Sunday, April 15, 2018

THAT'S ALL HE WROTE, AT LEAST FOR NOW.  It was a dialogue-filled, sometimes dragging episode, but the finale of  Game of Thrones’  se...

Game of Thrones: Season Seven, Episode Seven, “The Dragon and the Wolf” Review


It was a dialogue-filled, sometimes dragging episode, but the finale of Game of Thrones’ seventh season, “The Dragon and the Wolf” set things up very effectively for the war to come. And there’s no doubt about it, that war is here.
The majority of “The Dragon and the Wolf” revolves around a tense parlay in King’s Landing where those allied in the North hope to convince Cersei that the undead threat is indeed real. This meeting was a reunion for some characters--something that’s been happening a lot in season 7, but it was also the first time some major players even laid eyes on each other. Specifically, the Queens Cersei and Dany.
While the Clegane brothers bared their teeth at one another, the two Queens finally got a look at one another after all this time. Incredibly, these two characters have existed completely independent of one another for seven whole seasons, and now they’re sitting across from one another in a remnant of both of their lineages, the Dragon Pit of King’s Landing.

This meeting is so much more than just an attempt to bring Cersei to the light. Regardless of what grim realities fester north of the Wall, Cersei will bring war to those that oppose her rule, and it’s something that most everyone realizes. Because of this, this meeting is an opportunity for the Queens to shore each other up--to see what the other is made of.
From a viewer’s perspective, this meeting goes on a bit longer than necessary, but there's a lot that happens too. Ultimately, it's a roll call of the roster for the final season to come. In front of us sits the quarrels and courtships of Westeros, those characters who’ve built the story we come to know. Sure, there are a few friendly faces to the North, but for the most part, everyone who means anything is sitting at this meeting.
Ah yes, the North. While it only takes up a fragment of this 80-minute episode, what unfolded in Winterfell will define the Starks for the season to come, even by removing an important person from the namesake.

Sansa, for most of the season now, has been the Lady of Winterfell, the shot-caller. She’s had to do some growing up this season, even more than she had to in season’s past, and this growth has allowed a well-deserved Lady to rule over Winterfell, even if it’s just in Jon’s stead. We’ve watched as Littlefinger tried to play puppeteer to the red-headed Stark, and it seemed to be having the telltale Littlefinger effect--sprouting distrust among the leadership. His main way of playing at her strings was through Arya, the last Stark to walk once more through the gates of their old home.
Littlefinger’s plan to distance the sisters from one another came to a head in “The Dragon and the Wolf,” and for the first time in the entire series run, it didn’t work in his favor. The great deceiver couldn’t break through the Stark’s bond and, with the help of Bran’s X-men power, had to answer for every crime that led him to his status of Lord of the Vale. This included the season one betrayal of their father, Ned Stark.  
He whimpered, he cried, and ultimately he begged for his life, but none of it was enough. Littlefinger, pockets empty of tricks, was executed in the great hall of Winterfell. His death is a big one--he was after all, a season one survivor. But while we may mourn Littlefinger (sort of), it’s important to see what this means for Sansa.

After all the brutality that she’s been victim to, Sansa is proving time and time again that she’s capable of representing her house name with pride. Her leadership in Jon’s vacancy has shown that, but more importantly, it’s showing the viewer that any future problems the North will face has her strong leadership to overcome. As beautiful as that is, what does that mean for Jon? If the storytellers are making it apparent that Winterfell has a strong leader, what will happen to the newly-named King of the North?
Well, the answer may lie in what else is revealed in Winterfell during season seven’s finale. As Bran and Samwell, who I’ve come to think of as the Dungeon Masters to this 7-year game of D&D, come together once more and reveal that Jon isn’t just a Targaryen bastard, but the actual rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

Jon is the unknowing catalyst for everything that’s happened in Game of ThronesWe’ve seen him go from a steward of the Night’s Watch, to the only man who has a rightful claim to the throne, even over the Queen of Dragons. This is all surely something that will be revealed to him in season eight, but the information doesn’t quite reach him quick enough. As he and Dany are constantly strengthening their bond, they decide to take things to an intimate level. He is, after all, a Targaryen.
As familial bonds are growing stronger all over Westeros, there’s only one place that it’s not. The Lannisters, having always been a symbol for loyalty are falling apart. Cersei, after having agreed to help the North in the coming battle reveals to Jaime that she has no intention of doing so. Euron played his part of the coward and ran from the meeting in the Dragon Pit but he’s actually on his way to purchase the Golden Company for the Lannister cause. When the North is weakest, and whoever may be the victor, the forces of King’s Landing will retake the territories lost and rule once more.

This revelation comes after Cersei met with Tyrion and gave her word to help the cause. Of course, I’m not saying that means anything, but the three Lannister siblings were within the same walls, if only for a moment, working towards the same cause. Jaime feels betrayed by this and even as his child grows within Cersei, he leaves King’s Landing to join the cause in the North. As he makes his way northward, the snow begins to fall on the Crownlands. Winter is coming.
And if that wasn’t ominous enough, how about a more direct version? How about, say, the Night King riding upon an undead Viserion burning through the Wall and allowing for undead hordes to pour through? Because that’s exactly how season seven comes to a close--with the direct reality that the fight is upon us.

It may have been Game of Throne’s shortest season, but the argument could be made that more happened in these seven episodes than any other season before. Is that a good thing? I wouldn’t say so, not entirely. But as certain storylines needed to progress or close entirely, we saw some amazing, defining events happen in this penultimate season.
Specifically, in this finale, we understand where our main core of characters stand in the fight ahead and, in turn, who they truly are. So many characters have undergone these defining changes to end up where they are, and it’s all led up to this. As the Destroyer of Men rides with his army of the dead, there comes this full realization that this story is about those defining moments in characters and how they ended up on one side or another for the fight to come.

Overall Score 9/10
Season Overall Score 9/10
Review by Henry Kulick

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