I’m a weak man, what can I say? The moment news broke that HBO had accidentally aired Game of Thrones Season Seven, Episode 6 on Spanish HBO — seriously, what’s the punishment for the CEO of HBO Spain, he has to get Nedd Stark’ed in the HBO parking lot, right? — I had to watch.
So I watched on my phone Wednesday afternoon and then watched again on Sunday night just to be sure of what I’d seen.
Because this was a flat out incredible episode of television, right up there with among the greatest Game of Thrones episodes to ever air, I couldn’t wait to watch it on HD on a large screen. After years of Arya and The Mountain trudging down the road and ending up nowhere, now we’re suddenly to the point where an entire trip north of the wall that ends in a huge battle with the white walkers can be summed up in a single episode.
It’s insanity, I feel like we’ve moved from this show walking in quicksand to suddenly being on one of those moving walkways at the airport.
With that in mind, here we go. (I’ve linked the live reaction show up top here, you guys can watch that as well).
1. Episode six opens with our group of seven guys that we know and five more guys we don’t know north of the wall.
The seven guys we know led by Jon Snow, includes Tormund, the Hound, Gendry, Jorah, Beric Dondarrion, the guy who has died six times, and Thoros of Myr, a priest and follower of the lord of light. Plus four or five more guys that no one knows who it seems highly likely will die.
Tormund is discussing with Jon Snow the fact that Manse Rader never bent the knee. “How many of his people died for his pride?” Tormund asks.
Meanwhile, The Hound is telling Gendry to quit being a pussy.
“Your lips are moving and you’re complaining about something, that’s wingeing, this one’s been killed six times you don’t here him bitching about it,” the Hound says.
Jorah and Jon talk about how their fathers died and Jon attempts to give Jorah his father’s sword, Longclaw, back. (You’ll recall that Jorah’s father was the former head of the Night’s Watch, killed at Craster’s Keep.) But Jorah won’t take the sword because he shamed his father and his family. (Jorah sold poachers into slavery, which was forbidden in Westeros, and he had to flee the Seven Kingdoms to retain his life.) Jorah passes the sword back to Jon: “It’s yours. May it serve you well. Get children after you,” he says. (This is an important moment because we know if Jon ends up with Daenerys that unless Jon has magic sperm, it’s impossible for the two of them to create any heirs).
2. Arya and Sansa’s drama continues in Winterfell.
Arya talks about shooting arrow after arrow until she finally hits a bulls eye and how her dad was watching and clapped when she finally hit the target.
“Now he’s dead. Killed by the Lannister’s with your help,” Arya says.
Arya shows Sansa the message sent by the raven, the one Little Finger ensured she found. “That’s your pretty handwriting.” Then she reads the message out loud, with Sansa requesting that Robb bend the knee to King Joffrey.
“They forced me to do it,” says Sansa.
Arya says she watched Nedd be decapitated.
“I didn’t betray our entire family for my beloved Joffrey,” Arya fires back.
Sansa says the Knights of the Vale won the battle and won Winterfell so she’s the reason the Starks have control of the castle again. “You never would have survived what I survived,” says Sansa.
“I guess we’ll never know,” Arya says.
Arya then notes Sansa is afraid of the northern people finding out about the message she wrote.
This is a powerful scene, but I can’t help believing Arya has regressed to a child-like state. She was capable of killing people easily before she reached Winterfell, one of the most dangerous assassins in the kingdom, and now she seems downright incompetent. Why can’t she tell what Little Finger is doing here?
3. Tormund and the Hound have an incredible conversation as they walk in the snow north of the wall.
Spoiler alert: they aren’t getting along well.
“I don’t give two shits about wildlings, gingers I hate,” says The Hound. “They are touched by fire, just like you.”
“You want to suck my dick, is that it?” asks the Hound.
Meanwhile, Tormund confesses his love for Lady Brienne. “Nope, it’s pussy for me. I have a beauty waiting for me in Winterfell.” Tormund says, describing Lady Brienne.
“You’re with Brienne of Fucking Tarth?” asks the Hound.
“I want to make babies with her, great big monsters to conquer the world,” Tormund says. (This season in particular has featured a kind of meta show, whether it’s Gendry joking about still rowing, Jon Snow’s height being mocked, or the Tormund Brienne love affair. The writers are winking and nodding at the writers writing about the show. The show is a meta-commentary on the show itself.)
Jon Snow and the guy who has been killed six times and come back to life each time, Beric Dondarrion converse about their purpose in life.
“Death is the enemy. The first enemy and the last…the enemy always wins and we still need to fight him. That’s all I know…we can defend those who can’t defend themselves,” Beric says.
One point here, remember how Beric said every time he’s brought back to life things are a bit different? We haven’t gotten any indication at all what those differences are and whether that’s the case for Jon Snow too. So far he seems the exact same. But could we be building towards some form of revelation on this too?
At this point in time I just have to say, the writing on this episode is flat out phenomenal. The collection of talent on this expedition is also sterling and everything is pitch perfect.
The scene ends as the Hound looks ahead and says that’s the mountain he saw in his vision as he stared into the fire.
4. Daenerys and Tyrion chat in front of a fire.
Daenerys is complaining about heroes: “Heroes do stupid things and they die…they all try to outdo each other. Who can do the stupidest, bravest thing?”
Tyrion suggests all these heroes have fallen in love with Daenerys, including Jon Snow.
“He’s too little for me,” she says. Then she apologizes to Tyrion for the comment. (More meta jokes, this time about Jon Snow’s height, which has become an Internet meme).
Tyrion says: “Fear makes powerful people brittle because everyone beneath them longs to see them dead.”
Tyrion lectures Daenerys about her decision to burn the Tarley’s to death and wants to know who will succeed Daenerys on the throne in the event she dies. It does not go well. “We will discuss the succession after I wear the crown,” she says.
5. A white walking bear with blue eyes takes out someone in the party of 12 — a guy we don’t know very well is dead.
At this point things get wild and I can’t even tell exactly what’s going on, but I think the bear gets three members of the crew, none of whom we know.
The bear is on fire and the Hound — having a flashback to when he was burned as a child, perhaps? — is unable to fight the Fire Bear.
Did I mention there is a A FIRE WHITE WALKING BEAR?
This is the most gruesome bear attack since The Revenant.
Thoros of Myr is in trouble here after being clawed to pieces thanks to the Hound’s inability to kill the fire bear.
6. Sansa and Little Finger discuss how Arya got the letter.
Of course we all know she got the letter because Little Finger wanted her to get the letter, but he claims not to know how she got it.
Little Finger wants Lady Brienne involved to mediate the dispute between the two sisters, but I have to be honest, I still have no idea what’s taking place here.
It seems clear everything is building towards Arya killing Little Finger, right? But what is Little Finger’s play?
7. A group of white walkers out on expedition — where are they going? — are attacked by Jon Snow and his team and they capture one.
Jon Snow slays the leader and all of them collapse, but one white walker.
They tie up their captive and then…HOLY FUCK.
Before they are trapped Jon Snow sends Gendry off running for the Castle to send a raven to Daenerys. Gendry runs as hard and fast as he can and then collapses near the gate. He sends a raven to Daenerys.
The entire white walker army is on their heels and everyone is running for their lives across a frozen lake and the group finds themselves on a rock trapped in the middle of the of a lake as the ice breaks around them, protecting them, for the moment, from the white walkers ringing their rock.
The overhead shot of this scene is incredible.
Several questions here, why didn’t they just all run like Gendry? This motherfucker’s been rowing for three years and he’s as fast as Usain Bolt? Why are the white walkers so fast when they chase humans, but otherwise move at a glacial pace? And how long will it take for the raven to fly to Daenerys and then for Daenerys to fly to the ice lake?
Anyway, back on the lake, the remaining members of the white walker expedition are trapped and in trouble.
Honestly, this is an incredible scene. The only thing that saves them is that the ice isn’t thick enough for the white walkers to continue after them. The white walkers don’t seem to be capable of crossing water unless it’s frozen. So why not dig a huge trench of water and never allow it to freeze across? Who needs a wall, wouldn’t that protect them from the white walkers in the South?
Related: is the reason the white walkers haven’t been making very much progress because it’s not cold enough for them to travel beneath the wall yet?
Day is vanishing and everyone on the rock faces a Long Night indeed.
But Gendry has made it to the wall.
8. The next morning — is it just one day? — Thoros of Myr dies and they burn him to death with Beric’s fire sword to avoid him becoming a member of the white walker army.
Now there are only seven people remaining in the group.
Jon theorizes on why so many of the white walkers died when he killed the one leader.
“Maybe he was the one who turned them,” Jon Snow says.
“Daenerys is our only chance,” Jon Snow says.
“No, there’s another, kill him, he turned them all,” Beric says, pointing to the Night King.
Which means that, in theory, eventually Jon Snow or someone else will have to fight the Night King and vanquish him to kill the army.
By the way, Jason Martin, who writes about TV for Outkick and works as the producer on our radio show, has a theory that ultimately Jon Snow will become the new Night King. He refuses to believe this show could have anything approaching a happy ending.
That’s a pretty fascinating theory.
Meanwhile, Beric refuses to believe this can be the end because why would he and Jon Snow have been saved to die like this? Did the Lord of Light save them to fight the Night King? Will Daenerys come on a dragon? We’re left on pins and needles here.
“Every lord I’ve ever met’s been a cunt, I don’t see why the Lord of Light should be any different,” The Hound says.
9. Sansa receives an invitation to King’s Landing to meet Cersei.
She tells Lady Brienne to go in her stead. But Lady Brienne says it’s not safe with Little Finger left behind.
Sansa says she will not go see Queen Cersei.
Thus far, every time a Stark has abandoned Winterfell to travel south in the direction of King’s Landing, they’ve all died. So maybe Sansa is making the smart decision.
10. Daenerys receives the raven from Gendry, begging for help for Jon Snow.
Leaving us with a big question, how does the raven get to Daenerys so quickly? And how many ravens do they send? How are ravens so reliable in a kingdom where nothing else is?
Tyrion advises Daenerys not to go. “If you die, we’re all lost, everyone, everything.”
“I’m not doing nothing again,” says Daenerys as she climbs aboard Drogon.
This time Daenerys takes all three dragons with her. Which raises the question, why did she only take one dragon to fight the Lannisters, but she takes three dragons to go save Jon?
I’m willing to suspend my disbelief on the distance she has to travel with her dragon, but doesn’t it seem incredible that a raven can reach her at Dragon Stone and she can fly up there on her dragon all while Jon Snow and his compatriots are still on a rock in the middle of an icy lake? This can all happen in one day?
How fast do the ravens fly in Westeros, warp speed? Look, I’m willing to believe in magical realism, but I’m not willing to believe in pure magic.
11. Back on the frozen rock island in the center of the lake the Hound is throwing rocks at the white walkers and insulting them.
This seems like a very bad decision.
And it’s proven to be one when his second thrown rock falls short — The Hound’s like the Chad Pennington of Westeros, he’s got no arm strength — and the White Walkers realize the ice has refrozen and begin their advance once more.
The attack is on and Jon Snow is worried about saving their captured white walker. I love this, there are thousands of white walkers advancing on them and Jon Snow’s dragging the captured white walker along. That’s faith in a plan.
This is like the Dream Team of white walker slayers and even they stand no chance. But the Hound does show up just in time to save Tormund from the icy depths.
One dude we don’t know falls off the rock and gets eaten alive.
But just as we’re down to only five survivors — Jon, Tormund, Beric, The Hound, and Jorah — and all seems hopeless Daenerys and the dragons arrive.
And her fiery assault on the white walkers is bad ass to watch.
But just as Daenerys lands to pick up everyone on Drogon’s back, Jon Snow decides he needs to fight some more white walkers so he runs down from the rock. What the hell are you thinking, Jon? GET ON THE DRAGON!
At the same time the Night King walks through fire and hits one of the other dragons with a spear and he sinks into the water. Is this a magic spear? How’d he kill him with only one spear? (His second spear misses Drogon, but Daenerys hightails it out of there.)
More importantly: WILL WE HAVE AN ICE DRAGON?!
Jon Snow sees the Night King getting another spear and screams for everyone to leave.
Meanwhile, Jon Snow gets tackled into the water and Daenerys has to leave without him. But just as it appears he may drown, he climbs out of the water and turns to face the oncoming horde of troops, his majestic hair frozen in place, a shivering, nearly frozen to death bad ass facing the oncoming hordes once more.
Jon’s done for, right?
Only…it’s the sexiest man in Westeros to the rescue — Benjen Stark! (He really is my twin.) Why doesn’t he get on the horse with Jon? He just says there’s no time, this makes no sense.
Benjen gives Jon his horse and then starts swinging his great balls of fire weapon around as Jon hightails it back to Castle Black.
So is this it for Benjen? Remember, he previously showed up and saved Meera and Bran after he was summoned by the three-eyed raven. So did Bran send him to save Jon this time? Will Benjen officially die for real now? (Recall that Benjen is already “undead.”) Or is Benjen impossible to kill?
12. Daenerys, gazing out of over the north, lamenting her lost dragon sees Jon Snow return on the horse.
Shortly thereafter he’s on a bed in a boat — why are they taking the boat back? — and, of course, Jon Snow is shirtless, because when you nearly die from hypothermia the first thing you want to do is let someone lay in a bed shirtless.
Daenerys sees all his stab wounds, including the one above the heart.
13. Sansa finds all of Arya’s faces hidden in a bag underneath her bed.
And how crappy do these faces look in Arya’s bag? These are like the cheap Halloween costumes you have to buy when you wait until the last minute to dress up. Come on, you couldn’t have done better than this, HBO?
Arya says she can become anyone she kills.
“I could even become you,” Arya says to Sansa. “I wonder what it would feel like to wear those pretty dresses, to be the lady of Winterfell. All I’d need to find out is your face.”
This is creepy even by Bran standards.
Just when you think Arya might kill Sansa, Arya gives Sansa back the knife that was used to try and kill Bran and walks out of her chambers.
Maybe Sansa’s actually going to kill Lord Baelish now that she has the knife?
14. Jon wakes up on the boat to find Daenerys watching him sleep.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I wish I could take it back. I wish we’d never gone,” Jon says.
Daenerys says she needed to see the white walker army to know what she was up against. “The dragons are my children,” she says, “They’re the only children I’ll ever have. Do you understand? We are going to destroy the Night King and his army and we’ll do it together. You have my word.”
Jon says he would take a knee to pledge his loyalty to her, but that he doesn’t have strength. Regardless, it’s perfectly clear that these two have a one way destination for incestuous bone town.
They hold hands.
This means the two most stable and loving relationships in Westeros are going to between an aunt and her nephew, Daenerys and Jon, and a brother and his sister, Cersei and Jaime.
Roll Tide, y’all.
Also, why didn’t they just fly the dragons back to Dragon Stone or King’s Landing instead of taking a boat? (Seriously, the travel and distance situations on this show are making no sense).
15. ICE DRAGON! eyeball
All we need now is for Hodor to ride the ice dragon into battle. Or the Night King.
What an episode.
Absolutely phenomenal. With only seven episodes left, one this season and six next season, what are the odds the final part of Game of Thrones will turn into a movie? How much could HBO make off a two or three hour movie to conclude “Game of Thrones” forever?
This has to be in play, right?
In the meantime, I’ll see you guys next week.