Please note: there are FULL spoilers for the sixth episode of season 7, as well as all preceding episodes.
Our suicide squad is trekking north Beyond the Wall (get it? It’s the episode title. Very clever.) and making friends with each other. Gendry is having a hard time forgiving Beric and Thoros, but The Hound helps him realise there are bigger problems to worry about. Jon and Jorah discuss Jon’s sword, Longclaw, which was originally a gift to Jon from Jorah’s father, Jeor. Jorah concedes he was not worthy to have the sword, and tells Jon that Jeor gave it to Jon for a reason.
In Winterfell, Arya recounts to Sansa the time she trained with Bran’s bow and arrow, and their father’s approval at catching her. Arya reads aloud the note Sansa wrote – under duress from Cersei and the Lannisters – to Robb, telling Robb to swear loyalty to Joffrey. Sansa is worried Arya could use it for her own gain, but Arya is as yet undecided on what to do with it.
Beyond the Wall, the Wight Hunters continue their journey. Tormund and The Hound exchange not-so-pleasantries about The Hounds past, and hatred of fire. Tormun is still hung up on Brienne, a foe The Hound knows all too well. Jon and Beric discuss Eddard Stark, and Beric recalls the time he was sent to bring justice to Gregor Clegane, The Mountain, resulting in his first death. Soon after, the Hunting Party are surprised by an undead polar bear, which kills several of their crew and vicously mauls Thoros as The Hound is paralyzed by fear of its flaming body.
In Dragonstone, Dany tells Tyrion she is not thrilled at Jon Snow playing the hero, like Drogo, Jorah and Daario before him. Tyrion notes that all the men she lists have loved her at one point, and Dany expresses disbelief that Jon feels the same, saying that Jon is too little for her. Dany asks Tyrion what she must do when she comes face to face with Tyrion’s sister, Cersei, and Tyrion says she must be ready for everything, and will have two armies and three dragons at her side. Tyrion mentions that burning the Tarlys, Randyll and Dickon, may not have been the best way to start her time on the Westeros continent, but Dany takes his concern as pity on his family. The two argue about what would have happened if Dany had been killed in battle, but Dany says that it is Tyrion’s fault they lost Dorne and Highgarden as allies.
In Winterfell, Sansa confides in Littlefinger that Arya has the note, unbeknownst to her that it was Littlefinger who tricked Arya into finding it. Littlefinger not-so-subtly hints that Brienne would be forced to protect Sansa, using any means necessary, if they believed that someone was planning on endangering her. Sansa receives a raven from none other than Cersei Lannister, inviting her and Jon to King’s Landing to meet face to face. Sansa tells Brienne to go in her place, but Brienne is not comfortable leaving Sansa alone in Winterfell with Littlefinger. In Dragonstone, Dany receives the raven and flies North with all three dragons by her side, despite Tyrion’s objections.
Beyond the Wall, the boys crack a few cold ones – cold ones meaning zombie skulls. As Jon slays the leader of a small band of undead, all but one of the remaining crumble into dust as well: they discover that killing one will also kill any whom it raised as undead. They capture the remaining wight but are soon set upon by the remainder of the undead legion. Jon sends Gendry back to Eastwatch to call for aid from Dany, and Gendry departs. The remainder of the heroes flee across a frozen lake to a small outcrop of rocks, as the undead halt their advance at risk of falling through the ice.
Some days later, Thoros has died from his wounds, and Jon snow suggests they burn his body. The Hound throws a stone at a wight and destroys a chunk of its face, but it keeps silent watch. When The Hound throws a larger stone, it does not make the distance, and skids to a halt, which the undead realise means they can walk across the now-solid ice. A huge battle ensues, with Tormun, Jorah and the Hound almost being overwhelmed.
Just in time, Daenerys, and her dragons, swoop in to save the day, with breath of fire leaving a path of destruction, fire and properly dead wights in their wake. All seems well until the Night King draws back a spear, and let’s loose, and it pierces the side of Viserion, and the dragon falls to the ground, dead, and slips into an icy lake. Daenerys and the Hunting party, minus Jon, depart on the back of Daenery’s remaining dragons, believing Jon to be lost in the commotion.
Jon is alive, however, and fights off a remaining few wights before none other than Benjen Stark arrives and helps Jon, much like Benjen helped Bran however long ago. Jon takes Benjen’s horse and rides back to Eastwatch, and Benjen is overcome and killed by the White Walkers. Jon arrives just in time to Eastwatch, and has his armour removed in an attempt to warm up on the return to Dragonstone, where Dany notices the knife wounds in Jon’s torso, from the mutiny at Castle Black.
In Winterfell, Sansa is going through Arya’s belongings when she finds Arya’s faces in a bag, including that of Walder Frey. Arya recounts the life she has led until that moment, and the hardships she has endures, as she delivers some veiled threats to Sansa, before suddenly changing her demeanour and giving Sansa the catpaw dagger.
On the ship back to Dragonstone, Jon awakens, and tells Dany, who has been sitting by his bed side, he is sorry for the loss of Viserion. The two share a tender moment, and Dany promises that she will aid Jon in the war with the White Walkers. Jon, in return, promises to bend the knee, and declare Daenerys his Queen.
Beyond the wall, in the aftermath of the battle fought, the White Walkers drag Viserion’s corpse from the lake. The Night King walks forth and touches it, and Viserion reawakens with bright blue eyes.
+ RIP in peace, Viserion. You shall be missed. But not too much, I guess, because I feel like we are going to see the Night King with a sweet new ride in the next episode
+ so it seems that the White Walkers are like zombies crossed with vampires. They were either eating or just ripping apart their prey (zombies), but at the same time killing the one who turned (sired) them kills it’s underlings (like vampires). It’s also not entirely clear if they are all magic or not – meaning, can they move without muscles? Some of the ones we saw were certainly skeletons at best
+ I was certain that at least one of Gendry, Jorah or Tormund were going to be killed off in this episode, so imagine my relief when the polar bear mauled Thoros (and he later kicked the bucket), and Jon sent Gendry back to Eastwatch. I was sure the opening scene between Jon and Jorah was so Jorah could be killed properly later
– once again, the issue of travel creates some frustrating plot notes. The time between Jon sending Gendry back to Eastwatch to Daenerys arriving to save the day had to be days, if not weeks (add together Gendry’s travel time, the raven prep and arrival, Dany’s prep and then arrival, too). I understand the heroes may have realised they could use Beric’s sword for warmth, but it was still too condensed for my liking
– Dany — shock horror, contain yourselves please — came across really unlikable, once again, as Tyrion tried to help her plan for the future. Obviously she wants to be the Queen, but god forbid there be a backup plan for if things should go wrong. It is hardly Tyrion’s fault that Euron can teleport to wherever Dany’s navy happens to be
– nothing annoys me more than the phrase “no, there’s no time”. In the time it took Benjen to say that, he could have got ont he damned horse with Jon and got the hell out of there. Jon not just getting on the dragon was just as bad, as he did exactly what Dany said he would do earlier: be the hero, do something stupid and get himself killed
– why didn’t Dany and the Dragons (btw, great ska band name) just burn the Night King and his Four Horsemen (btw, great black metal band name). I understand saving the heroes from the larger army, but once they were done the dragons could have maybe taken out the REAL threat as they departed
– I’m not sure what her endgame is, but Arya looks like a fool for taking that note from Sansa at face value, especially since Joffrey’s cuntish behaviour has come to be public knowledge. The final scene where she and Sansa talked about the faces had her come across as the biggest threat in Winterfell – surely she should know Littlefinger is playing them against each other. This might, of course, be some long con that we the viewers don’t know about yet
– we saw nothing from Cersei or Jamie at King’s Landing; Theon, Missandei or Varys at Dragonstone; and nothing from Euron, wherever in the world he has teleported to this week. I understand Game of Thrones penultimate season episodes are these big spectacles, but they are usually important for the whole continent, not just one person
> Instead of Benjen saving the day, my viewing partner and I were sure that Dany’s other dragon (whichever it was) wold come back to save Jon, further cementing his Targareyan lineage.
> Was Missandei off filming Fast and Furious 8 at this point? I can’t figure out where she is.
Final thoughts: Aside from the one major, maximum hype moment, not much in this episode did it for me. I was more confused than anything at the way Arya and Sansa were at each other’s throats, and we didn’t get anything from Cersei or Jamie, Euron or the other major Dragonstone players. Maybe my own head-fan-fiction is just better than what we’re getting, but I feel like this show is just ‘missed opportunities’ at this point. Oh well, last episode next week and then I don’t have to worry about it for another year.