Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 6 (“Beyond the Wall”): Fans & Critics Hit Back

SPOILERS: Don’t read this post if you haven’t seen the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

In order to fully invest in a conflict, it’s necessary to understand and believe in what’s at stake for both sides. That’s what made “The Spoils of War” such remarkable television: not the spectacle of the fighting itself, per se, but our sympathy for the combatants and comprehension of the circumstances that put them at odds. “Beyond the Wall” goes the opposite direction: I don’t believe that bringing a wight to Cersei would persuade her to lend Jon her support; I don’t believe Dany would be so casual about her prospective ally and love interest turning to her direct competition for help; and, most importantly, I don’t believe so many people would uncritically accept this convoluted scheme as a good idea. -Alison Herman (The Ringer)

…one deus ex machina after another: first a pond, then a dragon, and finally Coldhands, aka Uncle Benjen, who comes out swinging an incense burner and sacrifices his life for Jon because apparently two people can’t ride on a horse. -Laura Hudson (Wired)

“Where did you… get them?” she [Sansa] asks, a line which served as a little island of expert comedic timing amid a vast ocean of ridiculous dialogue by David Benioff and Dan Weiss. While Arya could have used this as an opportunity to fill Sansa in on her formative experiences, then listen to Sansa explain some of her own, then come to a place of mutual understanding and respect, she instead threatens to cut Sansa’s face off. Whatever. -Kaitlyn Tiffany (The Verge)

 

Another question that this sibling rivalry brings to the fore: Are two powerful women not allowed to exist in the same place without one of them trying to sabotage the other? Outside of the Sand Snakes—we barely knew ye—it’s hard to think of two women who have been allowed to have the kind of relationship so many men on this show have been afforded, the camaraderie and “brotherhood” that has defined so many of their characters. Instead, they always seem to be at each other’s throats. -Laura Hudson (Wired)

 

 

 

 

This week Tyrion’s plan to capture a wight and bring it to Cersei proves that it’s as dumb as it sounds. While Tyrion is thinking about the future, he’s not doing a very good job getting his queen to listen to him, which is a problem since he is Hand of the Queen. ‘The Hound loves cursing and throwing rocks, apparently. His foolish throwing of rocks at a dumb wight makes them realize that the lake has frozen over, allowing them to attack. -Carrie Witmer (Business Insider)

…only Thoros of Myr is lost among our main heroes, despite overwhelming odds and at least a couple of near death experiences. At the same time, given how silly this whole plan was, I’m not sure I want any of our heroes to die executing it. Thoros’s death feels cheap in some ways. -Erik Kain (Forbes)

There is an argument to be made that season 7’s episode 6 was the worst GoT episode EVER – ridiculous dialogs, nonsensical plot line, plot holes and worst of all – a huge anti-climax to a much expected, important scene. What do you think? (See video below from GoT Academy.)

 

Listen to David Chen and Joanna Robinson’s podcast review of the ep here:

http://www.slashfilm.com/a-cast-of-kings-s7e06-beyond-the-wall

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Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 5 (“Eastwatch”) – Top 10 Lines

SPOILERS: Don’t read this review if you haven’t seen or don’t want to know details from the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

10) Dragons are where our partnership ends. -Bronn explains to Jaime after rescuing him from drowning in a river.

Yasss, Jaime is OK (as MOST of the fans and GoT YouTubers guessed)! I wasn’t worried TOO long- maybe for a few mins after last week’s ep. Jaime is still an important character in this story, or game (as some like to say). Some viewers want Bronn to ally himself (yet again) w/ Tyron; I think that could happen (given this line re: dragons). I was a big fan of the Tyrion-Bronn friendship! 

9) Sometimes strength is terrible. -Dany explains to Jon upon returning to Dragonstone. 

Drogon let Jon touch him- WOW! This is a VERY crucial scene, as we get another hint into Jon’s true heritage, and see more of Dany’s interest in him. Dany knows that Jon doesn’t approve of how she went about defeating the Lannisters in battle, so she says this line (rather casually, I thought). Dany is comfortable in her role as queen; Jon is uncertain as King of the North (being more of a warrior than politician). Jon may NOT be Ned’s bastard son, BUT he was raised by him to be an honest, just, and peaceful kind of man.

8) Everyone in Westeros trusts and believes you. If you tell people the threat is real, they’ll believe it. -Sam tries to convince the council of Archmaesters. 

Poor Sam! His father (Randyll) and younger brother (Dickon) were burned to death by Drogon after the battle in The Reach, so he is now the head of his (old/respected/wealthy) house. Archmaester Ebrose doesn’t reveal this news to Sam though, feeling bad for him. Sam brings a bunch of books and scrolls into a room where the archmaesters happen to be having a meeting. They are debating the merits of a particular scroll which relates what Bran Stark/The Three-Eyed Raven has  seen beyond The Wall. Sam overhears and interrupts; he knows Bran and says the news is true. 

7) I haven’t given you permission to leave. -Dany says. / With all due respect, Your Grace, I don’t need your permission. I am a king. -Jon replies.

There is more Dany-Jon (burgeoning) romance stuff here; some viewers said that she was looking at him TOO much this ep. Come on showrunners, you don’t have to be SO obvious! Anyways, Tyrion’s idea of capturing a Wight to present at Cersei’s court is a clever idea. 

6) Daenerys is not her father. She is even willing to suspend the hostilities if Cersei agrees to certain terms. Tyrion explains to Jaime when they are reunited in the dungeons beneath The Red Keep.

This was an emotional scene where BOTH actors did well. Though Tyrion has allied w/ Dany (“a foreign invader”), he can still reach out to his older brother, Jaime. As Ben Mankiewicz commented in the latest What the Flick? review: “Tyrion is friends w/ all the good guys: Bronn, Davos, Jorah, and Varys.”

5) Do you remember what father used to say about people? -Cersei asks. / The lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep. -Jaime replies before embracing and kissing her. / Never betray me again. -Cersei commands, softly.

Hmmm… what do YOU think? MANY viewers are writing that Cersei is NOT pregnant; she is lying to get Jaime’s to follow her plans (no matter how bad). We know that Jaime is hopelessly in love w/ his twin (as Lady Olenna pointed out in E3, before dying like a boss). Cersei goes as far as to say that she’s NOT afraid of what people’s reactions; she will say that the baby is Jaime’s. 

4) Our fathers trusted each other. Why shouldn’t we? -Gendry asks Davos and Jon after he introduces himself to The King of the North.

Joe Dempsie was listed as part of the cast for S7, so observant viewers knew he was (finally) back! His hair is  quite short now and he looks taller and more mature. Gendry was hiding in plain sight, working as a blacksmith in “the street of steel” in King’s Landing. He is quick to leave (LOL), deadly w/ that big hammer (yikes), and eager to fight for Jon. Their fathers were best friends who fought together during the time of Mad King Aerys (Robert’s Rebellion). Gendry will be VERY useful in forging weapons out of dragonglass, some YouTubers commented. Some people were excited for he and Arya to be reunited; we will have to wait for that.  

3) Nobody mind me. All I’ve ever done is live to a ripe old age. -Davos comments to Gendry and Jon.

Davos has some of the BEST lines in this ep; that stuff w/ the “fermented crab” (or should we call it Westerosi Viagra?) was quite funny! Liam Cunningham has been doing a fine job in his role. I esp. enjoy seeing the father-son dynamic between Davos and Gendry.

2) What does “annulment” mean? -Gilly asks tentatively, reading from a book by High Septon Maynard. / It’s when a man sets aside his lawful wife. -Sam replies, not paying much attention. / Maynard says here that he issued an annulment for a Prince Rhaegar and remarried him to someone else, at the same time, in a secret ceremony in Dorne. -Gilly reads on.

Whoa, who would’ve imagined that Gilly would get to reveal such crucial info!? As pointed out on GoT Academy, the book she was reading was by a religious/priest-like figure (High Septon), NOT written my a maester. Septons can perform marriages and funerals (as we have seen in previous seasons); it turns out that annulment are ALSO permitted in Westeros. Rhaegar left his wife (Elia Martell), then legally married Lyanna Stark before Jon was born. Jon is BOTH a Targaryen and a Stark, and (most importantly) NOT a bastard! He is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne before Dany (his aunt) since he is male.

1) He’s [Beric] right, we’re all on the same side. -Jon says. / How can we be? -Gendry asks. / We’re all breathing. -Jon concludes. 

At Eastwatch (the castle closest to The Wall) we see Tormund again; he is STILL thinking of Brienne (LOL). Jon, Davos, Jorah, and Gendry go down to the dungeon where Wildling men locked up some strangers about a month ago. It turns out that these are the Brotherhood w/o Banners: Beric Dondarrion (brought back to life- like Jon), Thoros of Myr (who knows Jorah), and The Hound (who Jon saw once at Winterfell). Westeros (like DC) is SUCH a small world sometimes!

Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 4 (“The Spoils of War”) – Top 10 Lines

SPOILERS: Don’t read this review if you haven’t seen or don’t want to know details from the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

10) Rickon! Jaime greets a Lannister ally.Dickon. -Dickon Tarly corrects him (just before Bronn bursts into laughter).

This will definitely be a fan favorite moment of the ep (LOL)! After the initial joke from Bronn, he, Jaime, and Dickon (younger brother to Sam) have an interesting discussion re: warfare. We see how a “fancy lad” (as Bronn calls Dickon) doesn’t know what to expect from battle, while Bronn had already seen death as a boy. 

9) I’ve noticed you staring at her good heart. -Davos says / There’s no time for that. -John replies

Yes, this could sound like fan fiction, BUT the show did it! Also, on 2nd viewing, I noticed that Davos corrected Jon’s grammar w/ “fewer” soldiers NOT “less”; he learned that from Stannis (LOL). 

8) Do I have to call you Lady Stark now? -Arya asks / Yes. -Sansa replies.

This is a light-hearted greeting before the two Stark sisters discuss more serious matters in the Winterfell crypt. Sansa should probably get better guards though (LOL). Jon, who was esp. close to Arya growing up, will be VERY happy to see her (YAY)! Notice how Arya wears her hair just like Jon? (Some viewers pointed it out last week.) Ned’s statue doesn’t look quite like him (awww). 

7) What you did for her is the only reason I’m not killing you! -Jon says to Theon after he asks after Sansa.

As one critic pointed out, it was a nice moment when Jon looked hurt upon first seeing Theon come ashore at Dragonstone. After all, this was the young man who’d grown up w/ him at Winterfell, yet betrayed the Starks. Then, Jon walked towards him and grabbed him by the throat, showing his anger. 

6) Chaos is a ladder. -Bran repeats Littlefinger’s own words back to him 

The look on Littlefinger’s face- priceless! That was at the beginning of  a speech Littlefinger gave Varys, alone in the throne room of the Red Keep. It’s also GoT’s most famous catchphrases. Littlefinger was clearly hoping to form some connection between himself and Bran, but he got bupkis. I highly doubt he’s “starting to understand” Bran (AKA The Three-Eyed Raven) at all. Bran gives Arya the Valyrian steel dagger; this is the ONLY material which can kill a White Walker (aside from dragonglass).

5) I remember what it felt like to be Brandon Stark. But I remember so much else now. -Bran explains / You died in that cave. -Meera replies  

Meera is VERY sad (close to tears) when she comes to say goodbye to Bran. After his emotionless “thank you,” you can tell she’s also angry. Meera says her brother (Jojen), Summer (Bran’s Direwolf), and Hodor ALL died on their journey, BUT Bran can’t give her the kind of response she wants. There is SO much going on inside Bran’s head now, he doesn’t have room in it for social niceties, feelings, etc. Meera concludes that Bran (or at least, his humanity) died in the cave w/ the Three-Eyed Raven. Wow, what a simple (yet great) line! 

4) But our stories aren’t over yet. -Arya says / No, their not. -Sansa agrees

These Stark girls have grown up, become more of who they were (Arya is a fighter; Sansa is a lady), and survived difficult journeys.  I LOVED this little positive-minded moment, b/c we don’t get many of those on GoT.

3) Who taught you to do that? -Brienne asks / No One. -Arya replies

Fans (esp. women) were VERY excited to see these two strong females sparring- finally! We see Syrio Forel’s influence on Arya’s fighting (awww). Brienne gives her a good fight- they are well-matched. Sansa and Littlefinger are surprised… and maybe also a BIT worried. Arya is a killer, for sure, and she still has a FEW enemies on her hit list.

2) The Children of the Forest and the First Men fought together, despite their differences and suspicions, against the White Walkers. -Jon explains to Dany 

Hmmm… weren’t those cave paintings a BIT too on the nose? Some viewers thought it was spelled out TOO clearly. 

1) Isn’t their survival more important than your pride? -Dany asks Jon

Will Jon “bend the knee” b/c it could save The North? Why are these two SO stubborn! I don’t yet see (romantic) sparks between Jon and Dany, BUT I do see sympathy and mutual respect. Are they truly BOTH of Targaryen blood, being nephew and aunt? We shall have to wait and see!