Archive for April, 2019

Game of Thrones, Season 7, Ep 7 “The Dragon and The Wolf”

Monday, 22 April, 2019

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

King’s Landing: Daenerys’s group arrive in the city, although without Daenerys herself. Jon, Missandei, Tyrion, Davos, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, and some Dothraki guards are escorted to a meeting place outside King’s Landing, in the ruins of a sort of arena. We learn from conversation that this structure used to be used to contain dragons. The Targaryens conquered Westeros with dragons, but once they had secured the land, they needed to keep a rein on the dragons, so they caged them. Over time the dragons dwindled in size and power, as evidenced by a small dog-sized skull that Tyrion picks up, until eventually they died out.

They take seats on a stage in the middle of the arena. Shortly after, Cersei and her entourage approach, with Jaime, Euron, Qyburn, and Gregor “The Six Million Dollar Mountain” Clegane. Sandor walks up to his brother and looks through the slitted helmet into his red eyes. Sandor asks what they’ve done to him, but Gregor is silent. Sandor tells Gregor that he’s always known who will come after him, and now he’s here. Sandor returns to his side of the podium.

Cersei wonders where Daenerys is. There is a flutter of wings and Drogon appears, flying above the arean, He descends and lands on the wall, crushing some of its rocks. Daenerys climbs down and walks over nonchalantly to take her seat as Drogon departs. Cersei is momentarily surprised, but quickly regains her composure. She says, “We’ve been waiting for you for some time.” Daenerys simply says, “My apologies.”

They get down to business. Jon tells Cersei about the army of the dead marching south, and says their struggles to control Westeros are pointless in the face of their mutual enemy. Cersei is cynical, saying that it’s a trick to get her to move her armies away from King’s Landing so the others can strike. She says there’s no such thing as White Walkers. Jon nods to Sandor, who departs down a set of stairs in the middle of the podium. He returns with a crate on his back and drops it onto the stage. Cersei regards this curiously.

Sandor opens the box and the skeletal zombie charges straight at Cersei with lightning speed! It seems to be unrestrained and it looks for a second as though it might reach her and rip her to pieces. But just before reaching Cersei, it is jerked back by a chain. It grasps for her, screaming horribly and clearly showing its monstrous nature. Cersei recoils in shock. Jon and Sandor walk up and hack the zombie to pieces, but each piece still moves and attempts to crawl towards Cersei. Qyburn picks up a dismembered forearm, with the hand still grasping, and regards it with intense curiosity. Jon grabs the arm and says, “They can be killed by fire,” as he sets fire to it. “Or by dragonglass,” as he stabs the upper torso of the zombie with a dragonglass dagger, destroying it.


Game of Thrones, Season 7, Ep 6 “Beyond the Wall”

Wednesday, 17 April, 2019

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

North of The Wall: The party trudges north through the snowy landscape. Who knows where they are going or what their plan is to capture a White Walker if/when they found some? Present: Jon, Jorah, Gendry, Sandor “The Hound”, Tormund, Beric, Beric’s priest who keeps bringing him back from the dead, and a few other random wildlings. Gendry complains about the cold, saying he’s never seen snow before. Tormund tells Gendry he’s weak, and that he himself comes from the cold North, but was fine when he visited the South. Gendry asks where in the South Tormund has been, and Tormund replies, “Winterfell”. Gendry chokes on his laughter as he says Winterfell is actually still in the North.

At a rest stop, Jon talks to Jorah about Jorah’s father, Lord Commander Mormont. Jon says Mormont gave him his sword, Longclaw, and had the hilt changed from a bear to a wolf for Jon. Jon offers it to Jorah, saying it’s his family heirloom, but Jorah declines the offer, saying his father gave it to Jon, so it’s his now. Jon also talks to Beric about what the Lord of Light wants for them, having saved both of them from death. Beric, as usual, says he has no idea why, but obviously it’s for some reason. Beric points out that a lot of men have died and had their loyal followers die because they were too proud to submit to someone’s authority – an obvious reference to Jon refusing to swear allegiance to Daenerys. Jon considers this.

Walking again through a foggy snow, they spot a large bear in the distance. The bear senses them and charges. Someone yells, “Do bears have blue eyes??” And then it’s on them, an undead zombie bear! Beric and his priest draw magical flaming swords as they and the rest of them fight it off. Eventually the bear is dead and burning, but Beric’s priest is wounded. Beric gives him a big slug of booze from a skin and then uses his flaming sword to cauterise the wounds.

They continue on in their impossible quest to find a small enough group of White Walkers that they can capture one without being slaughtered. Lo, they stumble across a small group walking through a defile, where they can ambush them! About ten of them – a perfect match for the party. They charge and initiate combat. The fight is short, as Jon slashes the leader with his sword and shatters it, which instantly makes a bunch of the zombies collapse dead, but conveniently leaves one of them still very much undead and struggling. The men jump on it and tie it up with ropes and stick a sack over its head. Someone asks why most of the zombies died when the leader was killed, except for the one they captured. Jon says, “I dunno, maybe he was the one who animated all of those ones, but not the last one.” Fair enough, I guess.

The problem is this small group wasn’t far from the entire White Walker army, and the struggling and groaning from the one they captured makes a noise which attracts their attention. Soon they hear the sounds of millions of zombie feet racing across the ice towards them. Jon tells Gendry to run for Eastwatch, tell them what’s happened, and send a raven to Daenerys. Gendry is reluctant to go, but Jon says he’s the fastest. Gendry turns to go, but Sandor grabs his giant hammer and tells him he’ll be faster without it. Gendry releases the hammer and tears off into the snow.

The zombie army approaches and the rest of the man, dragging their captive, race across a flat area of snow, but stop suddenly when they realise they’ve run onto a frozen lake, and the ice is cracking around them. The White Walkers keep coming, heedless of any danger. With no choice, the men start running again, heading to an outcrop of rock in the middle of the lake. As they retreat, Sandor hits the ice behind him with Gendry’s hammer, cracking it, and the front lines of the zombie army fall into the water. More ranks of zombies fall mindlessly into the water, before they realise the danger and halt on the far side of the gap. The men are stranded on the small island in the middle of the lake, surrounded by a ring of open water and then the White Walker army.


Game of Thrones, Season 7, Ep 5 “Eastwatch”

Tuesday, 16 April, 2019

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Outside King’s Landing: It seems Jaime isn’t dead after all. Bronn drags him out of the river, some way downstream – far enough away that Daenerys and Drogon don’t instantly see them and turn them into charcoal. Jaime is well and truly boggled by the dragon though. He says one dragon is bad enough, but by all accounts Daenerys has three of them. They stagger off towards King’s Landing, downcast and beaten.

Daenerys meanwhile has captured a bunch of the Lannister army. She offers them the choice of joining her or dying. A few of the men band the knee, but about half stand defiantly. Randyll Tarly speaks up and says he will never betray the Lannisters. His son Dickon joins him. Tyrion obviously doesn’t want unnecessary bloodshed, and argues that they should be sent to Castle Black to serve in the Night’s Watch – after all, they need strong men there. But Daenerys shows no mercy and has Drogon incinerate the Tarlys. This encourages all of the remaining men to quickly get on their knees and pledge allegiance to Daenerys.

Honestly, can you really trust someone who pledges allegiance under duress of being burnt alive, since they’ve already demonstrated that their previous pledge (to the Lannisters) was only temporary? It may have been smarter to just burn the lot of them. I guess we’ll see.


Game of Thrones, Season 7, Ep 4 “The Spoils of War”

Sunday, 7 April, 2019

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Outside Highgarden: The Lannister army sets up a caravan to head back to King’s Landing, escorting a wagon full of gold plundered from Highgarden. Jaime gives Bronn a satchel of gold coins, presumably in payment for his services in the battle. Bronn is however unimpressed, and says he was promised a castle. Jaime says they don’t have a castle, but Bronn says “that one there will do”, pointing at Highgarden. Jaime tells Bronn that he doesn’t want Highgarden – it’s too difficult to defend, but Bronn seems to think he’ll be fine. Jaime changes tack and says that Bronn can have his pick of castles once the war’s won, but for now his service is still required. Bronn sulks but takes his place in the caravan.

Bronn talks to Randyll Tarly’s son, calling him “Rickon”, which the guy has to correct to “Dickon”. This guy must be Sam’s brother then? Anyway, Dickon is barrel-chested but apparently untested in true battle. He confesses to being disturbed by the battle at Highgarden, particularly the awful smells. Bronn says he got used to that at the age of five.

King’s Landing: The banker from the Iron Bank of Braavos is impressed with Cersei’s ability to pay off the Lannister loan in full, saying he will miss the interest payments. At first I think this must be happening later, after the gold has been delivered, but then he says something about feeling more comfortable once the gold has arrived. Anyway, now rather than threatening to fund Daenerys and her armies from the Iron Bank, he makes an offer to fund more armies for Cersei – which will conveniently put her back into debt with the bank. A true banker if ever I saw one.

So, will Cersei go for this? More forces are always useful. And may come in even more useful following events later in this episode.


Game of Thrones, Season 7, Ep 3 “The Queen’s Justice”

Friday, 5 April, 2019

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Dragonstone: A boat reaches shore and men step out. It’s Jon and Davos and a retinue of guards. Tyrion and Missandei and some Dothraki are there to meet them.

Tyrion: “The Bastard of Winterfell.”

Jon: “The Dwarf of Casterly Rock.”

Then they shake hands and reminisce about the last time they saw one another, atop The Wall (way back in season 1, episode 3). Missandei asks the visitors to hand over their weapons, which Jon agrees to, after a second of consideration. His guards are obviously not too happy about handing their swords over to the Dothraki who collect them.

As they set off to the keep, Davos asks Missandei where she’s from, as he can’t place her accent. She says she’s from Naath. Davos knows it’s a land of palm trees and sunshine, but has not visited it, alas – not yet. He comments to Jon that a lot has changed at Dragonstone since he was last here (with Stannis).

The scene cuts to Varys standing atop a high cliff overlooking the group, with Melisandre. He asks why she isn’t down there meeting Jon. She says they parted on unpleasant terms, and that she intends to leave and head back across the sea away from Westeros. Varys says in a very sinister way that that’s good, because if she ever returns to Westeros she could be in grave danger. She says, oh, she will return, because it’s her fate to die in Westeros, as is Varys’s. He looks slightly taken aback, as one does when a seer predicts one’s death.

The group down on the beach walks across a narrow fortified path spanning an isthmus between two parts of the island, with Tyrion and Jon filling each other in a bit about what they’ve been up to, although both their stories are too long to tell in full.

In the throne room, Daenerys asks Jon to bend the knee in loyalty to cement an alliance. Jon refuses, saying the threat from the White Walkers in the north is too great to spend time pledging his army to a war in the south. There’s also some discussion of oaths of loyalty – a Stark ancestor pledged allegiance to her ancestor “forever”. Jon counters that Daenerys’s father, the Mad King, was evil and betrayed everyone. Daenerys says people shouldn’t be held responsible for the actions of their ancestors – which she doesn’t realise resonates with Jon, because that’s exactly what he said when he pardoned the children of the disloyal Umbers and Karstarks and episode or two ago. Jon agrees, but still refuses to bow down, because of the threat to the north. Daenerys obviously doesn’t even believe him that White Walkers exist, and Tyrion is also sceptical (which we saw him say explicitly back in season 1).