

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    38. Luka Nieto,

      Yeah, I think I agree with you about Sansa/Littlefinger. She doesn’t trust him, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t see a practical benefit to confiding in him (or that she should somehow know that he is behind the division between her and Arya). I feel like this was my main point in my first comment…

      I think the Sansa/Littlefinger storyline ended well in the finale. I interpreted their first scene a little differently than you, I think (I assumed she had her lightbulb moment offscreen, after that convo), but I think it works either way, and that it isn’t really important EXACTLY when she began to seriously suspect LF, as long as it was sometime during this episode, in response to how he overplayed his hand in that scene.

      I don’t know what the deleted scene was as scripted and shot. Maybe it wasn’t much and, as it was, was worth cutting. But before I heard about the scene I felt that Bran going from “I’m not really helping anyone with anything with my superpowers” to “yeah I’ll help Sansa reconcile with Arya and defeat Littlefinger to boot” needed another beat in between those mindsets. I just referred to the deleted scene because it seems like that was what that scene was intended to be, at least in part. I said I wanted “some version of” that scene, since I don’t know exactly how it went down (wasn’t totally clear in the interview to me). Similarly, I think that the genuine feeling of mistrust that grew between Arya and Sansa deserved more of a reconciliation than what we got.

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    39. Luka Nieto:
      Yes, we’ll be back next week, and the next, and then we’ll see about a schedule, but we’ll definitely continue the feature 🙂

      That’s great news. I love this feature for exactly what it is: an in-depth conversation between two intelligent fans of GOT. You always raise different perspectives on story lines and characters. Well done.

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    40. First of all, nice job with this article and all your articles all season, Luka and Petra. They added both insight and humor to the understanding of each episode, which is a main reason I love coming to the site. Even though there were times when I wasn’t able to respond to some of your articles because of time restraints on my end, I still enjoyed reading them. I wanted to respond to this one, because it’s the last one immediately following an episode that we will have for a long time. (ye gods, I can’t believe what a long wait this will be.) Plus, I wanted to say thanks for taking the time to do this.

      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.

      I’m glad you put this in. Brienne was wonderful in this moment; I remember back to Joffrey’s wedding, when she was wandering about, so shy, so reticent, feeling so secondary to all the other ladies in attendance, barely able to walk up to Cersei. How she has changed! She doesn’t give a damn about Cersei now; now she’s so self-assured, she’s such a presence, it’s amazing. In a way, her having the nerve to spew her feelings on the matter out to him may end up being the event that brings him close to her. Yet, Jaime was awkward in his handling of it.

      Even though it annoyed me to high heaven that Cersei both said Jaime was stupid and then treated him as though he were a complete dolt, in one way he brought it on himself, don’t you think? Cersei heard and saw Brienne talking to Jaime; she was jealous seasons ago, and now she’s enraged that he could allow another woman, Brienne no less, to have an influence on his thinking. For him to go to her and repeat to her the words that she knows are Brienne’s was a bit foolhardy. The bitch could have killed him. She obviously had already thought about killing him.

      As foolhardy as it was, the outcome was positive. He finally, finally sees her for what she was and what she’s become. She actually meant to scare him into succumbing to her! Imagine how badly she would have treated him afterward if he had! There were so many worthy moments in this episode, but Jaime riding calmly away from Kings Landing, with his new determination to do something right for once, was one I didn’t know I really cared about until it actually happened.

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    41. mariamb: That’s great news. I love this feature for exactly what it is: an in-depth conversation between two intelligent fans of GOT. You always raise different perspectives on story lines and characters. Well done.

      Yes, I agree, it’s been a nice addition to all the other great articles that appear here. Luka and Petra do a nice job together.

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    42. mau,

      You don’t buy its in the name theory? As in wouldn’t it make sense for winter fell to be the place where winter literally fell down

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    43. mau,

      Well Dany has two dragons so she should have air superiority and could block Viserion from burning Winterfell to the ground, if that’s what you’re suggesting. I mean they can’t all be open field battles right?

      I’m wedded to the idea of a siege for some of the same reasons Inga mentioned above. It provides perfect opportunities for all these characters to interact in a pressure cooker environment. I’m salivating at the thought of Jaime and Brienne and Jon and Jorah and Davos and Arya and Gendry and the Hound etc. all together on the same side manning the walls of a stronghold under siege.

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    44. So now that Jon is Aegon, how much foreshadowing is this line from Dany from ADWD Dany 2?

      “A crown should not sit easy on the head. One of her royal forebears had said that, once. Some Aegon, but which one? Five Aegons had ruled the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.

      There would have been a sixth, but the Usurper’s dogs had murdered her brother’s son when he was still a babe at the breast. If he had lived, I might have married him.”

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    45. Luka Nieto,

      That’s really good news your feature will return. I’ve found myself anxiously looking forward to it each week. (You two should’ve hosted HBO’s “After the Thrones.”)

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    46. I enjoyed the article, thank you.

      And the poster who said it was the NK’s dragon shadow over KL- great idea.

      KL has scorpions, wildfire, a mad scientist with necromancy skills and a Queen willing to sacrifice the living to save herself…seems logical part of the living v. dead war will be waged there.

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    47. I believe the Sansa scene is not read that she was playing Littlefinger. She wasn’t. It wasn’t until after this that she had the red flag and went to Bran for help.

      Unless I’m missing something that’s how I took it and read what scene was cut. It was that moment she said “Lady of Winterfell” she probably realized something was amiss, bc the one thing she’s never cared about is being the lady of anything. That’s not Arya, then she goes to Bran.

      The show cut it. Maybe making people more shock value. I’m sure. But this wasn’t Sansa. This was human Google known as, Bran.

      At least how I saw it.

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    48. A most enjoyable read as these Glass Candle Dialogues always are. Many thanks to Petra and Luka for doing these 🙂

      One thing I noticed (although due to the magic element in GoT is somewhat academic) is how much Viserion has decomposed since they pulled him out of the lake! His wings are full of holes which in the real world would cause ‘a few problems’ regarding aerodynamics and the ability to stay airborne let alone take off!

      OK, they have skeletal wights and horses marching along, but a bag of bones in the form of a dragon and the size of a 747 flying around will be interesting to see 😀

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    49. Luka and Petra, let me take a minute to thank you both so much for all the hard work and hard thinking you’ve both put into this series. I wish we’d had such insights for S1-S6 too. Your partnership and the ebb and flow of your opinions has opened my eyes to a lot of things about the seven episodes. You two are as good as the best of the YouTubers out there. I always find commentary partnerships more convincing, especially when they include a viewpoint from both genders.

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    50. Adam,

      I think that’s why it has to be. If it doesn’t reach as far as KL, then we have nothing. It has to get dire, death has to be just horror. In order for Jon to do what looks like he’ll have to do, something maybe equally as horrific to stop the growth of death, it will have to be so much blood running in the snow.

      Once Jon made that KL comment about a million people, it was kind of solidified for me.

      Much more so (in my dreams!), wights have to invade Cersei, so she can yell, “burn them all, burn them all!” Again, dream!

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    51. 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


      Ygritte to Jon ” You are brave. Stupid, but brave”.

      Ygritte to Jon in every single episode they were together “you know nothing Jon Snow”

      The only reaction on the show to Jon’s resurrection “what kind of a God would have a pecker that small?”

      Daenerys to Tyrion ” He is too little for me”

      Jaime to Brienne ” You serve Sansa and her dolt brother”.

      I frankly don’t see anything heroic or dignified in these comments. Maybe he will never get kicked in the groin, but he has been verbally ridiculed more than any other main character.

      I don’t get the criticisms where the same people criticize Jon for fucking things up and then go on to pick on him for being too heroic. Shouldn’t these two criticisms be mutually exclusive? What is so heroic about having to constantly get saved on getting yourself into a pickle time and again?

      Putting aside whatever issues I have with the show’s portrayal of Jon, I think his one constant struggle throughout the show has been to choose between love and duty, contrasting Dany’s constant struggle between her fire and blood tendencies and her more admirable desires to bring about real change to people who need it. He can never have both, “love is the death of duty”. Jon, especially on the show, is an extremely emotional person, who like auntie Catelyn, time and again tends to make decisions with his heart instead of his head. Prior to resurrection, he was much more successful in putting his duty ahead of his personal feelings, he resisted his temptation to give up on the Night’s Watch to fight for/avenge his family, he even lied to Ygritte for months together, hiding his true loyalty to the Night’s Watch. But after his resurrection, he seems to let his emotions make his decisions for him. It was easy for him to turn his back on the Night’s Watch for his family, since they betrayed him, but since then he has had to make tougher decisions, which might not necessarily have been right. Like choosing to save Rickon over sticking to his battle plans, or pledging to Daenerys or losing his head on seeing Viserion being taken down. He had more of a reaction than Dany in that moment lol. Giving away the North to Dany, while it was a rational decision in some ways, since he saw that she would be the kind of ruler who cares about her people, was still informed by his personal feelings for her, and now his decision will seem like a betrayal of the North to his bannermen and maybe even Sansa. Hopefully his final struggle next season next season will also involve a struggle between his feelings and his duty.

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    52. mau,
      House Monty,

      Yes, it’s what Sunfire wrote: the Night King has a dragon, but Dany still has two, and it will be quite hard for him to throw javellines from the dragon back, not to mention that Drogon has learned to zig-zag etc. So, there are the following options:
      1) The Night King attacks WF with Viserion; Dany takes out Viserion at the cost of life of her dragons and probably her own; Jon-Aegon finishes the Night King on the ground. The problem with this scenario would be that all of that should happen by midseason and some three episodes would be left without a proper contents.
      2) The Night King uses his army to lay siege on WF blocking the armies of the living there and moves frorwards to KL to raise another bigger army there. Jaime arrives with reinforcements and lifts the siege. The living regroup and march to KL, beat the second army of the dead at the Trident and simultaneously organize incineration of KL with all the remaining dead. The problem with this scenario will be that Cersei will have to die too early and there won’t be any Clegainbowl, unless the Night King recruits the Frankenmountan. So, I would prefer the third option.
      3) The Night King attacks WF; Dany loses Rhaegal repelling the first attack, but manages to prevent its resurrection by burning its body and this way the air forces become 50/50. Neither of the sides want to risk their last ultimate weapon, so the dead lay siege, which gives us at least one episode for character development and personal interactions. Somewher around Ep 4 Jaime arrives with reinforcements; the living beat the dead; the Night King escapes on the dragon back, and everyone thinks that he returned to his liar in, but surprise – he pops up in KL. Cersei orders to burn the city hoping to escape with Euron but Euron kills her or leaves her behind – one way or another she dies. And then comes the final stand between the living and the dead, while Theon beats Euron. Most of the protagonists die, Tyrion and Sansa are left to clean the mess.
      Of course, it’s a very general outline, and there are many more twist to fit in: Melisandre has to come back to Westeros and die; Varys has to face his demise; Tycho Nestoris has to appear in at least two episodes, etc. But all these developments need time, so the war for dawn can’t be straightforward.

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    53. Flayed Potatoes:
      I’m willing to bet that “You don’t have to choose. You’re a Greyjoy and you’re a Stark” will be recycled next season and someone (hopefully Theon) will tell Jon the same thing (except replace Greyjoy with Targaryen).

      And I have to disagree about the show never depicting Jon as undignified and ridiculous. The writers love taking shots at him.

      NCW gets more handsome as he ages. rawr *runs away*

      At this point I would be shocked if someone or the other doesn’t come to Jon and say “you don’t have to choose Jon. You are a Stark. And you are a Targaryen” lol.

      For me Jaime has never looked hotter than in the scene where he finally abandons Cersei and rides north. Damn decisive Jaime is soo sexy!!

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    54. I have more than a few complaints about the second guessing.

      1. The whole incest thing. You are bringing in your values not those of the characters. Dany’s parents were brother and sister. That means Jon (Aegon) had brother sister grandparents on his father’s side. On his mother’s side, his grandparents were first cousins once removed.

      Chances are while Jon will be upset by the incest idea (foolishly, but remember that except for Ygritte, he is inexperienced) but Dany will be bothered more by the fact he has a stronger claim to the throne.

      2. The Littlefinger problem. We know that there was a scene cut that would have had Sansa going to Bran. But that would have ruined the surprise.

      3. Cersei was possibly being overly clever. If Jon and Dany beat the Nigh King, she will come after Cersei with the moral authority to win. If she has even one dragon, the mercenaries are not going to be real happy guys. A dragon could do a great deal of damage and they are fighting for money.

      Also Jaime might gather up some of the armies as he goes north. The leaders might not know he doe not have the authority. Also, I hope Bronn follows him because, well, Bronn is one of the few real fun characters left.

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    55. Thronetender:
      There were so many worthy moments in this episode, but Jaime riding calmly away from Kings Landing, with his new determination to do something right for once,was one I didn’t know I really cared about until it actually happened.

      Yes. I’ve been screaming at Jaime for three seasons about his need to walk away from Cersei. I began to doubt that it would ever happen. And then it did. He rode off with assurance and a sense of purpose as it began to snow. A satisfying scene!

      Now he has to head to WF with his Valyrian steel sword and alert our friends that assistance isn’t coming from the crown.

      Also Jaime might gather up some of the armies as he goes north. The leaders might not know he doe not have the authority.

      I was sort of thinking the same thing. Now that the “important Freys” are dead, what is left of their armies? We saw the soldiers at Riverrun lay down their arms. Can he still claim command over the Riverlands?

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    56. Sunfyre:

      Maybe Jaime could even pick up Edmure Tully on his way north.

      Yes – exactly what I was thinking. Edmure might be skeptical about following Jaime but hopefully their differences can be put aside fort he greater good. More troops are needed in the North.

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    57. Great discussion guys! A couple thoughts come to mind-

      I haven’t seen anyone else mention this as a favorite scene, but I think that mine from this episode was Sansa and Arya speaking on the parapets. After all this time, they finally got a chance to mourn a bit for their father. When they both said ‘I miss him’, there were some tears.

      Sort of ironic that Jon was so worried about the AotD getting south of the Wall, that he led a really dumb expedition that caused them to get SOUTH OF THE WALL!! Geez – I never will get over that plot line….
      (Though the NK did look very cool on his ride)

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    58. Great job guys!

      And like the others above me have said, I really looked forward to reading these every week and hope that you guys do this column again next year!

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    59. Jenn,

      I was having similar thoughts as well. I think we hear Arya and Sansa speaking about Ned more than Cat because we the viewers saw scenes with the three of them together. Cat seemed to come up whenever Brienne or Littlefinger were part of Arya or Sansa scenes.

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    60. I thought perhaps the undead giants could have carried the chains from Hardhome (perhaps wrapping them round their middles though that wasn’t shown on the show I’ll concede).

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    61. Hodor Targaryen,

      I came here to say this, but you already encapsulated my thoughts exactly. I actually thought the Arya/Sansa conflict felt organic (at the beginning). Two sisters that already butted heads as children are reuniting after years of trauma and formative experiences. It made sense that they clashed at the beginning, as they weren’t properly communicating.

      I thought the dagger scene in episode 6 was horrendous, however. Nothing has happened since the first scene, yet Arya has inexplicably gone from irritated with Sansa to outright threatening Sansa. I think it was out of character and came from D&D valuing the shock of the trial scene in episode 7 over character.

      Instead of the horrid dagger scene, I truly wish that we had gotten a scene of Arya, Bran, and Sansa discussing all they’ve been through. I think the brilliance of the trial scene would have still been intact. Littlefinger’s shock at the turn of events would have been satisfying enough; the audience didn’t need to be shocked too.

      Overall, I did like the Winterfell storyline, although with a little more attention to character instead of shock, I think this storyline would have been truly stunning.

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    62. Cersei’s Brain,

      I too loved the Stark sisters on the battlements. Arya got to repeat what Ned told her in S1e3 (ie “in the winter, we must look out for one another”) followed by Sansa’s recital – attributed to Ned – that the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.

      But most of all, I liked the words of reconciliation, with a touch of humor:

      Sansa: You’re the strongest person I know.

      Arya: I believe that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.

      Sansa: Well, don’t get used to it. You’re still very strange and annoying.

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    63. ramses,

      I recall S1 scenes between Ned & Arya and between Ned & Arya + Sansa. However, I don’t recall any scenes between Catelyn and either one of her daughters (other than introducing Sansa to Cersei at the banquet, and motioning for Robb to put Arya to bed after she starts spoon-flinging food at Sansa 🥄🍛)

      Did I miss anything?

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    64. Once they leave for KL, Arya and Sansa are only with Ned.

      Cat stood vigil over a unconscious Bran, but after that I think Robb is the only one of her children she directly interacts with.
      We see Cat either worrying about her children privately or actively enlisting the help of others to ensure her children’s safety.
      When Cat is discussed by one of her remaining children they’re usually talking to a character we saw her interact with in earlier seasons; Brienne and Littlefinger.
      Jamie might discuss Cat with her kids next season, if everyone can move past his prior bad deeds.

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    65. I’m a little late reading this, but still wanted to comment to thank Petra and Luka for another terrific discussion. You both make very good and very well thought out points. I look forward to your off-season discussions and, eventually, your season eight thoughts.

      Great job all season guys! Thanks!

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    66. They’ve got us to think WF will be attacked / fall before KL, but I think the opposite will happen (NK attacks / largely destroys the RK with his Ice Dragon while most of his opponents are in the North). This has also been foreshadowed in Dany’s HoTU visions, where she discovers the RK in ruins (i.e. finding that what she fought so long for, the Iron Throne, has possibly been destroyed).

      Then, as others as suggested, the final battle with be at WF, and the name doesn’t mean a fell in winter, but literally means Winter Fell. Mel and Varys and magic will somehow be involved in destroying the NK. Jon will probably die, her dragons too, leaving Dany as the ruler of nothing much worth living for (because all she loved has died).

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    67. ramses,

      I think Jaine will confess his defenestration of Bran, who wilk reply: “That’s okay. I was destined to become paralyzed so I could fry Wylis’s brain and become the Three-Eyed Raven. And by the way, you looked beautiful boinking your sister.”

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    68. Hello everybody!

      Sorry for showing up so late to my favorite weekly conversation. I was travelling and had limited access to Internet, it was a pain not to be able to interact sooner.

      As so many others before me: Petra and Luka, thanks! These conversations are great, and I look forward to the next ones. I love that by the time they roll out we have had time to digest and think about want transpire from the episodes, so the thread becomes such an interesting read. Letting things simmer and sink in for a while allows us to delve into some of the nuances and political implications of the story (which is why I love books and show so much).

      This week I totally agree with your assessment. I’m happy with the way the season ended. I don’t expect to be shocked so often as we get to know the characters much better. But as you did, I liked that even when I expected some outcome it was done in a way that still had bits and twists that surprised me.

      Regarding the Winterfell scenes, last week I said that I felt the ball was on Sansa’s side, and I still think that is how it went through: she resolved things during the episode. She did not trust LF, but at the same time she was conflicted with Arya. I think that things clicked in in Sansa’s head during the first scene with him, when LF suggested that Arya might be doing whatever she’s doing to be the lady of Winterfell. Sansa knows Arya is so dangerous, that if she wanted to get rid of her, she would have done it already. Plus she knows what Arya really wanted to be is a knight, so by pushing the idea, LF went too far.

      From that first scene I think there is information that will come to play later on (that is, LF’s words will continue to play in the story): first, his advice about considering the worst possible scenario (amazingly, at a work meeting last Wednesday someone cited this advise); and second I am sure Sansa will have something to say about Jon’s kneeling to Dany, specially after LF planted the idea that a political marriage made a lot of sense, and that would undermine Sansa’s power because she would be sharing Jon’s ear with someone else.


      Not just the episode, but the season.Last year when we heard the spoiler of a Euron ambush and either Theon or Yara being captured, my guess as to what happens after that has been correct so far.The remainder of it of course involves Theon somehow “killing Euron and rescuing Yara to fully redeem himself as a Greyjoy, and as a man.”I believe that’s how I worded it at the time.I did expect it to be resolved by the end of the season though.I didn’t think that side story would be carried over so they’d have to worm it in with all of the major stuff happening. *shrug*.

      Regarding Theon, I loved the throne room scene! However I think his role at this stage is not going to be only of redemption (saving Yara and killing Euron). I think it will be the chance to redeem himself with the Starks because he will know that Euron did not go back home to wait out the outcome of the battle between the dead and the living. To me this could be a chance for him to send Jon or Sansa the raven he did not send Robb back in season 2. We’ll see…

      Finally, I would like to know your thoughts on Tyrion’s look at the end. At the moment I didn’t get it because Tyrion had discussed political marriage with Dany last season and he even pointed out to Dany that Jon had eyes and feelings for her in this very episode. So I don’t think this would surprise or upset him. Other people have said that Tyrion may feel his power over Dany will diminish as she will be listening to Jon instead of him. There might be something to this effect, but then, Jon also listens to Tyrion. He respects him, and he has backed up Tyrion’s arguments in the past (when she wanted to roast King’s Landing and with the plan to go North and bring back a wight). I think Jon would be a mediator between Dany and Tyrion when she gets into her fire and blood mood.

      So, my take on this is that Tyrion might have negotiated with Cersei something about the succession to the throne, since Dany says that she’s barren. Something along the lines of “if you win, your son or daughter will rule, but if you lose, I’ll make sure your son or daughter remains linked to the Iron Throne. Jon’s intromission become’s a problem for Tyrion (yet another plan with holes on it) because Jon comes with a big family and lots of allies with their own agendas, plus Dany might get pregnant, and that could affect any future alliances.

      I don’t know, I’m still puzzled by that look.

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    69. I thought one of the most telling moments in the episode was when the wight came at Cersei and no one came to her aid. Was this intentional?

        Quote  Reply

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