Game of Thrones
Beyond The Wall
Original Air Date: Aug 20, 2017
Vincent Chia – Staff Writer
Tonight’s episode was the longest episode of Game of Thrones thus far. Somewhat surprisingly, the episode was really 90% about Jon and his mission north of the wall. Let’s run down what happened this episode.
Arya and Sansa at Winterfell
Arya confronts Sansa about the note she wrote to Robb many years ago when Joffrey first ascended to the Iron Throne. She had asked Robb to ride down to King’s Landing and swear fealty to Joffrey in order to save their father. Arya recognizes Sansa’s very pretty handwriting since the tutors had always encouraged Arya to write just as nicely.
Sansa is defensive and says that they wouldn’t be in Winterfell if it weren’t for her. Arya didn’t help wrest Winterfell from the Boltons. Jon would’ve lost the Battle of the Bastards if the Knights of the Vale hadn’t rode in to the rescue. For her. Sansa says Arya would have never survived what she survived. Arya hasn’t yet decided what to do with the note.
Sansa reveals to Littlefinger that she is concerned about Arya and the note. If Arya reveals the note to the northern lords, she may lose their loyalty.
King’s Landing sends an invitation to Winterfell. Sansa sends Brienne in her place. Brienne fears for Sansa’s safety, especially with the untrustworthy Littlefinger, but Sansa insists.
Sansa discovers the masks in Arya’s bag. Arya tells them they are her “faces.” She got them in Braavos when she was training. She tells Sansa that with the faces, she can become someone else, speak in their voice, become them. Arya can even become Sansa. All she needs is Sansa’s face. This was actually more menacing than I thought Arya would be. For a second, it appears Arya is going to cut off Sansa’s face with the Valyrian steel dagger. But at the last second, Arya hands over her dagger and walks away.
Tyrion and Daenerys at Dragonstone
Daenerys and Tyrion chat in the Dragonstone map/strategy room. Tyrion seems to imply that Daenerys might have romantic feelings for Jon. Daenerys says no, Jon is too little for her. I did slightly notice something similar at the beginning of this season when Jon first arrived in Dragonstone in his direwolf armor. He is a tiny bit on the skinny side. Dany says she didn’t mean to be insulting. She wouldn’t have picked Tyrion as Hand if he weren’t brave. Tyrion admits that Jon is indeed a little bit on the smallish side as far as heroes go.
Daenerys also says she doesn’t like heroes. Heroes do stupid things and they die.
Tyrion tries to get Daenerys to act less impulsively. She was impulsive when she burned the Tarlys alive.
Tyrion also tries to get Daenerys to plan for succession for if she is killed in battle. Daenerys herself cannot have any children. (When did this happen? Was this mentioned back in Essos?). Daenerys wants to keep things one step at a time. Tyrion wants to plan for the long term but Daenerys says that if they had paid attention to the short term, they wouldn’t have lost Dorne and Highgarden. Touche.
Daenerys receives a message that Jon needs help. Tyrion tries to talk her out of helping. “Sometimes, doing nothing is the hardest thing to do. If you die, we’re all lost.” Daenerys insists she will not do nothing.
Jon and Crew, Beyond the Wall
Even with all the action scenes in this episode, there were a lot of relatively quiet chatty scenes. Jon and Tormund talk about whether Jon would pledge allegiance to Daenerys. Jon doesn’t want to. Tormund reminds Jon that Mance Raydor was a great King Beyond the Wall who never bent his knee to anyone. Sadly, that may have cost many wildlings their lives.
Jon offers to give the Longclaw sword to Jorah to return it to House Mormont. However, Jorah refuses and says the sword belongs to Jon.
Tormund and the Hound chat. As a coincidence, Tormund is in love with the very person who almost killed the Hound.
Beric chats with Jon. He says Jon doesn’t look much like Ned. Jon must resemble his mother more. Another little hint from the writers that Jon is not really Ned’s bastard son. However, tons of sons don’t look like their biological fathers, so you can see how the characters in the show wouldn’t think too much of it. They also both talk about how they came back to life from the dead. Destiny has an important mission for them. They will be defending those who can’t defend themselves. A little reminiscent from the movie “A Few Good Men.”
Soon, Jon and his group are attacked by a very large blue-eyed zombie bear. Thoros is almost killed but is merely seriously injured. His wound is sealed by Beric’s flaming sword.
Jon and company stumble upon a small squad of white walkers. They engage in battle and capture one white walker. However, they soon heard a thunderous roar of many many footsteps. Jon orders Gendry to run back to Eastwatch and send a raven to Daenerys for help. At first, Gendry refuses for a second but is told he is the fastest, so he’s the runner.
A very large army of wights surround Jon and company. They would attack, however, there is thin ice and all the wights that attempt to approach fall the thin ice. The wights have a standoff with Jon’s crew.
Gendry collapses, but luckily he is merely several yards away from Eastwatch’s gate. Davos and his men come out and save Gendry.
As the wights continue to surround Jon and his crew, Thoros succumbs to his wounds. Beric burns his body so that Thoros doesn’t get turned into a wight.
Jorah noticed that when Jon killed one of the white walkers, several others disintegrated into dust. Why? Jon surmises the one he killed was the one that “turned” the others. This reminds me of vampire tales more than zombies. Jon suggests that when the battle starts, they should concentrate on killing the white walkers, who turned the wights. Jorah proposes something a lot more interesting. If they kill the Night King, the rest should crumble since the Night King was the very first. Now this resembles a scifi alien movie where the queen alien can be targeted to kill the rest.
While continuing the standoff, the Hound decides to throw rocks at the wights to taunt them. One rock hits a wight in the face. However, a second rock falls onto the ice in front of the wights. The wights see that the thin ice has refrozen into ice strong enough to hold them. One wight slowly walks toward Jon and his group. Soon, others follow. A battle ensues.
Tormund is almost taken, but the Hound rescues him.
Jon and his men are soon cornered on a high ledge. They still have the high ground, so can hold off the white walkers for the time being. However, Jon is still vastly outnumbered.
In the nick of time, Daenerys arrives with her three dragons. Similar to the Lannister battle, her dragons burn everything in sight.
The Night King (pictured above) holds an ice spear and walks through the fiery battlefield. He spots a dragon in mid-flight and throws his spear into it. The dragon is struck. It appears to catch on fire and then crashes into the icy ground. He sinks into the melted ice and appears to drown.
Jon and the Night King have a stareoff for a few seconds and Jon orders his people to flee. Everyone had already climbed onto Drogon, together with the captured white walker prisoner. I’m not sure if I misjudged the timing or proximity. However, it looked to me that Jon could’ve climbed onto Drogon faster. If Jon had done that, and then ordered a retreat, it’s possible the non-Drogon dragon wouldn’t have been killed.
Daenerys sees Jon fall. She flies off on Drogon. The Night King tries to throw an ice spear at Drogon but misses as Drogon banks to one side.
The Night King soon rides off.
Jon survives and pulls himself back onto the ice. He grabs his sword but appears doomed. However, Jon has more lives than a black cat. Uncle Benjen comes riding to his rescue. Benjen puts Jon on his horse and has the horse ride off. Although Jon asked Benjen to come with him, Benjen sacrificed himself, possibly so as to not weigh down the horse.
After the Battle
At Eastwatch, Daenerys stares north. At first, I think she’s mourning her dragon. However, she may have also been mourning the death of Jon Snow. A very injured Jon Snow soon arrives at Eastwatch. As Jon is being tended to, Daenerys sees the various wounds on Jon Snow’s body. She might now believe Davos’ story about Jon being stabbed through the heart.
While recovering on Daenerys’ ship, Jon regains consciousness. He sees Daenerys watching over him and apologizes to her. He regrets going north of the wall. Daenerys says she isn’t sorry. If he hadn’t gone to the wall, she would’ve never seen what she saw. It seems like this could mean both that she saw the white walkers but also that she saw Jon’s wounds.
Daenerys vows that she will destroy the Night King and his army. They will do it together. Jon calls her “Dany,” which she thinks sounds awkward. Instead, Jon decides to call her “my queen.” He would kneel, but he is currently lying in bed seriously injured.
North of the Wall, dozens of walkers are pulling four large chains. They pull a dragon out of the ice. The Night King approaches and touches the dragon’s face. The dragon comes back to “life,” opening an eye that is now blue.