It's Sunday, and that means a brand new episode of Game Of Thrones s7e6 "Beyond The Wall" is airing on HBO. Despite YET ANOTHER HBO oops (yeah it DOES sound like we're cutting and pasting that line, but really it happened again) where HBO Nordic in Spain 'accidentally' made the 6th episode available via their on-demand service, the cable network is expecting serious viewership numbers.
We are going to get into spoilers pretty quickly here friends, so, if you DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED IN TONIGHT'S EPISODE, CLICK AWAY NOW.
No really, we're not going to hold back talking about the things that took place, and who died.
In "Beyond The Wall", the Westeros suicide squad takes it upon themselves to travel (as the title indicates) into the wilderness past Eastwatch. The internet of course knew this was going to be a HEAVY episode, and so this fantastic parody trailer in the style of Suicide Squad and Justice League was created:
Jon, Jorah, Tormond, Gendry, The Brotherhood of Thoros, Beric, and The Hound headed off on their mission to find the arrowhead mountain at the end of e5. We join them traipsing through the snow in the frigid temperatures, even though NONE OF THEM WEAR HATS. (Kit Harington who plays Jon actually commented on the no hats thing just this week.)
Arya goes toe to toe with Sansa about the letter, which the observant fan will recognize as the message Cersei forced Sansa to write to Robb after the death of Eddard. Arya admits to Sansa that she was there, in the courtyard, when Ned was beheaded. They trade barbs back and forth about which of them has had the worst of it, 'training' of sorts for both turning them into the women they are now. "Sometimes anger makes people do unfortunate things", Sansa says to Arya, to which Arya responds "Sometimes fear makes people do unfortunate things, I think I'll go with anger", and walks away.
The Hound and Tormond speak, mostly about their mutual knowing of a rather tall lady. Tormond speaks of Brienne in longing admiration, "I want to make babies with her, great big monstrous ones who will conquer the world" and The Hound questions Tomond's sanity.
Beric and Jon speak about the Lord of Light, being brought back from the dead by the red clergy. Jon admits he has no idea what Rh'ollor wants from him, but Beric assures him that there is a plan. "Death is the enemy, we fight for life," Beric tells him.
Dany and Tyrion talk about her next move, the possibility of her actually broaching a peace treaty with Cersei. He counsels her, that her temper is not what she should be controlled by, as he knows Cersei is likely to push buttons to provoke a fiery reaction. Tyrion does his job as hand, trying to find the best way (but still not really the best way) to urge Dany to have a contingency plan for her legacy. Namely, who will succeed her on the throne since she cannot have children. She of course doesn't take this too kindly, and they part the meeting on not the best of terms.
Littlefinger does his Baelish best to alleviate Sansa's righteous fear that maybe Arya would take the letter to the Northern lords in an effort to depose Sansa's position while Jon is away from Winterfell. He goes so far as to suggest that Brienne, sworn to protect BOTH Stark daughters, may be called upon to prevent such a thing from happening. But also, Sansa gets an invitation from Cersei, to come to Kings Landing. Knowing as she does how crafty the Queen can be, Sansa deems to send Brienne in her stead.
Jon and co are attacked by a large White Walker bear, and Thoros is gravely wounded. Sadly we do lose our favorite red priest before the end of the episode. Beric stands over the body of his friend, the man who brought him back six times from death, and uses his flaming sword to dispatch Thoros to the Lord of Light.
Apparently if you kill a longhaired White Walker general, their troops will shatter, much like a spell once the caster is felled. However- one walker lives on, and this causes the men to ask each other, "well maybe that leader wasn't the one who created this one?" which makes a certain amount of sense. The undead horde approaches though, and the troop sends Gendry back to Eastwatch to send a raven to Dany to tell her what's happened. Tormond convinces Gendry to leave his warhammer, so much like his Baratheon father that blacksmith is, because he'll "be faster without it."
Once again, the time dilation of how long it's taking these people to travel from one place to another is baffling. Gendry reaches Eastwatch seemingly mere hours after leaving Jon's band, and manages to tell Davos to send the message to Dragonstone. Dany receives the message, dons the most fabulous winter coat, and jumps on Drogon to fly to Jon's aide against Tyrion's pleas to not.
In probably the best live ones vs dead ones scene this side of Greg Nicotero's nightmares, the 5 remaining men look like they're not going to make it against the never ending waves of walkers. Until a moment George R. R. Martin's book lovers have been waiting 20 years for happens, Dany shows up with her three dragons and starts destroying the White Walker army. It is a triumph, the flames doing the damage we all hoped they would.
But then the heartbreak we've not felt since the death of Hodor- one of the White Walker generals throws his ice spear, and it hits home. Punching through the tough neck of Viserion, the spear does deadly damage and the winged beast falls from the sky raining blood on the ice. He hits hard, and his eyes close as his massive bulk sinks into the water. Everyone is frozen in shock, until Jon notices the remaining Night Lords have more spears and are readying to throw again. Dany has loaded Jorah, Tormond, Beric, and The Hound onto the back of Drogon, but Jon holds the undead at bay to by them time to escape. He is pulled down into the ice, as Dany flies to safety.
Jon of course manages to survive, somehow, and pulls himself out of the water only to be surrounded by Walkers, again. But then Coldhands shows up on a horse, swinging a flaming lantern (not quite a morningstar after all) and holds the walkers off so his nephew can escape. Weak and frozen, Jon makes it back to Eastwatch before Dany leaves again.
Back at Winterfell, Sansa sneaks into Arya's room in the hopes of recovering the letter. She instead fines a bag containing the visages of dead men, including Walder Frey. Arya walks in on her sister, and the true face off begins. She asks Sansa questions, playing her truth and lies game she was taught in Bravos. Obviously, Arya is not the little sister Sansa remembers, and the conversation quickly goes to to a dark and threatening place. But at the last second, Arya turns the dragonbone dagger hilt first, and offers it to her now understandably shaken older sister.
Further north, safe and under heavy furs, Jon wakes in a bed on a ship with Dany looking over him. The first words he says to her are "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" for the loss of her dragon. She is visibly shaken, on the verge of tears, and pledges to him to destroy the White Walkers together. Jon, now completely on her side, after calling her Dany but taking it back, calls her "My Queen", since he's in no shape to bend the knee. There is a hand holding tender moment that both knew was going to lead to other exchanges, so the moment is broken before the fans get what they REALLY want.
The very end of the episode, the Walkers are hawling chains on the ice. They are pulling the dead dragon from the water. I can only attest what my household's reaction was to this moment, but seeing The Night King place his hand on Viserion's nose, we knew what was going to happen. Viserion's eye opens, and reveals that icy dead Walker blue.
The teaser trailer for next week's season finale will hopefully be up soon, but we can assure you that it looks to be nothing short of spectacular.