Night King, Longclaw, and Dragons : Game Of Thrones Season 7 Episode 6: Beyond The Wall (HBO)
Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 6 “Beyond The Wall” (HBO)
“Beyond The Wall” involves magnificent sacrifices, exposes monumental betrayals, and changes the order of battle dramatically.
The Magnificent Seven ride, walk and run. Arya lets Sansa see who she really is, and the Night King gains a new ally.
A surprisingly satisfying episode, despite the monumental nonsense, sometimes you really do just have to suck up your frustrations with Benioff and Weiss and just enjoy the parts they do really well (they do CGI dragons really well now, for instance, better than anyone before them that I have ever seen).
Also, I included the picture above because I decided to skip covering the discussion depicted between Daenerys and Tyrion (Daenerys grows frustrated with Tyrion's insistence that she not try to kill Cersei). Okay, one comment, Tyrion says that you should try to understand your enemy so that you can plan against their likely responses (a hint Tyrion should have followed himself literally all season long #irony).
If you haven’t seen “Beyond the Wall” yet, beware *Spoiler Alert*
Perhaps You Remember Star Trek Away Teams?
Many on the boards have been calling the team of Jon Snow, Gendry, Jorah, Tormund, Beric, Thoros, and the Hound the “Magnificent Seven.”
In fairness, the original Magnificent Seven were a group of bounty hunters who want to help save a village from bandits on the promise of massive payment from the villagers for their deliverance (if anything A Bug’s Life was probably the more accurate heir to that title). Then again, the original Magnificent Seven was actually a spaghetti western knock off of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (so who really cares).
It is funny how regardless of the show or movie, audiences prefer to see their heroes in action even when it makes more strategic sense for each protagonist to keep their powder dry until the time when their commitment to the fight becomes absolutely necessary.
Anyway, this expedition reminds me more of an unnecessary and foolish Star Trek Away team mission where the First Officer gets trapped and the Captain has to swoop and save him or her at the last second. This particular away mission doesn’t only have three major characters along for the ride, but the core seven away team members were also nice enough to bring several nameless and nearly faceless crew members along with them for the trudge through the Northland.
The first part of their journey is all back slapping and getting to know each other but things get spicy when an undead Polar Bear attacks killing off a few of the team's nameless companions and injuring Thoros severely enough that he has to have his chest cauterized by a flaming sword.
Oh, and before the Bear attacked, Jon tried to give Longclaw back to Ser Jorah. Ser Jorah refused the gift (thank goodness). The Hound and Tormund had some really bizarre homoerotic banter back and forth. And I almost forgot Gendry made peace with Thoros and Beric for selling him to Melisandre.
Arya, Sansa, Littlefinger, Of Forget Logic, I Give Up
Arya is an assassin trained at the best school of killing, intrigue, and spycraft in the world of ASOIAF. The Assassins of the House of Black and White literally specialize in misdirection and in the careful planning of operations. They are so obsessive about carrying out their contracts they even made Arya learn how to infiltrate and kill while blind.
Despite this, after planting two simple false leads and “hiding” a note in his room so inartfully and obviously that even a clumsy oaf like me could have found it we are supposed to believe that Arya would fall hook, line, and sinker into the “genius” trap by Littlefinger?
Okay, whatever, let’s accept that Arya didn’t even consider that Littlefinger was playing her. Why would Arya go right to Sansa and share the information in a way that makes it clear that she is now a living time-bomb that could at any moment ruin Sansa’s play with the Northern Lords?
Okay, whatever, let’s just accept that Arya has turned into a total moron. Why would Sansa go right to Littlefinger and start asking him questions when it should be OBVIOUS to her that Littlefinger was the most likely candidate for leaking the information. For God’s sakes, Littlefinger was IN THE ROOM when it happened. How many other people hanging around Winterfell know Sansa was forced to write the note to Robb Stark? You guessed it, exactly ZERO.
Okay, whatever, let’s just accept that after all of these many hard lessons (many of them taught to her by Littlefinger) let’s just accept that Sansa 100% trusts Littlefinger and has zero thought about him being the source of the note. Why in the world would she fall for so obvious a ploy as sending Brienne on a fool’s errand to King’s Landing? Brienne may indeed be there to protect both Stark daughters, but nobody Sansa has ever met has been more reliably her defender than Brienne. So we are supposed to believe at a time when she feels vulnerable, to feel safer she is exiling her best and most loyal follower?
Are we supposed to believe that Sansa believes that Arya will turn Brienne? That she should trust Littlefinger more than Brienne? By the way, everything Brienne says to Sansa in this scene was entirely true. So true, in fact, it should convince Sansa even after the decision was made, that she needs to change her mind.
Okay, whatever, I am just going to shut up now. It makes no damn sense, but okay, whatever.
Eventually, Sansa breaks into Arya’s room and searches it hoping to find the note (also stupid) and instead finds Arya’s “faces.” Arya sneaks up on her and says a bunch more terrifying stuff to Sansa before handing her a dagger and walking out of the room.
I really had high hopes for Sansa as being possibly one of the best possible future rulers, I now think she is as daft as the rest of the people in this crazy menagerie. You could certainly make the argument that Sansa’s ambition to be Queen is getting the better of her here (self-interest rather than good sense forcing her allegiance with Littlefinger) but she should still never be believing a word his duplicitous ass is telling her (she should clearly know better than to send Brienne packing).
Frozen 2: Icelandic Boogaloo
First Mate Snow and his 6 to 10 away team compadres run into a small group of White Walkers and manage to secure one live White Walker. Unfortunately, before they can gag him he alerts the entire army of the dead who come running double quick (again, if they can move quickly, why haven’t they reached the wall yet?) but are stymied when their massed weight collapses an iced pond they need to cross to reach Jon and his team.
The team sends Gendry running for the wall to send a raven to Daenerys. Gendry makes it to the wall and sends the Raven.
Meanwhile, the not so Magnificent Seven realize that they are basically done for unless a miracle happens after finding themselves surrounded by vastly superior forces and stranded on a ledge in the middle of a frozen lake.
Thoros freezes to death as they are waiting for the attack which at least takes a full day to for the White Walkers to initiate.
The battle starts because the Walkers eventually figure out how to cross the ice in fewer numbers and they start to go full Zerg Swarm on Jon’s team and the battle starts to quickly get out of hand.
Okay, just before the Walkers overtake the rocky ledge Daenerys shows up with all three Dragons and starts barbequing ice zombies.
Yes, in other words, in the time it took for one day to pass, Gendry got to the Wall and sent the Raven which reached Dragonstone in time for Daenerys to fly North of the Wall to the exact spot where Jon and his team of noble idiots are fighting the army of the Dead.
Okay, let’s just assume this made sense and move on.
The Night King is handed an ice lance and throws a perfect strike into one of Daenerys other Dragons (Rhaegal or Viserion). I would say RIP but the end of the episode involves the Night King ordering his men to use heavy chains (where did the Night King get massive Iron Chains?) to pull the Dragon back up out of the watery tomb and uses his magic powers to reanimate her.
I mean, I guess they might have had iron chains with them for use on the wall?
Still, the loss of one of her Dragons is a pretty huge blow to team Dragon and a pretty huge addition to team Night King.
The remaining members of the away team climb into the shuttle, I mean onto Drogon’s back except for Jon who yells at them to leave as he fights off the Walkers so that they can depart before the Night King throws another lance.
Despite his heroic sacrifice, Night King does get off another lance and just misses Drogon. Jon gets dragged down into the water just before Drogon lurches away but somehow manages to pull himself out of freezing water in full armor (sigh) and is just about to get destroyed by the rest of the army of the dead when just in the nick of time Uncle BenJen aka Cold Hands shows up and saves him.
So, in the space of a few hours, Jon gets saved by Daenerys and Cold Hands? Cold Hands sure has amazing timing.
Daenerys waits at the wall in hopes that Jon will somehow return, and against all odds he does.
Cut to a scene on a boat.
WTF? Why does Daenerys have a boat at the Wall? Daenerys flew from Dragonstone on Drogon? How in the world does she have a ship?
* There is a plausible explanation for this as Jorah, Gendry, and Jon had to get to the Wall from Drogonstone (mea culpa, thanks to Lon Shapiro for correcting me here) *
I get that Jon couldn’t fly home because he most likely had frostbite on 98.9% of his emo-body but could anyone please make logical sense here?
Yes, you might say they were loaned a boat by the Night’s Watch (who don’t have a navy), except that the sigil on the sail is hers and the stateroom sure looks regally decorated.
Yes, you might say that while she was in flight, Tyrion dispatched a boat from Dragonstone to the Wall. But there is ZERO chance the boat could have gotten there between the time the fight started and the time Jon showed up at the wall.
I guess you could argue that once Jon arrived at the wall, they waited around for the boat to show up. But this also makes no sense, because the Night King and his army were a mere horse ride away from reaching the wall (in order for Gendry and Jon to make the Wall from the battle quickly, the Night King and the Army of the Dead have to be pretty damn close to the wall).
It would not at all be safe for Daenerys and her team to hang around and wait for the battle at the wall.
However, there was one saving grace. One Sandor Clegane took the White Walker and is now presumably headed for King’s Landing. Guess who else is at King’s Landing?
Ser Strong, also known as The Mountain, also known as Gregor Clegane, also known as Sandor’s brother.
Cleganebowl is ON! Next week is the season finale, let’s hope we finally get the battle of the brothers!!!