By the old gods and the new, we made it (relatively) unscathed to the end of Game of Thrones‘ seventh season. Give yourselves a round of applause, or in Jaime’s case, pat yourself on the back. While “The Dragon and the Wolf” didn’t include any major surprises, it was a very well executed episode with great individual moments that sets up the show’s swan song nicely. As such, we have some pretty big questions still on our mind. Fair warning: This post contains Stark discussion of last night’s concluding chapter, so if you haven’t seen it yet, make like a Raven and fly away.
What does Jon Snow’s lineage mean for the story?
Just in case you were still confused about Jon’s origin story, Game of Thrones beat viewers over the head one last time with the truth thanks to a handy flashback that saw Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark wed in secret. (Side Note: Bran is the greatest fact checker in the world. Where was he during the presidential election?!). Contrary to popular belief, Rhaegar did not kidnap Lyanna Stark and whisk her away to Dorne against her will. As hinted at in both the books and the show, the two were very much in love (though, like Robb, pursuing that love resulted in disastrous consequences) and that union produced Aegon Targaryen (a name with a whole bunch of historical importance) a.k.a. Jon Snow a.k.a. The White Wolf (Dany isn’t the only one with a bunch of nicknames).
So what does this actually mean in the context of the show’s politics and relationships?
- Jon is not a bastard, he’s the legitimate son of a former prince, the rightful heir to the Iron Throne and the living embodiment of George R.R. Martin’s series title, A Song of Ice and Fire. His claim supersedes even Dany’s and while many have speculated that that might cause friction between the two, Jon has never been power-hungry. A marriage alliance would avoid any potential conflict while uniting the major components of the Seven Kingdoms. Speaking of which…
- Dany and Jon are aunt and nephew, a helpful bit of information delivered just as he is exploring her Chamber of Secrets (different fantasy saga, I know). Will this revelation change the way they feel about each other? Brother-sister relationships were commonplace among the Targaryens, so perhaps aunt-nephew is more palatable? It’s a testament to how crazy popular Thrones is that the show has had us actively rooting for incest. Anyway, with Viserion’s death, Jon’s bloodline and all the heavy foreshadowing, it seems awfully likely that Jon and Dany can make one damn good-looking and talented baby together. Watch out, Blue Ivy.
- More immediately, this gets us one step closer to Jon hopping aboard Rhaegal and becoming a dragon rider. Though Dany’s other kids have proven to be destructive weapons on their own, they need riders to fulfill their true potential. Since Jon Snow truly is the blood of the dragon, he should be able to pilot that bad boy against the dead. Fingers crossed we get a Rocky-like training montage next season.
- Even though it was great to finally see Rhaegar Targaryen in the flesh, it’s a bit odd that Bran is so obsessed with Jon’s heritage. Rather than hop back in time to crash a wedding, shouldn’t he be, I don’t know, trying to dig up information about the White Walkers? While Jon’s true destiny is super cool, it doesn’t play into the greater importance of the true end game for Thrones (all prophecies aside for the moment) yet has taken up a significant portion of Bran’s psychic energy. Let’s defeat the army of the dead, then Jon can worry about his crown fitting.
What was that look Tyrion gave at the end of the episode?
While Jon and Dany are busy bumping uglies, Tyrion creepily stares at their closed door with a somewhat forlorn look on his face. What’s going through his head right then?
Is Tyrion secretly in love with Daenerys and upset about this coupling? It did seem as if he was in support of the relationship earlier this season. Then again, he was also the one who advised Dany to send Jorah away (again) and leave Daario behind. It may be that he has some ulterior motives unrelated to politics, but that’s a bit too soap opera-y. It would be completely out of left field (of fire).
Was he secretly hoping that he would be Dany’s successor given her insistence that she cannot have children? Though Tyrion enjoys the game, he’s never really lusted after the top spot. It would seem a bit out of character.
Could Tyrion be feeling a bit conflicted about his allegiance? He’s just discovered his sister is pregnant, he expressed remorse in the death of two of her children and, to his knowledge, Cersei has agreed to help their cause. We’re not saying he’s planning a full scale betrayal of Daenerys, but perhaps this week’s family reunion really got to him.
But maybe the answer is even simpler than all of that. Maybe Tyrion is just worried that a romantic entanglement will overrule better judgment. He was upset in “Beyond the Wall” when Daenerys risked her life to go save Jon and Co. and he was upset in the finale when Jon publicly announced his allegiance to Dany at the potential cost of the armistice. Maybe he just wants both of them to keep their eyes on the ball and off each other for now.
What is the show’s endgame?
Ever since the opening scene of the show’s very first episode, it’s been assumed that the White Walkers would be the end all, be all of Game of Thrones. But now the final season will be split between the living vs. the dead and the good guys vs. Cersei…and that’s kind of lame. The political jockeying of Westeros has always been the best part of Game of Thrones, but with just six episodes remaining, how can both of these conflicts be done justice? It’s just not enough time to resolve such monumental plot points and it’s not as if the two are even comparable. The truth is, the battle for the Iron Throne is laughably small in the shadow of the apocalypse.
Hopefully, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have something up their sleeve.
- Everything about the Winterfell storyline this season has been awful, including last night’s “twist.” It was a contrived arc aimed at providing some drama in an otherwise peaceful corner of the show. Every aspect could have been handled better. Having said all that, it was supremely satisfying to see Arya dispatch of Littlefinger with such cold nonchalance. Bye, Bye, Baelish.
- Shout out to Jaime for finally abandoning Cersei, child or no child. Free of his Lannister armor and with his gold hand covered, Jaime has completed his transformation from charismatic villain to embraced hero. Bravo.
- Absolutely loved the conversation between Sandor Clegane and Brienne. There was a begrudging mutual respect and an understanding that they both truly cared for Arya. They realize they are on the same side now.
- Speaking of The Hound, CleganeBowl is absolutely going down next season. At this point, the line would probably open with The Mountain as a -150 favorite, no?
- Are Tormund and Beric dead? My gut says no. This was even more ambiguous than the misunderstood Stannis death. If they were dead, we would have seen it point blank.
- What was the Night King’s plan for the Wall had he not acquired a dragon? A lot of people keep saying “Beyond the Wall” was a trap for Dany, but how would he even know about her alliance with Jon? Or that she would agree to rescue them? Or that his wights wouldn’t kill them before that happened? Even if he’s a greenseer like Bran (which the show has not established or confirmed), that “trap” depended on a ton of variables breaking his way. It’s a bit farfetched (he says condescendingly as he discusses a show about ice zombies and dragons).
- Game of Thrones won’t return until late 2018 or early 2019. This is the real Long Night, people.