Previously on GoT: Arya Stark came home and immediately got back to hating on Sansa. Daenerys Targaryen started catching the feelings for her secret nephew, Jon Snow. And Jon and his merry band of socially inept warriors trekked north of the Wall to go catch a wight.
Somewhere in the mountains, the North Crew is doing its thing, just walking through the snow, and Gendry comments on how cold everything is. Tormund Giantsbane has some advice to keep warm: keep walking, fight something, or, ideally, have a good ol’ hookup. Jon Snow comments there aren’t a whole lot of women nearby. Or any.
I didn’t think Tormund could get any cooler, but he has.
Once Tormund has successfully scared Gendry the fuck off, he gives Jon some sound advice. Mance Rayder was a great wildling leader, but he refused to bend the knee, and it seriously screwed his people over in the long run. Perhaps Jon should rethink his lack of knee-bending.
Gendry has fallen behind and is now complaining about being sold off to Melisandre by the Brotherhood Without Banners. The Hound interrupts him pretty early into his rant with some tough love.
Jon and Ser Jorah Mormont have a bonding moment, talking about Lord Commander Jeor Mormont and his legacy. Wonder if Jorah knows his badass 12-year-old cousin is ruling his father’s land now.
Jon stops for a moment to give Jorah his sword, Longclaw, which was given to him by Jorah’s father. It rightfully belongs to Jorah.
Jorah doesn’t feel he deserves the sword. It’s Jon’s now, and it will be passed down to his children, Jorah says.
Down in Winterfell, Sansa joins Arya in reminiscing about their father. Arya talks about how she taught herself how to use a bow, and Ned was supportive even though it wasn’t what she was supposed to be learning. And now he’s dead. And Sansa helped.
Arya pulls out the receipts, I mean, scroll, with Sansa’s old letter to Robb.
Sansa and Arya argue over the contents of the letter, how Sansa was forced to write it and Arya thinks the “forcing” was not that forceful. Things get harsh pretty fast after that.
I feel like that whole “we don’t have to talk about what we’ve been through” agreement should probably be repealed now. They really need to sit down and tell each other about their respective pasts. STAT.
But nah, Arya thinks she might show the letter to the Northern lords and see how they feel about their Lady of Winterfell then.
Arya needs at least four chill pills.
Nothing to lighten the mood after a horrifying conversation like a Tormund scene. The wildling approaches the Hound and makes fun of his burnt-off face, saying they were both “kissed by fire,” to which Clegane very politely asks him what his purpose is in this conversation. Nah, I’m just kidding, he tells Tormund to suck his dick.
Tormund is taken, though. In his imagination. By Brienne of Tarth. You know, the woman who bit off the Hound’s ear and tossed him off a cliff and left him for dead.
Meanwhile, Beric Dondarrion is chatting Jon up about being resurrected and the Lord of Light and his mysterious ways. Really, though, are we ever going to get an explanation for any of that stuff? And if so, how? Is the Lord of Light himself just gonna materialize one day and be like “no THIS is what I want, you know nothing Jon Snow”?
Okay, now I want that to happen.
On Dragonstone, Daenerys is ranting at Tyrion Lannister about how all these warriors keep tripping over each other to be the most heroic and it’s really stupid. But Tyrion points out every dude Dany just mentioned has gotten in her pants, or has wanted to. Including Jon Snow. “Yeah but he’s kinda short,” Dany says.
It sounds like their friendship is a little less shaky this week, height issues aside, so Tyrion uses that opportunity to try and convince her not to do anything impulsive when meeting the Lannisters. Like when she killed poor, handsome, too-honorable-for-his-own-good Dickon Tarly. Of course, Dany just LOVES being critiqued.
One thing leads to another, and now Tyrion is telling Daenerys she should be thinking about a successor for if and when she dies. There’s a whole lot of strange, sudden pressure on our main characters to have children this week.
Dany furiously reminds Tyrion that maybe he should be planning a little more for the short term, unlike when he allowed the Greyjoys, Sands, and Tyrells to be eliminated.
Up north, things have gotten pretty darn snowstorm-y. One of the random wildling dudes accompanying the North Crew has gotten way further ahead of everyone else, and if you’ve watched any movie at all ever, you know he’s about to die a horrible death.
Giant zombie polar bear?
Giant zombie polar bear.
Beric and Thoros of Myr, thanks to their Lord of Light privileges, get to light their swords on fire whenever they feel like it, which is super convenient.
Beric lands a solid hit on the bear with his sword. Which of course means the giant zombie polar bear is now on fire.
The Hound has never been great with fire, so when Thoros comes to the rescue and then gets pinned down by the angry fiery zombie bear, Clegane is too scared to do anything. So poor Thoros gets mauled.
It appears Jorah is the only man with any degree of sense in this crew, as he is literally the only one to have brought dragonglass with him. Like, seriously, half these people came from a place where there’s a cave full of zombie-killing material, and only one of them thought to bring some?
So yeah. Smart Jorah kills the bear with one good dragonglass stab.
Rather than be brought back to Eastwatch, Thoros chooses to get a little drunk and have Beric seal his wounds shut with the fiery sword so he can move on. It ain’t pretty, but it does the job.
Back in Winterfell, Sansa is consulting with the one person she should not be consulting with: Littlefinger. Petyr thinks the Northern lords prefer her to Jon Snow.
Sansa is afraid Arya may use the letter to take her down somehow. So Baelish suggests putting Brienne between them.
Up north, Thoros is up and at it again… mostly. He’s wobbling around like an old man now, which is totally gonna be useful in a fight against White Walkers. But whatever. He’s having a chat with Jorah about the time he lit his sword on fire and charged into battle during the Siege of Pyke on the Iron Islands way back when. Thoros says he doesn’t remember it and only accomplished it because he was drunk as hell.
The North Crew has luckily come across a very small crew of wights, led by a single White Walker. So they set up an ambush that the Walker walks (get it? Of course you do) right into.
The warriors quickly attack, and the second Jon strikes the Walker with his Valyrian steel sword, that Walker blows up and all the zombies immediately die. Well, except for one. How convenient!
The guys take the zombie down without killing it – this is the one they’ll bring south to show Cersei Lannister. I have to say, I can’t believe they’re doing all of this for Cersei. But moving on. As they’re trying to restrain it, the thing screams really loudly, which is probably a call for his zombie friends.
Sadly, the call worked pretty well. An entire army of dead dudes is approaching.
Jon orders Gendry to run back to Eastwatch, send a text message to Daenerys, and have her do something about all this. You know, because teleportation. Oh, and also Gendry has to leave his hammer because it’ll slow him down.
So Gendry very reluctantly leaves his hammer with the crew and runs the other way. The rest of the group, in the meantime, is literally chased by the army of the dead onto a giant frozen lake. Sounds safe.
One of the unnamed wildlings with the group is unfortunately caught by the wights, who proceed to accidentally wreck most of the lake’s frozen surface by falling on it.
Finally, the wights stop after realizing they’re just gonna fall into the water some more if they keep moving. So they settle for encircling the North Crew and utterly ruining their day.
With our heroes fully surrounded and Gendry desperately trying to make it back to Eastwatch, the North Crew literally has no other choice but to just stand there and wait, cautiously keeping an eye on the army of the dead.
Gendry runs. And runs. And runs. Until he trips and falls right on his face.
Fortunately, he does that just yards away from the gate of Eastwatch. Yay! Ser Davos Seaworth runs out with some other men and is immediately on Gendry like a concerned father. Aww.
So the North Crew spends the whole freaking night sitting there in the middle of the frozen lake with the army of the dead staring at them. Sadly, they’ve got a nasty surprise waiting for them in the morning.
R.I.P. Man Bun. Jon Snow, ever the practical one, almost immediately suggests they should burn the body, and Tormund’s like “where are we gonna get fire?”
The North Crew attempts to brainstorm backup ideas in case Daenerys never shows up. Jorah and Beric suggest going for the Night King, who’s watching from above with his White Walker pals.
Sansa Stark receives a raven from King’s Landing. Summons from Cersei Lannister. Sansa’s invited to a gathering down south.
Sansa is never ever ever going to go back to King’s Landing, not as long as Cersei’s around. And you can’t really blame her. So she wants to send Brienne instead to represent her. Obviously, Brienne is thrilled at the idea.
Did Sansa send Brienne away on purpose because she was afraid the Lady of Tarth would be forced to stop Arya physically if things got violent? It seems stupid to get rid of her best bodyguard, though.
Daenerys has received Davos and Gendry’s raven, and she’s going. Tyrion tries to convince her not to risk her own life for this, and that maybe, in this case, they’re better off just doing nothing and letting the North Crew die. Tyrion, how dare you! But Dany doesn’t want to do nothing anymore. She’s going.
Up on the frozen lake, people are getting really restless. And by people, I mean the Hound. Frustrated, Clegane grabs a rock and tosses it across the lake, smacking a random skeleton right in the jaw and breaking it right off.
Clegane’s not satisfied, so he throws another rock. It lands right at the wight’s feet this time. And apparently, Game of Thrones’ zombies seem to have some intellectual capacity, because the jawless skeleton now realizes that the broken ice has once again neatly frozen over the water. The path is clear.
Just like that, the army of the dead is done with the standstill. They’re attacking. The North Crew is fucked.
Time for some fighting!
Things aren’t going too well. They are pretty massively outnumbered, after all.
Jon orders everyone to fall back, but Tormund gets overwhelmed and one of the wights hits him in the face really hard.
Disoriented, poor Tormund gets totally ganged up on and a group of zombies attempts to pull him underwater.
At the last second, the Hound and Jorah save him. Phew.
Jon manages to drag their captive wight along with them as they’re falling back up on the little outcropping in the middle of the lake, but the zombies keep trying to rescue the prisoner. They’re clever, alright. The last remaining wildling escort dies helping Jon.
The North Crew is down to five people – no more cannon fodder to get rid of.
Jon Snow takes a look around. There’s five of them, cornered on a cliffside, surrounded by an army. Things don’t look good at all, and Jon is realizing it.
Daenerys Targaryen has arrived with her three dragons to take down the army of the dead! The North Crew is saved!
But there are still wights attacking, and Jon is the bravest.
While Jon is fighting off some stragglers and everyone else is climbing on Drogon, the Night King has grabbed a giant icy spear and is approaching the group.
It’s a direct hit. And unlike Bronn‘s giant crossbow, this magic javelin was lethal. Viserion crash-lands into the ice, breaking through, and dies, sinking into the water.
Moment of silence. Jon spots the Night King nearby.
Jon tries to run back to Drogon, but he gets tackled into the water.
With the Night King ready to throw the second spear, Dany has no choice but to fly off and leave Jon behind. The javelin throw barely misses, almost knocking Jorah off Drogon.
Jorah’s safe, Drogon is safe, and they all fly off. The army of the dead starts to move away.
And THEN Jon Snow resurfaces.
Sadly, the wights were not far away enough, and they start to come back for him. He’s doomed.
Who would show up to save him then but the half-zombie, half-ninja, always-badass…
Benjen Stark puts Jon on his horse, shoos them off towards Eastwatch, and stays behind as an unfortunate diversion.
Benjen goes down immediately.
On the other side of the Wall, the Hound boards Daenerys’ ship with the captured wight in tow. Meanwhile, Daenerys is on top of the Wall, mourning Viserion. And looking for any sign of Jon. But nothing. She turns to leave, when…
On the ship, the men take off Jon’s frozen clothes and leave him in bed shirtless, exposing his many stab wounds from Night’s Watch mutiny – the one Dany was so curious about.
Over in Winterfell, Sansa decides to break into Arya’s bedroom and investigate her craziness. That’s not a wildly dangerous idea at all. She quickly finds a bag filled with Arya’s faces. She seems oddly calm about all this, given the circumstances.
Of course, Arya walks in on Sansa – and if she was just being bratty and mean earlier, now she’s gone full psycho.
Sansa asks what the faces are, and Arya tells her she got them while training in Braavos to be a Faceless Man.
Arya wants to play the Game of Faces with Sansa. You know, the thing where you get whacked by a stick every time you get caught in a lie. No sticks this time, though – there’s Littlefinger’s Valyrian steel dagger involved. Arya wants to know if Sansa thinks she should rule the North instead of Jon. But Sansa wants to know what the faces are, NOW.
So Arya explains how freeing and exciting it is to be someone else for a while. And she wonders what it’d be like to be Sansa. All she needs is her face.
It really actually looks like Arya’s gonna gut Sansa like a fish for a second. But then she flips the dagger around to hand it to her and the whole world resumes breathing.
And with that, Arya just leaves Sansa with the dagger and her faces.
Jon Snow wakes up in his bed on Daenerys’s ship, with her sitting at his bedside. The very first thing he says when he sees her is “I’m sorry.”
Dany kinda accomplishes two things at once by telling Jon her dragons are the only children she’ll ever have: First, she’s freaking heartbroken. Second, if they get together – which is looking increasingly likely at this point – she probably won’t give him any children.
Having seen the horror beyond the Wall, and lost a dragon to it, Daenerys is fully committed to fighting the army of the dead alongside Jon Snow. “Thank you, Dany,” he replies. As common as the nickname is outside the show, she’s actually not a huge fan of being called that. It reminds her of Viserys. “‘K, how about ‘My Queen?'” he asks.
Jon Snow officially recognizes Dany as his Queen. A symbolic bending of the knee, if you will. Now here’s hoping the Northern lords won’t be too pissed about this.
Also, Dany and Jon are so going to bone.
Back at the frozen lake, the wights have set up a very elaborate chain-pulling system to… bring Viserion back up from underwater.
The Night King approaches the very dead Viserion and touches his face.
And that’s it for the penultimate episode of the penultimate season, y’all. All I will say is… eek.
R.I.P.: Thoros of Myr. Viserion. Benjen Stark. Some wildlings. A crapton of wights. And one White Walker.
MVP: Daenerys and Jon both tie for the gold this week. Their badassery and their chemistry together are both wonderful to watch.
Notably absent: Cersei and Jaime Lannister. Bronn. Melisandre. Ghost (seriously, where is Ghost?). Grey Worm. Theon, Yara, and Euron Greyjoy. Missandei. Varys. Samwell Tarly and Gilly. Bran Stark. Meera Reed. Dolorous Edd. Podrick Payne.
What do we all think is going to happen? My money’s on Cersei’s fœtus magically becomes a White Walker after being exposed to the wight.
What? It could happen! See y’all next week for the finale!