Game of Thrones: Beyond the Wall

I will start every one of these posts off with this warning about spoilers. There will be plenty of spoilers. Seriously, if you have not watched the episode, do not read this post. I will also be mentioning stuff from the books. These are not straight up recaps of episodes, nor are they reviews. I will just mention the stuff I liked/disliked and probably give some opinions about what could happen next.

I hate the Internet. It seems like people always want to be negative, just for the sake of negativity. I saw so many posts, reviews, whatever saying how this episode was bad because of XXXX. Well whatever, I really enjoyed it. I was on pins & needles the entire time worrying about characters dying. People keep saying that it was predictable. Oh, the 12000 predictions I saw all week, none of them ever mentioned the Night King killing Viserion with a fucking thrown spear. All I kept reading about was who would die and how one of them would end up being the wight they brought to King’s Landing. Oops, I guess none of those theories were right.

Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. Anyways, yeah, I loved the episode. The Westerosi A-Team searching for a wight was the main story, and it was interspersed with scenes of Arya/Sansa & Daenerys/Tyrion. So let us just dive in…

-The banter between characters during the hike. Gendry remarking that he never saw snow before, Tormund saying that he is happy to be back in the North since he cannot take the smell of the south (Jon has to remind him that Winterfell is not the south and Tormund just laughs at him). Then we have Tormund and Sandor having a bonding over Brienne. Or Jorah and Tormund. Or Jorah and Jon. Or maybe Jon and Beric. These little conversations were funny and emotional, and each time made me go “ugh, I really hope he does not die). Can you beat the whole Tormund saying the best thing to do in the cold is to fuck and when it is pointed out that there are no women, he looks at Gendry and says something like “we’ll just have to make do.” It is funny. It is the sort of shit you would joke with your friends about if you were hiking into a no man’s land to find an undead wight. Obviously.

-The fighting was intense. When Tormund went down, I was scared for him. I was angry at Sandor when he just stood there paralyzed over the undead on-fire bear. I almost felt bad for the RedShirts who had to die. It was sad when even Thoros died. He is such a peripheral character, but he is fun. Then we have the dramatic rescue. Daenerys flies in with her dragons and lays some cover fire for our team. They start loading up on Drogon, when the Night King does his thing. How incredibly badass was that scene? He just calmly (can he do anything but be calm?) takes the spear and barely aims at Viserion, he does not even test the wind. He just launches the rocket and brings down a dragon. I think that made everyone (including the audience) go “oh shit, he just killed 33% of our Dragon Corps, we better get the hell outta here!”

And to make things worse, Jon Snow falls through the ice and they have to leave him behind. I thought one of two things might happen. 1) The Night King would pull Jon out alive and take him prisoner 2) Rhaegal would swoop in and pull Jon from the water. But neither of those happened. Instead, Jon claws his way out, grabs his sword and staggers away from the battle. The wights follow him and it looks like he will be in for a tough battle, even though he is half-frozen. Here again, I thought we would see something cool like Drogon bark something at Rhaegal as they were flying, then Rhaegal turns around (Daenerys is yelling for him to come back). Then Rhaegal swoops in and picks Jon up. Instead though we get Benjen ex Machina! If you need a dramatic rescue against wights, please call Benjen Stark, who is definitely no longer alive, but not on the Night King’s team!

-Jon makes it back to the castle and they set sail for King’s Landing. Jon recovers and is visited by Daenerys. They have a little flirting and Jon says something along the lines that he saw “my queen today.” Meaning that he is probably willing to bend the knee for her and most likely do other things he learned with his tongue. It was sweet though.

-Over at Dragonstone, Daenerys and Tyrion had a fun conversation. Well it started out fun, but like all conversations with the Queen, they ended with her yelling at Tyrion. He pointed out though that Jon was in love with her (and that when she mentioned men running off to do stupid stuff, she mentioned all men that have loved her, including Jon Snow). She then says that Jon is too small for her, hahahaha.

-When the raven comes in that the team needs rescued, Tyrion tries to persuade her to let them go. He says that sometimes the hardest, but wisest thing to do is nothing. I hope he does not try to say “I told you so” when she comes back without one of her dragons.

-The Sansa and Arya story. Probably the weakest thing in the episode. I get why people are upset. It does not seem like either of them are acting the way they normally do. Arya confronts Sansa about the note, she does not believe her sister. She is upset that she saw their father die and Sansa was up there in her pretty dress. Some of that jealousy from when they were younger is still there. She told a pretty great story about Ned though, how he watched Arya shooting the bow with her one arrow until she hit the bullseye.

Anyways, I realize people want Sansa and Arya to talk out their problems. To just explain things to each other. However, that is not how dramatic storytelling works. Imagine if Romeo just went to Juliet’s parents and said “hey, I really love your daughter. I want to marry her, I think if we get married, it would be a good way to tie our houses together and hopefully end this enmity once and for all.” Her dad then says “you know what, you are a smart young lad, you have my permission.” End of story. Probably does not go down as one of the great tragic love stories of all time. But at least everyone acted rationally!

-I did predict the dragon raising. I mean, like three minutes before it happened. I was texting Offord about the show and said “the episode ends with the Night King bringing the dragon back from the dead.” He thought I was crazy (he was basing it off how the previously on GOT, they showed Oldtown at the end. He was assuming that meant that something would be shown there. I guess that makes us even on our right/wrong battle so far.

One of the things the Internet has fixated on are the chains. “Where did they get the chains?” Everyone is freaking out over this. A show about magical dragons, wights, White Walkers, and all sorts of other fantastical elements; it is the wights having a set of giant chains that make people go “oh whatever, this shit is unbelievable!” Who gives a shit where they got the chains? Maybe the Night King knew he might need them to pull down a section of the wall. He does have some Giant Wights. The wights can make it through the gate, just not the Walkers, right? So who knows what the plan was for the chains. Hell, maybe he can see the future a bit and realized the dragon was coming. Maybe he knew he would need a chain to pull Viserion out of the water. I honestly do not know. I honestly do not care. Why did Mance have giant chains when he was trying to storm the Wall? Where did Mance get them? Why did no one care about chains back then?

-Another thing is the time. We have completely dropped any pretense that timeline matters. It took the team hours to hike to where they got attacked, but yet Gendry is able to run back to the castle and then a raven can fly to Dragonstone, and Daenerys and her dragons can fly back up in a few hours. That makes no fucking sense. I get that, you get that, we all get it. But why harp on it? I never heard anyone complaining about how ridiculous it would be for the Knights of the Vale to just appear out of nowhere during the Battle of the Bastards. Think about it. There would be scouts, looking out for reserves or to make sure the army had not split off into a small group to attack from the rear. It would take weeks for the Vale soldiers to arrive, you mean none of Ramsay’s people knew they were coming? A giant force like that does not just sneak up on you. And I bet if you look back at those episodes, you would probably see that the timeline makes no sense there either. There are probably other examples too, but we just never noticed them because the action during those seasons was not as fast-paced.

-The only thing that really bothered me about the Gendry’s run, was not the time factor. I mean, I could see how during their march, it was a slow-paced, careful walk, trying to find signs of the Night King’s army. However, the run back is full-speed, no stopping. He practically died of exhaustion when he finally did get back to Eastwatch. No, what bothered me was that he knew where to go. See, even I am guilty of being thrown out of the narrative by something silly. This kid has no experience with snow, or hiking in the mountains, and yet he runs straight back to where he started? Impressive. But you know what? That stupid bit did not cause me to go “ughhhh, I hate this show now! It is so unbelievable.”

-So my prediction for next week. The Night King needed a dragon to help bring down the Wall. We will see Viserion destroy the Wall (or at least part of it) and allow the White Walkers to cross into the south (unless they really plan to use the frozen sea that we see in the opening credits). Also, is Viserion an ice-dragon now? Or does he still breath fire? And will next week’s episode just feature lots of discussion between Kings and Queens?