Game of Thrones strode into its penultimate showing breast enlarged and cock out, which is no real surprise really, how else would one enter the room when you’re the biggest show on television? But with so many story strands at a loose end and so many characters still alive, season 7 was going to have to move at an Edmure Tully in the bedroom pace to get it all wrapped up.
There will be spoilers in this review of Game of Thrones season 7.
The Riverlands is one of those places which shows up in Game of Thrones a lot but isn’t overly important to what is going on, it’s just the sort of place that you have to pass through to go places, the Birmingham of Westeros if you will.
Arya and her bag of many faces kicked off the season spectacularly as she poisoned all the remaining Frey men after having killed off Walder at the end of last season. Arya fully showing her assassin skills and newfound badassary as she makes her way through her ever shortening list. Her time in the Riverlands wasn’t very long but it did bring up possibly the greatest moment of the entire season…the return of Hot Pie!!! Boy killed it with his appearance, bringing a tear to my eye, clearly a master pie maker, told Arya about the king in the north and made a play for her, what a stud.
Arya also had the cringiest moment of the season when she stumbled across Ed Sheeran…sadly she didn’t do everyone a favour and decided a nice wee chat was more suitable. I don’t mind famous people appearing in Game of Thrones, they’ve done it previously, however the difference between then and now is that previously if you weren’t aware they were there you wouldn’t recognise them, a well crafted Easter egg. Instead Ed Sheeran’s appearance was incredibly forced and took me as a viewer completely out of the moment, which is a cardinal sin of guest spots, especially if you want your show to be considered high brow. It’s a cheap trick to get publicity and I don’t really understand it because Game of Thrones doesn’t need extra publicity.
Sam’s time at Oldtown didn’t really work out and to be honest that’s not to surprising, there is only one season left so they could hardly leave a big character scooping shite for the rest of the series whilst all hell breaks loose around him, although that would be classic Sam. Sam’s arc had two and possibly an unrevealed third point to it, the most important being that he (or Gilly in reality) discovered that Rhaegar had his marriage annulled, the second being that he cured Jorah of his ailments and the third being that he stole potentially vital books to help in the fight against the White Walkers, very productive.
The season picked up in the north where it had left off with Jon the newly crowned king of the north doing kingly things such as sitting in a room and telling people what to do. Jon and his faithful hand, Davos of awesomeness, decided it would be a good idea to head south and meet up with the finally in Westeros Dany to convince her to join the fight against the White Walkers, solid plan.
The Stark reunions from last season continued this year as Sansa met up with not one but two whole Starks! Just goes to show that if you stay in one place long enough you’ll find the person you lost. It’s interesting that Arya and Sansa haven’t seen each other since the first season (they haven’t seen Bran even longer) yet that tension between the two was still there.
I felt that this part of the season really struggled to get off the ground, maybe it’s because it isn’t overly related to everything else which is going on or maybe it is the weakness of the writing, I’m not really sure but I don’t think it really hit like the writers would have hoped for.
I thought the writing was lazy for this arc as they did the terrible TV trope of showing the audience one thing, whilst something totally different happens in the background off camera. The problem with this is that there are scenes which after this ‘twist’ no longer really make sense, a great example of this would be the bag of many faces scene, who was that piece of dialogue for exactly? Littlefinger wasn’t in the room, it was a private conversation. It was purely put in to mislead the audience, as was basically every scene including Arya, Sansa and Littlefinger prior to the reveal.
There are many problems with this, the twist was never earned and that is why in my mind it didn’t work. The first problem is that they sloppily played the tension between Sansa and Arya, the second being that someone as crafty as Littlefinger would surely have been aware of the goings on that he may be betrayed, thirdly they never established that Bran was a trustworthy source of intelligence, so why would anyone believe him? Ultimately I think the problem is that they were overly heavy handed with the set up and then were even heavier handed with the reveal, which you could see coming from a mile off.
It’s a shame because Littlefinger has been one of the best antagonists in the show and has been such a key figure in the background as the series has rumbled on, often making a massive impact without others being aware of his presence, he deserved a better send off than this. That isn’t to say that Aidan Gillan didn’t kill his final scene, he very much did but I feel like the character was totally mishandled this season. It was as if they didn’t know what to do with him but knew he wasn’t really needed any more so just threw this in as a fuck yeah moment.
Bran is an interesting character because he can reveal so much about the world and background to the entire series and that’s exactly what we received last season and it made Bran one of the most interesting characters in the show. For whatever reason they decided to take what makes Bran interesting and turn him into a kid who looks like he just received his MMR jab. Bran had his moments this season, the stand out being his scene with Littlefinger (another plot hole to the Littlefinger arc, as in why the fuck didn’t he high tail it after that conversation) and his conversation with Sam which delivered the big reveal of the series to date! A reveal that everyone saw coming but a big reveal nonetheless and apparently Bran’s word is gold so nobody will dispute what he says, which is always handy.
Just in case anyone was in doubt that Jon was a true-born Targaryen he goes and fucks his auntie, what a player. It does of course make that last scene between the two that touch awkward after Bran and Sam pieced together the puzzle of the worst kept secret in Game of Thrones. I get the feeling Dany will be cool with it, Jon on the other hand might be a bit more ew about the whole thing.
I do have to applaud Kit Harrington and Emilia Clarke for actually having sexual chemistry together because both are pretty terrible actors, a bit of a problem when they have developed into the two main characters of the series. Maybe the relationship can bring to life their performances next season, with both being less grumpy now they’re getting some and with Kit introducing his eighth different accent of the series (a man of many talents).
Jon more than any other character has had very little interaction with other characters in the series and the very same could be said of Dany, arguably the two most important characters have been disjointed from the core story for around six seasons, finally met up and it turned into Dany demanding he bend the knee… That I feel is the problem with Dany, is she really a protagonist of the series?
The question is asked because her actions don’t seem too dissimilar to those of Cersei at times, from being overly headstrong in a negative fashion, dismissive of those she sees as beneath her, to wanting to burn King’s Landing down or mercilessly and unnecessarily burning the Tarly’s simply because they didn’t bend the knee, it is a fair question to ask. The Tarlys is the best example of this, Dany committed what is essentially a war crime by viciously killing a man and his son for no reason other than they were too honourable.
Dany’s arc was even odder whilst the seasons progressed as she went from being incredibly ruthless edging on antagonistic to a big softie as her and Jon began to get…cosy… One of the biggest problems with this is that because the show moved at such a ferocious pace their closeness felt overly rushed, scenes which were probably happening weeks and months apart felt like they were actually happening days apart, something this entire season struggled with. There are also questions over why Jon would stay so long when it was evident that she wouldn’t stop him from leaving if he had wanted…I assume because the plot demanded it…
My assumption is that with Jon in her life she has grown more understanding and less rash and with that they will move her back to being a protagonist role because she has teetered on the edge for a number of seasons now, maybe that is ultimately the major turn in the entire series, I guess we shall see, it will be interesting to see her reaction when she finds out she isn’t actually the true heir to the throne.
Tyrion had another one of those seasons where he didn’t contribute too much and was a side piece to the main plot. Tyrion has always played best as a character when it comes to the political side of the game, however with how quickly things have had to speed up due to the lack of episodes left it has left characters like Tyrion behind, the exact same thing is true for Varys who now appears to be no more than a perfectly shaved ornament.
Tyrion did have his moments in the finale and had a few quips here and there which remind you of the good old Tyrion days, but he has very much became a fringe player the last couple of seasons. It will be interesting to see where they are going to go with his character in the final season as it would be a real disservice to let such a great character fizzle out the way he has in the last couple of seasons.
In a classic what the fuck are we going to do with these two characters fashion Missandei and Greyworm got it on in an…unusual…scene. It’s one of the problems that a show with so many characters has that they feel the need to do something with characters who aren’t central to the plot to justify their wages. Neither character really did anything the rest of the season so this was very much it for them and the less said about it probably the better.
One of the best moments of this season was the sea battle between the Greyjoys, a true joy to watch. It’s interesting that in the six seasons prior we had never seen a proper sea battle until now and they did a great job of it too. The use of the night and fire to cause further confusion to the situation added to the drama which unfolded, as Euron and his merry men attacked Yara’s fleet.
Euron is supposed to be an antagonist, however he became an instant fan favourite by putting an end to the Sand Snakes as well as having a good few funny quips to go alongside it. There is already a great deal of chaos when Euron explodes onto the scene, laughing manically as he ploughs through the opposition and making things seem all the more chaotic. His capturing of Yara, killing of the sand snakes and teasing of Theon built the character up more in one scene than everything which had went prior. In one scene they were able to make a character an instant fan favourite, create a new threat and develop a character who prior to these events was an also ran. It was one of the many great scenes and moments of season seven.
Speaking of Theon, they seem to finally be going with a redemption story for him next season after so many years of teasing. I found it odd that in Theon’s final scene of the season he got the shit kicked out of him, yet still managed to win the fight. I don’t know if getting kicked where his balls used to be is the equivalent of him downing a can of spinach, but you’d think that it would still hurt. I guess the situation wasn’t too important and it was more about the moment itself and how Theon had finally found his courage. It also allows for Theon and his magic crotch to go to the Iron Islands only to find that Euron wasn’t where he said he was and be able to alert his pals of the situation, which is handy for plot purposes.
Season six was a tumultuous one in King’s Landing, another king fell and Cersei blew up some religious fanatics, taking the crown for herself in the process. You would have thought that after blowing up a massive part of the city the people would have been a little iffy about the whole Cersei situation, however it seems that the residents of King’s Landing took it on the chin and rolled on as if nothing had actually happened…
The writers had written themselves into a corner with the whole Lannisters versus Dany, it was always a lopsided fight, so the Lannisters getting off to a fast start was always to be expected. Euron knocked off the Dornish and finished Yara’s fleet too, which left it up to Jaime to take care of the Tyrells. I found it odd that they continued on the joke that the Tyrells army was lightweight and not great at fighting and I don’t really understand how they managed to move an entire army unnoticed to the south, but maybe I’m being harsh.
What the non existent battle between the Lannisters and the Tyrells did give us is one final great scene from Olenna Tyrell, one of the great bit characters in the series. The scene between her and Jaime was classic Olenna as she used her sharp tongue in an accepting manner, knowing exactly what her fate was. Jaime has always been one of the best written characters in the show, he’s grown more than any character as the show has progressed, going from an arrogant pretty boy to a sympathetic pretty boy and this scene with Olenna showed where he has come since the beginning.
Olenna’s reveal that she was the one who poisoned Joffrey after she had sealed her own fate by drinking the poison provided, was that one last dagger in the heart from the queen of daggers in the heart. Olenna didn’t tell Jaime to hurt him, she did it to take one final shot at Cersei, Jaime was once again just collateral to his sister. You love the moment because it’s Olenna going down swinging giving that one last fuck you, but you feel sorry for Jaime because after showing great sympathy he has it slapped back in his face.
Jaime had a great season, key to most of the events which happened in the war and with a number of standout moments. He was also a massive part of the incredible battle between the Dothraki and Lannisters. The idea of watching the Dothraki fight a conventional army is exciting enough, to see Drogon be brought into the mix made it crazy. Prior to this season the dragons had been used sparingly, their impact always more hinted at than actually shown, in this battle they went all in and it made for an incredible spectacle.
The scenes of men being set on fire, turning to dust or simply being obliterated were harrowing. There are some things that impact you more than others because they hit home as being close to realistic. A great example of this is the crush in the Battle of the Bastards, a bad example is getting hit by a crossbow arrow, one you can personally imagine the other you have no real reference for. Being set on fire and burning to death is one of those things that is too close to home to be comfortable about, so seeing men running about helpless, screaming and burning to death has a massive impact on the viewer.
The battle itself was fantastic (filmed beautifully), you take two fan favourites in Jaime and Bronn and put them in a situation where you know they aren’t going to win but will they be able to escape? Bronn running from the Dothraki to attempt to take down Drogon was tense, his firing at Drogon was tense and when Drogon turned to give Bronn the full shot it was a hold your breath moment.
It got better though as Jaime made a mad dash at Dany in an attempt to finish the war before it started, a last gasp moment that felt like it could be the end of a great character. Drogon turning and tuning up the band led to the second big hold your breath moment, before Bronn came and saved the day (what a lad) by tackling Jaime’s hail mary at the last moment. It does say something about how Dany is written as a character that I felt very much on the side of the Lannisters, but who could really root against Jaime?
Tyrion was great in this scene as well, it’s a funny position for him as he comes in as a foreign invader to his own land, watching his house banner men being slaughtered as they were. I do wonder if when he stood at the top of the hill if the look on his face was the realisation of the side he had taken and the destruction which they were carrying out, which was further cemented by Dany’s treatment of the Tarlys and the surrendered soldiers. Plus he was probably wondering why Dany would destroy so much food which her army could have used to feed themselves, cool effects though.
This was followed by the fun scenes of Tyrion and Davos (the main man!) returning to King’s Landing in secret. We got the great reunion of Tyrion and Jaime (the first since Tyrion killed Tywin) and more importantly the surprising return of Gendry! I don’t know if they ever intended on bringing Gendry back or if he was brought back because of the internet memes, nonetheless it was a good addition to the show of a recognisable character. Davos, the legend as always, getting meta with his jokes about still rowing, bloody joker what’s he like.
Cersei continued her trip down crazy bitch lane this season and it was marvellous. Her scene in the cell with Ellaria and Tyene was one of the darkest things the show has done. The idea of locking a mother up with her dead daughter for the rest of her life and slowly watch her decompose is the thinking of a mad woman, it’s along the same line as the septa who is repeatedly getting raped by the Mountain…not a prison which sounds fun to visit.
Cersei’s exciting big news broke that she’s pregnant, yay you go girl! She claims it’s Jaime’s, however we know that she is a compulsive liar, so the questions have to be asked whether it is Jaime’s or even if she is actually pregnant. Cersei is a master emotional manipulator, she isn’t tactically as astute as a Varys, Tyrion or Littlefinger but she knows how to wrap those close to her round her round her finger. Her lack of subtlety is both her biggest weakness and biggest strength, ultimately her backstabbing ways will almost certainly come back to haunt her.
Jaime’s final moment of the season as he finally pulls away from Cersei’s poisonous influence was a massive moment for the character. Jaime seeing the threat up north and knowing that this was bigger than squabbling over little things. He’s seen the dragons in combat, he’s seen the Dothraki and he knows that if Dany et al are scared of what is happening beyond the wall then it must be a severe issue. His break from Cersei and the first falling of snow on King’s Landing is the rebirth of Jaime, someone so often painted as a villain when he is anything but.
Beyond the Wall
Despite having massive pacing issues I think the season up till episode six had been very good, however logic went out the window when they decided to get a bunch of people to go beyond the wall to catch a wight to convince Cersei to call a truce on the war…Even typing it out it doesn’t really make sense, so I don’t really know what the writers of the show were thinking. It’s as if they were sitting in the writing room and were like ‘wouldn’t it be cool if a bunch of characters went north of the wall to capture a wight and then they get stuck against the whole army and then Dany comes to save the day and then the Night King kills one of the dragons and then everyone is gutted and then get this, get this, the Night King reanimates the dragon!!!’ Essentially this entire episode was a plot jump to equal the playing field by giving the White Walkers one of Dany’s dragons.
The episode itself was fine, when you stick a bunch of the best characters in the show together you are bound to get something good from it. They did however fall into the terrible TV trope of having characters pull another character aside and have a heart to heart about whatever, which is fine but they did it numerous times, how many heart to hearts can people have? This was one of the best examples of how poor the pacing of the season was, in one episode they made it from the wall, deep into the north and back again, something which has previously taken a season to do. This episode was probably set over a couple of weeks but the way they framed it made it seem like it was set over a couple of days.
The set pieces however were quite spectacular, the polar bear fight was a nice taster which made you gasp for more and it certainly came. The initial chase onto the ice island was tense and created the situation for the final battle. There was something very 300 about the battle on the rock island as Jon and co battled with their backs against the metaphorical wall as they tried to hold back the hordes of dead soldiers.
They created a great position where you felt that nobody (Jon apart) was really safe, it felt that the chances of everyone making it out alive were slim to none, so when Tormund was slowly pulled into the water, screaming help and almost certainly a goner it was a shocking moment. Guys like Jorah, Beric and the Hound all felt dispensable, Tormund very much didn’t, the shock twist that he might not make it, that he and Brienne might not make beautiful big babies and rule the seven kingdoms, was unthinkable. When he began to get pulled in you thought, ‘ah he’ll be fine’, when he got dragged further you were taking more note thinking ‘surely not…’, when he starts to scream help and get dragged further in you’re thinking ‘fuck sake you pricks help Tormund, fuck not that gorgeous ginger bastard! Take me instead!!!’ When the Hound pulled him out the relief was palpable. As much as I didn’t want Tormund to go I do believe that somebody should have went because it would have made the stakes much higher.
Dany coming to save the day with the dragons was another lovely cinematic touch as the dragons blew their way through the hordes like a fat guy who hadn’t seen cake for a few days. Then finally the entire point of the episode fell into place as the Night King got out his Olympic throwing skills and nailed Viserion taking him down. It’s a big moment in the series as the dragons have been next to invincible so far, to see one of them go down very much weakens Dany’s hand and makes her look fragile.
Jon falling into the water before submerging was an odd one, surely that isn’t good for his body and would kick into hypothermia. The idea that Benjen could come and save the day but then would sacrifice himself for no real reason is an odd one to me. It felt like an excuse to give more drama and reintroduce and kill off an old character. Jon then somehow got back to the wall without dying, despite his clothes being soaking wet and the climate being shit cold, he then recovered pretty fast which was convenient for plot purposes. I’m not a big fan of Jon bending the knee but it is what it is and with revelations later on I’m sure Dany will happily reciprocate.
You do have to wonder why he let the dragons wreck through a bunch of his wee guys before deciding to take one down and also it begs the question as to what powers the Night King has? Did he deliberately set this trap? Why is his head spiky? Is he playing chess whilst everyone else is playing dominoes? So many questions need to be answered yet there is so little time to do so.
I didn’t like the idea that was introduced that by killing a White Walker you take down their wights, so the theory going is that by killing the Night King you kill all of them, the hive dilemma. I assume the reason they’ve went with this is to try and give it a clean cut because I imagine their intention is to have the Night King lose and that wouldn’t really work if his followers scuttled away back up north to fight at some future point.
The reanimation of the dragon was always going to happen after it was killed. It led us to the the final scene of the season which was quite something. Ever since the end of season two the threat of the White Walkers coming south of the wall has been teased, it was teased even more heavily after Hardhome, so for them to finally break through the wall is a big moment for the series and pushes it in a very different position to where it was previously. The scene of the dragon breaking the wall down was magnificent. It also leaves the very interesting question of how they are going to portray the White Walker army moving south and also what happened to Tormund and Beric? If they are dead it does beg the question why they didn’t kill them in the penultimate episode? Based on them not being shown dead I assume they remembered their plot armour, it was chilly.
The Dragon Pit
This should have been a massive moment for the show, to have so many major characters all in one…dragon pit should have been a moment of pure magnificence, yet nothing really happened. You would think after all this time and what had happened previously in the season that emotions would have been running high, yet it couldn’t have been further from the truth. Euron apart nobody stepped out of line and everything went along civilly, that’s pretty disappointing.
The Dragon Pit meeting did lead to a nice scene between Tyrion and Cersei which was well done and then later on between Cersei and Jaime which was also very good, however the actual point of this thing which had been built up for so many episodes was lost almost straight away. I have no problem with Cersei lying and saying she will help when she has no intention to, my problem with the entire event (and the group catching the wight) is that surely Tyrion knew that Cersei wouldn’t give two fucks.
I have to agree with Cersei as well, the Lannister army isn’t going to make much difference against the army of dead, it would just be more bodies, so why not let your opponents for the crown throw everything they have at it and then try to fight the winner. Ultimately if Dany’s crew can’t handle the White Walkers then the Lannisters are fucked anyway, but if they do somehow win then chances are their forces will have been decimated whereas the Lannister forces will be well rested and ready to take care of the scraps.
With such little screen time left in the show you would think that everything which we are shown is vital to what is going on in the plot, this to me was another one of those “great ideas” about getting all the characters together for the first time ever just for the sake of it, because what happened in this episode made what had happened in the previous episode totally defunct and that isn’t good use of limited time.
I feel I’ve been quite critical of the season overall and I think it deserves that criticism because Game of Thrones is supposed to be a top tier television show and the writing this season certainly wasn’t top tier. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy this season because I very much did, it was often times exciting and you can see the money which has been spent on the show, the characters are incredibly strong, there is a great depth of characters too, this season had many great moments, quite simply the problem is very much with the writing.
Things were happening for no reason, things were happening out of character and there were a number of logic and plot holes, that isn’t really acceptable. Dialogue was often too on the nose and the clever political side of the show, the thing Game of Thrones built its reputation on, was all but gone, passed over for simpler plot points and wow moments.
Gone were moments which shocked the viewer, the feeling that nobody was safe at any time, something which the show used to excel at. Plot armour was so thick this season that on more than one occasion a character found themselves in an almost certain death situation only to miraculously survive and then recover as if nothing had happened.
The other massive problem with the writing which I alluded to earlier was the terrible pacing throughout the season. Game of Thrones over the years has taken a real methodical pace to how they handled the show and created in that a sense of time within the show, season 7 decided to ignore that pacing and do whatever they fancy. The issue is that things happened so quickly that it was unclear how long episodes were lasting as characters bounced from one spot to another spot miles away in a matter of moments. I assume that the events of season 7 lasted over several months, maybe even a year, however because the writers never framed that time lapse it made it seem like the invention of the jet engine had arrived in Westeros. It feels like three seasons of content are being squished down into thirteen episodes and the is being hurt because of that.
For the weaknesses of the writing in season 7, it did have some glorious moments, in fact almost every episode had a stand out battle scene which stole the show. The battle of the Greyjoys, the Lannisters versus Dany, the battle on the ice lake and the Night King taking down the wall, all stand out moments which stick in your head as incredibly memorable and enjoyable. Simply put Game of Thrones is now at its best when it flexes its muscles and puts on a show and nothing on television compares to it.
Ultimately for all its flaws Game of Thrones is still currently the pinnacle of television drama. It is thee television show, a show which you can’t miss because it is doing things which years ago seemed impossible, in many ways its a groundbreaker. Yes the writing quality has dropped off since the show ran out of source material and the plot feels more forced than before, but the quality and depth of characters, the sheer size of the show, the set pieces, the special effects and the tension the series creates are all top notch and make up for its other weaknesses.
Looking forward there are only six episodes left, the Night King has broke through the wall and all hell is about to break loose, it’s going to be one hell of a slobber knocker. The big question is who will stand tall at the end of the series? Will Jon become the one true king of Westeros? Or the question that everyone is really interested in…when will Tormund and Brienne consummate their sexual tension!?!?