ROUND-UP: Game of Thrones – ‘Beyond the Wall’ (Season 7, Episode 6)

Stuck Between a Rock and Weird Pace

Marieke: I really enjoyed the talks between the wight hunters. They all have some connection with each other. Ned wanted to execute Jorah. Gendry was sold to Melisandre by the Brotherhood. Jon, being the good guy and bastard he is, offers his sword to Jorah. Jorah being the guy he is, turns it down, and their talk about Jeor Mormont bonded them. Gendry still being angry with the Brotherhood was logical, but The Hound’s response to that was priceless. You’re whinging! Tormund telling the Hound he has a tall, blonde sweet bird waiting for him. The Hound recognising the description as Brienne and the wildling responding that he wants to make giant babies with her! Sadly, Brienne still does not see this, rather she pines after the wrong guys, like gay Renly and obsessed-by-his-sis Jaime. However, Tormund is a ginger kissed by fire. I see Iron Throne possibilities there! He also loves dick though (I laughed out loud, sorry). I liked him basically giving Jon his blessing to bend the knee to Dany by telling him Mance’s pride cost them so many lives. He knows the danger now and that there is no room for pride. Beric knew Ned and does not see any likeness in Jon.. WHY COULD THAT BE?! And also they both know about being brought to life. They finally agree on fighting to keep others alive (Night’s Watch code echo!).

Jon Jorah got ep 6
Jon (Kit Harington) offering Longclaw back to Jorah (Iain Glen).

Then there was the bear. With blue eyes. It manages to eat away at Thoros, but a little fire and some alcohol gets him through. I like that someone born on Bear Island manages to kill him off. Nice touch, Jorah. During a fight with a walker and some wights we all learn that killing a walker kills the wights he brought back to err… life, which conveniently leaves them with one, which the manages to capture. He somehow screams to warn the others and the group send master runner Gendry towards Eastwatch, without a hammer. Oh boy. Then the rest run for their lives, but they end up on a large frozen lake. Oops. They find an island on it and the wights keep their distance because of the ice breaking. Thoros gets a new name, HyperThormia, and they set him on fire just to be sure. I have to say that sword on fire effect continues to be pretty cool. Beric figures out that killing the Night King might kill them all. It is a plan. The Hound is bored and childishly taunts the wights with stones. Till one does not break the ice, making one of them cross the lake. You idiot Hound you! Because when one goes… The fantastic five are in huge trouble now. Tormund almost died (so glad he didn’t), the wights are way too many. There is only one way out… But will she deliver?

Danielle: I wanted to love all those little conversations between the wight hunters. I really did. But often those convenient chats amongst the icy tundra felt a little too on the nose. I don’t have a clue why Jon decided to offer Jorah that sword when they’d already gone beyond the Wall. Of course he was never going to accept, but it seemed like yet another stupid idea amongst a whole heap of stupid. What I did enjoy was Tormund and Sandor’s little bonding session over ‘dick’ and Brienne, although it’s pretty clear that if she’s going to be making ‘monstrous babies’ with anyone, it’s certainly not going to be our favourite ginger wildling. He’s not even in the running. I thought the reference to said babies someday ruling the World was hella interesting though, especially when you consider that there are some theories Brienne is actually third in line to the throne because of her yet undisclosed Targaryen heritage. We shall see.

Thoros got ep 6
Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye) before his untimely demise at the hands of a wight polar bear.

That wight polar bear was plain daft. Yes, I understand that it existed to foreshadow what we saw happen at the end of the episode, but just because you can afford to do something now that your budget allows it, it doesn’t mean that you should. I was sad to see Thoros being bitten, and in turn biting it due to a combination of his injuries and the cold. Still, at least he had a better death than those nameless, characterless wildlings who were picked off one by one throughout the episode. They could easily have been replaced by cardboard cutouts with such non-existent characterisation. Really, as Marieke has already pointed out, the big takeaway from cornering that one wight and being surrounded by the undead army is that the best course of action is to take on the White Walkers, and if you get chance, The Night King himself.

Living in the Moment vs. Planning for the Long-Term

Marieke: We could be heroes, just for one day. Dany chose her day and took her dragons to become a dragon against Tyrion’s advice. Oh and he let her know that Jon loves her. Tyrion so ships them and not just him we find out later this episode. It seems as if the hero in GoT always loses something. Their life. A family member. Their house. Tyrion realises this and sees the need for a successor for Dany, but she does not want to think about that until she has the crown (JINX! Dany went in her head). Tyrion has a point; without Dany all this is for nothing. No wheel breaking. Maybe he should not have told her Jon lovviedovvies her, because we know he sees the danger of his sister wreaking havoc whilst the Night King is coming towards her. He rather put his money on those dragons and their mother. Although.. she does have a temper. YES DANY. You have a temper. FFS. Have some self knowledge.

Tyrion Dany got ep 6
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) discussing the line of succession.

Danielle: Dany and Tyrion’s fireside conversation about the heroes in her life, and him pressing her to think about the line of succession was easily one of my favourite scenes in ‘Beyond the Wall’. In terms of her leadership skills, the Mother of Dragons’ reach worryingly often exceeds her grasp, and she should be thinking about the long-term ramifications of having a Queen who ‘believes’ she cannot bear anymore human children. Her Hand was offering her democratic solutions to the problem, inspired by the Night’s Watch and the Iron Born, but his Queen is still far too focused on unseating Cersei from the Iron Throne. Naturally, he’s noticed that there’s something between Jon and Dany too. It’s his job to be observant. Nevertheless, I got the impression that she’s underestimated her adviser, in terms of his own potential to be a hero, and the depth of his own feelings for her. When she found herself apologising to Tyrion because she’d mentioned that Jon was ‘too little’ for her, I could only applaud that subtle look of knowing sorrow on his face, which Peter Dinklage executed perfectly. He knows she’ll never look at him the way she looks at the King in the North, and that the best he can ever hope for is to serve her well. We got a sense of this again when Dany decided to take off with her babies North of the Wall. When her Hand tells her, “Sometimes doing nothing is the hardest thing to do.” Rather solely trying to talk her down from engaging in a mission that could result in her death, and an end to any ambitions to ‘break the wheel’, I got the impression he was expressing his own predicament in that moment too.

Rush, Crash and Burn

Marieke: Is there anything Gendry can’t do? The man can row. The man can run. Maybe give him a bike. Anyway, out of breath he reaches Eastwatch, where surrogate dad, Davos, takes care of him. The ravens are sent, per express, of course. We can keep talking about the speed ravens have gained, but this is the situation now. They get to Dragonstone quickly and Danaerys gets past the Wall even quicker. It was such a nice sight to see those wights burn. It was an awful sight to see the Night King grab that spear. He is not. No no. He cannot. NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. WE LOST A DRAGON! There goes the three riders theory. Although I did not know which dragon it was at first, it figures it was Viserion. Named after her asshole brother, a bad guy, who took on her deceased husband, Khal Drogo, who provided the inspiration to the name of Dany’s fave dragon. There’s just Rhaegal left, who we now know for sure is named after Jon’s father… Two dragon riders? Maybe a certain someone can warg Viserion..??? Either way, I hated that the Night King is apparently Jan Zelezny’s brother. Bloody hell, he can aim and throw! It’s curious that he had three spears to use. Did he have any inside information, or is that a coincidence? Let’s not forget it is also partially Jon’s fault for not mounting the dragon sooner. It leaves him in the cold pond eventually, which he manages to climb out of by himself, with a little help of a conveniently placed Longclaw. The Walkers and wights still managed to see that and Jon finds himself in fear of his life again. Benjen rescues him and stays behind, telling Jon to take his horse. Yes, they would’ve both fit on it, but I think Benjen was dying and he could not get past the Wall anyway. His Uncle appearing did not have the same effect as it did when he saved Bran and Meera (remember her? Rolleyes). A nearly frozen to death Jon reaches Eastwatch and Davos takes care of his surrogate son #2. Where would we be without the Onion Knight, eh?

Danielle: There really should be some kind of Westerosi Olympics, what with Gendry’s rowing and running skills, The Hound unsure if he wants to compete in the shot put, or the curling competition, and the Night King’s mad javelin skills. (Surely somebody should be looking into a drugs test for the Icy Monarch?) So Dany arrived in the nick of time as Jon and co were on the verge of being overwhelmed by the undead army, making a large dint in the number of wights, before we finally how realised just how dangerous the Night King is given a sharp, throw-able weapon. I think it stands to reason that he already knows about the dragons, as it’s likely he’s still psychically connected to Bran. Regardless, in spite of how ridiculous his spear throwing complete with cartoon sound effects was, Viserion being brought down still packed an emotional punch. Now we know just how vulnerable those dragons can be, it puts a far more terrifying slant on the Great War. Brains will be required as much as sheer man and fire power to beat this formidable foe.

Jon Benjen got ep 6
Benjen (Joseph Mawle) saving Jon’s life.

Onto Jon, and his near brush with death again, him taking a dip in the water reminded me of Jaime doing exactly the same a few episodes earlier, both of the acting stupidly heroically as the catalyst for them having an impromptu swim. It does make me wonder if we’re supposed to draw comparisons between the two men. Obviously he managed to make it out of the lake, minutes after everybody else had retreated with Dany on Drogon’s back. There’s still more for him to do. I was so pleased that we got a glimpse of Benjen, even if it was momentary, and that he acted so heroically to save his nephew. Jon seeing him again was a great callback to Season 1 and those moments leading up to his death at the end of Season 5. Of course he was going to give up his horse, and let him go on his own; we already know he was never going to be able to pass through the Wall because of the magic imbued in its foundations, and his own undead status.

Stark vs. Stark

Marieke: Arya and Sansa never really got along. They’re two sides of the female Stark coin. The direwolf situation in Season 1 said it all. The two girls have simply grown apart from each other, even though they’ve been through their own hardships. Sisters can fight and I have no problem with that, but this is the first time I really disliked Arya. There is this whole idea going on that one of them or both are playing Littlefinger, but why fight like that and say those words (especially Arya) when he is not around? I am not buying the Littlefinger hears -everything- sentiment, I doubt he has a spy hidden there, let alone any bugs with tiny notebooks. I also don’t get why Sansa confides in him. That could be her playing him. He sees Brienne as a solution, but Sansa sends her away to King’s Landing in her place (did anyone else also yell at that moment? Also does anyone really believe Pod is quite the swordsman now?) She is not back to being that stupid, is she??

I also have trouble with the fact Arya believes the letter. Sansa was a child, and yes, Lyanna Mormont is too, but on her own island, surrounded by trusted advisers and guards. It is easier to grow up like that than amongst Lannisters. Apples and oranges, Arya. Also saying that Sansa laughed at their father’s execution. WHAT? She screamed from agony, pain, hopelessness. How could Arya say that? Worst of all, how could Sansa let her say that? Arya would never have survived Sansa’s situation. She would not have kept her mouth shut and would have been killed quickly. Likewise, her older sister would not have survived her ordeal. They both had to become different type of girls, the types they’re good at, to survive: Sansa, the girly girl at court, and Arya, masquerading as a boy, in the wider World. The former knows how to play the game, the latter knows how to kill. Sansa never would have had the privilege of her father clapping after she manages to get bullseye. Arya cannot see past the spoilt brat Sansa once was. Whilst her younger was supremely irritating here, the oldest Stark girl has grown on me during the show and I hope they will do her character justice.

Arya playing the ‘game of faces’ with her was a bit annoying. For a nanosecond I was scared she would collect her sister’s face. Also what must Sansa have thought when she found those faces? She truly is the only somewhat ‘normal’ Stark left. The offering of the dagger to Sansa could be Arya saying ‘I’ll protect you anyway’, or an encouragement to have her kill Baelish (cannot see that happening). I don’t mind conflict, but too many things felt wrong here. Also, Bran, that tiny bit of Stark that is left in you, tap into it and help your sisters out, you robotic, distant dudebro you.

Sansa Arya got ep 6
Are Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie Williams) truly at loggerheads? 

Danielle: In contrast to my Fezzy friend here, I do think the two Stark girls are playing Littlefinger, I’m just no longer sure that they’re working together to bring about his downfall. I still think there’s something wildly suspicious about them having that first agreement in such a public place. It all seems mildly dubious after the warmish and fuzzy-ish Stark trio reuniting under the weirwood tree a couple of weeks ago, and Sansa pointing out that he would only give Bran that dagger if he wanted something. Perhaps they are still mad at each other. I can even understand why, but I am fairly confident that they’re merely testing each other, rather than their relationship being irretrievably ruined. I got that vibe especially when Arya was playing the ‘Game of Faces’ with Sansa. I think she gleaned from that what she needed to know, and her handing over Catspaw was a covert way of ‘swearing her sword’ to her sister, even if she scared the bejesus out of her with that bag of swag from the Hall of Faces. Perhaps both of them not necessarily letting the other one in on their plans is something they feel is essential to duping Littlefinger seen as he’s a Master of Deception?

Regarding Sansa telling Brienne to go South to King’s Landing in her place after Cersei’s invitation when Baelish apparently planted the seed for her to do so, I expect that might have been the product of two things. Firstly, it’s another way she thinks she can lull him into a false sense of security, in that she’s seemingly taking his advice now so they can both plot against Arya without their sworn sword to step in and make the sister’s see clearly. Secondly, she’s still understandably aware of the threat that remains from the Southern Queen, and therefore she has no intention of stepping into the Lion’s Den. However, I think she may have fallen straight into Cersei’s trap. I have a sneaking suspicion that her once, would-be Mother in Law wanted Sansa to remain in Winterfell, whilst Brienne was ordered to go South because she’s recently learnt about Jaime sending her after the Stark girls with Oathkeeper. It’s easy enough to send an assassin North when her bodyguard is out of the way, and to hatch some awful plot against said bodyguard when she’s walking right into your home turf. Even though I’m worried for both of them, I am so stoked that Brienne especially will have the opportunity to bitchslap some sense into Jaime in the finale. If anyone can, it’s her!

Love Floats?
Dany Jon got ep 6
Daenerys and Jon ‘bonding’ after their showdown with the Night King.

Marieke: They put them on a ship. A LITERAL SHIP. This romance is unavoidable, isn’t it?Jon wanting to bend the knee. Hmm. Trust is a valuable weapon it seems. Danaerys sees Jon’s scars and realises what he has been through, and Jon is grateful she showed up to help. He is sorry she lost Viserion, but at least now she has seen the danger. She is still in shock. She must be after losing one of her babies. I really hope that Jon is not going to have magical sperm, since Dany is so adamant she cannot get pregnant anymore. She has mentioned it on screen several times now… Anyway this is gonna happen. What is left now is everyone’s reactions and theirs when they find out about the blood ties.

Danielle: It’s been hard for me to type this week because my fingers and toes are still uncurling after that godawful ‘Dany’ dialogue. The world and his wife can see what’s going on here between these unwitting relatives, but boy are we in for a bumpy ride when they find out that they are in fact auntie and nephew! Dany might be more accepting of such a relationship, after all, she’s grown up as part of a dynasty that actively encourages incest, but Jon, who would have been brought up following the Old Gods who forbid ‘familial relations’, is not going to be so receptive. In light of that, a pregnancy could be ‘interesting’. I still don’t bank on either of them ruling over Westeros in the aftermath of The Long Night though. On another note, I can’t quite wrap my head around why Jon needed to non-literally bend the knee to Dany after she’d already agreed to fight the White Walkers with him, other than to boost her confidence as she faces off with Cersei in the finale. Jaime isn’t the only one who makes terrible decisions for love.

The Night King Has a New Ride

Marieke: Man, that past the Wall hardware store had some great sales to make! Assuming a few wights sacrificed themselves to put the dragon in chains and waiting for a drought, probably, the Night King has his minions drag Viserion out of the water to turn his eye blue. Oh dear, an ice breathing dragon! Westeros might as well give up now huh? Although there’s one thing I’m not sure about. We have never heard the Night King speak, so how will he be able to command Viserion??? (Putting money on hand wave)

Danielle: B&Q have stores in Westeros too, eh? Who knew? I know we’re supposed to suspend out disbelief for things like this, but those chains coming out of nowhere coupled with the Night King’s spear throwing skills really pulled me out of the episode. Nevertheless, I am so hyped for an Ice/Wight dragon. The ante has well and truly been upped for the finale and the final season. What happens when fire-breathing Drogon fights an undead, ice-breathing Viserion? (Other than a fresh supply of water.)

MVP of the Week

Uncle Benjen and his impeccable timing.

Death of the Week

Viserion. WE LOST A DRAGON.

Quote of the Week

Tormund: I don’t think you’re mean. You have sad eyes.

The Hound: You want to suck my dick. Is that it?

Tormund: Dick?

The Hound: Cock.

Tormund: Ahh. Dick. I like it!

The Verdict?

Marieke: The show has truly changed. Some scenes are worth sacrificing time for, but it still grates a little. Losing Viserion definitely was a shock, because the Night King did what Bronn could not do, and it is much worse. I did not mind Dany’s rescue. Okay, time wise it was illogical, but BenJen ex machina bothered me more. Or Jon and Dany quickly falling for each other. On the other hand, it’s not so much that I mind it all, we have been waiting for action forever, and I wouldn’t another season like s5 I would not survive. It is more that the show seems to be missing something now. I am starting to think the Night King does not do the show any favours, because the wars and scheming between houses was far more interesting than a king which looks kind of invincible now. But dragons setting things on fire are so sweeeet to watch. I am conflicted here. I enjoyed most of this episode, but I was not breathless like after ‘The Spoils of War’, or in shock like after Ned’s execution or the Red Wedding. Even Hardhome felt more dangerous than this (the wights were so much faster there, weren’t they???) It was okay with a handful of fine moments I guess, but okay is just not good enough for GoT.

Danielle: For all of the shocking moments in ‘Beyond the Wall’, and there were many, the episode was oddly flat. Prescriptive dialogue, coupled with some truly unbelievable moments that would challenge anyone to suspend their disbelief, made what should have been an epic outing for the show rather mediocre. Directorial choices contributed to that, as did the writers’ choice to offer up a confusing timeline and some rather limp characterisation. Of course the bar is exceptionally high with Thrones. It’s already offered up some of the best episodes of television that many of us will probably see in out lifetimes, therefore when it lets us down as viewers, it really lets us down. Hopefully, the finale will be a return to form.

Our Fezzy Score: rsz_fuzzy_fezrsz_fuzzy_fezrsz_fuzzy_fez

So what did you think of this season’s penultimate episode? Let us know in the comments…

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