GOT Dany's Tough Chats 2

Dany and Two Tough Chats

Jacob: This was not a good episode to be Daenerys Targaryen. At the beginning of season 7, she looked like the ruler to beat, the future Queen of Westeros, and an unstoppable military force. Now, baby steps into the final season, her claim to the throne is slippery and her future allies are already suggesting they won’t be easy to rule. Ouch.

Naturally, both of the conversations that deflated Dany’s future a bit were with Starks, a family known for sucking the air out of parties all over Westeros. The first was with Sansa, who made it clear that after the war with the undead, the North would like to rule itself, thank you very much. Initially, I was wary of the Daenerys vs. Sansa conflict, but I actually like where it has gone. This isn’t a petty fight between two stubborn women, but rather, two strong-willed women with very different visions of the future and histories of being betrayed and abused, refusing to give up ground because they’ve been burnt by compromise and half measures before. As much as I would’ve liked to see them become best buds (that hand touch!), this is the right decision. Nothing is clean or simple on this show and these two have no reasons to be friends or even allies. Sansa should never trust a southerner again. Dany cannot abide an entire kingdom demanding independence. Mother of Dragons, meet Sansa the immovable object, crafted in the hellfire of King’s Landing by the torments of Queen Cersei herself.

Of course, the other, bigger harder truth for Daenerys comes in the crypts, where Jon reveals what he’s recently learned: he’s actually Aegon Targaryen, the son of Rheagar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, and the true heir to the Iron Throne. Dany barely has time to react to this world-shifting news before the horns summon everyone to battle. This is a discussion for another day…if everyone is still alive. So Ben, how are things looking for Daenerys these days? Is her quest for the throne doomed at this point, especially now that she has Jon and Sansa in her path?

Ben: Last season’s drama between Sansa and Arya had me wary of how the show was going to handle Sansa this season: she’s probably not going to be swinging a sword next episode, so what would she get to do in this final stretch of the story? “Butt heads with Dany” seemed like the clear answer, and thankfully, every one of their interactions has been wonderfully executed thus far, this scene included. Gotta love the fact that they’re both throwing their cards on the table and telling it like it is.

And for what’s supposed to be the safest place in Winterfell, the crypts have suffered two major bombs being dropped there over the past two episodes. Jon avoided Daenerys as long as he could, but eventually the truth had to come out, and that scene being interrupted right after she learned the truth was a great example of the “always leave ’em wanting more” approach. She reacts similarly to how Jon did: first with incredulity, then with anger – although she managed to keep her emotions slightly more bottled. But her dream is dying before her eyes, and it looks like she’s either going to have to sacrifice her lifelong quest or watch the man she loves die…if she makes it through next week, that is.

GOT Final Hours 2

Final Hours

Ben: Let’s do a quick rundown of some of the other key interactions. Tyrion, who has made some colossal strategic blunders over the past few seasons, is in hot water with the Mother of Dragons, but Jorah convinces her to give him yet another chance. I love Tyrion, but it seems like a long time since he’s given Dany any great advice, doesn’t it? Meanwhile, Jaime apologizes to Bran in the godswood for pushing him out of that window all those years ago, asks why Bran didn’t snitch on him at the trial, and receives an ominous response when he wonders what will happen after the war to come. Grey Worm and Missandei confirm that the north is too racist for them to stay after the fight, make plans to head to the beaches of Missandei’s native Narth after it’s all over, and share a big kiss goodbye. Haven’t they ever seen a movie before? When lovers make plans like that, something horrible always happens.

Jorah tries to convince his cousin to stay in the crypts during the fight, but he apparently doesn’t know her at all, because that ain’t Lyanna Mormont’s style. But Gilly will be down there with Little Sam, Tyrion (whose mind is so valuable that it needs to be protected), and a fierce little girl with greyscale who says she will protect them all. Pod sings a very “Pippin in The Lord of the Rings“-esque song called “Jenny of Oldstones” over a montage of some of the key players, and Theon has an emotional reunion with Sansa and asks to fight for Winterfell. Did I miss any, Jacob? Did any of these micro-moments stand out to you?

Jacob: You got most of them (I’m so happy that the show finally acknowledged that Jorah and Lyanna Mormont are related), but I want to focus on one of the best scenes of an episode that feels like an instant all-timer for me. Jon, Edd, and Sam gather on the walls of Winterfell, a reunion of Night’s Watch survivors, and a reminder of just how far these three have come and how many friends they have lost. The conversation between the three is wonderful and a reminder of what made some of the earliest scenes at The Wall so much fun. Jon’s straightforward awkwardness, Edd’s cynicism, and Sam’s sweetness is such a wonderful mixture and personalities.

And speaking of Sam, I want to address one of his lines of dialogue, specifically because it sums up so much of what Game of Thrones has been quietly all about. The Night King wants to kill Bran, the Three-Eyed Raven, because he is a walking history of Westeros. As Sam points out, death is forgetting. Death is being forgotten. Beyond simply the loss of life, death is the erasure of memories and history and culture. A death makes the world emptier in more ways than one. The Night King is not coming to destroy the living – he is coming to destroy the very concept of civilization. And if he doesn’t finish the job, the citizens of Westeros may do it themselves. They’ve done a fine of murdering each other in great numbers over the years, and adjusting the record books accordingly. History is written by the victors. Those who perish are doomed to live on in the words of those who ended them, to be played as buffoons in plays across the Narrow Sea in Essos. Death isn’t just a physical state of being. It’s an absence of everything we put into the world, good and bad.

Oh, and Theon is back and chilling out with Sansa, which is pretty nice, I guess. And that scene with Arya and the Hound and Beric sharing wine! There was just too much good stuff to talk about here.

GOT Final Thoughts 2

Final Thoughts

Jacob: As I’ve made clear above, I think “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” is one of my favorite episodes of the entire series. With this hour in my system, I’m ready for the carnage next week brings. I’ve said my goodbyes. When half of the cast dies next week, I’ll be sad, but I’ll also know that they’ll be remembered. By me and by those who survive. And that’s how we defeat death.

As for who is winning the game of thrones…no one, really. This is the rare episode to not focus on that. However, I’m giving it to Ser Brienne because no one is riding higher than her right now. Go Brienne, go! (Please don’t die leading that left flank.)

Ben: This is the first Game of Thrones episode since the season 6 finale that I haven’t had any significant complaints about. This episode rules, and I loved how the characters sitting around and having a few last laughs mirrored the audience doing the same thing.

In terms of the current winner of the game of thrones, a case could maybe be made for Ghost, since this is the first time we’ve seen him in years. But since that awkward staging (he’s just hanging out as if he’s been there the whole time, and no one even looks at him, let alone acknowledges him verbally) was almost certainly just putting him back in viewers’ minds so when he charges onto the battlefield next week, it won’t feel completely out of nowhere. Sorry, Ghost. There’s only one rightful winner this week.

Currently Winning the Game of Thrones: Ser Brienne of Tarth

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