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Game of Thrones “The Dragon and the Wolf” Episode Review

The seventh season of Game of Thrones has come to a conclusion, and there is a ton to talk about! I have to say that this episode review will be filled with SPOILERS, so if you haven’t seen this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, be sure to check that out, then come back to read this review!

This is it. This is what we’ve been building to for seven years, and it’s finally here. With the episode preview, we saw that all of our main characters were finally coming together for the first time, meaning we would see Daenerys and Cersei face-to-face along with plenty of reunions. We love reunions, and we love action, and this episode promised both with the preview and the setup from each episode prior. No, the season finales aren’t notoriously action-packed like the second-to-last episode of each season, but they usually pull out all the stops when it comes to the political-thriller aspect of Game of Thrones. Before we start running down each event in this 80 minute-long episode, I do want to reiterate that this review will be SPOILER-FILLED. If you haven’t seen the episode, go check it out, then come right back to let me know what you thought!

Let’s start with the main event and the main selling point of this finale: the confrontation at the Dragonpit. The hair on my arms was standing up the entire time this scene was taking place. It wasn’t just because we were seeing characters we’d come to know, love, and hate all finally come together. We could feel the tension. I always felt that, in true Game of Thrones fashion, something could go completely wrong in a matter of seconds, and we could see something we didn’t expect. While I was fully prepared for everything to go wrong, I’m glad that it didn’t. This scene was definitely more reminiscent of previous Game of Thrones seasons in that it had the political thrills. The tension never boiled over and forced itself into a giant action spectacle. It remained at a highpoint throughout the scene, and stuck true to what the show, displaying that all of these characters are still playing the titular game. I also loved that this episode is dialogue-driven. Tyrion, who is in contention for my favorite character of the series, hasn’t been featured as prominently in this season just because action doesn’t suit him the way dialogue does. Even though his screen-time has been down lately, I still think he had two of the best moments this season, first in his meeting with Jaime in episode five, and then in his meeting with Cersei in this episode. His meeting with Cersei, brought a lot of character to life, and showed that while Cersei doesn’t blame Tyrion for Joffrey’s death, she does blame him for what happened to Myrcella and Tommen. Though Cersei is the villain, she is justified in thinking that. Strategically and logically, the Lannisters would have been better off with Tywin still in the picture, but Tyrion also justifies his killing of Tywin, and we get one of the most powerful silent standstills we’ve seen in the entire show.

I mentioned it before, but I also loved all of the reunions. Tyrion was able to speak to Pod and Bronn for the first time in a while, and I loved his conversation with Bronn. Both of them have been doing what they do best, which is staying alive and looking out for number one, but they do care deeply about each other as evidenced by the authenticity in both of their voices saying that they’re happy to see each other again. The Hound meeting up with The Mountain was also awesome, and though we didn’t quite get the Clegane matchup we’ve been hoping for, it definitely teased a season eight fight between the brothers. The Hound met up with Brienne for the first time since their fight, and their conversation is another emotionally satisfying moment as they both share their willingness to protect Arya. We know that Arya doesn’t much need it anymore, but the thoughts and intentions are still nice.

What I didn’t think about until watching this episode is that Jon Snow and Cersei were seeing each other for the first time since the series premiere, but they’re seeing each other as such different people. In the series premiere, we probably would have thought that Ned Stark would be leading the show seven years later, but it turns out that Jon Snow, who was sort of kept in the background for most of his life, has ended up in the forefront. Again, I think this episode provided a great character moment for Jon because in his soul, he is a Stark. He carries his honor with him and stands by his word. He is one of the few characters refusing to play the game, which so far has only ended up giving him positions of power. He remains true to his character and makes Cersei make a decision, forwarding her character later in the episode.

The last thing I’ll talk about in this scene is where The Hound reveals the wight to Cersei and everyone at King’s Landing. At first I was a bit scared when The Hound carried the box out, then dropped it on the ground, then opened the box and heard no noise and saw nothing. I didn’t want the trip north of The Wall and Viserion’s death to be for nothing, but I loved seeing the look on Cersei’s face when he realizes that the army of the undead actually exists. It’s a look that we don’t see often from her that says that she isn’t in complete control. It’s a nice moment of vulnerability for a character who always knows what’s happening.

Next we’ll move onto Theon who had one of my favorite moments of the episode. He has this great character-driven scene with Jon about heritage and choosing between being a Stark and being a Greyjoy. He can be both by pulling the best aspects from both families into one person, and we start to see the Stark part of him return. We see the part of him that idolized Robb and now idolizes Jon as an honorable man, and though Jon says that he can’t forgive Theon for everything he has done, Jon does forgive him for what he can. Though we haven’t seen any full-fledged Reek moments, Theon has been missing his individuality, and this conversation with Jon gives him the guts to become himself again and go save his sister. I thought his fight scene was great, and it really shows that he has his Greyjoy roots inside him that can take a beating and never give up. Also, though Jon doesn’t know it, that conversation will apply to him sometime in season eight, and I think this is a great foreshadowing of how Jon will be able to pull all of his ancestry together to become something better.

I’ve been waiting for a while to see Littlefinger have his tricks catch up with him, and this episode finally gave that to us. I love everything Littlefinger was able to do up until season seven, and he became one of the most interesting characters, but I loved seeing it all come to an end this episode because I’ve truly hated the build-up to this moment. I think that he was great for a while, but he circumstantially fell into a place where he was holding the story back. Littlefinger was only beat at his own game a couple of times. Earlier this season we saw Bran recite his line about chaos being a ladder. Littlfinger’s reaction was priceless, and seeing him beat at his own game was so satisfying. It was even more satisfying to see that Sansa, Arya, and Bran have come together as a pack to expose Littlefinger, It made so much sense for Arya to finally kill him, and it was a sigh of relief for everyone who had stopped caring about the drama in Winterfell.

We saw Cersei confront Tyrion’s conflicting opinions and sides, but we also saw her having the same battle with Jaime. Most of us have sort of thought that the Cersei-Jaime relationship would end with Jamie plunging a sword into Cersei’s heart after realizing that she’s too evil to continue living, but it doesn’t look like we’re going to get that quite yet. Again, I love the route the show is taking with Cersei showing that she is playing her own game, and she is becoming increasingly more difficult to trust, even for Jaime. This is the aspect of the show that I fell in love with. Who is tricking who? Who can catch who off-guard? Unfortunately for Cersei it looks like Jaime has finally realized that she is too involved in her own game. Jaime has become one of my favorite characters, so I’m glad to see that he’s headed north. I wish he would have swung by Bronn’s place and picked him up on his way, but I’ll hold off on that hope until next season because I don’t see any reason for Bronn to stay in the South and eventually fight the dragons, just as he swore not to do after saving Jaime.

Another moment we’ve been waiting for finally happened when Sam and Bran revealed, in words and exposition, that Jon is the true-born son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. It’s no surprise, but it’s nice to see it revealed in words. I’ve also been wondering if there would be any way to prove that Jon was actually the true-born son of Rhaegar because I assumed that Bran was the only one who knew. I don’t see anyone believing Bran and Jon if they decided to tell everyone, but the reveal that Sam was actually listening to Gilly patched that right up. Every time Sam has been on-screen this season, he has revealed something important, and this time he reveals proof that Jon Snow is actually the true-born son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, so I like the consistency on the show’s part. I also love how it cuts seamlessly between the wedding and Jon and Dany on the boat. It might be weird as it’s revealed in dialogue that Jon and Dany are nephew and aunt, but it makes sense and parallels everything that has brought the Targaryen family to where they currently are. I have to mention that I love that Jon’s real name is Aegon. We’ve seen Daenerys name her dragons after those she loved, and now we learn that Jon has been named after the man who brought the Targaryens to prominence, so it’s a bloodline of tradition. And I’d like to give a special shout out to Bran for finally being useful. For a guy who knows everything, he sure likes to sit back and say nothing. He finally said what needed to be said, and I assume he was the one who brought most of Littlefinger’s crimes out. Thanks for speaking up.

Finally, the episode ended exactly how I thought it would end. I expected it to end with the wall coming down as the Night King’s dragon “dracrysed” all over it. Nevertheless, it looked fantastic, and the Night King riding Viserion was one of the coolest sequences of the entire series. I’m going to assume Tormund is still alive because Game of Thrones isn’t a show for off-screen deaths, and someone has to get word to Winterfell that the Night King is coming ever so slowly, but the dead really showed their power and numbers in beautiful wide-shots, and I thought it was the perfect way to end this season.

Overall, I really loved this episode. It might be the best episode of the season, and it’s finally a culmination of everything we’ve been waiting for. I don’t think that it held many surprises, but I think that everything it presented was shown as well as it could have been, and this was a fantastic finale. It was, to me, the perfect mesh of a classic Game of Thrones political-thriller and the new dragon spectacles mixed with family drama and a death that has been seasons in the making. It’s going to be a tough year, or maybe even longer, to wait without Game of Thrones, but I think that this season payed off most of our expectations pretty well. It probably deserved ten episodes (three of which should have contained the events of episode six), but I’ll settle for what might have been the most epic season of television history.

Did you get a chance to check out this week’s episode of Game of Thrones? Comment down in the comment section and let me know what you thought. Also, what are you expecting from season eight? Tell me know some of your theories and speculations for what is to come! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at [email protected]