Game of Thrones: 7.07 The Dragon And The Wolf
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This season of Game of Thrones has delighted in its rapid plot revelations compared to the years preceding it. Before season seven, a certain plot beat would take multiple episodes, maybe even seasons to unravel; here we get them resolved or revealed quickly in a matter of scenes. Some critics have suggested this makes Westeros appear smaller, more intimate, but in tonight's episodes, the scale and grandeur of Westeros is there for all to see.
The Dragon and the Wolf sees all the heavy hitters meeting in the Bear Pit, ready to present Queen Cersei the requisite proof, a captured wight, that the army of the dead is almost upon them. This week's episode is mostly talking - there are no large scale battles here - but what is said is vitally important. Bronn talking with his bro Tyrion is a particular highlight. As usual the dwarf is in the middle of things as he discusses various plot points of past seasons. The conversation between The Hound and Brienne is particularly tense.
The whole group are at the whim and whimsy of Queen Cersei, and she revels in the fact. Even after being presented with the terrifying wight, she is more concerned with Jon bending his knee to her than any supernatural threat. The script plays out with the characters figuratively being moved around, like pieces on a chessboard.
After Cersei refuses to help, Tyrion risks his own life to speak with his sister and convince her of the oncoming threat. Lena Headey plays the character with a convincing steely edge. Watch how she locks her jaw as she attacks Tyrion for all the hurt he has delivered to the Lannister family. After Tyrion succeeds in convincing to change Cersei's mind, there is a great twist as the audience discovers learns it is all a lie and attacks Jamie for his acts of mutiny, forcing him to leave her side for good.
There is plenty of revelation on the Jon Snow front too. After he had Daenerys succumb to their feelings and make love in their quarters, the audience discovers his true parentage. And yes, they are related. Through Bran's conversation with a returning Sam, his heritage is revealed, the consummation of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. It's something fans have suspected for some time and great to see confirmed here.
It certainly puts a spanner in the works so to speak. Daenerys is convinced she cannot have children, and theorists think that she just needs the right person to fall pregnant by. Is it her own flesh and blood akin to what Jaime and Cersei are doing that will provide this? It would be an interesting mirror between the two sides if this did happen and how the characters would react.
Theon Greyjoy finally gets the chance to play the hero this episode. Chasing after his traitorous uncle Euron, he meets some Greyjoy loyalists pushing their boat out to sea. After his cowardly acts in previous episodes, Theon is having none of it and after a rather bloody fight, commands the gang to help him rescue Yara. Some swift knees to the crotch of poor castrated Theon bring some light relief to a gripping fight.
Unlike other storylines this year, the Sansa/Arya plot line at Winterfell has seemed ploddy and unworthy of such a fast moving season. But here we find out that their fighting has all been a trap to ensnare scheming ally Littlefinger. In a fantastically shot scene (look at the profile shots on Sansa and how the little shards of light play across her face) we get the revelation that we are not in court to sentence Arya but put Littlefinger on trial, forcing him to hide in the shadows no longer.
As his manipulations are laid bare, Sansa shows a strong character trait that may help her one day as she orders Arya to kill him. Which she does, swiftly and silently, slitting his throat for good measure. It's a shocking but satisfying end for such a twisted character.
The episode ends we see the Army of the Dead descend on The Wall. Again, with the pace of this season, the army doesn't take long to get there after last week's episode. And now they have the undead dragon of Viserion who attacks the wall with gusto, effectively destroying a large part of it (hopefully not killing off Tormund Giantsbane and Beric Dondarrion) in the aftermath. The sheer scale of the wall is felt with the immaculate model work interspersed with necessary CGI to bring to a dramatic end a season of mostly highs and rapid revelations. There's a lot to ponder on as we wait for season eight in 2018...or (whisper it) 2019...